While today is the beginning of the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, there was one rumor that did officially come to fruition yesterday – Tubby Smith and Memphis parted ways after 2 seasons. All indications are that Memphis will pursue Penny Hardaway to be their next head coach, but that is by no means official as of yet.
There are a couple of updates as it relates to the SEC – Thad Matta was a strong possibility to become the next head coach at Georgia, but he has taken himself out of the running for that position, per a report from ESPN. It is also expected that Kermit Davis will move on from Middle Tennessee to Ole Miss, but that likely will not become official as long as MTSU remains alive in the NIT.
And speaking of the NIT, we have an oddity in that all the home teams DID win their openers in the first round. Larry Krystowiak was ejected in Utah’s win over UC-Davis, but the bigger fireworks came down in Baton Rouge where LSU beat Louisiana and actually saw the head coaches having to be separated from one another at the end of the game. LSU head coach Will Wade was not pulling punches in his postgame presser – click here to see how that transpired.
Chalk also held in the opening round of the CIT – Eastern Michigan, UT-San Antonio and Illinois-Chicago all won at home against Niagara, Lamar and St. Francis-PA, respectively. Another strange development is that there are 4 late entries into the field – Wofford, Portland State, Northern Colorado and Sam Houston State will now play 2nd round games against opponents to be determined.
The CBI has not been as hospitable to home teams in their bracket so far. North Texas was the biggest surprise – they won at South Dakota. That was only the 2nd loss at home for the Coyotes all year. Central Arkansas did indeed come up big on the West Coast and ended up beating Seattle 92-90 in overtime (as Jax State also did at Canisius – the Gamecocks also got a 2-point win in overtime). Mercer also made a cross-country trip to win at Grand Canyon. Campbell, New Orleans and San Francisco were the only teams at home to win – they beat Mother Miami, UTRGV and Colgate, respectively.
CIT (John McLendon Classic, CBS Digital Network)
-LOUISIANA-MONROE AT AUSTIN PEAY (8:00 PM). This is the last game of the first round – it will be streamed on CBS Sports’s website. It will also be the first game Austin Peay has played at home since their roof sprung a leak in their home finale in OVC play.