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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Moments ‘Til Madness: What’s new in college hoops

The most important storylines in the sport right now.

"Moments 'Til Madness " Column Graphic
Graphic by Gretta Goorno

With just under two months left until March Madness, college basketball is heating up with news. Here are my favorite storylines from this week.

DePaul University fires Head Coach Tony Stubblefield halfway through his third season

This move was expected with the Blue Demons’ 3–15 record to start the season. DePaul currently sits at dead last in the Big East, having yet to win a conference game. Looking at the metrics, the team is ranked No. 279 by KenPom and No. 309 in the NCAA NET Rankings, putting them over 100 spots lower than any other Big East team in both. But Stubblefield did accomplish some things earlier in his DePaul career, winning 15 games in his first season at the school. He followed this up, though, with a 10–23 record in 2023. Not to mention, the team won just three out of their 20 Big East games. While DePaul has never had a history of dominance in the sport, it was clear Stubblefield was not the right fit and needed to go sooner rather than later. Matt Brady, the former special assistant to the head coach, will serve as the interim head coach for the Blue Demons for the rest of the season.

Zvonimir Ivišić impresses in his University of Kentucky debut

While many college basketball watchers were likely not aware of this 7-foot-2 Croatian phenom, Kentucky fans had been waiting for this day for quite some time. The NCAA approved his eligibility on Saturday, which was needed as Ivišić had been playing professionally overseas. The big man wasted no time, displaying his unique abilities in his 16 minutes of play versus the University of Georgia on Saturday. Ivišić finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks, along with a flashy behind-the-back pass leading to a 3-pointer. Finally getting to see the Wildcats at full strength, I’m fairly confident this team will prove to be a real contender to win it all this season. Just one game back in the SEC standings, Kentucky should be the favorite to win the conference.

The University of Kansas might not be a top four team in the country

On Saturday, the Jayhawks fell to the University of West Virginia Mountaineers, a 7–11 team that lost Bob Huggins, their Hall of Fame head coach, this offseason. While flukes like this definitely occur in the sport quite often, Bill Self’s team already lost to the University of Central Florida about a week earlier. Kansas is now ranked No. 19 on KenPom and No. 14 in the NCAA NET Rankings. Obviously, those aren’t terrible numbers, but many expected this team to win the Big 12 and be a clear No. 1 seed come March. This could still be in the cards for this team, but the players are definitely not playing like that as of now. Moreover, the team has yet to hit the hardest part of its conference schedule. Kansas still hasn’t faced five out of the six other ranked teams in the Big 12, and it’s already dropped two games to non-tournament teams. Its resumé for a one seed in March is not looking great.