Here’s today’s installment of “The Breakfast Buffet”, the morning column on everything that’s happened from the day/night before and everything that’s going to happen in the next 24 hours.
Things To Sample
St. John’s has a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to hire Rick Pitino
That is not hyperbole. This program has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2000. How long ago is that? Jay Wright was the head coach at Hofstra and Russell Crowe just became famous for his role in Gladiator. All of that doesn’t matter now because St. John’s has a chance to hire someone who would have likely been viewed as college basketball’s greatest coach since John Wooden if he didn’t leave Kentucky for the Boston Celtics in 1997. While other programs are likely to chase Pitino as well, College Hoops Today has learned that if the Red Storm prioritize him, they’ll likely have a leg up for his services. This is as critical of a hire as St. John’s has had in the history of its basketball program. Here’s another wrinkle to this entire situation: Pitino will coach Iona tonight in the MAAC Tournament title game.
Duke might be underrated
That is not a misprint. College basketball’s most fabled program isn’t getting a great amount of attention compared to past seasons in its first year under Jon Scheyer, but that may be about to change. The Blue Devils will take an eight-game winning streak into tonight’s ACC Tournament title game against Virginia. Seven of the Blue Devils’ eight losses this season have come with at least one starter out of the lineup.
UCLA takes another hit
Six days after the Bruins lost Jaylen Clark —- the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year — to a lower leg injury, UCLA lost its starting center Adem Bona — the Pac-12 freshman of the year — to a shoulder injury in the second half of Friday’s Pac-12 Tournament game over Oregon. The injury didn’t affect the outcome of the game as the Bruins won by 19, but this would be another blow to a team that’s already playing shorthanded without Clark. UCLA will play Arizona tonight in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 Tournament title game. Bona’s status for the game is currently TBD.
Ohio State is two wins away from the NCAA Tournament
There’s a headline that didn’t seem very likely a month ago. The Buckeyes lost 14 of 15 games between Jan. 5th and Feb. 26th, but somehow find themselves in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament today against Purdue (1 PM ET, CBS). Ohio State has beaten Iowa and Michigan State during the last two days, with yesterday’s win over the Spartans coming without Brice Sensabaugh (16.3 points), who was out with a knee injury. Keep an eye on freshman point guard Bruce Thornton, who’s averaging 19 points and six assists in the Big Ten Tournament.
UAB is the bid stealer to monitor on Saturday
Every bubble team in America will be rooting for Florida Atlantic later tonight in the Conference-USA Tournament title game (8:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network). Why? Because if UAB beats the Owls then somebody.else is going to be bumped out of the NCAA Tournament. The two teams split a pair of meetings during the regular season. And how good has Jelly Walker been for the Blazers recently? UAB’s star guard is averaging 29.5 points in games during the Conference-USA Tournament and has made 13 three-point shots during that span.
- The Breakfast Buffet: UConn’s dominance, Andre Jackson, Florida Atlantic’s path is similar to Loyola Chicago in 2018
- The Breakfast Buffet: Things come full circle for Gonzaga and UConn, Kansas State, Rodney Terry
- The Breakfast Buffet: Markquis Nowell, UCLA will always be left wondering what could have been, FAU
- The Breakfast Buffet: Rick Barnes’ best chance to return to the Final Four, Adama Sanogo, Gonzaga/UCLA
- The Breakfast Buffet: Tobin Anderson, the Big East’s roster of head coaches is elite, Bobby Hurley