In the latest installment in his "Coaching Greats" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel caught up with Johnny Orr, who won a combined 427 games at Michigan and Iowa State while also leading the schools to a combined ten NCAA Tournament appearances. Orr led Michigan to the 1976 NCAA title game, where they fell to fellow Big Ten member Indiana, who capped the final undefeated season in NCAA history with the win.
Thursday's schedule is highlighted by three in-season tournaments, with action in Charleston, New York City and San Juan. The 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals will be played at Madison Square Garden with Texas A&M playing Mississippi State in the opener and St. John's and Arizona doing battle in the nightcap. The second game jumps out not only because of the fact that it will be a home game for the Red Storm but also due to the roles that newcomers play on both teams.
Much has been made of Long Beach State playing five non-conference opponents who were ranked in the Top 15 of the major preseason polls. Many wondered how Dan Monson's team would navigate such a slate in spite of the fact that this experienced group went through a similar schedule last season. If Wednesday night showed anything about the 49ers it's that they're ready for the challenge, as they handed Pittsburgh its' first loss in November or December at the Petersen Events Center in the history of the arena.
Here's how the Big 12 teams stack up over the last five years according to conference wins. There are substantial gaps (at least 6 wins) between tiers. With the change in conference membership, and certain programs in flux, the next 5 years of Big 12 basketball could be much more fluid.
While much of the college sports world was captivated by the goings on in State College, PA, four college basketball games were being played. And one of the four teams expected to win fell at the hands of the defending MAC Tournament champs, but in hindsight it wasn't much of an "upset". Behind 19 points from Quincy Diggs the Zips beat Mississippi State 68-58 at The Hump. Simply put, Keith Dambrot's team outworked and outplayed the Bulldogs, who weren't as effective as they were on Monday night and it cost them.
Tonight brings the second day of college basketball games that count with the four host teams in the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer on the floor. Arizona, Mississippi State and St. John's all played games on Monday night, and tonight marks the beginning of the season for the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies are expected by many to contend in the Big 12, but things haven't gone as smoothly as anyone connected to the program would have hoped.