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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.
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Monday / December 16.
  • NEW YORK — The Big Ten Conference plans to hold 80 percent of its conference tournaments in the Midwest and 20 percent on the East Coast going forward, Commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday at the conference’s annual Media Day at Madison Square Garden.

    “We will go back to the Midwest but we’ll probably have an 80/20 split,” Delany said.

    “We will be back here from time to time to reflect where our schools are located as well as where our alumni live.”

    Delaney said “where we would go and when we would go is subject to discussion.”

    By JOSH WHITE

    In an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas on Wednesday, former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino reiterated in his first public comments since his firing that he had “no knowledge” of an alleged payment from a Cardinals’ assistant coach to the family of consensus five-star recruit Brian Bowen, citing a lie detector test Pitino took earlier this month.

    “I was asked two questions,” said Pitino. “And I said, ‘I want you to ask me if any other recruits in my tenure were ever given anything.’

    “And [the polygraph examiner] said, ‘That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for: Did you have any knowledge of the Bowen family getting any money? Did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?’

    “I answered ‘absolutely not’ on both questions and passed the lie-detector test,” the two-time National Champion said. “So, I had no knowledge of any of this.”

    According to an FBI complaint from last month, Bowen is alleged to have been promised $100,00 by an Adidas executive to attend Louisville. The executive in question, Jim Gatto, was among 10 people charged last month in crimes related to the investigation.

    NEW YORK — Kevin Willard and the Seton Hall Pirates have made the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons.

    But each time, they were saddled with an unfavorable seed or an unfavorable first-round opponent — or both.

    In 2016, the Pirates got a No. 6 seed. Their reward? A trip to Denver for a Gonzaga team seeded at No. 11, and a prompt 68-52 first-round exit.

    In 2017, Seton Hall earned a No. 9 seed and faced No. 8 Arkansas in Greenville, S.C. Once again, the Pirates were bounced in the first round, 77-71.

    “Obviously, if you just look at the history of the [NCAA] Tournament the lower seed obviously you’re going to have such a better chance of advancing,” Willard told me at Big East Media Day, where the Pirates were picked to finish second in the league behind defending champion Villanova.

    NEW YORK — St. John’s was picked sixth in the Big East Conference, but sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds has big expectations for this year.

    The Brooklyn native believes the the Red Storm are an NCAA Tournament team and says it will be a failure if they miss out.

    “If we didn’t make it, it will be a bust and I’m sticking with it,” Ponds told me Wednesday at Big East Media Day at Madison Square Garden.

    The Johnnies haven’t been to the Big Dance since 2015 under Steve Lavin, who was also at Big East Media Day for Fox.

    But with the backcourt of Ponds and Marcus LoVett now both sophomores — and both named to the Preseason All-Big East Second Team — expectations are high once again.