Live From New Orleans!

NEW ORLEANS – What better way to gear up for the spring AAU season than to spend a few days at the Final Four in the Big Easy. Having said that, here's some chatter from the Final Four.

Rumors, Innuendo Abound In New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans, the rumor and innuendo capital of college basketball.

To get a sense of what the Final Four is really like picture this: a 50-something man is in line at the rental car counter. He's clearly a professional scalper; if you couldn't tell by the derby and second rate sport coat, then a wad of fake IDs two inches thick had to give him away. This guy had enough imposter identification to get arrested 20 times before he could run out of personas.

Yet, after joking with the car rental agency that one of his ID's depicted him as John Lennon, they rented this man a vehicle. Actually, he was so entertaining that they gave him a new one. The obvious question: why rent a new car to a guy with 20 fake IDs in his pocket and do you really think he's bringing the car back?

Libations are always flowing at the Four, but in New Orleans, the intensity gets ratcheted up a level. Can you say 3-for-1 drinks at some of the bars on Bourbon Street?

CBS Sportsline mogul Dan Wetzel and ProServ chief Bret Bearup threw an opening night bash. From Bob Huggins to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, basketball knowledge was abound. Speaking of DeCourcy, is he the only major media member to have selected Texas before the tournament started?

While walking along Bourbon Street we were able to learn of the commitments of Maurice Maxwell to UMass and Yakhouba Diawara to Pepperdine.

And now for the good stuff, the coaching rumors …

We heard early in the day that Ed DeChellis would take over at Penn State. Assistant coach Tom Conrad will likely fight hard for the vacant ETSU job. … Later in the evening, the Seth Greenberg to Virginia Tech rumors came out of nowhere and apparently has a lot of validity. If that's the case, assistant Dave Zimroth will do his best to keep the USF job in the family. …

The leading candidate for the Western Illinois position is UNLV assistant coach Derek Thomas. The man responsible for signing Larry Hughes at St. Louis is also a prime Cleveland State candidate. …

The overall mood in New Orleans is shock and surprise for the way Matt Doherty's situation at North Carolina was handled. Most of the coaches we spoke with were really upset with the process by which change was enacted. …

Jeff Lebo's name comes up when the words Penn State are uttered. … The early word is that Wright State was very pleased with Paul Biancardi during the early part of the Wright State interview process. …

Texas assistant coach Frank Haith could have been the next head coach at Elon but our sources say the Burlington native opted to take a pass. South Carolina assistant Ernie Nestor is in the mix and over 100 people have applied for the gig.

Clemson continues to extend its deadline in hopes Tim Floyd accepts an offer. Georgia and possibly Memphis have Floyd's interest. Yes, we said Memphis. John Calipari's name pops up when the Pitt job is discussed. We also hear Herb Sendek and Bobby Gonzalez. However, if Calipari takes the gig, Floyd might be the man in Memphis. (Please note, we aren't trying to win a Pulitzer for investigative journalism this week, rather we're just trying to give you the temperature of the situations here in New Orleans).

On The Menu: We dined at Pat O'Brien's on Wednesday where alligator bites and shrimp creole were the order of the day. Patty O's is a great bar with a super tradition, but that can't be the best creole New Orleans has to offer.

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