LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- My bracket is locked and out of the running: Illinois, Gonzaga, Texas and Ohio State in the Final Four. Purdue in the Elite Eight.
That's right, Ohio State in the Final Four. The Boilermakers in the Elite Eight. Going, going, gone.
Chris Holtmann, coach at Ohio State and Matt Painter of Purdue are not the only ones embarrassed here. My South Regional picks have gone directly to the shredder.
Nothing screams Tobacco Road and the Atlantic Coast Conference more than Jim Boeheim and Syracuse. What if I told you the Orange, an 11-seed, were the only one of 5 ACC teams to win Friday?
The Big Ten will also be doing a Walk of Shame in the morning. Nobody put more teams in the NCAA Tournament than the Big Ten, which had nine. Nobody had more 1- and 2-seeds than the Big Ten, which had 4.
Not any more. Hours after Ohio State, a 2-seed, wobbled and lost to Oral Roberts, 75-72, in overtime, Purdue followed the same script, losing to North Texas, 78-69, in overtime. The Boilermakers were a No. 4 seed.
Don't call either loss a fluke. Ohio State and Purdue both trailed most of their games.
Toss in the nugget that Michigan State, an 11-seed, blew a double-digit lead, and lost to UCLA, an 11-seed, Thursday night and the Big Ten lost 3 of its first 6 games. Good thing Rutgers took out Clemson.
Wonder how many 4- and 5-star recruits play for Oral Roberts and North Texas.
Your bracket ... BUSTED!!!Our campus ... BLOWING UP!!! pic.twitter.com/ARh490CADa— OralRobertsU (@OralRobertsU) March 19, 2021
The Big Ten is lucky Illinois took care of Drexel and then Wisconsin blitzed North Carolina, leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference searching for sunshine.
The Buckeyes missed half of their 18 free throws and 18 of 23 3-pointers. Ohio State guard Duane Washington tried to make every play and every shot. Didn't happen.
Nobody could blame Archie Miller. Instead, it's going to take a major NCAA Tournament run by Holtmann in the next few years to wash the stain of this loss from his resume. The Buckeyes became only the 9th No. 2 seed to lose their opening game since 1979.
Purdue got 26 points from freshman Jaden Ivy, 14 from Travion Williams and not much from anybody else.
For a league that was considered the best in the nation and has not won the national title since 2000, it's probably a great time to turn off talk radio.
Not that the Big Ten (2-2) was the only league blushing. With Georgia Tech losing to Loyola (Chicago), Virginia Tech falling to Florida, the Tar Heels losing to Wisconsin, 85-62 and Clemson losing to Rutgers by 5, the ACC needed Syracuse to save the day.
The Orange delivered. Buddy Boeheim made 7 shots from distance, scoring 30 as Syracuse whipped San Diego State, 78-62.
Teams from the Big 12 won their first 3 games. The Pac-12 started with a pair of wins including Oregon State, a 12-seed, blitzing Tennessee, a 5. The SEC sat at 2-1.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is underway after a one-year gap and a one-day pause on the usual Thursday/Saturday, Friday/Sunday schedule. Without a men’s team to cover (for the first time in my career since 1979), it’s a perfect day for an NCAA Tournament live blog, chatter about the Indiana coaching search and fallout from the strangely vague shuffle to the University of Louisville coaching staff.
Let’s go to the monitor:
*Four games in and no bracket busters. Florida, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Illinois, the highest-seeded teams won every game. But Ohio State is dancing with danger, leads Oral Roberts 61-60 with 4 minutes to play.
The analytics had the Buckeyes favored to win by 17. That's not going to happen.
*The yet-to-be-officially confirmed reshaping of the assistant coaching staff at U of L remains a vibrant topic in the coaching grapevine.
Not only were Luke Murray and Dino Gaudio still listed on Chris Mack’s staff at GoCards.com on Friday afternoon, Mack is credited with the following quotes about Murray:
“Luke Murray is a superstar,” Mack said. “No detail goes unnoticed with Luke.
“Whether it’s working with our perimeter players, scouting or recruiting, Luke excels. He’s one of the most organized, detailed and high-energy recruiters that I’ve ever been around. He carries the role of recruiting coordinator on the staff and allows us to leave no stone unturned when searching for the next University of Louisville great.”
Although U of L has not officially confirmed it, the word is that neither Murray not Gaudio, a veteran, former head coach who is universally respected, will have his contract renewed on April 30.
It’s a move that baffled three coaches I’ve interviewed. It also suggests there is more to the story than simply a head coach changing direction after a disappointing 13-7 season with a program that failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
U of L’s 2021 recruiting class is ranked No. 5 nationally at 247Sports.com.
Rick Pitino had a churn on his staff, but many of the guys who left did it for head coaching opportunities: Kevin Willard, Mick Cronin, Marvin Menzies, Kevin Keatts, Scott Davenport. Denny Crum’s staff had minimal turnover.
Murray had been mentioned for head coaching openings at Fordham and College of Charleston, a place where his father, actor Bill Murray, owns a restaurant and lives part-time. Not the kind of news that would help an aspiring coach win a press conference.
Still trying to connect all the dots.
*Revising my earlier work here, but not my earlier take that Brad Stevens was not leaving the Celtics for Indiana. He told Jeff Goodman of Stadium Friday night prior to the Celtics' home game that he was not going to Indiana.
Brad Stevens on whether he is considering the Indiana job:“I am not.”— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 19, 2021
Multiple sources in college basketball and the NBA told me that Indiana made its pitch to Stevens, who grew up following IU basketball in suburban Indianapolis. But he's committed to Boston, where Stevens is midway through his eighth season.
I believe IU will move to the guy who was No. 1 on Dr. Bo’s Hot Board: Chris Beard of Texas Tech. I wouldn’t be surprised if Indiana made Beard an offer he cannot refuse.
*Thank you Virginia Tech. Thank you Florida. One game into Friday, and the NCAA Tournament showed why it consistently delivers.
Gators won, 75-70, in overtime. Mike White won’t have to hear that he’s not Billy Donovan — for at least a day.
*Arkansas tried to bury itself with a shaky start against Colgate. Not sure what to think of the Razorbacks, who rallied from a 14-point hole to win, 85-68.
Terrific defensive team, but they looked like a team that tried to turn it on and turn it off against the champions of the Patriot League. I have Eric Musselman’s team losing in the Sweet 16 to Ohio State. And if Musselman departs Fayetteville for a Big Ten job, it will be Minnesota, not Indiana. The Twin Cities are home.
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