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New-coach success stories in college hoops

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New-coach success stories in college hoops

In his first season as Kentucky's coach, John Calipari led the Wildcats to 35 wins and a trip to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

Coach Cal's first season was a bit of an anomaly; most coaches don't have that kind of success right after taking over a team.

Calipari did have an advantage. It was Kentucky, after all.

It usually takes a little longer for coaches to put their imprint on the program by getting their own players and their own philosophies in place.

Many don't get very long to do it, either, which is why there's so much turnover seemingly every year, including more than three dozen before this season.

Some of the new coaches have had decent starts at their new homes, while others have labored.

Here's a few that have had varying degrees of success so far:

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Larry Brown, SMU. Brown was 71 when he was hired and hadn't coached in college since leading Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title, so there were more than a few question marks when he took over the Mustangs. Brown made the transition a seamless one, leading SMU to eight wins in its first nine games while creating excitement that Moody Coliseum hasn't seen in years. The Mustangs (11-8) have lost three of four to open Conference USA, including Wednesday's 74-70 setback against conference leader Southern Mississippi, but Brown seems to have them on the right track, making it look like he never left the college game.

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Bruce Weber, Kansas State. Weber took over a program that had five straight 20-win seasons and had been to the NCAA tournament four times under previous coach Frank Martin. He's tried to keep the Wildcats rolling by being the anti-Martin - calm to fiery Frank's screaming. The nonconference schedule was shaky at times, including blowout losses to Michigan and Gonzaga, along with uninspired wins over Missouri-Kansas City and South Dakota. But the Wildcats (14-2) also upset then-No. 8 Florida and have opened the Big 12 season with three straight victories, including over No. 22 Oklahoma State in the opener, to move up to No. 16 in the latest Top 25 poll.

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Danny Manning, Tulsa. The former Kansas star was a protege under Bill Self in Lawrence, so he learned from one of college basketball's best. Manning took over a program that didn't have much of an identity and tried to mold it in his own hard-working image. It's been an up-and-down process. The Golden Hurricane opened with three wins their first four games, then lost four of six and are now back on the upward trend after opening Conference USA 3-1. He also beat his former coach, Larry Brown, when Pat Swilling Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left to give the Golden Hurricane (11-7) a 48-47 over SMU on Jan. 6. Beating his former coach is a nice accomplishment no matter what happens the rest of the way.

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Kevin Ollie, Connecticut. The former Huskies point guard was given a one-year contract to serve as Jim Calhoun's successor after the Hall of Fame coach retired last year. The school's administration didn't get halfway through the season before signing him to a long-term deal that will keep him at UConn through the 2017-18 season. Despite losing five underclassmen after Calhoun left, the Huskies opened 10-2. UConn followed with losses to Marquette and new No. 1 Louisville on Monday night, but it also beat then-No. 17 Notre Dame on the road. The Huskies (12-4) still have a tough road through the Big East, but have their coach for the future in Ollie.

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Frank Martin, South Carolina. Martin was elevated to the head job at Kansas State after Bob Huggins left. He turned the Wildcats into a national power and now he's trying to do the same thing in Columbia. Taking over a program that had gone into a free-fall the previous four seasons under Darrin Horn, Martin had his work cut out for him with a team picked to finish 13th in the SEC. Martin's intensity has worked so far with the Gamecocks (11-5), who opened the season strong and gave Martin his first win the conference by beating LSU on Wednesday after a pair of opening SEC losses.

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Richard Pitino, Florida International. Like Manning, Pitino learned from one of the best minds in basketball. Unlike Manning, his mentor was his father, Louisville coach Rick Pitino. The younger Pitino got his first head-coaching job at 29 and had a big hill to climb at FIU, taking over a program that hasn't had a winning record since going 16-14 in 1999-2000. Even with a roster he had to piece together, Pitino has been able to make the Golden Panthers (8-8) respectable, keeping them around .500 most of the season. Not bad for a program that has struggled for so long.

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Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

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Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

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