College Basketball Nation: Florida Atlantic Owls
Before getting to the Blue Ribbon team-by-team previews for the Sun Belt, read Dana O'Neil's profile of new Florida International coach Richard Pitino, Myron Medcalf's look at North Texas' nonconference schedule and Western Kentucky's place in ESPN.com's 50 in 50 series.
Blue Ribbon's in-depth previews of all 11 Sun Belt teams:
2. The conference or the level of Division I doesn’t matter for a coach or a program when a player transfers in June. The timing causes a major headache. Vermont coach John Becker said he was going to have a potential America East championship team. He still might. But he lost his top scorer, freshman guard Four McGlynn last week when he told him he was transferring to Towson to be closer to his York, Pa., home. Becker said McGlynn needed to spend time with his family. But here is a new twist. No one is pushing for McGlynn to play immediately. Towson coach Pat Skerry said he believes that McGlynn should spend time with his family instead of pushing through a waiver to play immediately. Becker is now down to nine players and he won’t be replacing McGlynn’s ability to score on short notice.
3. The deal between Louisville and Florida International has a clause in the contract that most nonconference series should include more often. Games are scheduled between coaches, and, at times when there is a coaching change, a coach wants out of the series for a variety of reasons. Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that the three-year contract (two straight home games and then a third game at FIU, beginning with next December’s game at the KFC Yum! Center) has a clause that stipulates both Rick and Richard Pitino have to be the head coaches for the series to continue each of the three seasons. If that type of clause were put into deals then that could alleviate some haggling to get out of a game when there is a coaching change.
2. Hubert Davis wasn’t looking to become a head coach. But once he’s on the North Carolina staff he will become a potential contender for the job if he is a success as an assistant. Think about it: What natural North Carolina offspring is out there that would be the heir apparent to Roy Williams? There is no slam dunk and Williams’ current staff came with him from Kansas and wasn’t part of the Dean Smith lineage. It’s not a reach to consider Davis as a possible head coach if he wants to continue this career. He hasn’t started yet but he is part of the Carolina royalty and it is a job that must/will be kept in house.
3. The NBA put out its official early-entry list for the draft and there was one name that jumped out: Florida Atlantic’s Raymond Taylor. When Mike Jarvis signed Taylor he said that he was getting a Shawnta Rogers-like point guard for his team. Rogers was a point at George Washington under Jarvis. Taylor never led FAU to the NCAA tournament and according to the staff considered himself a “pro.” Taylor, and a number of other fringe draft entrants, better hope they get an invite to the Minnesota and New Jersey draft camps later this month before the NBA’s official one in Chicago next month.
DePaul outscored Pittsburgh 7-0 in the final 10 seconds of the game to come away with an 84-81 win. The Blue Demons had lost 16 straight Big East home games and had only won two Big East games in the past three seasons combined. All three of DePaul’s conference wins over the past four seasons have been by three points or fewer. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has lost four straight games for the first time during the Jamie Dixon era.
Monster performance for North Texas freshman
North Texas outlasted South Alabama 78-73 in overtime courtesy of a monster performance from freshman Tony Mitchell, who finished with 34 points and 16 rebounds. He’s the first freshman to put up at least 30 points and 15 rebounds since Jared Sullinger last season.
In fact, over the last five seasons, the only other freshmen to pull it off were Fordham’s Chris Gaston and Michael Beasley, who had five such games. Mitchell, who was once Missouri bound, was playing in just his seventh game.
Jones happy to be back in San Diego
Rob Jones saved his best game for his former team. The St. Mary’s senior scored a career-high 31 points to go with 12 rebounds in a 78-72 win over San Diego.
Jones spent his first two seasons at San Diego before transferring in 2009. In fact his previous career-high of 27 came as a freshman at San Diego back in February 2008. St. Mary’s has won 12 of 13 and improved to 14-2.
Seven points at halftime for Louisiana-Monroe
Louisiana-Monroe had only seven points at halftime in a 58-30 loss to Florida Atlantic. The Warhawks actually had as many turnovers as points in the first half. Charles Winborne’s three points led the team going into the break.
No one on the team finished the game with more than two field goals. The team shot 19.5 percent on the game, the second worst shooting performance by a D-I team this season. That included 17.9 percent from two-point range. For Florida Atlantic, it set a school record for fewest points allowed in a half and in a game.