Welcome to the Rose Garden.The Shockers arrived in Portland on Tuesday night. They have a press conference today at 2:25 (Wichita time), followed by a 35-minute public practice at the Rose Garden. I’m sure they will have a real practice off-site.
The other seven schools follow a similar routine. Davidson is first up, followed by Long Beach State, Louisville, New Mexico, WSU, Indiana, VCU and New Mexico State.
The Rose Garden is the NBA home of the Trail Blazers, with a capacity close to 20,000. It is similar to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis in size, although nicer and cleaner, at least a first glance.
As you probably know, South Carolina needs a basketball coach, and Gregg Marshall has roots there. His name tops the list when the speculation starts, although Jeff Capel’s name is also out there. VCU will endure something similar with coach Shaka Smart and Illinois.
My limited experience covering these situations tells me that Marshall will say he is used to this deal because it has happened to him many times, at Winthrop and WSU, and that will be about all. Really, there’s nothing more to be said at this time, unless he wants to come out and declare himself permanently off limits at WSU. While rumors heat up, we don’t know if or when South Carolina will make a move, and we don’t know if Marshall is interested. You might hear a lot from people who claim to know what’s going on. I’ve found that circle of people in the know is pretty small, and most of them aren’t talking.
I don’t expect it to be a distraction for the players or coaches. The only thing worse than losing a coach, would be to lose a coach after losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The five seniors have worked too hard to let something like this knock them off course.