Dan Hurley

Final Fours are finished, but the basketball beat goes on.

In Boston, it’s a downbeat. Point guard Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s most dynamic players, is out for the balance of the season due to an infection in his already surgically repaired left knee. On Saturay he had two screws removed from his kneecap that were inserted in 2015 after he fractured the kneecap in the NBA Finals. Two weeks ago he had had a tension wire removed to alleviate pain in his knee. 

The new men’s basketball coach at the University of Rhode Island is the school’s top assistant, David Cox, according to university spokeswoman Linda Acciardo. Cox will be paid $700,000 annually for five years under his contract with the university.

National Weather Service

Rhode Island and Connecticut are two bordering New England states whose residents have usually gotten along. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders has noticed that relations have gotten chippy lately.

In the end, it’s almost always about money, isn’t it? A bigger paycheck, extra cash for the kids college fund, the retirement account, the vacation to Disney World.

Univerity of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island basketball coach Dan Hurley, who has resurrected the URI men’s program and taken the Rams to two consecutive NCAA tournaments, is leaving to coach at the University of Connecticut for a salary reported to be about $3 million a year.

Rhode Island’s best sports performers of 2017 will receive their proper recognition during the 72nd Annual Words Unlimited Sports Awards Banquet Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Cranston Country Club. Words Unlimited is the state’s organization of sports writers, broadcaster and publicists.

Here are the honorees:

TEAM OF THE YEAR

The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team won the Atlantic 10 tournament, made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years, beat Creighton in the first round, lost to Oregon in the second round and finished 25-10. 

The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team continues to shine. In what has become a special season, the Dan Hurley-coached Rams are drawing national attention, always a plus in the run up to the NCAA tournament and March Madness.

URI is ranked 18th nationally in the Associated Press weekly poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches poll. That puts Rhody on top of such perennial college basketball royalty as North Carolina (22nd in AP) and Kentucky (24th in AP).

If you are a college basketball fan in Rhode Island, it doesn’t get much better than the thrills URI provided its long-suffering fans on Sunday. The fourth-seeded Rams stymied a late rally by second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth and won the Atlantic-10 Championship, 70-63, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

As balloons descended from the rafters, Rhody players pulled championship T-shirts over their uniforms, hugged each other and hugged the impressive championship trophy. The real prize, though, was the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to raise the salaries of some of Rhode Island’s top state employees, a move Republican State Chairman Brandon Bell calls ``absurd.’’  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the latest dust up over state employee salaries.

There’s a Rhode Island cliché: Question: Which state worker makes too much money? Answer: Anyone who makes more than I do.

Rutgers University is reportedly interested in University of Rhode Island Basketball Coach Dan Hurley, as officials seek a new athletic director. Former Head Coach Mike Rice got the boot this week after a video showed him yelling homophobic slurs at players, along with other abusive behavior.