Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:06PM

Luke Winn has a great Q&A with Ian Mooney in his tourney blog. Amongst the highlights are the locker room pranks, Dexter Pittman’s poor sense of geography, and Mooney’s future as the Texas point guard. Check, check, check it out.

Lute Olson is now back as the Arizona coach in a full-time capacity, and he gave an exclusive telephone interview to ESPN’s Andy Katz. If Coach Olson is correct about how many of his players will return next season, the state of Arizona is going to be a basketball powerhouse. The ASU/’Zona series could quickly gain traction as a top-flight rivalry with national implications.

In coaching news a little closer to home, on Thursday Jeff Capel signed a three-year extension with Oklahoma. Capel — whose name had been floated in the South Carolina coaching search — will also enjoy a $300,000 raise per season, bringing his total compensation above the one-million dollar mark. It looks like fans in Norman will get to enjoy angry stares and pouting sessions for years to come.

And you thought the Aggies hated the Longhorns? I’m sure that anyone reading this page has seen the Sheraton commercial where fans from nasty rivalries share elevators, computers, and even chicken wings. But you may have been confused by the juxtaposition of Lousville and Memphis, rather than the Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats. But according to UK assistant athletic director Jason Schlafer, the Wildcats were asked first, but declined citing no prior relationship with Sheraton hotels. Or perhaps just an unquenchable fire of hate for the school just down the road?

If you just can’t wait for this evening’s Elite 8 games to start, the tubes of the interweb have more than enough content to hold you over. Luke Winn previews and predicts the Elite 8 games, while the folks at Rush the Court take a more detailed look at today’s doubleheader. But March Madness All Season breaks it down the most, with in-depth looks at both Carolina/Louisville in the East and UCLA/Xavier from the West region.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 1:30PM

By the time you’re reading this, the Longhorns and Sooners will have wrapped up their semifinal. I’ll either be enjoying the Kansas/A&M tilt, or slouched in my chair wishing I were anywhere but the Sprint Center. But since I’m writing this before we head to the arena, the mood for today’s news wrap will be still be upbeat.

Joe Lunardi’s Saturday Bracketology has the Aggies climbing to an 8-seed after dispatching K-State last night. Baylor is still clinging to life as an 11-seed after their quarterfinal exit to the cellar-dwelling Buffaloes. A&M fans will be delighted to notice that their opponent in Lunardi’s projected 8/9 game is lovable Coach Billy Gillispie and his Kentucky Wildcats. Guess they’d better beat Kansas and play up to a higher seed, eh?

An email hit my inbox this morning from Baylor, where they are planning a Selection Sunday watch party at the Ferrell Center. CBS television crews are expected to be in the house to get the reactions of the Bears after they earn their first NCAA bid in 20 years. Of course, if they fail to make the field of 65, that could be some of the most depressing television since Emily’s Reasons Why Not.

Happen to miss the insane final five seconds of the Indiana/Minnesota game last night? Well, it’s not just you, because the game was on the Big 10 Network, one of the worst inventions in the history of mankind. But thanks to YouTube, you can check out the highlights right now.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 7:28AM

Nothing of concern for bubblers last night, as the auto bids handed out to Portland State and Mount St. Mary’s both came from one-bid conferences. There were a few games of note involving teams on the bubble, so things may be starting to come into focus. Villanova took out Syracuse in the Big East, which likely knocked the Orange out of contention. The win won’t make the ‘Cats breathe any easier yet, but if they happen to pull off the upset today against Georgetown (11 AM CDT, ESPN), then they would be looking quite safe.

The Pac-10 is also setting up nicely for some bubble games, with both Cal and Arizona advancing to the quarterfinals. USC takes on Arizona State (2 PM CDT), while Washington State faces Oregon (8 PM CDT) and Arizona looks to boost its résumé against Stanford (10:30 PM CDT). And although the second quarterfinal of the day has no bubble implications, Cal will be looking for revenge against UCLA after last week’s controversial game in Pauley Pavilion (4:30 PM CDT).

Closer to home, Big 12 tournament play kicks off in Kansas City this morning. We sold our first-round tickets, so we will miss at least the first three games as we drive up today. Personally, we’re pulling for Tech in the first quarterfinal, as Oklahoma State seems to be a more threatening opponent. Sure, the Red Raiders beat Texas just a few weeks ago, but that game was in Lubbock and the Horns had one of their worst defensive performances in months. Oklahoma State took Texas to the wire twice, and we all know the axiom about how hard it is to beat a team three times in one season…

As we’ll be leaving shortly to hit the road, we won’t be around much to discuss the first-round games. You can start your day off with an opening round preview at Burnt Orange Nation or the mini-preview of the conference tourney from Rush the Court.

Luke Winn is back with his four-week Tourney Blog at SI.com. Dude gets to travel the country for March Madness, write about it, and gets paid. Meanwhile, I’m self-financing this gig. I wonder if he needs an intern…

Posted by Ryan Clark at 11:15AM

Texas remained a 2-seed in Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, although he shifted them out West to Phoenix. There’s still a week to go, but it’s pretty safe to say that Texas is a solid 2-seed — barring back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and in the Big 12 Quarterfinals — but now the question is where. Personally, my only concern is to not draw the Detroit site. One trip to that city per season is enough for me.

Fans who want to check out the Kansas/Texas A&M game can still buy tickets, thanks to a majority of the Aggie students heading home for Spring Break. Unsold student tickets can now be bought at this link, so if you’re in the area and want to catch the 3 P.M. showdown, you’ve still got a shot.

Big 12 hoopsheads or fans of teams seeded five through twelve can buy my Big 12 Tourney tickets for Session 1 and 2 off of eBay. All games are on Thursday in the Sprint Center, and you can bid using these links for Session 1 and Session 2.

Apparently there are some technical difficulties with the Flash video player, as it will only work for one video per page. That means if you try to watch the Baylor video while the Tech one is still on the main page, you get the Tech video. Yet if you click over to the Baylor write-up by itself, the video plays just fine. All of the technobabble that makes this stuff work is just Greek to me, so I’ve passed it along to some more knowledgeable folks to see what they can do. For now, if you want to watch the Baylor video, you can view it on the single-entry page.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 5:24PM

We’re just hours from the last Big Monday of the year, which means that conference tournaments are right around the corner. Cornell already punched their NCAA ticket in the tournament-less Ivy League, while the Big South, Ohio Valley, and Horizon all kick off their conference knockouts tomorrow.

The road loss to Tech didn’t hurt the Horns too much, as Texas slid four spots to #9 in both rankings. North Carolina was the benefactor of Tennessee’s loss in Nashville, with the Heels taking over first in both polls. Kansas was the only other Big 12 team to be ranked (5th by the AP and 6th by the coaches), while Baylor received votes in both polls and A&M earned three points in the AP despite losing four of their last five.

The loss also knocked Texas to a 2-seed in Lunardi’s latest projection, although it put the Horns back in Houston for the second weekend. Kansas also earned a 2-seed in this projection, with Kansas State (8), Baylor (9), Oklahoma (9), and Texas A&M (10) also making the field.

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