College Basketball Nation: Brett Reed

1. Wichita State's Gregg Marshall doesn't have to move since he has a stable, lucrative deal. He now heads the dominant team in the Missouri Valley Conference, and if he wants to leave, he can stay until the right, plumb job comes along. But La Salle's John Giannini and Andy Enfield of Florida Gulf Coast are in a different situation. La Salle is a very difficult program to sustain, as evidenced by how long it took it to get back in the tournament. The A-10 is certainly changing with Xavier, Butler, and possibly more teams, leaving. If Giannini could get a Big Ten gig then he'd have to go. Enfield will never be hotter than he is right now, regardless of what happens this weekend. If he's content to stay put then that's fine. But he's a viable candidate in the Big Ten (Northwestern and Minnesota) where both ADs are looking for the next big thing. Both Northwestern and Minnesota have favorites in Chris Collins of Duke and Shaka Smart of VCU but Enfield and Giannini could end up being dark horses in these two searches or others. Lehigh's Brett Reed could have moved a year ago after upsetting Duke. He stayed put. His star player C.J.McCollum got hurt and the Mountain Hawks didn't make the field. That shouldn't change Reed's candidacy but you don't hear his name this month.

2. Smart has now become the most-coveted coach. If he wanted to push he could likely have the pick of the Minnesota, UCLA or USC jobs. Or he could stay put at VCU. I wouldn't be at all surprised by the latter. Smart could have had the Illinois job, but stayed at VCU. He coached the Rams to the third round of the NCAA tournament. His "Havoc" style of play is a major hit. It puts people in the seats because it is entertaining to watch to see the Rams win. The Shaka watch at all locales will be on high alert over the next week. This shouldn't last long. He'll either stay put, like Pitt's Jamie Dixon did, or he'll be on the fast-track to a higher league. If that were to happen then that would be a major blow to the A-10.

3. The A-10 had to act swiftly in adding George Mason to replace Butler or Xavier. The A-10 made a play a year ago for Mason but decided to go with VCU and Butler instead. Those turned out to be sound moves. A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said there was nothing wrong with a 13-team league citing the odd-number Big Ten (11) and ACC (9) for years. Mason fits the A-10 profile and had to get out of a CAA, which is being poached like a carcass by various conferences. The A-10 continues to look for basketball-centric schools for its long-term survival. Meanwhile, the CAA missed out on luring Davidson along with the College of Charleston. The CAA could really use Davidson now and it might be worth trying to make another play. What these latest moves prove yet again is that every conference is out for itself. Please spare us any further commentary from a conference commissioner about being pilfered by other leagues. They all do it to the league below them. They are all guilty of trying to steal from one league to strengthen their own.
1. Colorado coach Tad Boyle did follow up with Ed Rush, the Pac-12 coordinator of basketball officials, after last Thursday's controversial overtime victory for Arizona. Rush publicly defended the officials' call on overturning Sabatino Chen's 3-pointer at the buzzer. Rush did the same thing privately to Boyle. But Boyle said Rush admitted the officials didn't get a substitution call correct with under two minutes to go in the game. Arizona was allowed to sub in but Colorado wasn't, according to Boyle. That allowed a mismatch with Josh Scott on Solomon Hill, who ended up making a 3-pointer to cut CU's lead to five with 1 minute, 41 seconds remaining in regulation. Boyle said there was no hangover for the Buffs when they lost two days later at Arizona State. But he said this week's homestand should provide a great atmosphere, with USC and UCLA coming to Boulder. CU needs these wins to be a contender.

2. Lehigh coach Dr. Brett Reed said during our ESPNU podcast Monday morning that a decision still needs to be made about whether to surgically place a pin in C.J. McCollum's broken foot. He said every precaution is being taken since no one wants to mess with the senior guard's possible NBA career. I didn't get the sense that Reed is fully expecting McCollum to return anytime soon; to project that he might not come back this season wouldn't be a reach. Meanwhile, McCollum said the Mountain Hawks cannot panic. You can tell Reed is up for the challenge of trying to beat Bucknell in the Patriot League without McCollum.

3. Minnesota's Tubby Smith also joined us on the Monday podcast and said his team is ready for the gauntlet of at Illinois, at Indiana and home to Michigan. He said the squad finally being healthy is a major reason why the Gophers have turned around their program. Smith also has a scoring lead guard in Andre Hollins, Trevor Mbakwe is fully engaged in the team concept and Rodney Williams is playing his natural power-forward position.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Previewing the round of 32 games at Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday:

No. 10 seed Xavier (22-12) vs. No. 15 seed Lehigh (27-7), 7:45 p.m. ET

Point guard Mackey McKnight seems to be Lehigh’s unofficial spokesman, or at least the Mountain Hawks’ master motivator.

McKnight, a sophomore from New Orleans, wrote Lehigh’s team motto -- “One team. One dream.” -- on the outside of his left sneaker.

He also helped coin another Lehigh motto: “Built to Last.”

“We’re trying to build something that has redemptive value over time,” said Lehigh coach Brett Reed, one of only three NCAA Division I coaches to have earned a doctorate degree.

McKnight’s biggest motivation comes from the worst tragedy of his life. His best friend, Joseph McMillan II, was killed on a Los Angeles County Metro bus in Inglewood, Calif., on Oct. 13, 2010. Police said the bus stopped at a red light and a gunman walked up and fired multiple shots, killing McMillan, who was 18. Police said the crime was gang-related, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“He was just a big-time influence on me,” McKnight said.

McKnight will carry McMillan’s memory into Sunday’s South Region third-round game against 10th-seeded Xavier. With one more victory, the No. 15-seeded Mountain Hawks will become the NCAA tournament’s latest unlikely Sweet 16 participant.

“We just believed in each other,” McKnight said. “You feel confident with your family. We knew every man was going to have everyone’s back. It’s just a beautiful thing playing as one. There are no selfish players in this family. We can rise together as a family.”

Mackey cried after the Mountain Hawks’ 75-70 upset of No. 2 seed Duke in Friday night’s second round. McMillan was a native of Holly, N.C., and McKnight knew his friend would have cherished his team’s upset of the Blue Devils. McKnight said he and McMillan grew up together in New Orleans, where they often played one-on-one games in the driveway of his family’s home.

“He used to pretend he was North Carolina, and I always had to pretend I was Duke,” McKnight said. “I just miss him so much and I’m so grateful he blessed us with this win and is watching over us."

McKnight’s steady play helped the Mountain Hawks get hot at the right time. He has 88 assists in his past 21 games and had only one turnover against Duke. McKnight scored 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting against the Blue Devils, but knows his primary role is to put Patriot League Player of the Year C.J. McCollum in positions to score. McCollum scored 30 points against the Blue Devils.

“Our young guys like Mackey are getting used to the bright lights, and we think we can play with anybody in the country,” McCollum said.

McKnight and McCollum will have to slow down Xavier’s backcourt of Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, who register a combined 32.5 points and 7.8 assists per game. The Mountain Hawks were able to limit Duke guards Seth Curry and Austin Rivers to only 6-for-23 shooting.

“I think their backcourt is absolutely terrific, to be honest with you,” Reed said. “They have guards that seem to live in the paint. They’re aggressive, they have a tough mentality, they go to where they want to go on the floor. And one of our primary responsibilities is going to be containing dribble penetration.”

McKnight won’t have to look far for motivation.

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