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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

College Basketball

Video: Dick Vitale shared emotional moment with crowd before Villanova-Baylor

Dick Vitale crying

Dick Vitale shared a really cool moment with the crowd prior to Sunday’s game between Villanova and Baylor.

Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, was on the call for the game in Waco and was introduced to the crowd pregame. He received a standing ovation that lasted over 30 seconds, and openly wept as he waved to the crowd.

The moment was similar to what Vitale experienced in his first game back on air in November. If anything, this might have been even more emotional considering it was the crowd paying tribute to the iconic college basketball broadcaster.

The 82-year-old Vitale announced his cancer diagnosis in October, and suggested his prognosis was fairly good. He certainly seems to be in top form as he continues working games while receiving treatment.

Mike Brey takes swipe at Kentucky after Notre Dame’s upset win

Mike Brey

Mike Brey could not help but gloat a little bit after his team upset Kentucky on Saturday.

Notre Dame earned their biggest win of the season by defeating the No. 10-ranked Wildcats by the final of 66-62. After the victory, the Fighting Irish head coach Brey got in a swipe at Kentucky.

Brey said that his team was probably a bit weathered given the schedule that they had already played.

“Why didn’t we schedule like Kentucky?” joked Brey, per Lee K. Howard of WKYT-TV in Kentucky.

Notre Dame entered play on Saturday with a 4-4 record on the year. Their four losses came at the hands of St. Mary’s, Texas A&M, Illinois, and Boston College. Meanwhile, Kentucky came into Saturday’s contest riding a seven-game winning streak. But some questions had been raised about the quality of the opposition they faced (Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary’s, Ohio, Albany, North Florida, Central Michigan, and Southern).

Brey still has a losing record against Kentucky (4-6) since he took over as Notre Dame coach back in 2000. But regardless, Brey has come a long way from looking for opponents on social media to now taking shots at other schools over their schedules.

Photo: Jan 25, 2020; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey reacts during the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley calls out NCAA over Auburn investigation

Charles Barkley holds a microphone

Charles Barkley is a proud Auburn alum, and he is not happy with how the NCAA’s investigation into the school played out.

Barkley was in attendance for Auburn’s game against Nebraska on Saturday and appeared as a guest on ESPN’s coverage. Saturday marked the first game of coach Bruce Pearl’s suspension, which was handed down by the NCAA as part of the punishment for unethical conduct involving former assistant Chuck Person. The NCAA took four years to conduct its probe, a fact that was not lost on Barkley.

“Anytime something takes four years, they suck at what they’re doing,” Barkley said, via Matt Audilet of The Spun. “Let’s get that out of the way. The NCAA’s got to do a much better job.”

Barkley was not terribly concerned by the investigation, saying Auburn would “move forward” and adding that he fully supports Pearl.

In addition to Pearl’s suspension, Auburn was placed on probation and will face recruiting restrictions and a loss of two scholarships. The Tigers imposed a postseason ban last season, and the NCAA did not hand down any further postseason restrictions. The punishments stem from the fact that Person accepted bribes to direct Auburn players to a financial advisor.

It’s no secret that Barkley is an Auburn diehard. It’s no surprise he doesn’t think much of the scandal. Frankly, he probably has a point about the length of the NCAA’s investigation.

Photo: November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Few has harsh comments about Maryland fans

Mark Few

Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few has some thoughts on Mark Turgeon’s recent resignation and Maryland fans aren’t going to like it.

Asked specifically about Turgeon stepping down, which ended his 11-year run with the Terps, Few blamed it on Maryland fans. Point blank, period.

“That fanbase made it so miserable that it wasn’t worth it anymore. The toll it was taking on him and his family. And then I think you could see that effect, it was even taking a toll on his team,” Few said, via 247 Sports.

Few, who is close friends with Turgeon, undoubtedly has some additional insight. And he’s not the only one to feel this way.

“I don’t believe a college team should ever be booed. Not at home. You know on the road, I get it. But you should never boo college kids at home. I got a real problem with that. But the word fan is short for fanatic, so there you have it,” Few added.

Turgeon led Maryland to five NCAA Tournaments (would have been six had the 2020 tournament not been cancelled), but only went 5-5 in March Madness games. The Terps were also 3-6 in the Big Ten Tournament under Turgeon, reaching the semifinals just once.

Does that warrant cheering and support? It may not warrant booing at home, but the records and accomplishments certainly aren’t anything worth celebrating.

It’s admirable that Few would stand up for his friend, but Turgeon wasn’t receiving any unfair treatment. Fans are passionate — fanatical — and they let their voices to be heard. Don’t want to hear booing? Then win.

Penny Hardaway has harsh comment after latest Memphis loss

Penny Hardaway on the sidelines

Memphis dropped their fourth consecutive game on Friday night, falling to Murray State, 74-72. It was a loss — and now a streak — that doesn’t sit well with head coach Penny Hardaway.

“I’ve gone through plenty of adversity in my life,” Hardaway said after the game, via The Athletic. “This is a low point for me besides my knee surgeries.

“Never saw this coming and I feel like it’s happening for a reason. Until we all bond together, this type of stuff can happen. Other teams to me seem closer. They’re having fun. They’re making plays. We’ll get there.”

Memphis was having fun and making plays not too long ago. They opened with a 5-0 record this season and were ranked No. 12 in the country. Then came losses to Iowa State, Georgia, Ole Miss and, of course, Murray State.

Hardaway now believes he is to blame for the recent struggles.

“Bad coaching, that’s all I can say on tonight’s game,” Hardaway added. “This game is on me totally. No players. It’s strictly on me.”

Things get no easier for Hardaway or the Tigers from here. Their next two games come against No. 9 Alabama and No. 13 Tennessee. After that, they’ll tip-off against Alabama State and then open conference play.

If Hardaway can’t get himself and the locker-room veterans in order, the wheels could completely come off down in Memphis.

Photo: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Penny Hardaway has harsh criticism for his struggling Memphis squad

Penny Hardaway on the sidelines

Penny Hardaway had some harsh criticism for his Memphis Tigers after their latest loss.

Memphis fell to Ole Miss 67-63 on Saturday for their third straight loss. Their losing streak comes after they began the season 5-0. They have lost consecutive road games to SEC schools, and they lost a neutral-site game to Iowa State by 19.

After Saturday’s game, Penny criticized his players for their effort. He said he had been too nice, but that may be changing.

That’s not a great sign.

Hardaway received attention for attracting such a highly-touted recruiting class, including Emoni Bates. But one of the consequences of having highly-rated recruits could be the limit in what a coach feels they can teach and get out of the players. Maybe Hardaway feels he has hit a breaking point.

Bates was just 1-for-10 in the game and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Second-leading scorer Jalen Duren scored just two points.

Photo: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Turgeon steps down as Maryland coach

Mark Turgeon watches his team

Maryland basketball has underperformed in recent years under head coach Mark Turgeon, and the team’s disgruntled fan base got its way on Friday.

Turgeon and Maryland have mutually agreed to part ways, according to a press release from the school. Turgeon said the decision came after several conversations between him and athletic director Damon Evans.

“After several in depth conversations with Damon, I have decided that the best thing for Maryland Basketball, myself and my family is to step down, effective immediately, as the head coach of Maryland Basketball,” Turgeon said. “I have always preached that Maryland Basketball is bigger than any one individual. My departure will enable a new voice to guide the team moving forward.”

The Terrapins were ranked No. 21 in the preseason poll but are off to a 5-3 start. They have lost back-to-back games to Louisville and Virginia Tech. Maryland fans have been heard booing Turgeon on numerous occasions this season. The fan dissatisfaction was reportedly a factor in Turgeon’s departure.

Assistant coach Danny Manning has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Turgeon finishes with a 226-116 record at Maryland. He led the Terps to the Sweet 16 just once in 11 seasons. One of the last things he will be remembered for at Maryland was his infamous altercation with Juwan Howard during the Big Ten Tournament last year.

Photo: Jan 30, 2020; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon looks onto the court during the first half ]against the Iowa Hawkeyes at XFINITY Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Watch: Arkansas Pine-Bluff coach made players run sprints in middle of game

Solomon Bozeman at the podium

Arkansas-Pine Bluff has gotten off to a brutal start to the season, and first-year head coach Solomon Bozeman made it clear on Tuesday night that he is not going to tolerate the poor play.

With more than 18 minutes remaining in the second half of an eventual loss to Iowa State, Bozeman called a timeout to discipline his players. He made them run sprints the full length of the court as if they were in practice. Check it out:

That has to be a first. The moment was made even more embarrassing by the fact that Arkansas-Pine Bluff was playing on the road.

Bozeman hasn’t quite reached Bob Knight status, but we’d hate to see what he might come up with if Arkansas-Pine Bluff continues to lose. That 1-8 record had better turn quickly.

H/T Barstool Sports

Coach K shares reason why Ohio State beat Duke

Mike Krzyzewski in a suit

Just as soon as Duke took the No. 1 spot in the college basketball rankings, they may be giving it back up.

The Blue Devils beat Gonzaga on Friday to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season. That helped Duke earn the No. 1 spot in the country. But on Tuesday night, the Blue Devils lost to Ohio State 71-66.

Duke had an off shooting night, going 25-65 (38.5 percent) on field goals and 4-14 (28.6 percent) on threes. By comparison, Ohio State shot 26-54 (48.1 percent) and 8-20 (40 percent) on threes.

Duke led 43-30 at the half but got outscored 41-23 in the second half. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game that he thought his players wore out.

That’s a nice way of Coach K saying his team choked a 15-point lead against the Buckeyes. Ohio State didn’t actually take the lead until a minute left in the game, so it took a long time for Duke to get worn out.

Coach K’s comment about them being worn out have an interesting meaning in light of the note about Paolo Banchero and his sweating.

Photo: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Duke star Paolo Banchero has odd issue with sweating

Paolo Banchero staying hydrated

Paolo Banchero pours his blood, sweat, and tears onto the court every single game … but mostly his sweat.

During Tuesday’s game between Duke and Ohio State, ESPN’s Holly Rowe spoke on the cramps that the Blue Devils star Banchero has dealt with this season. Banchero recently had a sweat test performed on him by a doctor, which revealed that he loses about seven pounds every game. As a result, the freshman now drinks a special oxygenated fluid during games that absorbs immediately and helps prevent cramping.

The 19-year-old Banchero is Duke’s leading scorer and rebounder with 18.3 points and 7.6 boards per game this season. He is also a strong candidate to go with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Banchero’s cramps briefly forced him off the floor during both of Duke’s marquee games against Kentucky and Gonzaga earlier this month. While cramping has been a problem for some very prominent basketball players, Banchero’s issue is definitely one of the stranger ones we have seen at any level of the sport.