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Sunday, February 25, 2018

College Basketball

Bruce Pearl signed Florida fan’s funny poster after loss

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl has always been known for having a great reputation with fans dating back to his days with Tennessee, and that connection is apparently not limited to those who cheer on the Tigers.

Before Saturday’s game against Florida, someone snapped a photo of Pearl lounging poolside at a hotel in Gainesville.

Of course, one Gators fan jumped all over the opportunity to blow the photo up and bring shirtless Bruce Pearl with him to the O’Connell Center. That fan probably didn’t expect Pearl to be such a good sport about it.

Pearl’s No. 12-ranked Tigers lost the game, so you have to give him credit for taking that in stride even after a tough day. Now, if he had signed one of those dollar bills that Florida fans dropped on Auburn players to heckle them, that would really be something.

Stan Van Gundy slams NCAA, says they don’t care about athletes

Stan Van Gundy

It’s safe to say Stan Van Gundy isn’t a big fan of the NCAA.

The Detroit Pistons head coach did not hold back on Sunday, calling the organization “the worst” in sports.

Van Gundy went further talking about the NBA one-and-done rule. It’s safe to say he’s not a fan.

It’s safe to say a lot of people aren’t happy with the NCAA right now, but Van Gundy’s comments are next level. They’re hard to argue with, too. With each passing day, it’s tougher and tougher to argue that the NCAA has the best interests of anyone but themselves in mind — and not many people have been arguing anything to the contrary for a while.

Florida fans drop money on Auburn players, chant ‘FBI!’

Auburn may not have been one of the schools named in the latest bombshell report about the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, but opposing fans are not going to forget that the Tigers are still tied to the probe.

Two Auburn players, sophomores Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, have not played this season due to their involvement in the widespread recruiting scandal. Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person was accused of providing the families of Wiley and Purifoy money and taking thousands in illegal payments himself. During Florida’s upset win over No. 12-ranked Auburn on Saturday, Gators fans pulled out all the stops.

Again, Auburn was not mentioned in the eye-opening documents that were released by Yahoo Sports last week. However, there are sure to be other teams who were not mentioned in that report who are involved in the FBI probe in some way.

Leave it to SEC fans to take the initiative.

Oregon fans troll Arizona with fake $100K check to Deandre Ayton

Oregon fans check

You knew as soon as the report leaked about Arizona coach Sean Miller being caught on wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to secure recruit Deandre Ayton, fans would be all over the Wildcats. And that was the case on Saturday night in Eugene.

Oregon Ducks fans came well prepared to taunt Ayton. Some fans were even shown on TV by ESPN holding up a sign resembling a check. The check was made out to Ayton for $100,000 and had Miller’s name in the signature area.

On top of that, another fan was carrying an oversized 100 Grand bar.

The Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe reports that Ayton was booed when he touched the ball early in the game. Pascoe also says other signs in the crowd called Arizona “U of Pay.” Oregon fans were well prepared.

In the face of the accusations, an attorney for Ayton’s family released a statement Saturday night saying that Ayton told the FBI six months ago that he never discussed payments with anyone. The statement also said Ayton attended Arizona because of his family ties to Phoenix.

It’s all fun and games until it’s your program under the microscope. From the sounds of things, many more programs need to be worried.

Kentucky fans go nuts after John Calipari’s son scores his first points of season

Brad Calipari

Fans in attendance for Kentucky’s 88-66 win over Missouri on Saturday night erupted after seeing John Calipari’s son score his first points of the season.

Calipari’s son, Brad, is a sophomore guard for the Wildcats. He saw (brief) action in 15 games last season, scoring eight points on two 3-pointers and two free throws. He hadn’t scored yet this season despite appearing in eight games. That was until he made this three:

Calipari’s three came with 30 seconds left in the game and accounted for the final points of the contest.

It sounds like his dad was proud, as he mentioned it at the end of his postgame press conference.

It much be nice to get the green light from your coach.

Mark Fox goes off over college basketball corruption scandal

Mark Fox

Mark Fox does not like what is going on in his sport, to say the absolute least.

Speaking with reporters on Saturday after a win over LSU, the Georgia head coach went off over the corruption scandal that has rocked college basketball.

“I’m disgusted,” said Fox, per David M. Hale of ESPN. “I’m disgusted with how people have treated our game. It’s absolutely disgusting.

“It starts with our coaches, and then you ask how the NCAA has handled it,” he continued. “The NCAA is made up of member institutions. How are the institutions handling it? That’d be my first question. How are they handling it? Putting their head in the sand and looking the other way? I’m past anger, sadness. It’s just disgusting, and we’re really hurting the game, and the game has been so good to everybody.”

Fox’s comments come in the wake of an FBI investigation that has already implicated some of his notable counterparts. Seeing as Georgia is not really known as a top destination for recruits and has only made two total NCAA Tournament appearances during Fox’s nine-year tenure, this helps illustrate how smaller programs suffer when their bigger rivals do not play by the rules.

Tony Bennett gives impassioned statement about NCAA scandals

Tony Bennett

Virginia coach Tony Bennett gave his thoughts on the NCAA scandals ripping through the sport of college basketball, while also firmly denying any wrongdoing on his school’s part.

Bennett voiced his hope that the sport come out of the scandal better than they were before, and also called Virginia’s involvement in the original Yahoo report a “non-story.”

In the original Yahoo story, former Virginia star Malcolm Brogdon’s mother was accused of having a $64.16 dinner at Ritz-Carlton with Christian Dawkins. While not much, it could still count as an impermissible benefit if Dawkins paid for it. Bennett strongly defended Brogdon’s mother and was confident that no wrongdoing had been committed.

Bennett having to address this controversy was basically the only bad part of Virginia’s historic day.

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