UTR Postseason News, Notes and CBI Preview – Friday, April 5

For Jon Teitel’s interview with former James Madison 2-sport star Steve Stielper – CLICK HERE

Last night in Madison Square Garden, Lipscomb’s amazing season came to a screeching halt where they were defeated by Texas 81-66. The Longhorns made their game-defining run late in the first half; after trailing by 3 points following a shot by the Bisons’ Rob Marberry; the Longhorns went on a 17-2 run to take control of the game. Dylan Osetkowski led Texas with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kerwin Roach II was named the Most Outstanding Player for the NIT and Texas won their second NIT crown; they last won the tournament in 1978.

Green Bay started their game at Marshall strong; after a 3-point shot by Sandy Cohen III, the Phoenix jumped out to a 37-24 lead at the 6-minute mark. From there, Marshall was able to cut their deficit down to 2 points at halftime. The first 8 minutes of the 2nd half was back-and-forth between both teams, but a 26-8 run by the Thundering Herd effectively ended the competitive phase of this game. Marshall won their first CIT Championship and their first national title since winning the 1947 NAIA National Championship.

CBI Championship (Game 3)

SOUTH FLORIDA AT DEPAUL (7:00 PM, ESPNU) – The first two games of this series have either come down to a last-second shot or overtime. South Florida won the first game at home on Monday with a game-winning drive with under 2 seconds remaining, and DePaul returned the favor with an overtime victory on Wednesday.

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2-sport star: HoopsHD interviews former James Madison player Steve Stielper

We have seen plenty of multi-sport stars in the past including Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, etc. Kyler Murray was selected 9th overall by Oakland in the 2018 MLB draft, but after winning the Heisman Trophy last December at Oklahoma he may very well be the 1st overall pick by Arizona later this month in the 2019 NFL draft. Another player who excelled at 2 different sports was Steve Stielper: he finished his college basketball career at James Madison in 1980 as the all-time leading scorer/rebounder in school history, and a few decades later in 2016 he was inducted into the Maryland Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Steve about playing both sports and what he has been up to since retiring.

You grew up in Maryland: what made you choose James Madison? I was averaging about 33 PPG coming out of a small high school in Maryland. They had been recruiting me for most of the past year and at the time it was actually called Madison College: I did not know that it would eventually become JMU.

You played several different sports as a kid: which sport were you best at, and which 1 did you enjoy the most? The 1st sport I played was football, then baseball, and I started basketball at age 9. As I grew taller my parents suggested that I should play basketball.

You joined the Dukes in 1976 as they were making the leap to D-1: what was the best part of the transition and what was the not-so-best part? I do not think there were any bad parts. The best part was the name recognition that we got: it put us further along on the map.

The university president allegedly tried to broaden your horizons by taking you to dinner/wine tastings/plays: what kind of bond did you have with Dr. Roland Carrier? It was a unique friendship because he was a unique person. He cared about all the students but he took me under his wing, called me to make sure I was going to class, and we even shared some chili dogs!

You averaged 20.9 PPG/10.7 RPG as a freshman: how were you able to make such a smooth transition from high school to college? It was not that much of a transition because my teammates were very unselfish. Sherman Dillard got hurt, which game me some more playing time, and Coach Lou Campanelli just wanted me to put the ball in the basket.

In January of 1979 you scored 51 PTS in a win over Robert Morris: was it just 1 of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”? There was a time that year during practice where most of my shots were going in. I missed a few FTs that night but was 20-25 from the field. A lot of different people were the reason for that 51-PT night: I was very confident in my ability but a lot of people helped me get there.

Your 2126 PTS/917 REB remain the most in school history: did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were, and do you think that anyone will ever break your records? At the time I thought my numbers were right about where they should have been. I do think that someone will break my records someday because I only played 104 games: now the guys play 120+ games and have a 3-PT line that I did not have. JMU has a couple of sophomores right now in Matt Lewis/Darius Banks who could do it if they stick around for 4 years. It has been a privilege for me to hold these records for the past 39 years.

In the summer of 1980 you were drafted by Indiana before getting cut during rookie camp and then playing pro basketball in Spain/Australia: what is the biggest difference between basketball in the US vs. basketball overseas? Back then I was the only American in my town and nobody spoke English so the language barrier was pretty big. We only had 1 game/week so the other players had jobs during the week that they scheduled around our practices. The players’ ability was on a relatively equal level. My tenure in Australia was cut short because the team did not pay me so I came back to the US and became a Hall of Fame softball player.

You currently work as a student advocate/tennis coach: how do you like it, and what do you hope to do in the future? Sometimes I teach driver’s education in Spanish! I still go down to JMU 1-2 times/year to see some games and visit some friends. I live about 1 hour from the school I work at. I am somewhat upset that I did not prepare myself better but I have a wonderful wife/kids and have been blessed to have a great life.

When people look back on your career, how do you want to be remembered the most? I hope I am remembered as a great teammate that did not have anyone play harder. I want my legacy to be that of a good dude/teammate who gave everything he had for JMU.

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UTR Postseason News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Thursday, April 4

For Jon Teitel’s interview with National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Lute Olson – CLICK HERE

For Jon Teitel’s photo essay of Michigan State’s victory against LSU last Friday – CLICK HERE

In nine of the first eleven seasons of the CBI, the championship has been decided in three games (only VCU in 2010 and Loyola-Chicago in 2015 had swept the best-of-3 series). South Florida looked like they might be able to become the third team to get the sweep after coming back from a double-digit deficit at halftime and forcing overtime after not allowing DePaul to get a shot off in the closing seconds of regulation. LaQuincy Rideau hit a 3-point shot to give the Bulls their only lead in the first minute of overtime, but a shot by Paul Reed on the next possession put DePaul ahead for good and the Blue Demons won 100-96 to force a third and deciding game on Friday night. Reed had 28 points and 16 rebounds to lead DePaul; Max Strus also had 32 points for the Blue Demons.

NIT Championship

(5) LIPSCOMB VS (2) TEXAS (7:00 PM, ESPN) – After Lipscomb took a halftime lead into their game with Wichita State on Tuesday night, they exchanged runs with Wichita in the 2nd half and ended up getting a 34-point performance from Garrison Matthews to vault the Bisons into their first ever appearance in the NIT Championship game. Texas has been on a roll in their past two games; they defeated TCU on Tuesday night without much difficulty. Shaka Smart will be looking for his second postseason crown as a head coach; he previously won the CBI in 2010 while coaching at VCU.

CIT Championship

GREEN BAY AT MARSHALL (7:00 PM, WatchCIT.com) – This game, much like South Florida-DePaul last night, figures to be an offensive explosion on both ends with Sandy Cohen III leading the way for Green Bay and Jon Elmore leading the way for Marshall. Both teams had close victories in their semifinal games, but Green Bay needed a game-winner in overtime to beat Texas Southern.

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Call to the Hall: HoopsHD interviews 2-time National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Lute Olson

In December of 2006 HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel headed up to New York with some friends to see his Arizona Wildcats on 1 of their very rare basketball road trips to the East Coast. The local alumni club had scheduled a pregame pep rally at a bar near Madison Square Garden before everyone walked over to see the team face Louisville and the place was packed. Arizona coach Lute Olson showed up to give a short speech, looked around for an open place to stand, and after finding none he asked Jon if he could help him up so that he could stand on a chair to address the crowd. Jon eagerly gave him a hand, became the envy of everyone in the bar, and capped off an unforgettable night by watching his alma mater beat the Cardinals 72-65 at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” Nobody realized at the time that they were witnessing Lute’s last season in Tucson, but earlier this week he was named a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 for the 2nd time (after previously being inducted in 2006). He made 28 NCAA tourneys in a 29-year stretch from 1979-2007 at Iowa/Arizona, won a combined 13 conference regular season titles as a D-1 coach, was an 8-time conference COY, and led Arizona to its only NCAA title in 1997. Jon got to chat with Lute about his spectacular career a few years ago and is proud to present that previously unpublished interview for the very 1st time: congrats Coach!

In 1952 you helped lead your Grand Forks High School team to a North Dakota state basketball title: what did it mean to you to win a title? The goal is to be the last team standing at whatever level you play at. It really feels good to get to the end of the season and have no one left to play!

In the 1979 NCAA tourney as coach at Iowa, Stan Joplin scored 15 PTS and made a 20-foot shot at the buzzer in a 2-PT win by Toledo: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? Anytime you are in the tourney it is 1-and-done so that was very disappointing…but it might have helped us the next year. You always feel bad for the seniors because it is very difficult to take.

In the 1980 NCAA tourney Steve Waite scored 15 PTS (4-4 FG/7-7 FT) and converted a 3-PT play with 5 seconds left in a 1-PT win over Georgetown: did you think that your team had enough momentum to win the title that season? Yes I did. We beat Syracuse/Georgetown, who were 2 of the top teams in the country. Ronnie Lester was 1 of the top PGs in the country but he hurt his knee in a Christmas tourney. We were good enough to win it all but Ronnie hurt his knee again in the tourney: he was 1 of the best PGs I ever had.

In the 1982 NCAA tourney Brian Kellerman scored 14 PTS and made a 15-foot jumper that bounced high off the rim before dropping through at the buzzer in a 2-PT OT win by Idaho: did you have any change in your coaching philosophy when it came to regulation vs. overtime? No: we worked every day in practice on late-game situations and won a lot more than we lost in situations like that.

In 1986 you coached team USA to a 2-PT win over the USSR in the FIBA World Championship gold medal game (which remains the last US amateur basketball team to win an international competition): what was it like to face a 21-year old Arvydas Sabonis (who scored 16 PTS)? It was a special time for me: that was the only amateur US team to ever win the World Championship. Most of the foreign press felt that we would never make the final in Madrid but we beat Brazil quite easily (96-80) before facing the Soviets. David Robinson was our only senior: everyone else on the roster was an underclassman. After seeing Sabonis in person, his size/shooting ability made you wonder that if he had come over to the US earlier he might have become 1 of the 15-20 best players in NBA history. Even so he still had a great career. The USSR had a lot of other really good players too so it was a huge upset on our part.

In the 1993 NCAA tourney as coach at Arizona, Steve Nash scored 10 PTS in a 3-PT upset by Santa Clara (the 2nd game ever won by a #15-seed): do you think that we will ever see a #16-seed upset a #1-seed? I do not think so because there is a huge difference in talent. Steve Nash was a great player and their whole team had shot the lights out in their conference tourney. That was 1 of my biggest disappointments as coach of Arizona.

Take me through the magical 1997 NCAA tourney, where you became the only team to ever beat 3 #1 seeds in the same tourney:
AJ Bramlett had 12 PTS/12 REB in a 3-PT win over top-ranked Kansas: was your team out for revenge after a 3-PT loss to the Jayhwaks in the 1996 NCAA tourney? I think that was a key to our win. We had lost to them in Colorado in 1996. Our best defensive player (Joe McLean) got food poisoning at dinner the night before that game and had to go to the hospital: he tried to give it a go but was just too weak. Our guys felt that we would have won if Joe had been healthy so we were not afraid of the Jayhawks even though they were ranked #1 for most of the year.

Tourney MOP Miles Simon scored 30 PTS in a 4-PT OT win over Providence, 24 PTS in an 8-PT win over North Carolina, and 30 PTS in a 5-PT OT win over defending champion Kentucky to win the title: what made Simon such a great player, and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? Miles is a tremendous competitor and a great leader. Some people viewed him as cocky but he was just confident in himself and his teammates. We had different guys step up at different times to get us there and by the time we got to the Final 4 we felt like we could win it. Kentucky had an outstanding ballclub but they did not come out in a press due to our speed/quickness.

In the 2001 NCAA tourney title game Loren Woods had 22 PTS/11 REB in a 10-PT loss to Duke: what was it like to face Coach K with a title on the line? Duke was very good and had about 8-10 McDonald’s All-Americans: we were a fairly young team ourselves at that point but did an outstanding job. Luke Walton had a broken thumb so we were not at full strength. You have to be good to get there…but you have to be lucky to win it.

In the 2003 NCAA tourney Channing Frye/Jason Gardner each scored 22 PTS in a 1-PT 2-OT win over Gonzaga: where does that rank among the most exciting games of your career? I think that it was a classic game because Gonzaga was really good. They had a 17-foot shot toward the end of regulation that could have won it. It was a case of 2 teams playing their hardest: I think that ESPN Classic has shown that game a number of times.

Take me through the 2005 NCAA tourney:
Salim Stoudamire scored 19 PTS and made an off-balance jumper with 2.8 seconds left in a 1-PT win over Oklahoma State: what is the key to setting up a game-winning shot in the huddle? You want to get the ball into the hands of your best shooter. The great thing about Salim is that not only was he a great shooter but he could create his own shot as well. We wanted Salim to take the final shot but only if he had a great look. I get asked a lot about who was my best shooter: Steve Kerr was the best at coming off of a screen but Salim was the best at creating his own shot.

After opening up a 15-PT lead with just over 4 minutes left in regulation, IL had a 20-5 run to force OT, and Hassan Adams missed a 3 at the buzzer to give Illinois a 1-PT OT win in 1 of the most thrilling tourney games ever (Deron Williams had 22 PTS/10 AST): what was the feeling like in your locker room afterward? It was a horrible feeling because that was my only senior class that did not make it to at least 1 Final 4. There were 19,000 Illini fans at the arena in Rosemont. I still think that the officials thought the game was over with 3 minutes left and just stopped working: Illinois was trying to foul us but the refs would not even call a foul.

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All-Access at the East Regional: HoopsHD is in the 2nd row for LSU-Michigan State

The NCAA tournament is about basketball but also so much more: the fans, bands, cheerleaders, etc. The East Regional is taking place in Washington, DC this weekend and we could not be more excited to be there in person! HoopsHD is all over it and covering all of the angles so you can look forward to a cascade of coverage in the days ahead. Jon Teitel continues our coverage with a photo essay recap of the Sweet 16 opener featuring the Tigers vs. the Spartans (all of the photos below were taken by HoopsHD, but since the NCAA was kind enough to award us a credential…and to cover our butts, we will extend the courtesy for everything to both the NCAA and CBS Sports just in case).

The practices/press conferences were nice but the games themselves brought out the heavy hitters, including ESPN’s Marty Smith:

John Thompson as color analyst for Westwood One, who caught up with Washington Post columnist John Feinstein:

JT3 made his triumphant return to Capital 1 Arena:

Steve Lavin headlined the March Madness Live VR app crew:

CBS brought out the “A” team including Bill Raftery:

Grant Hill:

and Tracy Wolfson:

Hello Friends!

Nice seats for me, eh?

LSU did some pregame stretching:

The Tigers all seemed ready to pounce including Naz Reid/Ja’Vonte Smart/Emmitt Williams/Skylar Mays:

Michigan State huddled up in anticipation of the big game:

The Spartans all seemed ready to follow the lead of Big 10 POY Cassius Winston:

The refs are ready:

The fans of both teams are pumped:

Both sets of cheerleaders are poised:


Here we go:

The Tigers tried to keep it close in the 1st half thanks to Tremont Waters, who had an old-fashioned 3-PT play to start the half and a long-range 3 to end the half but Sparty was still up double-digits at halftime thanks to 1 youngster and 1 veteran.  Winston made a trio of threes that forced the defense to focus on him, which freed up FR SF Aaron Henry to do a little bit of everything (a jumper on the 1st possession of the game, a BLK on a layup attempt by Smart, a nice AST to Xavier Tillman for a layup, a REB/putback, a pull-up layup, and a super-high floater that somehow bounced in).  Michigan State would not be denied thanks to a 21-10 REB advantage that gave them a 40-28 scoring advantage at halftime.  The mascots were both running around trying to get their fans excited:

The best part of halftime was when they put the Auburn-UNC game on the Jumbotron.  As the Tigers built a 41-39 halftime lead, all of the Duke and Virginia Tech fans in DC started cheering loudly in the hopes that their ACC rival would fall.  Waters almost single-handedly got LSU back into the game with a 3 to start the 2nd half followed by a STL/breakaway layup but even with SR PF Kavell Bigby-Williams securing a bunch of rebounds/dunks it was just not enough.  SR PF Kenny Goins knocked down a pair of threes to key an 11-0 run and force Coach Tony Benford to call a timeout, FR SF Gabe Brown finished with a career-high 15 PTS in 16 minutes off the bench (after only scoring 11 total PTS in the past 2 months!) and Henry set a pair of career-highs with 20 PTS/6 AST.  The only scare came with 7 minutes left when Reid hit JR PF Nick Ward hard on his left hand and was called for a flagrant 1.  Ward appeared to be in a lot of pain both on the court and on the bench, but after jogging to the locker room he returned to the bench a few minutes later during the under-4-minute timeout:

Michigan State pulled away to win 80-63 as their fans went wild after the buzzer:

Right after the game both Winston and Coach Tom Izzo came by to chat with the radio guys in the front row:

There were only a handful of reporters outside the victors’ locker room waiting for the team to drop by after its big win:

Goins had a poor shooting night (2-10 FG) but still made some big contributions with a game-high 11 REB/2 STL:

SO PF Xavier Tillman made a name for himself as 2019 Big 10 6th Man of the Year but due to Ward’s ongoing recovery from a left hand injury he got to start in the frontcourt and had a pretty solid performance with 12 PTS/8 REB/2 BLK:

Ward had his hand on ice after the game but the win seemed to put him in a good mood:

Brown was the X-factor, as evident by the swarm of camera crews surrounding him at his locker:

That’s all for now, check back later for continuing coverage.

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UTR Postseason News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Wednesday, April 3

For Jon Teitel’s interviews with National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Homer Drew – CLICK HERE

For Jon Teitel’s interview with Omaha Academic All-American Matt Pile – CLICK HERE

For Jon Teitel’s interview with Danene Charles about her sister Daedra Charles (Hall of Fame from Tennessee) – CLICK HERE

The finals of the NIT are now set – the first team to advance was the Lipscomb Bisons thanks to their comeback from an 11-point deficit in the 2nd half. Lipscomb led by 5 at halftime, but Wichita State outscored Lipscomb 31-15 in the first 12 minutes of the 2nd half to take a 61-50 lead. From there, Wichita State could only manage to score 3 points (all on free throws) and Lipscomb outscored the Shockers 21-3 to win 71-64. Garrison Matthews had 34 points for the Bisons; Rob Marberry also added 14 points.

Texas used some great defense last night to hold TCU to 17 points at halftime and ended up winning 58-44. Kerwin Roach II led the Longhorns with 22 points; Dylan Osetkowski also had 13 points and 9 rebounds. For TCU, the waiting game now begins to see whether or not Jamie Dixon will either move on to take the UCLA head coaching job or if they end up reaching an agreement to extend Dixon’s contract at TCU.

In the CIT, C. J. Burks hit four free throws in the final minute to give Marshall an 80-78 victory against the Hampton Pirates. Hampton was able to hold the high-scoring Marshall attack to 29 points in the 2nd half and was able to climb out of a 13-point halftime hole, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to close the deal.

Marshall will end up hosting Green Bay for the CIT Championship on Thursday; the Phoenix needed overtime but ended up beating Texas Southern 87-86. The Tigers actually extended the game to overtime by holding Green Bay scoreless for the final two minutes of regulation and were able to get a game-tying layup from Jeremy Combs with 7 seconds left. Combs looked like he was going to be a folk hero for the Tigers with his go-ahead shot with 8 seconds left in the OT period, but Sandy Cohen III hit a jumper from the free-throw line with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Phoenix the victory.

On the head coaching front, there have been 2 notable events – one will be that Kelvin Sampson will remain at Houston and sign a contract extension after being courted by Arkansas. Buzz Williams, on the other hand, will officially move on from Virginia Tech to become the next head coach at Texas A&M.

CBI (Game 2, South Florida leads 1-0)

SOUTH FLORIDA AT DEPAUL (8:00 PM, ESPNU) – Despite being held 30 points below their average in the CBI Tournament on Monday, the Blue Demons still had a shot at extending the game to overtime after Eli Cain tied the game with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation. Alas for the Blue Demons, the Bulls’ David Collins answered with a driving shot of his own with 1.6 seconds left to give South Florida a 63-61 victory in the first game of the CBI Championship Series. USF can win the CBI with a victory tonight, but DePaul can extend the series to a third and final game with a win of their own.

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