I’ve tried to steer clear of the Calvin Magee allegations because, quite honestly, I think they’re totally unfounded. He removed himself from consideration the moment he boarded an airplane with Rich Rodriguez so the he and his family might appear at Rodriguez’s introductory press conference the next day. White, black, pink, it was over there.
WVU is investigating — what, I’m not sure — and we received something of an update Saturday. I can’t tell you clearly enough how much this bothers WVU. There was a luncheon today with the assistant coaches and a bunch of other significant athletic department officials and one was adamant this was all entirely unnecessary.
I can remember a time back when the Big East expanded to add Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette and South Florida and the basketball coaches had no problem … as long as it didn’t mean the league schedule would be altered. Adding teams wasn’t the issue. Adding games was, especially when one considers how good the Big East already was.
As we know, it happened this season and you’ve obviously seen 16 teams bludgeon one another for more than two months now. What we have are between six and eight teams most likely to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
That’s nothing new.
How we’ve arrived here is new, though, and you only need to look at WVU to understand why.
Read between the lines as I say WVU fans have been a tad dismayed with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of late. They might find this downright stunning.
West Virginia was an NCAA tournament “bubble” team according to most of the national analysts and experts heading into its final home game of the season against Pitt last night.
But any lingering doubts about the Mountaineers’ credentials were almost certainly erased by their 76-62 destruction of the Panthers at WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia (21-9, 10-7) already had 20 wins but has now assured itself of a winning conference record and is likely to finish in the top six in the conference standings. In the Big East those marks traditionally have been enough to assure an NCAA bid.
A brief aside here: My dad is at spring training in Tampa, Fla., with my cousin, a VIP in Ohio media who is following the Indians. He works as my dad tags along in a role that seems to consist of sleeping until 10 a.m., drinking cold beverages, smoking hand-rolled cigars and calling or texting me whenever possible to rub it in.
I requested he be of some use and check in every so often with updates on teams that might be of interest to the readers. He called yesterday with an evaluation of the Pirates in their game against the Phillies.
Bob Huggins is, quite clearly, not a fan of suits.
“The reality is why do you spend $1,000 dollars on a suit when after you wear it three times, it smells and you can’t wear it anymore,” he said. “I don’t know who the first coach was who started wearing a suit, and I don’t know why he did it.”
Yet the WVU men’s basketball coach donned one for the first 21 games this season, a trend that hit a brick wall when Huggins wore an all-gold number while the Mountaineers suffered a humiliating 62-39 loss at home to Cincinnati. He’d gone with the more identifiable pullover ever since.
“Someone brought me a pullover and I coached the second half that way,” he said. “After the game, the AD (former Cincinnati Athletic Director Bob Goin) said it was a great look. He said, ‘I think you look a lot more comfortable coaching like that.’ So I wore it. He liked it. Some people didn’t.”
Everything changed — again — Monday night against Pitt.
“I intend to break one,” Alexander said. “That’s one of my goals. The goal of all dunkers is to break a backboard.”
The stars align tonight. Raftery will offer his colorful commentary for tonight’s 7 p.m. ESPN game when WVU plays host to Pitt inside the Coliseum.
“I have no idea how you’d do it, but my guess is you have to weigh a lot and you need to throw it down really hard,” said Alexander, who leads WVU with 15.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game after finishing with 32 points and 10 rebounds Saturday against Connecticut.Â Â
Pitt at West Virginia. Senior Night. A whole lot on the line. Spooky.
This may very well be an elimination game for WVU. Pitt’s probably in the NCAA Tournament already. The resume is a little stronger and a road win would push the Panthers over the top, for sure. The guess is WVU is in, but barely and only if the season ended right now … and obviously, the season does not end right now. Getting swept by a team you so closely resemble isn’t a great distinction.
Coach Bob Huggins was asked if his team needed a signature victory.
“Marquette’s not a signature win?” he said calmly, but clearly annoyed at the insinuation. “You’re listening to the wrong people. That’s people trying to make a living. I’ve got no problem with people making a living, but to say we don’t have a signature win is ridiculous. And we’re hopefully going to end up with 10 or 11 wins in this league. That’s not good enough? If that’s not good enough, then we have problems. We have serious problems.”
We begin with a counter perpetuated by Team Rodriguez against WVU and a request to depose Ed Pastilong. One part was somewhat intriguing.
In the deposition notice filed at the courthouse on High Street in Morgantown,Â Pastilong was asked to produce several documents, including any personal documents regarding the employment contract and dispute between Rodriguez and WVU, those containing information “given by the Athletic Department of West Virginia University to any … person associated with the news media concerning Richard Rodriguez from December 1, 2006 to present,” those Pastilong had from the WVU Foundation or “any affiliated entity” such as the Mountaineer Athletic Club, as well as Pastilong’s diary/calendar for 2007, which shows meeting dates with Rodriguez.Â Â
That’s pretty specific and leads me to believe they have an idea they know what they’re looking for in a general sense. Team Rodriguez plans to interrogate about a dozen officials and one wonders if certain media might be on the list.Â There was a lot of sourcing going as a lot of sensitive material was presented to the public.
Also of note:
– Eddie’s diary? “Dear diary: Just had a Diet Pepsi. I prefer Diet Coke. Will try Diet Sprite later. Do they make Diet 7-Up? Casazza called. Perhaps he knows.”
– Team Rodriguez wants audits of the 1100 Club — I can’t get my hands on them, butÂ lawyers can…why didn’t I just get a lawyer? — as a way toÂ explore WVU’s admitted use of 1100 Club money for non-1100 Club purposes.Â What this will prove, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t justify walking out on a contract.
– Quote Rodriguez’s lawyer: The university “thinks they’ve got $4 million coming to them, but they are ignoring the fact that they probably breached the agreement…” Wait, what? So that $287,758.28 payment to Rodriguez last month — mind you, on the exact date it was due by — constitutes a breach? Who knew?
Onto the Feedback. As always comments appear as posted. In other words, any edits I conduct breach our contract.
Do you think with Pastilong gone thereâ€™s a chance Coach Rodriguez might come back? That would be awesome!
That would be awesome!
West Virginia’s football coach helped celebrate the grand opening of the new Kroger on 705 in Morgatown today. … You’re looking for punchline, right? I’ve got nothing.
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