Okay, after a ton of research I have come to the realization that I need to just make my picks and hope for the best. Should there be an upset in Tuesday or Wednesday's first round games I will update any changes by late tomorrow night. I am considering Clemson over West Virginia should they get past UAB. Same goes for USC if they beat Virginia Commonwealth.
Second Round Winners
I am working the phones for last minute information to make the best possible selections I can for the NCAA Tournament. I will have my picks up by tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. and I will update them after the 4 first round games are completed on Wednesday night as most pools are not using them in their brackets.
I have learned that DePaul has hired Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell
and has agreed to a 7 year contract with him in excess of 15 million dollars when you add in the buyout of his Clemson contract. He was on campus today and and will be introduced in a press conference at 1:30 Tuesday on DePaul's campus.
Purnell has been the head coach at Clemson since 2003 and while he has made Clemson competitive and has taken them to the NCAA Tournament 3 times, he is 0-6 in his career in NCAA games. He has no ties to the Chicago area and the jury is out on whether or not he can recruit players from this area to rebuild a program that was 1-35 the past two seasons in Big East play.
His Clemson teams have won 20 or more games each of the past four seasons and if he can achieve that level of success in Lincoln Park then the Blue Demons program will become a hot ticket again in the Chicago sports world.
DePaul is continuing their search for Jerry Wainwright's replacement and has an extensive list of candidates that they are studying. Contrary to a TV report that ran in Chicago last week, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was never a serious candidate for the job. He is a good friend of DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto and the two keep in touch but Dixon never was offered the job and he never seriously considered it. UCLA coach Ben Howland did consider the DePaul opening but decided on Tuesday to stay in Westwood where he feels his program is poised for a rebound season after a difficult 2009-10 campaign.
Other names that have surfaced in connection with the job include Kansas State coach Frank Martin, who signed a lucrative extension with K-State a few weeks ago and has a hefty buyout of his contract. Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery has been rumored to be on the DePaul short list but my sources tell me he is not in the upper tier of candidates for the job.
USC's Kevin O'Neill would be a tremendous choice and loves Chicago but he just completed his first season in LA and was named the Pac Ten Conference Coach of the Year by the Sporting News. He is not expected to leave USC. Another name that was on DePaul's list was UTEP's Tony Barbee but he was named the new coach at Auburn on Wednesday.
Iowa is also looking for a new coach after firing Todd Lickliter and appears to be looking for a lower priced alternative after paying big money to Lickliter in his settlement. Sources confirmed to me on Wednesday night that Iowa is talking to Dayton's Brian Gregory, Tulsa's Doug Wojcik, Utah's Jim Boylan, and Wright State's Brad Brownell. Three of the candidates (Gregory, Wojcik, and Boylan) all worked as assistants at Michigan State for Tom Izzo.
Stay tuned because I believe that DePaul will have a new coach named within 10 days but who that will be is still very much up in the air.
After a full day of research crunching numbers and examining trends of the 65 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament I have come up with my picks for this year's edition of March Madness which begins on Tuesday night with the Play In game between Arkansas Pine Bluff and Winthrop.
The field is as wide open as I have seen in a long time with a number of high seeds ripe to be upset in the early rounds of the tournament. However, for all of the upset possibilities there aren't many teams that can put together 3 great weeks to cut down the nets in Indianapolis. Instead, I see a handful of teams that have the ingredients necessary to handle all of the challenges that will be thrown their way in the three week sprint to a title that is the NCAA Tournament.
So click on the pictures and reveal some of my thoughts. March Madness 2010 is here....
Gallery sneak peek (9 images):
View the gallery...
I have seen a lot of college basketball over the years and this season has been no exception. I write the college basketball preview for Playboy magazine and I call games for ESPN so I get to see some of the best teams in the country up close and personal. I am staying up late Sunday night working the phones and crunching the numbers to bring you my best effort at a well thought out bracket for your NCAA pools.
I will have my completed bracket up on this sight by 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon so please tell your friends to check in. Either I will give you some great picks or you can have a laugh at my expense. I will also be Tweeting throughout the tournament with my picks against the point spread so please follow me @thekapman on Twitter and ask your friends to do the same if you want access to the inside info that I get.
Please check back on Monday afternoon. Thanks for reading the blog! Kap