Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall turned down Alabama's vacant coaching job on Wednesday and the Birmingham News web site, AL.com, wasted no time putting together a list of six possible candidates -- with emphasis on three of them.
At the top of the list? Minnesota's Richard Pitino.
Here's what writer Michael Casagrande wrote about Pitino:
"Three years into his head coaching career, the son of Rick Pitino has been contacted by Alabama about the position, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. He has a 61-42 overall record after two years at Minnesota and the 2012-13 season at FIU. He led a depleted Golden Panther program to an 18-14 record and within two points of an NCAA Tournament appearance. That led to the opportunity with the Big Ten program.
"Pitino, 32, led the Gophers to a NIT championship in Year 1, but the team struggled last season. An 18-15 record included a 10th-place finish in the Big Ten, and a 3-6 mark in the last month of the season.
"Why he'd fit: Pitino is young, but has the fire and energy of his father. He's well connected in the coaching business and has the charisma to bring enthusiasm back to the Alabama program.
"Why he wouldn't fit: Well, he's young. Pitino has yet to coach a team to the NCAA Tournament."
At this time last year, Tyus Jones was at the end of a disappointing season after his Apple Valley High team didn't even make the state basketball tournament.
This year he's getting ready for the Final Four with Duke.
And among the things that happened in the regional title games over the weekend, the save he made off the back of a prone Gonzaga player is one of the images that will last after the Final Four ends.
Take a look:
The announcement that Minnesota was awarded an MLS franchise did not sit well with some in Sacramento. Folks there have been waiting for a team, what with one in nearby San Jose and three teams in Canada.
It sounds like their time is coming, but that didn't help block the sting.
Writer Tom Couzens put thought to paper and wrote in the Sacramento Bee a comparison between Minneapolis and Sacramento.
Some of these points hit a little close to home. But for the most part, it's innocent fun.
Please do enjoy.
Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that the Twin Cities had been awarded the league’s 23rd franchise, beginning play in 2018.
Although Sacramento is considered a near lock for a future expansion team, we wonder how commissioner Don Garber could have picked the “City of Lakes” over “River City.”
Here’s how we see the comparison:
▪ Their NASL team, Minnesota United, averages about 5,900 fans per match; our USL team, Republic FC, averaged 11,294 in its inaugural season.
▪ They don’t have a stadium-financing plan; we have a group of investors that has pledged to build a stadium without public funds.
▪ Their summers are hot and humid, and it doesn’t cool down at night; we have dry heat and Delta breezes.
▪ They have to plug in engine-block heaters if they park outside in the winter; we plug in our cars to be green.
▪ They ice fish; we fish.
▪ They eat lutefisk; we eat fresh salmon.
▪ Their state has 10,000 lakes; we have two great rivers.
▪ Their state bird is the mosquito; ours is the quail.
▪ They have one Prince; we have a team of Kings.
▪ They had Jesse “The Body” Ventura; we had Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
▪ Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges collects Wonder Woman memorabilia; Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson collects political allies.
▪ They are in the Midwest; we aren’t.
The University of North Dakota has been without a nickname since 2012, when the battle over retiring the "Fighting Sioux" name and logo was ended once and for all -- except for those who continue to wear their old gear to watch their team play.
A contest will be held in April to solicit suggestions for a new nickname. Three finalists will be chosen and there are plans for public voting in May, according to a report from the Fargo Forum.
There are rules, of course.
The nickname can't be more than 25 characters. (That would eliminate "The Team Formerly Known as the ...").
Explanations are allowed, but those can't be more than 140 characters. (Do we sense something Twitter-friendly being planned?)
The university's public affairs staff has been given the responsibility for setting up the contest.
A nickname committee, which includes Minnesota Twins president and UND graduate Dave St. Peter, has established "attributes" for the new nickname. It needs to:
*Be unique, recognizable, inspiring and distinctly UND's.
*Promote a sense of pride, strength, fierceness and passion.
*Be representative of the state and region in a way that honors the traditions and heritage of the past but also looks to the future.
*Be a unifying and rallying symbol.
In the Forum story, committee member and UND aviation professor John Bridewell said: "We have to come up with three names that we would be satisfied with no matter what the public vote is."
Now, feel free to get a jump on the process and make your suggestions below. (You don't even have to agree to the 140-character limit for explaining it. Take 150 or so, if you need it.)
Two no-doubters and two nail-biters kicked off the Sweet 16 on Thursday. No matter how it went down, the top seeds moved on to the Elite Eight. And that was good news for those at the top of our #SpeedBracket.
With one more set of Sweet 16 games to go Friday, here's how things shake out:
Reader @PatrickGoebel2 leads the pack, alone in first with 640 points. That's 20 points ahead of reader @littletwinsfan and Star Tribune sports boss Glen Crevier, who are tied for second.
Crevier, however, appears to have the edge. His Final Four of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke are still hanging around. The same can't be said for @PatrickGoebel2 (Virginia) and @littletwinsfan (Villanova), who are both down a Final Four pick.
So who are the experts around here anyway? No Star Tribune staffers correctly predicted all four of Thursday's winners. But eight readers did: The aforementioned @patrickgoebel2 and @littletwinsfan along with @ryanriebe, @Batchers, @john_kuth, @KevinNelson, @KevinMustain and @DaveTazz3.
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