Tony Bennett’s defense put another feather in their cap during Saturday’s game against Pitt.
Bennett’s Virginia squad, known for their suffocating defense, went into halftime leading Pitt 30-7. But that’s only half the story. The real story is that the No. 1 Cavaliers somehow held Pitt to just 1 of 22 shooting in the first half. The one field goal in a half tied Pitt with Savannah State (2008 vs Kansas State) and Northern Illinois (2013 vs Eastern Michigan) for an NCAA worst record.
The Panthers’ strategy was to attempt mostly three-pointers. That failed, as they went 1-for-13 on long balls. They missed nine other field goals. They did go 4-for-5 at the free throw line, which allowed them to get to seven total points.
After seeing those stats, you can understand both why Virginia is 25-2 and ranked No. 1 in the country, and why Pitt is 0-16 in the ACC.
Shareef O’Neal, the son of basketball icon Shaquille, is backing out of his commitment to the University of Arizona.
O’Neal announced Saturday that, in light of recent events at Arizona, he is reopening his recruitment and assessing other options.
At this time I'm am opening up my recruitment due to the current events with the UofA Bball team.I would like to thank all the coaches for recruiting me. At the time my family and I think it's in my best interest to look at other options to assure my play in the NCAA next year.
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 24, 2018
No surprise here. O’Neal, a five-star forward, had hinted shortly after the Sean Miller news broke that he was probably going to back out of Arizona and go elsewhere. No one can blame him for that. It’s doubtful that he’ll be the last to make such a decision.
- Shareef O'Neal
Unsurprisingly, Arizona coach Sean Miller will be absent from the bench on Saturday against the Oregon Ducks.
Miller informed his team that he will not coach Saturday night’s game in light of allegations that he facilitated payments from agents to players.
Sean Miller will not coach Arizona tonight at Oregon. Players have been told.
— Greg Hansen (@ghansen711) February 24, 2018
This had to happen, and is basically just the start. Given the severity of the allegations, you have to wonder if Miller has already coached his last game for the Wildcats. If he has, he can console himself with the knowledge that he’s in line for a huge payoff, even if he’s terminated with cause.
- Sean Miller
Many top college basketball teams are having to figure out if key players can safely play in upcoming games after Friday’s bombshell Yahoo report.
One of those teams is the Michigan State Spartans, who have determined that there are no issues with star forward Miles Bridges’ eligibility going forward.
MSU Interim AD Bill Beekman: “After learning of the allegations in yesterday’s Yahoo! Sports article, our compliance office conducted a thorough internal review. Michigan State presented its findings to the NCAA, and Miles Bridges has been cleared for competition moving forward."
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) February 24, 2018
Bridges was mentioned in the report, though if it’s any consolation to Michigan State, there was no smoking gun demonstrating that he himself did anything wrong or even knew about any violations. That was probably a factor in his clearance.
- Miles Bridges
NCAA president Mark Emmert appears to be aware of the fact that the sport of college basketball — and the NCAA as a whole — is in dire need of reform.
Emmert appeared on CBS Sports’s pregame show on Saturday and, in light of various reports of wrongdoing on the part of numerous schools, admitted that the system badly needs to be looked at.
One mildly encouraging comment from Mark Emmert on CBS. Emmert on if college basketball players should be allowed to have agents: "It makes perfect sense to me that it ought to be very different than it is right now."
— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) February 24, 2018
Of course, this is the easy part to agree on. Figuring out what the necessary reforms are is where it gets difficult. Whether college athletes get paid, for instance, is a controversial topic with many diverse opinions. The only thing we know is that the issues in college athletics are widespread, and there is no easy fix.
- Mark Emmert
Arizona Wildcats alumni are having to come to terms with the fact that their program looks to have committed some very egregious NCAA violations.
One of those alumni is Jason Terry, who played for Lute Olson at Arizona from 1995 and 1999. Terry suggested that the Wildcats are going to have to clean house and start over in order to take their program back.
@APlayersProgram BearDown it’s time to clean house and bring home our own bloodlines to carry on Lutes Legacy. We have too much pride, too much tradition to allow outsiders to tear down what we built.
— Jason Terry (@jasonterry31) February 24, 2018
It sounds like Terry wants to see someone well-connected with the Arizona program take over the reigns. Sean Miller had no such connections upon taking over, and now finds himself in a world of trouble. It seems more likely than not that Arizona will need a new coach soon, and it may be someone who has to navigate some unparalleled challenges.
It’s safe to say that Arizona coach Sean Miller’s career is in major jeopardy right now, but if this is the end, he’s at least in line to get a big payday.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Miller’s contract with Arizona is structured in such a way that he’ll be owed roughly $10 million of the $12 million left on the deal, even if he is fired for cause.
If Sean Miller gets fired for cause, the way Arizona has written his deal, he would still get roughly 85% of the money he has remaining ($10.3M out of $12M). That’s a virtually unprecedented take for a for cause firing. Most coaches get $0.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 24, 2018
Considering the activities that Miller allegedly took part in, being fired for cause looks like a very real possibility. On the other hand, the Wildcats may want to see if they can negotiate that figure down.