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Wanna keep your coach? Pay up

Smart ---As the wins mount, money follows. But where the formula grows complicated for the administrations at schools like VCU and Butler is when they attempt to fend off power-conference schools from poaching their rising stars like VCU's Shaka Smart, pictured right.

---Andy Katz gives his take on who could end up replacing Jim Calhoun at UConn.

---A league just for elite mid-majors?

---The NBA is looking into Jay-Z's venture into the Kentucky locker room after they made the Final Four.

---Buzz Williams got a new deal to stay at Marquette.

---Boston College's Reggie Jackson has declared for the NBA Draft.

---Jonathon Givony over at Draft Express takes you through everything you need to know about the early entry draft process.

---Oregon tied up Creighton in the CBI series final.

--- Santa Clara won the CIT.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Receivers look to rebound

Jackson
---While quarterbacks Jerry Davis and Alex Zordich struggled in the passing game for UB, neither received many favors from from a receiving corp that suffered through lapses of concentration and dropped passes. Terrell Jackson, pictured above, wants to help change that.

---If anything is clear after watching HBO, it's this: The NCAA enforcement staff is not finished with Auburn. Coach Gene Chizik called the report pathetic and pure garbage.

---Jim Tressel's character is on trial.

---ESPN filed a federal lawsuit against Conference USA alleging the league failed to fulfill its contractual obligations when it signed a new contract with Fox Sports Media Group.

---The college football business has blossomed.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Ford named Parade All-American

---UB signee Xavier Ford has been named to the prestigious Parade Magazine All-American Team which will officially be released on Sunday.

Ford, who averaged 27.4 points and 9.7 rebounds for Harrison High in Colorado Springs, Colo., was named to the third team. This is the 55th edition of the team which lists 10 players on four teams and includes recruits who signed with schools such as Kentucky, Duke and Florida among others.

The 6-foot-8, 190-pound Ford is the first Parade honoree ever to sign with UB. Turner Battle, currently an assistant at the school, was a Top 100 prospect nationally when he signed with the Bulls in 2000.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

It's official: Butler isn't a mid-major

---Is Butler a mid-major? Not even close. The Horizon League profile should benefit from Butler's post season success while John Gasaway wonders if Butler's late game success is due to high levels of clutch or just a lot of luck?

---Syracuse center Baye Moussa Keita will undergo undisclosed surgery next week.

---Kemba Walker ride through March has been memorable. Speaking of Walker, here's an interesting article about his recruitment process

---Just because the 68th team selected into the tournament made the Final Four doesn't mean we should reconsider tournament expansion.

---Walter King, the grandfather of VCU coach Shaka Smart, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 90.

---Matt Painter will make a decision today as to whether or not he will stay at Purdue or leave for Missouri.

---Josh Pastner has signed a five-year extension with Memphis to remain its coach.

---Louisiana Tech has named Ole Miss assistant Michael White as their new coach.

---The NCAA Tournament is the best way to crown a champion.

---There aren't any great teams in college basketball because most good players leave for the NBA.

---Cuonzo Martin's style may turn off Vols fans.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

School's in for Bulls' secondary

Meeting room

---Pictured above is UB's newly remodeled meeting room complete with over 100 leather chairs, surround sound and projection screen. As for the Bulls on the field, rebuilding the secondary is a priority this spring, a process that will likely continue into training camp in August and may not be complete by the Sept. 3 season opener at Pittsburgh.

---More trouble brewing at Auburn as four former football players will say they received cash from boosters of the school in an HBO Real Sports episode to be aired tonight. A former Auburn player also alleges that there were "money handshakes" from unknown people during recruiting visits and that his official visit to Ohio State not only netted him about $1,000, but also included sex.

---The Fiesta Bowl will be asked to justify its inclusion in the BCS after organizers for the Arizona game fired president and CEO John Junker for "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions and "an apparent conspiracy" to cover it up. The Fiesta Bowl released a a scathing internal report Tuesday.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Wildcats are the early favorites

Knight ---Kentucky is the early favorites out of Vegas to win the national championship and they also spend more money on recruiting than any team in the country.  John Clay provides 20 quick-hitters on the 'Cats trip to Houston. This is the third different team John Calipari has taken to the Final Four, but he assured the powers that be that Kentucky would not be the third team to have their Final Four banner taken down.

---It was difficult to comprehend what Butler did last season. But back-to-back seasons? That may be unfathomable and defies conventional wisdom. Luke Winn writes this year's Final Four run is even more improbable than the Bulldogs run a season ago. After being banned from participation in the regional portion of the NCAA tournament, Butler's live mascot Blue II has been cleared to participate in the Final Four.

---Dan Wetzel on the match up between Kentucky and UConn.

---UConn was ranked 10th in the Big East preseason polls, and ninth in the conference tournament, but are now one of the top four teams in the country.

---Missouri State's Cuonzo Martin has been hired by Tennessee to succeed Bruce Pearl. Some fans may not like the hire, but it's certainly a good one.

---Kent State's Geno Ford was introduced as the new coach at Bradley.

---Chris Mooney has been given a 10-year extension by Richmond.

---Mid-major coaches who put together an unexpected Sweet 16 run are often coaching a different team the following year.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Millinghaus: 'I had to think about my future'

---Derrick Millinghaus, who recently announced he de-committed from St. Bonaventure said the reason behind his decision was that he had to think about his future.

"It would of been nice going to St. Bonnies but I had to think about my future,'' he said via a Facebook message on Monday night.

Millinghaus, who signed with the Bonnies during the early signing period last November, didn't elaborate but perhaps he wanted to follow the same path as Eli Carter, to de-committed from the Bonnies last year to attend Brewster (NH) Academy and is now being recruited by the likes of Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, South Florida, Iowa and Oregon State.

A source said St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt attended a high school showcase last weekend in New Jersey in which Millinghaus was scheduled to partipate but Millinghaus didn't attend.

Whatever the reason, it is yet another blow for the Bonnies, who return four starters from last year's 16-15 team, including All-American candidate Andrew Nicholson.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Kentucky-North Carolina game thread

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Final: Kentucky 76, North Carolina 69

3:18: Eight consecutive points for Harrison Barnes. UK 67, North Carolina 65.

4:39: It's the Harrison Barnes Show. Tune in.

7:43: UK 59, UNC 55. Harrison Barnes just woke everyone up with a coast-to-coast reverse layup.

10:16: Kentucky is up 56-49 because its shooting nearly 60 percent from three-point range.

15:40: Kentucky is up 47-36 and Henson just picked up his fourth foul. The Tar Heels are in trouble. Henson had three fouls when he got pump faked into picking up his fourth. Not smart. And he thinks he's going to help someone win in the NBA next season? Don't think so.

19:07 second half: Kentucky comes out with two turnovers in the first 50 seconds of the half. Good time out by Cal.

---Halftime: Kentucky 38, North Carolina 30. I don't think anyone, not even Calipari, expected Kentucky to shoot this well (6 for 11) from long range.

---59.9: UK up 36-30. Zeller's last basket was the first time he got position on Harrellson all game.

---3:49: UK up 33-27 and John Calipari can't stop yelling at Terrence Jones. Probably for not getting back for that fastbreak layup by Tyler Zeller.

---6:39: John Henson just picked up his third with 6:39 left in the first. Dean Smith would have never let that happen. Justin Knox is going to have to play the rest of the half and he's no Henson.

---11:27: Brandon Knight's jumper is off again early. I bet he finds his groove in the last five minutes of the game. This is around the time North Carolina began to destroy Marquette on Friday.

---12:29: UNC doubling Josh Harrellson?

---15:19 left in the first half: UK up 11-6. Tyler Zeller is getting pushed around underneath the basket.

---We're about 10 minutes from tipoff for today's East Regional championship between Kentucky and North Carolina. The building is buzzing, however, because of VCU's stunning upset over No. 1 seed Kansas. All four No. 1 seeds - Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Duke and now Kansas have been eliminated from the field of 68. Here's something to chew on: Jim Calhoun had already been a head coach for five seasons at Northeastern before VCU's Shaka Smart or Butler's Brad Stevens were born.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

 

Spring football in full swing for UB

Feels eerie inside Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse these days. As the NFL labor strife lingers, the Buffalo Bulls — not the Bills — are occupying the building. Fitting that all doors to at the entrance were locked during Friday's practice.

The Bulls were back at it bright and early Saturday morning as the pads came on for the first time. As always this time of year, players felt liberated. Finally able to hit — after a long offseason of lifting weights and waiting — energy was high.

Here are some observations with video below:

--- Atop a laundry list of goals this spring, UB needs a quarterback to emerge. Yes, the running game was anemic last year, one of the worst in the country. But for Quinn’s offense to fully take effect, someone must step up under center. Early on, Alex Zordich is clearly ahead of Jerry Davis. The Bulls’ first full-contact 11-on-11 of the spring was brief but Zordich was sharp. By an unofficial count, Zordich completed 4 of 6 passes for 41 yards. His best throw was a difficult 14-yard dart across his body to Marcus Rivers. Zordich rolled right, was swallowed by heavy pressure and quickly snapped the ball back to his left to Rivers.

Davis, meanwhile, went 3 of 5 for 30 yards. One big difference, in drills and scrimmaging, was Zordich's willingness to drive the ball downfield. There's little hesitation. Davis (16 TD, 16 Int.) saw the field more last year, but Zordich seems more comfortable in Jeff Quinn's system. He's the frontrunner, and humble. After Saturday's practice, Zordich wasn't overly thrilled with his performance (see vid below).

--- The best player on the field? Possibly redshirt freshman James Potts. Potts chose UB over Louisville, Rutgers and Michigan State amongst other power-conference schools. After taking an interesting path here a year ago, he's finally thrust into the picture. Saturday provided a snapshot. Potts busted loose for runs of 12, 12 and nine yards in the scrimmage. He's hungry. After his first carry, Potts jolted off the ground with a fist pump and defiant “Let’s go!” Finally, his wait is over in what figures to be an open competition for carries in UB's backfield. Potts (6-0, 197) displayed a good center of gravity and gained some gritty yards after contact.

--- Good to see Quinn signing off on full, uninterrupted contact. There were not any quick whistles. He let his players play. After getting bullied throughout last year, that’s a smart decision.

--- Linebacker Josh Copeland was active on defense. The senior had multiple tackles near the line of scrimmage and nearly picked off a Zordich pass.

--- After an offseason of emphasizing building mass, Quinn said his team has put on a total of 750 pounds.

--- Monster offensive linemen Matt Ostrowski (leg) and Gokhan Ozkan (knee) continued to watch on from the sideline. Both are recovering from severe injuries and will rehab on the side through the spring. At one point, they were throwing down a sledgehammer-like tool.

--- He can't talk to coaches quite yet, but Joe Licata is doing everything he can to visually pick up UB's offense. The Williamsville South star was at Friday's practice, watching on from the sideline in street clothes. Check out video of him below.

 

 

 

--- Tyler Dunne

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | [email protected]


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.

@RodneyMcKissic | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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