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Rothstein: Bold Hire At Minnesota, Old Big East’s New Name & More NCAA Notes

Richard Pitino (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Richard Pitino (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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By Jon Rothstein
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- Give Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague credit. After firing Tubby Smith and striking out on Fred Hoiberg and Mick Cronin, Teague made a bold hire with Richard Pitino. Pitino has only been a head coach for one season, and had an 18-15 record this past year at Florida International — but Teague worked with Shaka Smart at VCU and has had a knack for spotting up and coming talent in the coaching profession. It looks like that was his line of thinking he decided to hire Pitino.

- Newly minted USC coach Andy Enfield has received in the neighborhood of about 300 phone calls in regards to openings on his staff, and will likely have things finalized in terms of his assistants in the next two weeks. Enfield led Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 but needs to surround himself with people who know the ins and outs of Southern California to have a chance in the PAC-12.

- Cal shooting guard Allen Crabbe announced on Wednesday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NBA Draft. The reigning PAC-12 Player of the Year is a prototypical NBA two-guard, and has all the requisites to be a starter at the next level. The 6-6 Crabbe averaged 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this past season.

- A big reason why Rutgers hasn’t been successful in basketball? They’re constantly changing coaches. After Wednesday’s firing of Mike Rice, the Scarlet Knights are now in a position where they have to hire a new coach for the third time in eight years. One thing you need to be a successful college basketball program is continuity, and that’s something that’s eluded Rutgers for a very long time.

- The old Big East is now named the American Athletic Conference? When I was young, my parents told me that nothing was forever. I guess they were right. Talk about a changing of the guard.

- Between transfers, waivers to play right away, hirings, firings, and the late signing period, college basketball in April has now become like NBA free agency in July. The news never stops. And that’s a beautiful thing.

- Jimmy Patsos and Siena are a perfect fit. The Saints need someone to rebuild their program, and Patsos has already proven he’s more than capable of doing that after the job he did at Loyola. When Patsos took over the Greyhounds’ program, they won one game the year before he was hired. This year, he just wrapped up his second consecutive 20-win season. Great move by Siena athletic director John D’Argenio.

- The toughest part of coaches being fired that not enough people talk about? The assistants. Head coaches who are relieved of their responsibilities can pick up and move on after a nice payday, but their assistants have a much tougher road. These guys have families and earn a modest salary in a profession where it’s extremely difficult to land steady work. College basketball isn’t a vocation where you can find employment by looking for ads in the newspaper. Remember this when you read about the next staff that’s been fired.

- The Jordan Brand Classic will take place on Saturday April 13th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event will feature the Regional Game at 5:30 PM ET, and the All-American Game at 8 PM ET. If you like getting ahead on college hoops for next season, this is where you need to be to check out the best high school players in the country.

- Here is CBS Sports Network’s coverage from the Final Four in Atlanta:

4/4 Bracket Breakdown 7:30 PM ET
4/5 NCAA March Madness 360 12:00 PM ET
4/5 Bracket Breakdown 5:30 PM ET
4/6 NCAA March Madness 360 1:30 PM ET
4/6 Bracket Breakdown 11:30 PM ET
4/7 NCAA March Madness 360 12:00 PM ET
4/7 Bracket Breakdown 5:00 PM ET
4/8 NCAA March Madness 360 6:30 PM ET
4/9 Bracket Breakdown 12:00 AM ET

Your thoughts around the CBB scene? Be heard in the comments…