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Beyond the arc: Louisville leveled, ESPN GameDay, Andy Kennedy is done

News and notes from around the hardwood

Louisville leveled

The Louisville men’s basketball program will have to vacate its 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance according to a story by ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach. The decision was handed down Tuesday after the NCAA denied an appeal by the school.

The penalties by the NCAA were originally announced June 15 and they included vacation of basketball records in which ineligible athletes competed from 2011 to 2015. The school had previously said the penalties would affect 123 victories, including 15 NCAA Tournament wins and the 2013 national title.

In a hardly surprising statement, Louisville interim president Greg Postel said, “I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,” Postel said. “We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case -- based on NCAA precedent -- that supported our argument.”

Penalties are the result of an investigation that included allegations that a former Louisville staff member arranged for striptease dances and sex acts for players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011 to 2015. In a hardly surprising denial, former coach Rick Pitino denied any knowledge of the parties.

ESPN GameDay is coming to Lubbock

ESPN’s College GameDay and all of its craziness returns to Lubbock for the first time since the Texas Tech-Texas football game in 2008. This time it’s the basketball crew in anticipation of the Tech-Kansas basketball game.

GameDay is hosted by Rece Davis, who is joined by analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams. Doors of the United Supermarkets Arena will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and the show airs live on ESPN from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. with the tipoff following at 3:15 p.m. All of the details are in the link above.

Andy Kennedy....this isn’t working

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy has had enough according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. Kennedy notified the school last Monday, February 12 that he did not intend to return as coach next year. He said he made the decision in order to remove “the cloud” hanging over the program due to the continued speculation of his impending doom as head coach. He also said that he did it to give the school time to effectively conduct a thorough search for his replacement.

The team responded to the announcement by losing at home to Arkansas by 11 and at Mississsippi by 17. So much for fighting for your coach. The teams lack of backbone in the aftermath of his decision to step down at year end shouldn’t surprise anyone. Kennedy talked about his teams lack of pride during a press conference last week.

Kennedy stated, “This is beneath the work we have put into this program. This is unacceptable on every level.” Kennedy is the winningnest coach in Ole Miss history. Tony Madlock will serve as acting head coach for the remainder of the season.

Big 12 POW

Mohamed Bamba of Texas was named Newcomer of the Week and Terry Maston named Player of the Week in Big 12 mean’s basketball for week 15.

Bamba averaged 13 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks last week in two games against Baylor and then No. 23 Oklahoma. In the win at Oklahoma, he scored 10 points, had a career high 18 rebounds, and four blocks in 35 minutes.

Maston averaged 25 points and 5.5 rebounds in 32 minutes per game off the bench in games against Texas and Texas Tech. Maston made the game winning shot against Tech at the 1:26 mark. The win was Baylor’s fifth in a row.

Kalani Brown of Baylor was named the Player of the Week and Shaina Pellington of Oklahoma named Freshman of the Week by Big 12 Women’s Basketball.

Brown averaged 20 points and 15.5 rebounds in wins over Kansas and No. 21 Oklahoma State. She managed a career-high 23 rebounds and scored 20 points in the win over Oklahoma State. She has scored 20 points or more in a game 13 times this season.

Pellington scored a team high 22 points while pulling down five rebounds and dishing three assists in Oklahoma’s first ever win against West Virginia in Morgantown. She also set a career high with 10 made free throws.

Lady Raiders

I’m going to continue to talk about the Lady Raiders because I’m going to continue to hope they right this ship.

Tech now stands at 7-20, 1-15 after losses at Iowa State 57-69 last Saturday and 60-72 at home against TCU.

Jada Terry led the Lady Raiders in scoring against Iowa State with 18 points. Brittany Brewer pulled down 10 rebounds and Grayson Bright dished out six assists to lead the team in those categories. Tech shot just 50 percent on 13-26 shooting from the free throw line. That sounds bad. Well, it is bad. However, they only shoot 54.9 percent from the free throw line on the season.

Erin Degrate was the leading scorer against TCU with 14 points in only 15 minutes. Terry led the team in rebounds with 10. She also added 12 points for her fourth double-double of the season. The Lady Raiders shot just 31 percent from the field and 16 percent from the free throw line in the first half and trailed by 21 points at halftime.

I’ve made it a point to bring up free throw percentage in both of these games because Tech ranks dead last, 349 of 349, in NCAA Women’s Division 1 basketball in that category. They are four percentage points behind 348th too. I’m not saying a high free throw percentage automatically equates to wins; Evansville leads D1 women’s basketball at 82 percent and has a 3-22 record. I do think it equates to character and how much you care as a player and ultimately how much you care as a coach.

The Lady Raiders close out the regular season schedule with a road game Saturday at Oklahoma and a home game against Kansas State on Monday. Big 12 Conference Tournament is March 2-5, 2018.