For the first time ever, the NCAA’s men’s basketball selection committee revealed an early look at the top 16 teams in their field ahead of the actual Selection Sunday. Perhaps this is inspired by college football’s College Football Playoff weekly rankings, but fortunately, this will be the only time the selection committee lets college hoops fans in behind the closed doors. But if you needed another reminder that college football and college basketball are apples and oranges, you need look no further than the release of the top 16 teams in men’s basketball, according to the bracket.
If this were a football tournament, then you might like Florida State’s or Louisville’s chances (heck, you might even like their basketball chances right now too). Two of the top seeds do not play FBS football (Villanova and Gonzaga), and neither does a third top 16 program (Butler). Just one school that played in a New Years Six bowl game this past season managed to crack the top 16 of the bracket preview (Louisville), although Wisconsin fans surely feel they deserved a little more respect from the basketball committee. Six of the programs in the top 16 with an FBS program failed to reach a postseason bowl game (Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Oregon, UCLA and Virginia).
They also won’t cut the nets down in Lawrence when Kansas beats Texas.
We are a few weeks away from finding out what schools will get to play in the basketball tournament. Then we will see what schools manage to double-dip on the postseason fun this year. Odds are we may not have a school that claims both an FBS conference championship and a men’s basketball championship, but you never know. Here’s how the FBS conference champions currently fare on the basketball court this season:
Arkansas State would appear to have the best shot at a conference title among the teams listed above.
Washington State’s coaching loss will prove to be a fellow Pac-12 member’s gain.
Following up on reports that had surfaced throughout the latter part of this past week, new head coach Mario Cristobal announced that he has hired Jim Mastro as his new running backs coach. Mastro will also serve as the Ducks’ run-game coordinator.
Mastro had spent the past six seasons as the running backs coach at Washington State.
“We are thrilled to add Jim to the staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He has extraordinary leadership skills which will be of great benefit in developing our talented group of running backs. Jim possesses a wealth of experience both coaching and recruiting on the West Coast, and he has consistently been a tremendous innovator on the offensive side of the ball.”
Prior to Wazzu, Mastro spent one season (2012) as the tight ends coach at UCLA. For the 11 seasons prior to that first taste of the Pac-12, Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada.
Mastro has also spent time on FBS coaching staffs at Idaho (1998-99) and San Jose State (1995).
Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.
Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility. Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.
Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.
Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter. While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State. Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.
Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello. In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.
Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.
He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.
On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.
From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:
The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.
Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.
Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.
We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:
1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.
2) His penchant for winning games.
3) His hair.
You can now scratch one of those off the list.
“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”
Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.
Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.