One thing became vividly clear after a crazy Wednesday -- a guarantee that Milwaukee won't be knocking Bryce Drew out of the Horizon League tournament again next season.
Two news items -- one bombshell and one intriguing -- emerged within an hour of each other on Wednesday afternoon. First came word that Milwaukee, the defending Horizon League champion, is banned from postseason contention in the 2014-15 season because of a low Academic Performance Rate (APR) score. This is the same ban that Connecticut was hit with last season and it means the Panthers are ineligible for the NCAA tournament as well as the Horizon League tournament.
Wednesday's decision came from the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance. Milwaukee was made aware of the possible ban at an undisclosed earlier time period and filed an appeal. That appeal was unsuccessful on Wednesday, resulting in the one-year ban.
The second bit of news to come out of Wednesday could either be nothing or everything as far as Valparaiso is concerned. Bryce Drew has apparently emerged as a candidate for the Tulsa head coaching position according to various sources, including a report from the Tulsa World. This is the same position that Drew was linked to in 2012 before Danny Manning took over the program. Manning was hired by Wake Forest last week.
Word of Drew's candidacy started to roll in on Wednesday morning from an unconfirmed news tip to The Northwest Indiana Times. The rumor then picked up a little bit of steam when the Tulsa World linked Drew to the opening. This is second time in as many weeks that Drew has been linked to the position. The third-year coach was mentioned as a possible candidate last Friday by Tulsa's KOTV.
Messages left with Drew were not returned on Wednesday.
Drew has been linked to various positions over the last several years, notably Mississippi State and Tulsa in 2012 as well as rumors about Northwestern last year. Mississippi State is the only school where Drew had a confirmed interview and reports are that Drew backed out of a scheduled interview with Tulsa in 2012.
It's hard to gauge the validity of coaching rumors and something about Drew leaving Valparaiso for Tulsa just doesn't click for me, especially given that Drew signed a 10-year contract extension last December.
It was following that extension when Drew delivered a statement that made it sound like he had every intention of spending the entire 10-year run of the contract in Valpo.
"I definitely have a place in my heart for Valpo," Drew said. "Growing up I remember enjoying watching my dad and brother put their passion into building Valpo’s basketball program. Being a Valpo student athlete, I was able to experience everything about the university hands on. With all of that experience here coming to work does not feel like a job but a part of who I am.”
Follow @NWIOren for any continuing developments on this matter as well as the rest of the craziness of the Horizon League. You may now return to your regularly scheduled offseason.