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WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THESE COACHES MAY HAVE TO GO

You want to be a college basketball coach? Nah. Didn't think so. There's all the pressure from alumni and boosters. Not to mention the dastardly media. Plus you've constantly got to worry about what untidy deeds the 18-year-olds you're in charge of are involved in.

Here's a list of some of those really feeling the heat this season, either from the standings or from school administrators thinking about making a change.

Jim Calhoun, UConn: Can the Huskies go from national champs to chumps in just two years? Sure can. UConn is just 2-5 in the Big East heading into today's game against Virginia Tech and in danger of missing the conference tournament altogether (the last-place team in each division doesn't get to go to New York). UConn (12-7) has lost five straight and its 11-1 start was thanks to a brutally weak nonleague schedule.

Kevin Bannon, Rutgers: He treats his players shabbily (remember the naked free throw shooting contest involving Iona's Earl Johnson and St. Joe's product Josh Sankes of Holy Cross?) and treats his assistants shabbily (Buffalo's Rob Lanier is at Texas after enduring time on Bannon's bench). He's 0-8 in the Big East and almost assured of missing the tournament. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He could be gone soon after the season finale.

Brian Ellerbe, Michigan: He couldn't coach in the MAAC when he was at Loyola and he still can't. Big Ten fans now refer to his team as the "Woeverines." They were down by 42 at home to Michigan State on Tuesday night, they lost their opener to Oakland, and were facing a 34-2 deficit in an eventual 104-61 pounding at Duke. Athletic Director Bill Martin gave the Ellerbe watch added fuel Tuesday when he said: "I think they're playing hard but they just don't seem organized out there at either end of the court."

Pat Kennedy, DePaul: His team is just 6-10 against Division I teams and went 2-6 in January. "I'm looking forward to February," Kennedy said after a rare win, Wednesday's 86-68 triumph at Saint Louis. "I hope I never have another January like we just had." Let's see how the Blue Demons do today at Cincinnati.

Denny Crum, Louisville: Sure, he beat Cincinnati last week the night after a meeting with school officials discussing his shaky status. But after making the Elite Eight in 1997, the Cardinals have overscheduled and underrecruited. Crum might be the longest-tenured coach in the nation shown the door after the season.

Mike Davis, Indiana: If Davis wanted his interim status removed, he didn't help himself by publicly wondering if he was the right man for the job after a December loss to Kentucky. He's backed off those comments but he still may not get the job. The Hoosiers are 4-4 in the Big Ten, alternating losses and wins over the last eight games. Can Davis get IU over the hump, as he did when it beat then-No. 1 Michigan State? Or is he too ordinary for a school that thinks winning is a birth right?

Max Good, UNLV: Bill Bayno's interim replacement is 9-3 in his last 12 games and the losses (Utah, BYU and Georgetown) are all against teams in the top 70 of the RPIs. Thanks for nothing. Good is likely to get whacked in favor of Rick Pitino.

Rob Evans, Arizona State: No way the Sun Devils were expected to be 0-7 in the Pac 10. ASU (8-10) has several wins (Winthrop, Southern Utah, Colgate, Mercer and Belmont) against lightweights.

Steve Lavin, UCLA: Yes, he has a reputation of being unable to coach in the big game. But how would you feel if your boss kick-started the process to replace you when you thought you were doing a good job? That's what AD Peter Dalis has done to Lavin by dallying in the Pitino rumor mill. On the court, however, the Bruins are flourishing. A 4-4 start that included a loss to Cal State-Northridge is a memory. UCLA is 12-6 and has a top-20 RPI heading into today's showdown at Stanford.

Eddie Fogler, South Carolina: He turned down North Carolina, his alma mater, over the summer before the Tar Heels turned to Matt Doherty. Wonder what Fogler is thinking now. His team is 3-4 and last in the SEC East heading into today's game against Kentucky.

Around the rim

All Big 12 teams will wear orange and black bands on their shoulder straps the rest of the season in honor of the 10 lives lost in last week's Oklahoma State plane crash. Because of the proximity of the Buffalo airport and other major Northeast hubs, Big 4 teams almost never fly on small charter planes like the OSU one that went down outside Denver. . . . The 17-for-17 showing at the foul line by Niagara's Demond Stewart on Jan. 25 at St. Peter's was the best in NU and MAAC history. The NCAA mark is 24 for 24 by Oklahoma State's Arlen Clark against Colorado in 1959. . . . Ex-Canisius forward Alex Barnhill is averaging 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds at Albany after gaining his eligibility for the second semester following his transfer last year. Albany and fellow independent Stony Brook, coached by former Canisius boss Nick Macarchuk, are joining the America East conference next season. . . . Maryland is going to ban its students' daily pregame newspaper toss at the visiting team in the wake of a game-long debrisfest last week against Duke that culminated with a full water bottle drilling the mother of Duke's Carlos Boozer in the head. Meanwhile, Iowa is banning its band from singing the lyrics to "In Heaven There is No Beer" because of complaints it promotes excessive underage drinking.

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