Roundball Chatter for March 4
• Congratulations to Kansas coach Bill Self, who picked up his 500th career win when the Jayhawks won at Iowa State. It was not easy as the game went into overtime. Self became the ninth fastest head coach to reach 500 victories, needing just 662 games to accomplish the feat. Mike Krzyzewski tied Dean Smith for second in wins at one school with victory 879. That one came against Miami in a hard-fought battle.
• Saint Mary's was penalized by the NCAA for failure to monitor its basketball program as a former assistant coach acted unethically in his recruitment of international prospects. The Gaels were placed on probation for four years and will have reduced scholarships in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Head coach Randy Bennett will be suspended five games next season and the former assistant coach has been hit with a two-year show cause penalty.
• I firmly believe that Ohio State's Aaron Craft can help an NBA team as a role player. He is a winner who plays tenacious, on-ball defense. I have to believe that a team will want his services.
• St. John's got some good news and bad news this week. First, the positive came when the NCAA staff approved a legislative relief waiver for 6-9 forward Orlando Sanchez. The multidimensional native of the Dominican Republic will play next season with his remaining year of eligibility. This is another case which took a long time to resolve, but Red Storm coach Steve Lavin seemed happy with the ruling. The bad news came when top scorer, sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison, was suspended for the rest of the campaign. Harrison was third in the Big East in scoring at 17.8 ppg.
• Very quietly, one of the best stories of the season has been Towson. By posting their 18th win of the season, the Tigers completed a record turnaround, a 17 1/2 game improvement over last year's team that finished 1-31. Mercer posted a 17 game turnaround during the 2002-03 season and that was matched by UTEP the following year.
• I know Michigan State has lost three games in a row, but you cannot look past Tom Izzo's team come tournament time. Losing nailbiters to Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan is as tough a stretch as the Spartans will face in the big dance.
• If you don't believe in surprising results, think about these two from Saturday: Akron saw its 19-game win streak snapped by a Buffalo team that came in at 11-17. Mississippi State, which was blown out at home by Vanderbilt a few weeks back, beat an Ole Miss team which needed a win to help its tournament resume.
• UCLA coach Ben Howland announced after a win over Arizona that Shabazz Muhammad played his last game at Pauley. Howland felt that his diaper dandy was a lottery pick and a lock one-and-done. Howland has lost a number of players early to the NBA draft, including Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday.
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