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The dismissal came during the Big Ten tournament at nearby United Center, and Carmody’s colleagues were quick to come to his defense.

Bill Carmody maybe has the best offensive mind of any coach I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “He’s been the most unlucky with injuries just in my time. It’s amazing to see the things that have happened to his teams, and they’ve happened in such a timely fashion. Who can win and keep coaching those guys and stay competitive with what he lost this year? It’s mind-boggling.”

There was speculation that Carmody would be fired a year ago, but Phillips decided not to make a change. He finally made the call after a season in which the Wildcats were short-handed.

Guard JerShon Cobb was suspended for his junior season for violating team policy, a major blow considering he started 33 games his first two years, and the big hits kept coming.

Forward Drew Crawford had season-ending surgery in December to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, leaving the Wildcats without their second-leading scorer.

The Wildcats had another key player go down when Jared Swopshire (9.7 points per game) suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee in a loss at Iowa on Feb. 9 that started their losing streak.

Now Carmody is out of a job and Phillips is looking for his replacement.

“There’s no predetermined timeline for how long this search will take,” Phillips said. “I’ll have a comprehensive review of who’s available. I haven’t ruled anybody in or our yet. The NCAA tournament will dictate when you can talk to some prospective coaches.”


AP freelance writer Tim Cronin contributed to this report.