Louisville’s press, Damyean Dotson’s upside and Denzel Valentine’s versatility are just three of the many reasons to love the Sweet 16.
It turned out that the Illini – and, most significantly, athletic director Mike Thomas – were indeed lucky. And in the end, that was good.
Despite the popularity of the clichéd, post-victory cry, nobody really “shocks the world.”
Mitch McGary had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Michigan breezed through Virginia Commonwealth’s vaunted pressure with a clinical performance Saturday, beating the fifth-seeded Rams 78-53 to advance to the NCAA round of 16 for the first time since 1994.
And this deeper dilemma affecting U. of I. athletics is so discouraging that after reading this column, you very well may be driven to drink yourself.
But because Thomas went after coaches that he – as well as the vast majority of other ADs in the country – couldn’t get, he ended up badly embarrassing Illinois. Twice. And, in turn, Thomas, along with more than a little help from the Illinois trustees and administration, has succeeded in making a very good coaching job look like a radioactive one.
Illinois has reportedly reached out to Brad Stevens about its head coaching vacancy and its interest in the Butler head coach is “high”.
Twelve years ago, after Lon Kruger bolted Champaign for NBA riches in Atlanta, it appeared that Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had his successor in hand.
Thomas’ latest rejection has left him in a tough spot. Other candidates now know how much money Illinois is willing to spend.
VCU head coach Shaka Smart has turned down Illinois’ offer to become the next Illini men’s basketball coach.
Will Shaka Smart leave his post at VCU to join Illini Nation?
Up to the minute developments on the Illinois-Shaka Smart discussions.
Unless something “drastic” changes in the next day, it appears Shaka Smart will reportedly stay at VCU instead of taking the Illinois job.
Sources close to Simeon head coach Robert Smith say he has been in Champaign having conversations with Thomas about an assistant job.
As Illinois continues its search for a new head coach, new athletic director Mike Thomas is after one guy.
It’s difficult enough to hire the right basketball coach at Illinois, without choosing to limit the field of candidates beforehand.
When Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth’s coach and the apple of many an Illini fan’s eye, opted on Thursday to don an orange tie – and a blue shirt, to boot! – for VCU’s NCAA Tourney opener, both Twitter and Facebook burst alive with posts of breathless speculation.
With Bruce Weber officially out the door, here are nine possible Illini head coaching candidates.
According to a CBSSports.com report, VCU’s Shaka Smart will stay at the school, and not cash in on the team’s Cinderella run to the Final Four.
If the Butler Bulldogs win the national title, will they please leave?