Billy Gillispie is back in the Big 12.
Texas Tech hired the former Texas A&M head coach Sunday, agreeing to a five-year contract, the school said in a news release.
“Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to spend significant time with Billy and I am absolutely confident that he will lead our basketball program back to the national spotlight while positively representing our university,” said athletic director Kirby Hocutt in a statement. “There are exciting years ahead for Red Raider basketball.”
Gillispie replaces Pat Knight, who publicly endorsed Gillispie after stepping down. The new coach will be introduced at a news conference in Lubbock on Wednesday.
“Texas Tech is a great school that is located in a great community and is part of one of the toughest conferences in the country,” Gillispie said in the statement. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Gillispie’s last stint was in Kentucky, where he went 40-27 in two seasons but was fired after failing to lead the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years.
The last time Gillispie coached in the Big 12 was in 2007, when he led the Aggies to the Sweet 16.
Kansas moves on
While upsets reigned supreme on Sunday, top-seeded Kansas advanced to the Sweet 16 after outlasting eighth-seeded Illinois 73-59.
The Jayhawks’ duo of twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris willed KU past the Illini down the stretch, scoring 24 of Kansas’ first 29 points in the second half.
But it was KU’s defense, not the Morris twins’ offense, which sealed the victory for Bill Self’s squad. Illinois, fresh off shooting 60 percent against UNLV in the second round, shot just 38.3 percent against a stifling Jayhawks defense.
Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson shut down the Illini’s top scorer, point guard Demtri McCamey, limiting the senior to just six points — well below his 15 point average. McCamey made just two of nine shots from the field, and missed four of his five three-point attempts.
“He got frustrated, down on himself,” said Illinois coach Bruce Weber to reporters after the game. “He needed one of those shots to go to feel good about himself.”
But the Morris twins had plenty to feel good about as each recorded double-doubles for the Jayhawks. The tandem combined for 41 points and 24 rebounds.
Kansas will play 12th-seeded Richmond on Friday in San Antonio.
... But Wildcats go home early
Try as he might, Jacob Pullen couldn’t get Kansas State to the Sweet 16.
Despite 38 points from their team leader, the Wildcats fell 70-65 to fourth-seeded Wisconsin on Saturday.
The loss spoiled a heroic effort from Pullen, who became the Wildcats’ career-scoring leader with a layup in the second half.
“None of that stuff matters right now,” Pullen said after the game. “Maybe months or some time from right now I will look back and enjoy it. But right now with a loss, I don’t really care about it. It means nothing to me.”
Pullen scored 17 points in 15 minutes of action in the first half, and fellow senior Curtis Kelly chipped in nine. But no one else wearing purple registered a field goal before halftime.
“Jacob made shots,” said KSU head coach Frank Martin. “But no one else did.”
The Wildcats turned things around in the second half and carved out a 40-36 advantage after opening with a 10-0 run.
But the Badgers proved too much for the Wildcats down the stretch and sent them home for the second time in the past