Billy Donovan era ends after 19 years in Florida

Two time NCAA champion coach signs multi-year deal to take over for Scott Brooks as coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder

The rumblings were getting louder by the year.

The first misstep was in 2007 after accepting the head coaching position for the Orlando Magic, he backed out less than 24 hours before the official press conference even took place.

There were also a bunch of other teams that were then light years away from being in the NBA playoffs.

Last year, it was the Cleveland Cavaliers who called weeks before LeBron James did The Decision, Part II.

Today, this was an offer that 49 year old Billy Donovan simply could not pass up–a chance to coach some of the NBA’s current crop of great All-Star players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The main point I am trying to make is…

After seeing him initially as a scrappy guard playing for Rick Pitino on the cinderella Providence Friars team that reached the Final Four in 1987, the accomplishments of Donovan with the Florida Gators are definitely legendary.  As a coach, he was one of the best in preparing his players–and with the way the Gators “chomped” their way to two consecutive titles in the last decade, his style of play should make quite a splash in OKC.

His overall record at Florida was a very impressive 467-186 (.715 winning percentage).

If not, I am sure loyal Thunder fan in Yahoo News’ Shibani Joshi will tell you more.

Consider this resume during his 19 years while in Gainesville:

  • Winner of six SEC regular season titles
  • Winner of four SEC post-season titles
  • Reached Final Four four times (2000, 2006, 2007, and 2014)
  • Reached Elite Eight seven times
  • Reached the NCAA Tournament 14 times, including nine straight years from 1999 through 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014
  • Joined John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski as the only coaches to win back-to-back national championships (2006 and 2007)
  • Coached several players still in the NBA, among the most recognizable names are Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Brad Beal, Corey Brewer and Chandler Parsons.

The initial rumors on who might take over include Archie Miller of Dayton, Chris Mack from Xavier and one-time Florida assistant and Rick Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, currently the head coach at Minnesota.

Inaugural Gavitt Tip-Off Games slate has some appetizing matchups

First ever Big Ten-Big East Challenge will feature a pair of old rivals getting back together

Fans were screaming, alumni were pleading, sports bloggers were complaining for so many years.

Well, your voice has finally been heard!

Named after the late former architect of the Big East Conference in Dave Gavitt, there will be plenty of excellent made-for-TV matchups.  The contract for this series of games lasts for eight seasons.

Of course, we will know the precise nights and times later on in the year (presuming it will be a combination of Fox Sports 1 and the various ESPN channels providing full blanket coverage) featuring these matchups:

  • Georgetown at Maryland.  In 2016-17, Maryland will travel to the Verizon Center and take on the Hoyas.  Beyond that, we don’t know.  This will be the first meeting between the schools that are located eleven (11) miles apart since the 2008 Old Spice Classic.
  • Nebraska at Villanova
  • Xavier at Michigan
  • Creighton at Indiana
  • Illinois at Providence
  • Iowa at Marquette
  • Penn State at DePaul
  • St. John’s vs. Rutgers at Madison Square Garden, New York

Frank the Tank wins Double the Hardware

First ever televised College Basketball Player of the Year Awards featured the greats from this past season

SPECIAL NOTE:  This blog is dedicated in the memory of Lauren Hill (no, not the one-time Playboy Playmate who shares the same name), but the 19 year old Mount St. Joseph’s forward who died this past Friday from brain cancer, who famously scored her team’s first and last points of their team’s season.

Lauren was definitely a true inspiration from all who knew her best.  Too often, we hear how courageous and wholesome these student-athletes turn out to be in their daily lives.  No question, she will be remembered with a big heart and a boatload of memories to carry on the rest of our time on Earth and beyond.

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Hosted by Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg, Jay Williams, and Michelle Beadle from Los Angeles–Wendy’s was the chief sponsor of the event.

The show moved at a rather methodical pace, but it did feature plenty of dunks.  Lots to fill an entire book worth, if you asked me as an over 36 year superfan of the sport.

For those that might have missed out on the ESPN telecast, the winners were:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year:

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

I figured Frank would win, largely because how he could change how opponents play the game.  He could beat you inside and outside.  In other instances, he would shut down the opponent’s ability to get inside the paint.  Considering he wasn’t well known around campus, let alone in the Big Ten when he was a freshman–this guy certainly has proven many people wrong.

Jerry West Shooting Guard:

D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

Only a freshman, Russell has made quite an impact for the Buckeyes.  Will it lead to future Final Four glory if he sticks around all four years?  Stick around and see.

Bob Cousy Shooting Guard:

The only Hall of Famer that was not able to attend the ceremony, but he had some kind words to share via video.

The winner was:

D’Angelo Russell, Utah

Another key freshman, the Utes are definitely national contenders going forward after their surprising Sweet 16 run this past March.

Julius Erving Small Forward:

Stanley Johnson, Arizona

Johnson was a key drive to Arizona’s repeat run to the Elite Eight, although his team was stopped short twice by the Wisconsin Badgers in southern California.  However, he really shined the most when his team needed key stops on the defensive end of the floor in crunch time.  That’s the hallmark of what separates a good player from the very best–almost cut like Amare Stoudamire was in 2005 during that Sweet 16 game besting Oklahoma State in the Midwest Regional that took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois (just a few short roads away from O’Hare, for all of you jet-setters reading this on your smartphones).

Karl Malone Power Forward:

Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (yes, the L is silent).

A Second Team All ACC member, he definitely can be a first teamer depending on how his off season workouts and his early play can help things come November.

Women’s John R. Wooden Player of the Year

This is the 12th season of the women’s award.

The nominees were:

Nina Davis, Baylor

Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Kaleena Mosqueto-Lewis, Connecticut

Breanna Stewart, Connecticut

This was a no-doubter, with Breanna being the first ever women’s player to win three consecutive Most Outstanding Players at the Final Four.  Just before she possibly attempts to bring more gold for the United States in Rio, will UConn be able to make it 4 for 4 next April?  For the time being, what memories she has created and we all can do as fans is simply admire and salute everything that she has accomplished.  Nice job, Breanna.

Men’s Wooden Award:

The nominees were:

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

Jerian Grant, Notre Dame

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

Jahill Okafor, Duke

D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

If you managed to catch the taped piece of Frank raising the height of a plastic basket and hoop, some random people outside of Staples Center managed to make the shot 20 feet above the ground.

And even Seth Greenberg had to quip this little gem of a comment:

“You managed to become one of the few guys to score on Frank Kaminsky.”

Standing 7 feet and weighing 242 pounds, here were Frank’s impressive college statistics for future posterity.

All stats compiled by CBSSports.com.

Career Shooting Stats
Season TEAM G MIN FG FGA FG% FG3 FG3A FG3% FT FTA FT% PTS AVG
2011-12 Wisconsin 35 271 23 56 41.1 10 35 28.6 7 14 50 63 1.8
2012-13 Wisconsin 32 329 43 98 43.9 14 45 31.1 33 43 76.7 133 4.2
2013-14 Wisconsin 38 1032 196 371 52.8 37 98 37.8 101 132 76.5 530 13.9
2014-15 Wisconsin 39 1311 267 488 54.7 42 101 41.6 156 200 78 732 18.8
TOTAL 144 2943 529 1013 52.2 103 279 36.9 297 389 76.3 1458 10.1
Season TEAM G MIN REB RAVG A AAVG STL SAVG BLK BAVG TO
2011-12 Wisconsin 35 271 50 1.4 10 0.3 4 0.1 13 0.4 10
2012-13 Wisconsin 32 329 56 1.8 26 0.8 14 0.4 17 0.5 9
2013-14 Wisconsin 38 1032 240 6.3 49 1.3 26 0.7 66 1.7 39
2014-15 Wisconsin 39 1311 320 8.2 103 2.6 33 0.8 57 1.5 63
TOTAL 144 2943 666 4.6 188 1.3 77 0.5 153 1.1 121

Want some final proof?  Notice how his senior season was simply magical:

Game Log
November 2014
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
11/14 vs. Northern Kentucky W 62-31 31 7-12 1-5 1-4 0 11 11 4 2 1 1 2 16
11/16 vs. Chattanooga W 89-45 26 5-11 3-5 2-2 2 8 10 4 2 0 1 1 15
11/19 vs. Green Bay W 84-60 32 8-13 0-3 4-6 5 10 15 2 1 7 1 1 20
11/22 vs. Boise State W 78-54 30 11-13 4-5 0-0 2 3 5 1 1 3 2 0 26
11/26 vs. UAB W 72-43 27 7-12 0-1 2-2 0 8 8 3 2 3 0 4 16
11/27 vs. Georgetown W 68-65 37 1-8 0-4 4-8 0 4 4 2 3 1 2 2 6
11/28 vs. Oklahoma W 69-56 24 6-11 3-4 2-3 2 6 8 1 3 1 1 2 17
December 2014
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
12/03 vs. Duke L 70-80 35 5-12 2-4 5-8 2 7 9 2 2 1 0 2 17
12/06 at Marquette W 49-38 38 5-9 1-1 4-4 2 8 10 1 2 3 4 2 15
12/10 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee W 93-54 23 7-14 0-1 4-4 0 4 4 1 1 1 0 1 18
12/13 vs. Nicholls State W 86-43 23 5-8 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 1 10
12/22 at California W 68-56 31 5-13 1-2 3-3 1 7 8 1 2 1 1 0 14
12/28 vs. Buffalo W 68-56 38 9-16 1-3 6-7 3 8 11 2 3 6 1 2 25
12/31 vs. Penn State W 89-72 33 7-13 0-2 4-4 2 12 14 2 1 0 1 2 18
January 2015
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
01/04 at Northwestern W 81-58 24 6-13 0-2 4-6 1 9 10 6 2 1 2 0 16
01/07 vs. Purdue W 62-55 36 5-9 0-2 11-14 1 3 4 0 0 1 1 2 21
01/15 vs. Nebraska W 70-55 30 7-11 4-5 4-4 3 2 5 2 1 2 0 2 22
01/20 vs. Iowa W 82-50 30 5-10 1-3 2-3 3 8 11 6 2 1 0 0 13
01/24 at Michigan W 69-64 43 8-13 0-0 6-8 2 7 9 1 1 0 0 2 22
01/31 at Iowa W 74-63 36 7-14 2-4 8-9 1 8 9 1 3 0 0 1 24
February 2015
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
02/03 vs. Indiana W 92-78 30 9-12 0-0 5-7 1 5 6 3 1 2 0 0 23
02/07 vs. Northwestern W 65-50 31 3-7 1-2 5-6 1 6 7 5 3 0 0 3 12
02/10 at Nebraska W 65-55 38 4-9 0-2 5-7 2 10 12 4 2 3 0 1 13
02/15 vs. Illinois W 68-49 35 11-16 0-0 1-3 2 9 11 1 1 0 1 0 23
02/18 at Penn State W 55-47 37 4-12 1-3 7-8 1 8 9 2 0 1 1 3 16
02/21 vs. Minnesota W 63-53 36 9-13 2-3 1-2 0 5 5 3 1 3 1 1 21
02/24 at Maryland L 53-59 36 7-14 0-2 4-7 2 6 8 2 2 1 0 2 18
March 2015
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
03/01 vs. Michigan State W 68-61 37 11-17 3-4 6-8 2 6 8 3 1 3 2 1 31
03/05 at Minnesota W 76-63 40 10-15 2-4 3-4 0 6 6 7 2 1 2 2 25
03/08 at Ohio State W 72-48 31 9-13 0-2 2-2 0 5 5 3 2 1 1 5 20
03/13 vs. Michigan W 71-60 31 6-12 0-1 4-4 3 9 12 2 0 0 0 2 16
03/14 vs. Purdue W 71-51 34 6-12 0-3 0-0 2 3 5 5 1 3 3 1 12
03/15 vs. Michigan State W 80-69 42 8-16 2-4 1-1 0 5 5 4 3 1 0 0 19
03/20 vs. Coastal Carolina W 86-72 35 10-14 3-5 4-5 3 9 12 4 0 1 0 2 27
03/22 vs. Oregon W 72-65 38 6-13 0-0 4-5 2 5 7 2 2 0 1 1 16
03/26 vs. North Carolina W 79-72 39 5-11 1-1 8-8 2 6 8 2 2 0 0 2 19
03/28 vs. Arizona W 85-78 38 9-20 1-2 10-12 1 5 6 1 4 1 1 3 29
April 2015
Date Opponent Result MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB TOT AST PF BLK STL TO PTS
04/04 at Kentucky W 71-64 37 7-11 1-3 5-6 1 10 11 2 3 2 0 3 20
04/06 vs. Duke L 63-68 39 7-16 2-4 5-6 1 11 12 2 1 1 1 2 21

Outside of Michelle Beadle and R2D2 of Star Wars fame presiding a rather lackluster slam dunk competition with four guys pretending to shoot dumb layups on video, the award show was a fun one to watch.

I surely hope it will become a staple of early April television viewing when it is mostly become Golf Central with everything Masters related like the major American cathedrals of sports do that capture our minds and our imaginations, just like the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 every May, the Rose Bowl every January 1 (or 2nd), and of course, the NCAA Tournament for those 2 1/2 weeks every March spilling into the first days occupying April.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As I leave you all for the time being, another big splash happened in the coaching ranks as former two-time champion point guard from Duke in Bobby Hurley has left Buffalo take over for another former Duke great in Jeff Capel as the new head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils in the rebuilding Pac-12.

Depending on what type of players Hurley recruits, it will be very interesting to see if they manage to make my list come the last week of October for my annual college hoops preview blog.

At least, there promises to be no shortage of key news.  I will try my best to chime in periodically if there is any other coaching moves or players transferring and maybe staying eligible after next season.  Look also for my commentary on any rules changes which could be adopted by the NABC.  And coming in June, I will have some thoughts about the “One and Done” rule implemented by the NBA a few years back and why it is so difficult to keep track of your favorite college players which end up collecting bigger and fatter paychecks and delaying their real chance of earning a solid education in the building blocks, one chain builds the link game we all call life.

Thanks again to all who read my blogs on your smartphones or in my case, with the TV like monitors on your laptops and trusty desktops.

It was both an honor and a pleasure to be your guiding force on all key developments that affected men’s college basketball during a truly memorable 2014-2015 season.

When we all gather again in about seven months, who knows what will happen and which 68 teams will hear their names called in time for Selection Sunday of March 13, 2016?

Hope to see most of you then.  In the meantime, if you want to simply kick off your shoes/sandals and just relax, please again point your browsers to the most calming and relaxing music anywhere north of the Amazon River and that is all things Samba and Bossa Nova in the ever evolving world of Brazilian Legends and Rising Artists:

https://bigzbossanovabeat.wordpress.com/

For now, the best song I can close this season out with is a classic from 1981 by legendary rock group Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, since “Waiting Is The Hardest Part”:

Take care, everybody!

What the Connecticut women accomplished is simply remarkable

The University of Connecticut women to nobody’s surprise won their third consecutive title (for the second time) beating Notre Dame 63-53 in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night.  Little consolation again for the Lady Irish as they finished runners-up for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Breanna Stewart was again named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, the first woman to win that award three straight times.

Things did not appear that way when the Lady Huskies lost to Stanford in December, but slowly–things turned around and those double digit blowouts which have been so commonplace in the women’s game really took off.

For Head Coach Geno Aureimma, he joins the late John Wooden of UCLA from 1964 to 1975 and Phil Jackson in the NBA from the Chicago Bulls/Los Angeles Lakers during the 1990’s through the middle 2000’s as the only coaches to win ten (10) national championships.

For UConn, what a 20 year run it has been.

From players like Rebecca Lobo and Sue Bird to Maya Moore and many others too numerous to mention, I have no doubt that some of those teams should be highly considered for enshrinement at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

I would not also be surprised to see many of these recent UConn stars sporting the red, white, and blue for Team USA during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The way they share the ball and play together is a team is simply amazing.

In the early years of the women’s tournament, Tennessee was the model program and Pat Summitt was the coach that made many ladies literally run through a brick wall just to get her point across.

Well, that is all in the past.  UConn simply has rewritten the record books time and time again–and for that, they should be congratulated.

Also, I wish to send along my hearty congratulations to these other men’s squads:

  • Evansville for winning the CIT championship
  • Loyola (Chicago) for winning the CBI title, their first major championship of any kind since winning the NCAA’s back in 1963
  • Stanford for being labeled Number 69 in upending Miami (Florida) in overtime last Thursday night in New York to win their third NIT crown–at the same time when “The General” Bobby Knight was stepping down as a color commentator for ESPN after three years.

Next game action will be after we switch our clocks just hours after the annual candy passing, trick-or-treat tradition simply known as Halloween.

Enjoy the off season, and I will try my best to post some periodic news about any rule changes affecting the sport or key coaching/player/recruiting news that is worth blogging about.

Take care, everybody!  Please enjoy the spring and summer.

Will Wade takes over for Shaka Smart at VCU

Expect these types of periodic updates to at least keep my portion of this popular blog humming all off-season long, as we officially enter the “Electric Iron and Steel League”.

Tuesday’s news featured the fact that the opening to replace popular coach Shaka Smart at VCU was not going to be long after making a Smart move leaving for Texas last Thursday.

Enter Will Wade, 32, one time assistant under Tommy Amaker at Harvard before being a major reason why the VCU Rams went from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011.  He was an assistant under Smart from 2009-13 and landed as the head coach of UT-Chattanooga, compiling a very nice 40-25 record during the two past years (including a 27-7 mark in conference play).

So I guess, the apple does not fall very far from the tree.  It all comes down to recruiting, and we will see what kind of roster VCU has entering the fall.

Prior to working at VCU, Wade served as an assistant at Harvard under Tommy Amaker

Coach K gets One For The Thumb, Duke champions for fifth time

The Drive for Five is complete, as Duke wins for the third time in Indianapolis

Wow, was Mike Kryzyewski ever pumped up for this one!

Coming off such an emotional game on Saturday, Wisconsin arrived at this championship with a firm game plan in mind:
Ride the horses that got you there.

Early on, the plan was working as Wisconsin committed only two team fouls.  Duke on the other hand, had seven fouls.

Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor had 2 fouls each, but the game was tied entering the half at 31.

Even the free throws taken wasn’t much to talk about–Wisconsin making only 3 of 7 and Duke was perfect at 4 for 4.

Wisconsin did not make a turnover for the last 11:37, but Duke scored 10 of their 13 field goals inside the paint.

The second half felt like the second half of their encounter with Butler in 2010 for about 15 minutes.

Bronson Koenig drilled a three to start the second half, and also made a nice layup right and another 22 foot jumper, right after the first under 4 minute TV timeout.

The turning point came with the Badgers up 48-39 as Sam Dekker got hit in the face going for a rebound.  Winslow committed his third foul and had to sit on the bench.

Enter fellow freshman Grayson Allen at the 13:17 mark, as Duke faced its’ largest deficit of the entire 2015 tournament.

Babyfaced physically speaking, but played half the position just like Bobby Hurley did more than a generation ago–the 2014 slam dunk champion as a McDonald’s All American really made himself known in a big way.

Allen force a turnover on the near side baseline and made an old-fashioned three point play a few seconds later to trim the Badgers’ lead to 48-45 with 12:10 to play.

Nigel Hayes returned the favor at the other end with a three point shot, just as Wisconsin’s cheering section dominated about 70% of the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd wearing red.

Wisconsin led 51-45 with 11:41 left, but Duke would be at the free throw line the rest of the way since the Badgers made their 7th team foul by this point.

Bronson Koenig then took a separate shot to the face on the next possession, and Tyus Jones took advantage.  His basket was part of an 11-3 Duke run and the Blue Devils would spend the rest of the game in the double bonus, while Wisconsin fouled Duke only four times at the halfway point of the second half.

The 2015 National Player of the Year in Frank Kaminsky did one of his patented layups and made Okafor sit on the bench again in drawing his fourth foul.  Wisconsin still led 54-50, but the momentum completely shifted after that.

Tyus Jones’ 19 foot jump shot tied the game at 54 with seven minutes to go, then Grayson Allen gave Duke their first lead since 29-28.

The next time around, Wisconsin again worked the shot clock as they were continuing to set the all-time record for offensive efficiency (according to the Ken Pom website).  Kaminsky made another nice layup to tie the game at 56 and another instant classic was in the making.

But Duke had one more surge left in those fabulous freshmen.

Tyus Jones made a falling three and made another cold blooded three to expand their lead from 59-58 to 66-57.

However, Wisconsin again tried to make it close in the final 2 minutes:

Frank Kaminsky made one more 3 as part of his team’s high 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds.  A turnover and a Nigel Hayes’ dunk cut the lead to 3, but it was not enough.  But the big shot finally sunk the Badgers, especially in the case of Sam Dekker.

Too often in the last few weeks, he made the big shot to give the Badgers some breathing room.

However, he went 0 for 6 on Monday night and Wisconsin just could not get to the free throw line.

Duke wins their fifth national title since 1991 and for the third time in Indianapolis.  Duke had a 29-15 run in the final 13:23 to win the championship once again, 68-63.

By scoring 19 of his game high 23 points, Tyus Jones has become the fifth freshman to win the tournament’s Most Oustanding Player Award.

Grayson Allen had a very nice game with 16 points and Jahlil Okafor (even though he did not foul out of any game during this championship season) still finished in double figures with 10.

For Wisconsin, Sam Dekker had a tough earned 12 points to go along with 8 rebounds.  In the end, their cold shooting in the latter stages of the second half really let them down and Duke–just like their past title teams, used the defense as their primary calling card.

For true historical purposes, Coach K is halfway to John Wooden’s total titles won with 5–passing legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp and his four titles from the middle part of the 20th century.

Duke also tied two other legendary programs with Indiana and North Carolina for third place for all-time school titles with 5.

One last version of One Shining Moment

With CBS wrapping up a consecutive streak of 34 years covering the NCAA men’s championship, in 2016 it will be Ted Turner’s flagship in TBS that will carry the banner proudly come April 2 and 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

And yes, just like during the last few years–the late Luther Vandross’ soulful version was at times completely drowned out by either excited announcer calls or Tom Izzo’s fiery locker room rant to his Michigan State Spartans.

But at least, I kept it together emotion wise.  No crying this year, but I bet Fox Business anchor/reporter extraordinaire Liz Claman will not get her opportunity to get her victory lap since she had the Badgers winning it all.

Oh well.  My bracket busted with Kentucky’s historic loss on Saturday night, which was ratings gold for TBS, TNT, and truTV.  The national semifinal round was also the highest rated since 1996, the last time the Final Four was not held in a dome.

UPDATE, 4/8:  The Sports Media Watch website reported ratings gold for CBS, covering this their last Final Four for two years.

The game averaged 28.3 million viewers, up 33 percent from 2014 and it was the highest NCAA title game since Arizona-Kentucky in 1997, also in Indianapolis when that number had a final figure at 28.4 million.  The title game peaked at 33.4 million viewers between 11-11:15 p.m Eastern time.

The overall tournament averaged 11.3 million viewers for all four channels, the highest since CBS ran the coverage exclusively with 12.7 million viewers in 1993.

Before it is time for me to say farewell to this blog for the spring and summer, I plan to post my thoughts on the upcoming Player of the Year awards slated for Friday night in Los Angeles, to air at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

Look for that blog hopefully sometime on Sunday night or next Monday afternoon.

Huge thanks to all of my fans, both new and the longtime fans–you know who you are and I hope you can tell your friends to take a look at my past blogs and get a bit of inspiration before the really cool times begin again in earnest after the last out of baseball’s World Series.

As I type my final thoughts, consider that we are going to have an interesting mix of coaches making their collegiate debuts and some major movers and shakers.  Thus far:

Ben Howland (famous for leading UCLA to four straight Final Fours from 2005 until 2008) moves out of his slightly cushy gig as an analyst on Fox Sports 1 and took the job at Southern Miss.

DePaul decided to go Back to The Future by hiring the same man that they fired back in 2005, recent Tulsa assistant and former ACC Coach of the Year at Virginia, Dave Leitao.

Illinois-Chicago dipped into Indiana’s hotbed of assistants to pluck out one-time Montana coach Steve McClain.  Meanwhile, St. John’s brings back its’ once proud player who led them to the 1985 Final Four.  It will be 51 year old Hall of Famer Chris Mullin to try and bring New York back to the promised land.

The Havoc (both in play and in military training) is no more at VCU, as Shaka Smart took off last week to Hook ’em Horns in Texas.  This came a few days after the Longhorns did not offer Rick Barnes a new deal.  He then left for another version of orange and the “Rocky Top” that is in Tennessee.

The latest move on Sunday had two-time NBA on ESPN commentator and former 1999 NBA champion player with the San Antonio Spurs in the always approachable Avery Johnson, as he looks forward to singing a sweeter tune deep in SEC country coaching Alabama.  Wonder what conversations he will have with football coach Nick Saban?  If they are anything like what Bruce Weber did last fall in Auburn impromptly giving speeches and singing in various classrooms looking to drum up some student support, this is going to be hopefully one scintillating season for the SEC.

But clearly, with the Big Ten losing six straight title games since 2001, the ACC is definitely the truest hotbed of college basketball today.

With that point firmly in mind, the 2013 theme song that the Turner cable outlets used I hope will be the perfect song to close out the 2016 Big Dance deep in the heart of Texas.

Here is the alternative rock group Black Keys with their mega-hit single, “Gold on The Ceiling”:

Good night, everybody.  Have a nice summer!

One statistic that might favor Wisconsin

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Duke has not won a championship game when they played against any 1 seed:

1986, lost to Louisville in Dallas

1990, lost to UNLV in Denver

1999, lost to Connecticut in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida

Duke’s four national titles occurred against teams not seeded number 1.

They are 4-1 in those games.