Selection Sunday was just another Sunday for Wright State junior AJ Pacher. The big man from Vandalia Butler had no interest in seeing where Valparaiso landed, not with the pain of the Raiders’ loss in the Horizon League championship game so fresh.
Pacher eventually came across the NCAA tournament news on Twitter, but he avoided the selection show on CBS.
“I didn’t watch it,” Pacher said. “I couldn’t really watch it. That game hurt. I still think about it all the time.”
Kendall Griffin, on the other hand, admitted to watching some of the show, but it was tough. The sophomore guard kept thinking about close Wright State was to earning an invitation to the big dance.
The Raiders led Valparaiso by six with under six minutes to play, but ended up losing 62-54. Wright State (21-12) accepted a berth in the College Basketball Invitational on Sunday night, and it will play Tulsa (17-15) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Nutter Center.
“I like playing,” Griffin said, “so as long as we keep playing, I’m all for it. This team needs some tournament experience in preparation for next year.”
Tulsa, which made the NCAA final eight in 2000 but hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 2003, won the first CBI in 2008.
Coaching rumor: It’s not surprising Wright State coach Billy Donlon’s name is already circulating as a candidate for the head coaching job at Northwestern.
Reports in the Chicago Tribune and on ESPN.com have listed Donlon’s name alongside Duke assistant Chris Collins, a Chicago native, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew, Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen, and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, among many others.
Donlon attended Glenbrook North High School in Chicago, and his dad Bill Donlon Sr. was an assistant coach at Northwestern from 1987-94.
Northwestern fired coach Bill Carmody after 13 seasons last weekend. Donlon said he had not been contacted by Northwestern.
“I think reporters sometimes, in order to finish the rest of the article, have to throw some names in there,” Donlon said. “I love Wright State. I love coaching these kids. I feel like, especially after the loss (to Valparaiso), there’s a lot of unfinished business to do here.”
Tulsa at Wright State, 7 p.m., 100.3