Still smarting from the second-half smackdown at Duquesne on Tuesday, the Tigers packed their bags for a Saturday tilt at San Francisco’s Chase Center, the new home of the Golden State Warriors, in the first men’s college basketball game there. While the Tigers’ injury woes are not as serious as the Warriors’, they would miss Ryan Schwieger, who left Tuesday’s game after six minutes, amid an 82-72 defeat.
The only thing surprising about the news was its timing: hours before Columbia was set to host UC Irvine in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament final, a report that coach Kyle Smith would accept the same position at the University of San Francisco as soon as Thursday emerged from TV station KPIX.
Smith’s departure, confirmed with an announcement from USF Tuesday, has been a topic of discussion for years, more so now after he coached the Lions this year to what is one of their best seasons ever — a school-record 25 wins, plus the first postseason championship banner of any kind in Levien Gym. Add in the fact that three head coaching jobs opened up in the West Coast Conference this year — where Smith spent almost a decade as an assistant at Saint Mary’s — and the concept became more “probability” than “possibility.”