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A Sunday, March Madness Recruiting Tale: Geno Auriemma and UConn – Pat Summit and the University of Tennessee

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patgeno.jpgESPN’s Bob Ley, in Sunday’s excellent Outside the Lines segment on women’s college basketball, illuminated the “feud” between University of Tennessee Women’s basketball head coach, Pat Summit, and the University of Connecticut’s head coach, Geno Auriemma. The rivalry that was reached nasty status this summer when UConn extended a contract to continue the annual regular season meeting between the two teams and Summit and Tennessee refused.

It is no secret that the coaches dislike each other. It is no secret that, as the Boston Globe‘s Jackie McMillan said today on the OTL segments, that Auriemma wishes that Summit would understand the entertainment, “grow the game” through a staged rivalry side of their jobs, while Summit wishes Auriemma would take the game and everything around it more seriously and, as McMillan said, “respect the game” more.

However, there is something more than just a difference of perspective that led Summit and the Volunteer program to refuse to sign an extension for the teams’ annual meetings. The obvious question is why, but when that question was put to Summit, she refused to answer. For his part, Auriemma said that it comes down to an intense dislike on Summit’s part: “Sometimes you wonder why” [somebody doesn’t like you]. “I don’t know. I like me.”

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NCAA Saturday – Pregame: Turner Gill Time; Games to Watch

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turnergill.jpgIn only his second year as a head coach of a Division I school, Turner Gill is facing the most important stretch of games in his brief coaching career. The Buffalo Bills team he leads are used to being fodder for Mid-American Conference and powerful Division I schools. In the five seasons prior to Gill’s arrival at Buffalo the team won but five games. The Bills have won five so far in this Gill’s tenure. This season, though, the Bills, for the first time have won three conference games with a 3-1 record.

This Saturday, 3-4 Buffalo plays an out-of-conference game against in-state rival, Syracuse. The game is important on one level because the Bills can reach the .500 point for the first time this late in a season in school history.  But the game has added importance for Gill because the eyes of state of Nebraska are upon him.

In three years as quarterback for the University of Nebraska, Gill guided the Cornhuskers to a 28-2 record and a national championship game appearance. Additionally in his years at NU, Gill’s teams never lost a conference game. Before taking the job at Buffalo and becoming the sixth black Division I head coach,

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