Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Roberts in Play at Iona; Feinstein vs. Shaheen on Tourney Expansion; All-America Teams
**Check me out on 1050 ESPN at 11:25 p.m. Thursday talking Final Four and Coaching Carousel with Bill Daughtry**
INDIANAPOLIS — I landed here earlier today and immediately put on shorts…because it’s 80 degrees, which is apparently the warmest April 1 here since 1963.
The streets are lined with jubilant Butler fans holding banners, gathering around restaurants and pubs and generally enjoying the homecourt advantage at the Final Four.
I’ve now settled into an old friend’s home after playing a game of “H-O-R-S-E” on his 7 1/2 foot rim. Man, does it feel good to dunk!
Here are a few highlights from the day:
**A source close to the Iona coaching search said former St. John’s coach Norm Roberts is one of the candidates at that school, along with fellow former St. John’s coach Fran Fraschilla, Louisville assistant Steve Masiello and Florida assistant Richard Pitino. The Daily News also listed Robert Morris’ coach Mike Rice, Vermont coach Mike Lonergan, former BC coach Dennis Wolff and Columbia coach Joe Jones as possibilities.
Iona AD Pat Lyons is here in Indy and a list could be finalized early next week, though it appears that Fraschilla may be the frontunner. He went 86-34 from 1992-96 at Manhattan.
“It should be narrowed down by Sunday or Monday,” the source said.
**Texas A&M associate head coach Scott Spinelli and Vanderbilt assistant King Rice appear to be the leaders for the Wagner job, which is only offering a one-year contract.
**Gene Keady, who could land on St. John’s coach Steve Lavin’s bench in a role similar to what Ralph Willard has at Louisville and George Blaney has at UConn, will be honored here Sunday night with the Golden Anniversary Award for more than 50 years of service to college basketball. Keady, 73, will also coach the Reese’s All-Stars against the Hershey’s All-Stars in the All-Star Game Sunday.
**The big topic here today was the NCAA tournament’s possible expansion to 96 teams, with four 24-team regions and the top eight seeds in each region getting a bye through the first round. The tournament would still take place within three weeks.
The discussion triggered a one-on-one between veteran journalist John Feinstein (pictured at left), he of the 26 books, and Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies.
Feinstein wanted to know exactly when the “student-athletes” would be going to school during the second week of the tournament under the new format, which will be decided upon by July 31. As Gary Parrish pointed out, a No. 1 that keeps winning would play Saturday/Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.
Q. To follow up, if you’re going Saturday/Tuesday, Sunday/Tuesday then with the teams that advance if they’re playing Saturday/Sunday games, right?
GS: They would play Saturday/Tuesday.
Q. So you’re not going to play any games on Sunday of the first weekend?
GS: No. You’d play half the games on Saturday, half the games on Sunday.
Q. The Sunday teams that advance would play on Tuesday or are you saying Wednesday?
Q. Basically they’ll be out of school an entire week the second week?
GS: Actually, if you were to look at the window for each individual team, you have to take each team and contemplate the fact right now you have half the field leaving campus on Tuesday, returning on Sunday or Monday.
Q. If they lose. I’m talking about the teams that win and advance. You’re going to advance 16 teams.
GS: No, actually in the current model you have teams that depart on Tuesday, and even if they win, return on Sunday.
Q. We’re misunderstanding each other. Under the new model that you laid out, you play 64 teams Thursday/Friday. 32 advance to games Saturday/Sunday. Then you are down after those games to 32 teams.
Q. You’re saying you play games in the round of 32 Tuesday/Wednesday. They would then advance to regionals when?
GS: They would continue into the regional as it’s normally scheduled now.
Q. So they would go Tuesday to Thursday, Wednesday to Friday?
Q. So they miss an entire week of school. That’s what I’m trying to get.
GS: If you listened to my original answer, they leave now on Tuesday.
Q. I’m talking about the second week, not the first week. They play a game Saturday/Sunday, play a game Tuesday or Wednesday, then go directly to the regional. Tell me when in that second week they’re going to be in class.
GS: The entire first week, the majority of the teams would be in class.
Q. You’re just not going to answer the question about the second week. You’re going to keep referring back to the first week, right? They’re going to miss the entire second week under this model.
GS: So they’re going to go to school the first week, and then they’re —
Q. They’re going to be under the same schedule you said basically the first week, and then they’ll miss the entire second week.
GS: I’m clearly missing the nuance of your point.
Q. You and I miss nuances a lot. Thank you.
(Press conference moderator) Bob Williams: Next question, please.
ALL-AMERICA TEAMS**Five of the 15 players are from the Big East.
Sherron Collins, Sr., Kansas
Wesley Johnson, So., Syracuse
Scottie Reynolds, Sr., Villanova
Evan Turner, Jr., Ohio State
John Wall, Fr., Kentucky
Cole Aldrich, Jr., Kansas
DeMarcus Cousins, Fr., Kansas
Robbie Hummel, Jr., Purdue
Jon Scheyer, Sr., Duke
Greivis Vasquez, Sr., Maryland
James Anderson, Jr. Oklahoma State
Da’Sean Butler, Sr., West Virginia
Jimmer Fridette, Jr., Brigham Young
Luke Harangody, Sr., Notre Dame
Greg Monroe, So., Georgetown
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.