- Bruce Weber has been fired as head coach at Illinois. Following a 17-15 season, there was widespread speculation that he'd be on the hot seat entering next season, but I'm pretty surprised he was fired. My guess would be it has a lot to do with the lack of recruiting in the Chicago area, and when you have a tradition as solid as Illinois', you can't underachieve over a wide period of time. I'm very interested to see what direction they go in.
- NBA Check - The always-enigmatic Orlando Magic snuck a road win in Chicago 99-94 last night. Dwight Howard finished with 29 and 18 while dominating throughout, and the Magic held Derrick Rose to 6 of 22 shooting which proved to be enough. And in the late game, Phoenix eeked past Dallas on the back of evenly balanced scoring and 11 assists from Steve Nash while holding Dirk to just 18 points. Definitely a weird night in the association.
- College Hoops Round-up - Syracuse inched past UConn 58-55 to reach the Big East semis and elsewhere in the Big East, Louisville "upset" (read my column from yesterday for my opinion on that one) Marquette 84-71, Cincy beat Georgetown in double-OT, and Notre Dame beat South Florida in OT to cap a ridiculously entertaining quadruple-header of hoops. In the Big 12, Baylor finally solved their issues against K-State and led by Perry Jones' 31 and 11, knocked off KSU 82-74. And a note from out West, Washington is threatening to be the first team ever (since the expansion of the tournament) to win a "major" conference's regular season title and fail to reach the tourney as an at-large, as they placed themselves firmly on the bubble with a loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 quarters.
- And finally, a rant about the NBA trade deadline. There is absolutely no reason for the NBA to have set the trade deadline on the same day as the opening Thursday of the NCAA Tournament. Why would the NBA ever place this day that it traditionally owns in the news cycle on a day when it has NO chance of dominating the headlines and if Dwight Howard doesn't move, the needle won't even budge? Does that make sense? Come on Commish.
What to watch for on a day littered with college hoops...
- ACC Tournament Quarterfinals - Maryland vs. #4 UNC (Noon on ESPN2), NC State vs. my beloved Virginia (2:00 ESPN2), Virginia Tech vs. #6 Duke (7:00 ESPN2), and Miami vs. #17 Florida State (9:00 ESPN2)
- Big 12 Tournament Semifinals - #11 Baylor vs. #3 Kansas (7:30 on ESPNU, somehow), and Texas vs. #5 Missouri (10:00 on ESPNU).... I have no idea why Baylor and Kansas would be relegated to the "U" but that's a high-end battle.
- Big East Tournament Semifinals - Cincy vs. #2 Syracuse (7:00 on ESPN), and Louisville vs. #23 Notre Dame (9:00 on ESPN)... nothing like MSG when it's going right.
- Big 10 Tournament Quarterfinals - Iowa vs. #8 Michigan State (Noon on ESPN), #15 Indiana vs. #12 Wisconsin (2:00 on ESPN), Minnesota vs. #13 Michigan (6:30 on BTN), Purdue vs. #7 Ohio State (9:00 on BTN)
- Pac 12 Tournament Semifinals - Oregon State vs. Arizona (9:00 on FSN), and Colorado vs. Cal (11:30 on FSN)... late night special!
- SEC Quarterfinals - #1 Kentucky vs. LSU (1:00 on ESPNU) and Alabama vs. #19 Florida (3:00 on ESPNU)... these are the only 2 games on TV... and rightfully so.
- NBA - Jazz @ Sixers - 7:00 NBA-TV - Utah is suddenly in disarray and their playoff hopes have all but vanished.
- NBA - Hawks @ Pistons - 7:30 SportSouth - Another road game for the Hawks, but a bounce-back candidate for ATL after that Heat loss.
- NBA - Mavs @ Kings - 10:00 NBA-TV - No one can guard Demarcus Cousins.
And a bonus rant...
- Josh Smith has demanded a trade from the Atlanta Hawks. There are varying reports as to when he actually did this, but the widespread report of "why" he's asked for one is possibly the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. Smiff has been reportedly miffed because the team didn't PROMOTE HIS ALL-STAR CAMPAIGN ENOUGH. I can't fathom this actually being true since it's so incredibly asinine, but if it is true, they should move him for 40 cents on the dollar. And removing all objectivity, I'm absolutely done with him. That is all.