Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Late coach on minds

SAN JOSE, Calif. — New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies watched video of St. Louis all week, and a common theme kept showing up on every play he analyzed.

"You can see Rick Majerus all over them, throughout the fiber of how they play," said Menzies, who coached against Majerus' Utah teams while at San Diego State from 1999 to 2003. "There's no question that they're playing inspired by him, and especially on the defensive end."

More than three months since his death, Majerus' style still lives on through his players.

St. Louis will be looking to carry on the memory of the affable and animated coach in the way he so often made his mark in March: with a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. The fourth-seeded Billikens must first find a way to get past 13th-seeded New Mexico State and 7-foot-5 freshman Sim Bhullar today.

"The way we play, we play 40 minutes, from the tip to the end with hard work and competitiveness of our team. That kind of spread from Coach Majerus," said G Kwamain Mitchell, the first player Majerus recruited to the school. "He's so competitive. He hated losing. And that's one of the things he preached and he coached. And he got everybody on the same page to coach and play the way that he does."

Majerus left the team before the season because of health concerns. He died of heart failure in December at age 64. There has been no drop in production from the team assembled by Majerus, who ended the school's 12-year NCAA Tournament drought last spring.

Jim Crews took over and led the Billikens to the Atlantic 10 regular season and conference crowns. St. Louis also has tied the 1988-89 team with 27 victories, including a school-record five wins against Top 25 programs.

NEW DEAL FOR ALFORD: Steve Alford loves New Mexico and New Mexico loves Alford. Those simple facts made the eve of the second round of the NCAA Tournament as good a time as any for the Lobos to announce they've given their coach a new, 10-year contract that could be worth up to $2 million a year counting base salary and bonuses. The deal calls for Alford, 48, to be in Albuquerque through 2023.

'CUSE INVESTIGATED: Syracuse has been under investigation for possible NCAA violations, mostly in its basketball program, for at least a year, according to cbssports.com and the Post-Standard of Syracuse. The newspaper reported that the investigation includes the handling of former player Fab Melo's academic eligibility. In 2012, the star center was declared ineligible for the NCAA Tournament days before it started. "Same story they had last year at this time," coach Jim Boeheim said. "I guess that's annual."

VETERAN VALPO: When 14th-seeded Valparaiso shoots to upset third-seeded Michigan State today, experience will be on its side even though the Spartans are in the tourney for a 16th consecutive year. The Crusaders start five seniors, two of whom are in their fifth season, and their nine-man rotation includes only upperclassmen. "It scares me a little bit," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

PRESIDENT'S BRACKET: President Barack Obama's bracket has Indiana winning it all, ESPN revealed. He predicted Louisville, Ohio State and Florida would round out the Final Four. On the women's side, Obama selected Baylor, California, UConn and Notre Dame to advance to New Orleans.

Comments

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER — The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

USF redshirt sophomore F Tulio Da Silva, one of three remaining Bulls scholarship players signed by former coach Orlando Antigua, has left the program in what was described as a mutual decision."I met with Tulio and his family this week to discuss hi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Why I love the NHL All-Star Game

Why I love the NHL All-Star Game

I love the NHL All-Star Game.Love it.Give me a game where Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are teammates. Give me a two-on-one rush where Nikita Kucherov is trying to set up Auston Matthews. Sign me up for any game where the best hockey players on the...
Updated: 5 minutes ago

Captain’s Corner: Live baits outperforming artificials

Amberjack have been the hot topic in the area since their season opened Jan. 1. Anglers have been targeting wrecks and other large structures in depths of 80-120 feet for these tackle-testing monsters. Although amberjack are caught on a wide variety ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: La Salle at Rhode Island11 a.m.CBSSNPurdue at IowanoonESPNFlorida State at Virginia TechnoonESPN2; 1010-AMWichita State at HoustonnoonESPNUVillanova at ConnecticutnoonCBSSt. John’s at GeorgetownnoonFS1Ohio State at Minne...
Published: 01/19/18
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Published: 01/19/18

Well Humored ready to get back on a dirt track

OLDSMAR — It is time for Well Humored to get dirty again.The WinStar Farm homebred makes her first start on the Tampa Bay Downs main track Saturday afternoon in the $50,000 Wayward Lass, one of three stakes events on the Skyway Festival Day 11-race p...
Published: 01/19/18