Last night North Texas rode Tylor Perry’s big time shot-making to move to the semifinals of the NIT Tournament, held in Las Vegas. We talked about it on the podcast recorded last night in the afterglow.
Yesterday we wrote about the rumor machine in full tilt. While it is March Madness season, that also means is basketball coaching carousel season as well. We added a note to that post that reflects the reality: It is looking very likely that McCasland is headed to Lubbock after the NIT run completes. We suspected as much, and discussed it in that post.
The gist is this: Grant spent time at Tech as an ops guy, and his wife is an alumnus (played soccer). Texas Tech has new facilities built for Chris Beard that are state-of-the-art and the league is the undisputed best in the nation. For a competitor like McCasland, this represents and opportunity to challenge yourself at just about the highest level at a place that is more serious about basketball than ever, and in a spot you have a comfort level with. If this were some other Big 12 program, maybe he doesn’t leave. The speculation on this site has always been that if Tech, Baylor, or Texas came calling it would be mighty impossible to keep him around.
The sense around him has been that he values his family first and foremost. Money helps you take care of your family, and tripling his salary helps him. Going somewhere comfortable and familiar is also a plus. Is the Metroplex better than Lubbock? Sure. But any place is a lot better with a couple of million in your pocket.
McCasland will be North Texas’ coach through at least March 28th, which is when the Mean Green will take on Wisconsin in the semifinal. Both teams are two-seeds so I don’t know for sure who will wear which color. NT’s green uniforms were stolen in Ruston, LA during the regular season so do not expect the Mean Green to wear well, green. Black looked real nice in Stillwater, however.
Wisconsin escaped Oregon and Dana Altman, Oregon’s coach, complained about the 3,300 fans in attendance. See? Even at Nike-supported Oregon, there is room for improvement folks.
MGN will be in Las Vegas for the NIT semifinal/final. We purchased tickets back on March 15 because there is belief in these bones. Seriously, we just had a feeling that the team was ready to play and hungry to right some wrongs. The squad was playing amazingly well in the week going into the league tournament and if it were not for a disastrous 10 minutes to start the UAB game, all would maybe be different.
Tonight, we will see UAB play Vanderbilt in the other two NIT quarterfinals. My little dream matchup is UNT/UAB in the final. It won’t light up ESPN’s ratings, but it would be a great showcase for two programs that had a strong case for NCAA Tournament inclusion. As it is, FAU is in the Sweet 16, UNT is in the NIT semis, UAB is in the quarterfinal, and CLT made the CBI final. Rice was eliminated from the CBI in the semis. C-USA (RIP) availed itself well in the final season together.
Programing note: MGN will be in Vegas as media and a fan. We’ll do the thing where we sit down close to watch the game (or whatever they put the media in) but we also grabbed a couple of general admission tickets. I had tried for some good seats and all-session passes but Boyd Gaming was too much of a red flag for three of my credit cards. After working that out, a few subsequent retries did not resolve it. I had to go directly through ticketmaster instead of going through olreansareana.com’s ticketmaster implementation. So it goes.