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Dan Hurley, UConn agree to new contract; Is the NCAA Tournament expanding again?

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

πŸ’° Good morning to everyone, but especially to …


When Dan Hurley spurned the Lakers to return to UConn nearly a month ago, Huskies athletic director Dave Benedict said, “We look forward to Dan’s continued leadership on and off the court at UConn.”

Monday, Benedict and the rest of UConn athletics put their money where their mouth is, agreeing to a six-year, $50-million contractΒ with their star head coach.

  • With Hurley now at $8.3 million per year, only KansasBill Self makes more on an annual basis.
  • Hurley is fresh off leading UConn to consecutive titles, the first program to go back-to-back since Florida in 2006-07. The Huskies are No. 5 in Gary Parrish’s Top 25 And 1 as they seek a three-peat.

After rejecting the Lakers, Hurley adamantly told CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander he wasn’t using Lakers negotiations as a leverage play. After all, the Lakers offered six years and $70 million, so if it was truly all about money, Hurley might’ve ended up in Los Angeles.

But UConn has several inherent advantages. Hurley is from the Northeast, as is his wife — a reason he quickly shot down Kentucky rumors following the national title game — and he’s building a bonafide dynasty in Storrs. He can coach how he wants (exacting, demanding and sometimes borderline nuts) and who he wants. Now, he’s going to do it for the foreseeable future, right where he’s meant to be.

πŸ‘ Honorable mentions

πŸ‘Ž Not so honorable mentions

πŸ€ Why the NCAA should keep the tournament field at 68


It’s flown under the radar, but the future of the NCAA Tournament as we know it is at stake.

The NCAA men’s basketball committee — the same 12 athletic directors who determine the bracket on Selection Sunday — are meeting this weekend to discuss the future of the tournament. The biggest item on the docket? Potential tournament expansion.

According to Matt Norlander, the NCAA is considering three options:

  1. Keep the field at 68 teams
  2. Increase the bracket to 72
  3. Inflate to 76

The suggestion dates back to 2021, and this week represents another crucial step. But Matt says expanding would be the wrong choice and laid out five reasons why, including …

  • Norlander:Most sports fans are against expansion — Power-hungry commissioners, fidgety athletic directors and insecure coaches are most definitely NOT looking out for the betterment of college basketball. Adding schools is a water-down effect. It’s a bald effort to tack on four or eight more double-digit-loss teams. These games would be tossed into the mix on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the first round, by the way. Keep in mind: Every team you add to the field, that means another team is taken out of the 64-team bracket and placed into a Tuesday/Wednesday matchup. Careful what you wish for.”

And if you’re thinking, “All the NCAA cares about is money” … you’re probably right. But, as Matt explains, there wouldn’t be much — if any — more money on the table.

πŸ€ Paris Olympics men’s basketball power rankings

Basketball’s global rise has been remarkable. Going by national team status …

  • Five of the last six MVP awards have gone to international players, and each of the top four finishers in 2024 MVP voting were international players.
  • Five of the last seven Defensive Player of the Year awards have gone to international players.
  • Four of the five All-NBA first-team selections last season were international players.
  • France‘sΒ Victor Wembanyama — is the reigning Rookie of the Year.

Still, Team USA enters the Paris Olympics as the prohibitive favorite for gold; it would be their fifth straight gold and eighth in the last nine Olympics. The Americans’ ridiculously loaded roster features the game’s biggest names, several potential future faces of the NBA — Anthony Edwards certainly isn’t lacking confidence — and a mix of skill sets. Team USA is an easy pick atop Jasmyn Wimbish’s Paris Olympics men’s basketball power rankings.

But as the bullet points imply, it won’t be easy, and the No. 2 team in Jasmyn’s rankings is emerging as a global power.

  • Wimbish:2. Canada — Canada has the best collection of talent to compete with Team USA, and the Canadians are going to be incredibly difficult to score on. They’re fielding a roster with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett, Dillon Brooks, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Lu Dort, just to name a few. They may struggle to contain bigs like Joel Embiid, Wemby and Nikola Jokic, but they’re going to be a nightmare to contain on both ends of the floor.”

Lucky for us, we’ll see the USA and Canada play each other in a showcase tomorrow. The Americans will play five showcase gamesΒ before opening their Olympics against Jokic and Serbia on July 28.

πŸ€ WNBA Power Rankings: New No. 1, Caitlin Clark and Fever hold steady

The 2024 WNBA season is about halfway through, and things are as competitive as ever. The Liberty and Sun — both 17-4 — share the top spot in the standings. The Commissioner’s Cup-champion Lynx are third, a couple of games back of the leaders and a game ahead of the fourth-place Storm. The two-time reigning-champion Aces are fifth, having won seven of their last eight after a surprisingly up-and-down start, and sit just a half-game back of Seattle.

Those five have seemingly separated themselves from the rest of the league. And we have a new squad occupying the rotating door for No. 1 in Jack Maloney’s WNBA Power Rankings.

  • Maloney: “1. Sun — The Sun got back on track this week with three wins from three tries to move back into a tie for first place. DeWanna Bonner knocked down a career-high seven 3-pointers in their win over the Dream on Sunday, which was just one shy of the franchise record. This was a big stretch for the Sun ahead of a tough run-in to the Olympic break that includes two matchups with the Liberty.”

Here’s the reworked top five:

  1. Sun (previous: 4)
  2. Liberty (1)
  3. Aces (3)
  4. Lynx (2)
  5. Storm (6)

And just outside that top five are Caitlin Clark and the Fever, who remained at No. 6. Indiana has steadied after a tough start. Clark had the WNBA’s first triple-double by a rookie in a win over the Liberty, and the race between her and fellow record-setter Angel Reese for Rookie of the Year remains tight.

πŸ“Ί What we’re watching Tuesday

🎾 Wimbledon, 8 a.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
⚽ Euro 2024 — Semifinal: Spain vs. France, 3 p.m. on Fox
⚾ Dodgers at Phillies, 6:40 p.m. on TBS
πŸ€Β Grizzlies vs. 76ers, 7 p.m. on ESPN
⚽ Copa America — Semifinal: Argentina vs. Canada, 8 p.m. on FS1
πŸ€Β Thunder vs. Jazz, 9 p.m. on ESPN2
πŸ€ Hornets vs. Kings, 10 p.m. on NBA TV

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Author: Zachary Pereles
July 9, 2024 | 9:21 am

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