Cincinnati coach Jones weighing options


Cincinnati coach Jones weighing options

CINCINNATI (AP) Coach Butch Jones was weighing his options Tuesday after returning to Cincinnati's campus after two days of interviews at Purdue and Colorado.

Jones attended a news conference about the Bearcats' appearance in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 against Duke. Cincinnati (9-3) finished with a share of the Big East title for the fourth time in the last five years.

He declined to talk about his interviews or his future.

``I'm still the coach here, that's all that matters,'' Jones said. ``This is about the Belk Bowl. I have every intention (of coaching in the bowl). You have to understand why we're here. If you don't, we can end it right now.''

School officials were meeting with him to see what it would take to keep him at Cincinnati, where he's finishing his third season. He signed a contract extension following last season that stretches through 2017 with a $1.4 million buyout if he leaves before Jan. 1.

Keeping football coaches has been a challenge for Cincinnati. The last two used the job as a stepping stone to a bigger program, leaving after three-year stints.

Mark Dantonio oversaw the Bearcats' move into the Big East, but was discouraged with their inability to draw much of a crowd at 35,000-seat Nippert Stadium - a sticking point for years. Dantonio landed at Michigan State.

Brian Kelly took over after the 2006 season and led the program to its greatest heights, including appearances in the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. He also left after three seasons to coach at Notre Dame, his dream job. Kelly went to South Bend as the unbeaten Bearcats were preparing for their first Sugar Bowl appearance, leaving the team in disarray. They got drubbed by Florida, 51-24, while Kelly was settling in at Notre Dame.

Jones, who succeeded Kelly at Central Michigan, also replaced him at Cincinnati. The Bearcats have gone 23-14 in three seasons under Jones, including a win over Vanderbilt at the Liberty Bowl last season.

During Jones' tenure, the university has expanded its practice facilities, adding a football field with a protective bubble for bad weather. The school also has been trying to figure out a way to upgrade Nippert, which is the second-oldest playing site in the nation for a college team behind Penn's Franklin Field. Nippert has been in use since 1901.

Despite their Big East success, the Bearcats have played in front of less-than-capacity crowds at Nippert much of the time. They drew only 21,171 fans on senior night - their smallest crowd of the season - for a 27-10 win over South Florida.

The university also has been trying to find a place during the Big East's massive exodus. Last month, Louisville was accepted into the Atlantic Coast Conference, which also considered Cincinnati but chose one of its biggest rivals instead.

Jones interviewed at Purdue on Sunday and at Colorado a day later. Bearcats players have off this week before resuming practice for the Charlotte bowl. The players talked among themselves about Jones' future and were awaiting his decision.

Players were trying not to get caught up in the uncertainty.

``It's not a big deal for us,'' junior defensive lineman Jordan Stepp said.

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.