College Basketball Nation: Steve Barnes

1. Mississippi Valley State coach Sean Woods is one of a handful of coaches vying for the Southern Miss job, beginning with an in-person interview Monday. The others reportedly in the mix are Larry Eustachy’s Southern Miss assistant Steve Barnes, Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis, former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, Wichita State assistant Greg Heiar, and UTEP coach Tim Floyd. If USM, which is also hiring an athletic director doesn’t bump up Barnes to replace Eustachy (who left for Colorado State) then Woods should be given a serious look as the choice. Woods did a remarkable job at one of the toughest places to win. He steadily increased his win total from seven to nine to 13 to 21 this past season, going 17-1 in the SWAC. Woods and Sadler are both interviewing Monday.

2. Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich was recruiting with a host of other coaches in Minnesota over the weekend. He still hadn’t been told if he’s the coach-in-waiting at SMU. It has reached a point where something better happen soon or Jankovich is going to stay put and continue to coach a Redbirds team that has a chance to win the Missouri Valley next season.

3. The Atlantic 10 still may add VCU and George Mason, along with Butler, to get to 16 schools now that Temple is off to the Big East in 2013. But no one from any of the schools or conferences are indicating an imminent departure. VCU athletic director Norwood Teague, fresh off a trip to Europe, said Sunday that there is movement going on and that everyone is simply in evaluation mode. A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade and CAA commissioner Tom Yeager both said Friday there was no truth about a done deal for VCU and Mason to leave. Yeager better hope that’s true. The CAA can’t afford to lose these two Final Four programs. The A-10 would have a chance to elevate itself to being considered a power basketball conference if it pulled off this move.

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