College basketball notebook: Report says UCLA wants Butler coach Stevens
ESPN reports Butler coach Brad Stevens is UCLA's top target to replace Ben Howland as coach.
But Stevens reaffirmed his coaching status in a text message to the network Thursday.
“I'm the coach at Butler,” Stevens wrote. “As you know, my stance is to not comment on any other speculation or situation.”
Several candidates have been mentioned for the UCLA job, including some with NBA experience. But a source close to the search told ESPN that “Dan is focused on a college coach.”
Two former UCLA assistants and current head coaches — N.C. State's Mark Gottfried and Washington's Lorenzo Romar — are said to be on the Bruins' shortlist, several sources have told ESPN.
Texas Tech gets in touch with Tubby
Texas Tech contacted former Minnesota coach Tubby Smith about its vacant coaching position, multiple sources told ESPN.
Smith was expected to meet with Red Raiders officials soon, according to one of the sources.
Texas Tech has met with a handful of other coaches about the job, including Oral Roberts' Scott Sutton, Southern Illinois' Barry Hinson, New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies, Indiana assistant Steve McClain and former UTEP and Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, who's now a Kansas assistant.
West Liberty advances
Alex Falk and Cedric Harris each scored 23 points and were among six players in double figures as West Liberty defeated Winona State, 110-84, in an NCAA Division II Elite Eight game in Lexington, Ky.
West Liberty (34-1), the top seed from the Atlantic Region, advances to the D-II Final Four. The Hilltoppers will meet Metropolitan State (31-2) at noon Saturday, with the winner advancing to the D-II championship game April 7 in Atlanta.
Off the court
N.C. State's Lorenzo Brown and Arkansas' B.J. Young say they are leaving school early to enter the NBA Draft. ... Drake hired Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti as its new coach. ... Ken Bone said he will return as Washington State's coach next season.