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Top Five Potential Landing Spots for Brad Stevens

Dr. Stevens: Professor of Hoops

If Brad Stevens is to leave a perennial Final Four school, Butler, to move up to a bigger job, it has to be one of the traditional, iconic basketball powers. He’s proven that he can win consistently at Butler and moving to another school that hasn’t seen a Final Four in decades or ever, just for a few more dollars, doesn’t seem like the kind of well calculated decision that Stevens would make.

In the four years since replacing Todd Lickliter as the Butler head coach, Stevens has won 116 games going into Saturday’s national semifinal matchup with Virginia Commonwealth. He’s already surpassed the accomplishments of fellow national mid-major darling Gonzaga and other non-BCS schools like Xavier. Memphis is the only other non-BCS school to have comparable success to Butler over the past four seasons, but their compass of success has headed downward since John Calipari left for Kentucky two years ago.

When looking for a situation to compare with Steven’s job at Butler, the coach to look at would be Mark Few at Gonzaga. Few could probably get most, if not all of the jobs that open up every year. But Gonzaga has been able to keep him through big sponsorship money and made-for-TV out of conference matchups that bring in good money and give the program the type of national exposure needed to compete for top recruits. Butler, located in metropolitan Indianapolis, should be able to greatly exceed the revenues generated by Gonzaga, which is in sparsely populated Spokane, Washington. Butler could most likely compensate Stevens more than Few given their market size.

Assuming that money wouldn’t be the ultimate draw for Brad Stevens, which jobs might be able to entice the hottest coaching prospect to come around in years?

Indiana

This one is pretty obvious and could be realized as soon as next year if Tom Crean is still unable to register his first winning season after four years in Bloomington. Stevens is an Indiana native and grew up dreaming of playing for Bob Knight in Assembly Hall. If Crean were to leave (unlikely) or be let go, Stevens would be the first and, maybe, only call the administration would need to make.

Purdue

If not Indiana, how about Purdue? The interesting part of this hypothetical situation is that Purdue coach Matt Painter is currently flirting with Missouri and has an interview scheduled for Tuesday with the Big 12 school. While it’s extremely unlikely that Painter would leave his alma mater to go to another job, especially one that would be at best a lateral move, Purdue could call his bluff and let him go to Missouri instead of giving him a raise. Then the door for Stevens to go to Purdue would open. For Purdue to just let Painter walk now, they would have to have assurances through sources that Stevens would be amenable to taking their coaching position.

Duke

How can Stevens go from lovable underdog to hated frontrunner? He can replace Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Coach K isn’t going to coach forever (we all hope). Who would be a better selection to fill the shoes of the soon-to-be all time leader in wins than Brad Stevens? Coach K has turned Duke into the biggest brand name in college basketball. Coach K has built the program into one that chooses recruits, not the other way around. Avoiding the recruiting cesspool could be a major draw to Stevens. In addition, Duke will be looking for a coach who understands how things work at a smaller, private school and Stevens brings that experience.

UCLA

The seat in Westwood might be lukewarm for Ben Howland right now, but another season like 2009-10 and the Bruins could be looking for a new coach. The last time UCLA hired an Indiana native with spectacles; he ran off 9 NCAA championships in 10 years and added another one to make it 10 out of 12. Based on his professorial look, persona, and on-court success, Stevens is beginning to resemble a modern day John Wooden.

NBA

What makes Stevens so unusual at the college level is his coolness under fire. He always seems to be in control of his emotions and rarely shows any on the sidelines. One of the reasons why college coaches have difficulty adjusting to the NBA is their inability to take a step back from the micromanaging world of college basketball. Most college coaches who didn’t last in the NBA, like Rick Pitino and John Calipari, have difficulty with pulling back and letting their players go and play. Stevens’ sideline demeanor is what NBA teams want on the sidelines, as opposed to the typical emotional college coach.

For the good of the college game, it would be nice if he stayed. Hopefully, with Stevens, all good things don’t have to come to an end.

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Filling In the Brackets: 2011 NCAA Tournament

Bracket Gold!

I’m going to take my annual futile stab at bracket prognostication. There might be more letters in the last word of the first sentence than I will have correct picks. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve overloaded on college basketball this season, but my picks look a lot like those TV guys.

In the East Region, I’m picking Ohio State to roll through it. The Buckeyes might not win a game by less than double digits as they should beat George Mason, West Virginia, and North Carolina to get to Houston. The Buckeyes haven’t shown any true weaknesses, except playing against top 15 Big Ten schools on the road. While freshman forward Jared Sullinger gets most of the attention, their three man backcourt of David Lighty, Jon Diebler, and William Buford are stellar. When March rolls around, the teams with the best backcourts advance and the Buckeyes might have the best in the country.

As for the rest of the region, I like West Virginia to beat Kentucky, mostly because Huggins destroys Calipari head-to-head. In nine meetings, Huggins has won eight, including last year’s Elite Eight matchup in Syracuse. On the bottom of the East, I like UNC to beat Xavier in a tough Sweet 16 matchup. Holloway is really good for the X-Men, but freshmen Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall have been spectacular over the past six weeks. Xavier will beat Syracuse and UNC will beat Washington to get to the Sweet 16.

In the West, I like San Diego State. There might not be a more complete defensive team in the tournament than the Aztecs. They have a number of players who can switch and defend different positions and when they beat Connecticut in the Sweet 16, it will be because of forward Billy White. They will have White hound the smaller Kemba Walker all game and it won’t be a mismatch in favor of Walker. White was used by Coach Steve Fisher on Jimmer Fredette in their matchups and his agility and length gave The Jimmer problems when they were matched up. The Aztecs will also beat Temple and Texas to make the Final Four.

The rest of the West will have Texas beating Arizona and then Tennessee in the Sweet 16 before falling to the Aztecs. Tennessee might save Bruce Pearl’s job by beating Duke on Sunday. The Vols have big wins and crazy losses on the season and beating Duke would be consistent with their inconsistency. Texas and Tennessee, I believe, are destined to meet each other. There aren’t two teams in the tournament who have shown more promise and then bombed out like these two. As for the biggest first round (or is it second) upset? It will be Missouri over Cincinnati.

The Southwest Region will be won by Kansas. The Jayhawks are clearly one of the two best teams in the tournament, along with Ohio State. They will beat UNLV, Louisville, and Notre Dame to get to Houston. That road will not be easy. Unlike Ohio State, Kansas will have to play really well in each of their games to avoid an upset. The Big East has been incredible this season, as their record eleven tournament bids would indicate. Every game is a slugfest and Kansas could be worn down by the time they reach Houston. The biggest advantage they have is their depth and balance. They have ten players who average over 11 minutes per game and have eight players who average at least 5 points per game.

The rest of the Southwest will see the highly anticipated game between Notre Dame and Purdue with the Irish winning. That might be the most anticipated Sweet 16 game next week. Notre Dame will have to beat Texas A&M to get there and Purdue will knock off VCU. Yes, the Rams of VCU will use their opening round momentum to upset Georgetown, who hasn’t been the same without Chris Wright and will struggle to regain their pre-injury form even if he returns. VCU’s cross town rival, Richmond will beat Vanderbilt in the 12-5 upset and then lose to Louisville on the weekend.

The Southeast Region will be won by Pittsburgh. I know three #1 seeds. But if Jamie Dixon is to lead the Panthers to the Final Four, this is the season. The Panthers have a favorable draw as they will beat Old Dominion, Kansas State, and BYU to get to Houston. The Monarchs of ODU could be the Cinderella team with a deep tournament run, but the Panthers might be the worst matchup for them because of their similar styles. Physical play, defense, and intangible play by Brad Wanamaker will be the key to Pittsburgh’s overall success.

The rest of the Southeast will have Jimmer and BYU beating Florida and Gonzaga before falling to Pitt. Kansas State will benefit from Belmont’s upset of Wisconsin to get to the Sweet 16. Florida will beat Michigan State before falling to BYU.

The Final Four matchups are these: Ohio State versus San Diego State and Kansas versus Pittsburgh. Ohio State will beat San Diego State in a close game. This will be closer than any game they play in the entire tournament up to this point. While the Aztecs are really good defensively, the Buckeyes have too many weapons and they typically don’t have anybody on the court that can’t score. In addition, the overall size of the Buckeyes backcourt will take its toll on the small backcourt for San Diego State.

In the other semifinal, Pittsburgh will upset Kansas as the Jayhawks will not be able to beat a Big East team in three straight games. This game might not be that easy on the eyes, but it should be tight and come down to the end. The Panthers have the size and toughness to matchup with the Morris twins and unless Josh Selby finally shows up, the Panthers are good enough defensively to shut down the Jayhawks backcourt. The bottom line with this pick is that I said a month ago that I didn’t think a team could beat three Big East teams in a row and that’s what Kansas will have to do to win it.

That leaves a championship game between Ohio State and Pittsburgh. These are the regular season champions of the two best conferences during the season. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Buckeyes are just too good. They have too many weapons for even Pittsburgh’s staunch defense to shut down. Barring an incredibly rough shooting night for Diebler and Buford, the Buckeyes should win this game by 6-8 points.

There’s the bracket breakdown, please don’t send me a bill for your poor bracket results.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 12

The Jimmer got 52 last night

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 12

News and Notes:

Top 3 Games to Watch:

1. Jimmer and BYU against San Diego State at 7:00 ET on Versus

2. UConn and Louisville at 9:00 ET on ESPN

3. Texas and Kansas at 6:00 ET on ESPN

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Patriot: Bucknell

Dayton: The Flyers pulled an upset over their rivals, Xavier, yesterday and will play 12 seed St. Joe’s this afternoon. The Flyers have disappointed for two consecutive years now and have a chance at redemption if they can win two more games in AC.

Alabama: Is back-to-back wins over Georgia good enough for the Tide? The SEC West champs are only 1-2 against top 25 RPI teams. In comparison, mid-major VCU is 2-3 against the same group. The issue with Alabama is that they are in the very weak SEC West and took advantage of 200+ RPI games against LSU and Auburn. They are only 9-10 against the top 200.

Michigan: You have to like how the Wolverines have done almost everything that they could to win their way into an at-large bid. They started 1-6 in the Big Ten and looked dead but rallied to finish at 9-9 and are now a win away from the Big Ten championship game. It’s amazing to think, but they will be wearing their white jerseys in their first NCAA game if they win the Big Ten tourney.

Clemson: The Tigers might have clinched an at-large bid by eliminating BC yesterday. This game wasn’t even close and they should be good as long as UNC doesn’t destroy them this afternoon.

UTEP: The Miners will play on their home court this morning for the CUSA championship and it should be rocking. It will be interesting if their profile is good enough if they were to lose.

Michigan State: The real Spartans finally showed up as they blasted Purdue last night. That should eliminate any of the bubble talk for Tom Izzo’s club and if Sparty can continue to play like that, they will be a tough out.

Connecticut: The Huskies appear to be a solid 3 seed and are probably just playing to maneuver on that line for Sunday. It’s tough to see how they move up to a 2 seed, but they shouldn’t fall to a 4 either.

Texas: The Longhorns might have reemerged as a possible 2 seed by making the Big 12 championship game. If they win, they should be a solid 2 seed, if they lose, then they could drop back to a 3 seed.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are close, if not in the tournament after their lucky win last night. Their RPI is still not too good and their profile isn’t impressive, save the Duke win. A win over Duke today and they WILL be good.

Penn State: I guess somebody had to win this game, certainly not the viewers. The Lions should be close if they can beat Michigan State tomorrow to play again on Sunday.

BYU and San Diego State: The Jimmer went for 52 last night and DJ Gay drained a floater in the lane with 4 seconds left and these MWC heavyweights will meet for a third time. Fair minded people would think that a #1 seed would be the reward for the winner. But the national media has anointed BYU as damaged goods without Brandon Davies and SDSU lost to the Cougars twice. In a year with only two apparently dominant teams, Ohio State and Kansas, the winner of this game deserves to be a #1 seed.

Losers:

Xavier: The Musketeers were beaten by Dayton outside of UD Arena for the first time since 1981 yesterday in AC. The Musketeers could have been as high as a 5 seed if they won the A10 tournament, now they are looking at a possible 7 or even an 8-9 game situation. That doesn’t represent the easiest route to the Sweet 16.

Georgia: The Dawgs lost to the very weak bubble dwelling Alabama yesterday and now are squarely on the bubble themselves. They’re hoping that mediocrity prevails.

Boston College: Mercifully, their at-large hopes are over. Too many blowout losses in the last month and an RPI that has fallen into the 50’s should be enough to send the Eagles to the NIT.

Illinois: The Illini continued their Jekyll & Hyde season with another up and down performance in the first and only Big Ten tourney game. They led Michigan by double digits with less than 10 minutes left in the game and blew the lead. They will most likely clear the hideous bubble, but expectations for Bruce Weber will be for more success next season in Champaign.

Colorado: Last night’s loss to Kansas leaves them on the bubble for Selection Sunday. It will be interesting to see if they miss out despite taking three from lock Kansas State.

Notre Dame: The Irish were in play for a #1 seed, but their loss to Louisville probably bumps them off. They are still a team that nobody is going to want to see in the coming weeks.

Wisconsin: The Badgers turned back the clock, in a bad way, by putting up a score that was standard in the peach basket era of hoops. This wasn’t the showing the Bo Ryan wanted to secure a 4 seed on Sunday.

Florida State: The ‘Noles are probably in, but their controversial loss last night to Virginia Tech put their RPI over 50 and their OOC profile wasn’t very good. They should be in, but you never know with the mediocrity in the ACC after the top 2.

Saturday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

Conference USA Championship (30) Memphis at (47) UTEP: CBS at 11:30 EST

America East Championship (240) Stony Brook at (132) Boston University: ESPN2 at 12:00 EST

(9) Kentucky vs. (77) Alabama: ABC at 1 EST

(53) Clemson vs. (6) North Carolina: ESPN at 1 EST

(50) Michigan vs. (2) Ohio State: CBS at 1:40 EST

MEAC Championship (207) Morgan State vs. (81) Hampton: ESPN2 at 2:00 EST

(55) Richmond vs. (28) Temple: CBS College at 3:30 EST

(25) Vanderbilt vs. (8) Florida: ABC at 3:30 EST

(60) Virginia Tech vs. (4) Duke: ESPN at 3:30 EST

Southland Championship (201) Texas-San Antonio at (147) McNeese State: ESPN2 at 4:00 EST

Ivy League Playoff (33) Harvard vs. (48) Princeton: ESPN3 at 4:00 EST

(39) Michigan State vs. (42) Penn State: CBS at 4:05 EST

Big 12 Championship (10) Texas vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN at 6:00 EST

MAC Championship (117) Akron vs. (70) Kent State: ESPN2 at 6:00 EST

Pac 10 Championship (38) Washington vs. (17) Arizona: CBS at 6:00 EST

Mountain West Championship (3) San Diego State vs. (5) Brigham Young: Versus at 7:00 EST

Big West Championship (171) UC-Santa Barbara vs. (86) Long Beach State: ESPN2 at 8:00 EST

SWAC Championship (313) Grambling State vs. (271) Alabama State: ESPNU at 8:30 EST

Big East Championship (14) Connecticut vs. (15) Louisville: ESPN at 9:00 EST

WAC Championship (114) Boise State vs. (18) Utah State: ESPN2 at 10:00 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

Another Garden party for Pitino?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

News and Notes:

Lafayette is comfortable as the underdog going into today’s Patriot League Championship against Bucknell.

Depth and defense are driving Louisville’s success according to Rick Bozich.

Here’s a link to the Kansas City Star’s Big 12 tournament page.

Brandon Davies travelled with BYU to the MWC tournament and will sit on the bench during the games.

Kenny Frease tweaked his back and didn’t practice yesterday for Xavier. Coach Mack said that he should play.

The Gators are loose and confident going into their quarterfinal matchup with Tennessee tonight.

Winners:

Colorado: The Buffs got beat K-State for the 3rd time this season and could have sealed their ticket to March Madness. A win over Kansas today would seal their bid. What might work against them is that if they lose, they will be 7-9 in their final 16 games. Pretty mediocre, but that’s what a lot of the bubble looks like.

Connecticut: Solid comeback win by the Huskies complete with an ankle breaking move that led to Kemba Walker’s buzzer beater to win the game. The Huskies could have shut it down early as they trailed by 12 for awhile until they pulled even just before halftime. It should be interesting to see what they have left as they play their fourth game in four days tonight against the Orange. They better hope they don’t go to 6 OT’s in this one, like two years ago.

New Mexico: Better late than never for Steve Alford’s Lobos as they get another shot at BYU and the Jimmer tonight. They might be able to finagle an at-large bid if they win this game and keep it close against San Diego State. It’s possible that they might have to beat UNLV if they play them.

Washington: The Huskies came back from multiple deficits to finally get a win over their in-state rivals last night. This win could get them over the hump on the soft bubble.

Notre Dame: The Irish are looking like a national championship contender and could pass by Pittsburgh or another team for a #1 seed if they win the Big East tournament. They look like Ohio State without Sullinger right now.

Losers:

Pittsburgh: Gary McGhee got his ankles broken as Kemba Walker worked him over and drained the game winning shot as time expired. As long as the selection committee doesn’t overrate the conference tournaments, the Panthers could still be a #1 seed when the brackets are announced. But that 3-3 finish won’t help.

DJ Kennedy and St. John’s: Kennedy tore his ACL in the loss to Syracuse yesterday afternoon and is gone for the season. That means the senior will not be able to participate in the NCAA tournament for the first and only time. It’s a tough break for a quality player who put his ego aside to play a winning role this season.

UAB: Losing in the quarterfinals wasn’t the recipe for a tourney invite for the Blazers. They probably one the wrong side of the bubble since their only good win is over VCU.

UCLA: Nice loss to Oregon. That loss probably moves to Bruins to a double digit seed when the brackets come out. The performance of the team last year and early this year caused a lot of grumbling by the fan base. Losing to the Ducks, who haven’t been really good, can’t help Ben Howland.

Coaches who might be out now: The following coaches might have just coached their last game at their current school last night. Their departure won’t be on their terms: Arkansas’ John Pelphrey, NC State’s Sidney Lowe, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt,

Colorado State: Last night’s loss to New Mexico probably finishes their at-large hopes. Their only win over a probably NCAA team is just UNLV and that isn’t enough. They lost 5 of 6 to close the season and failed to register a high profile win.

Marshall and Southern Miss: These two CUSA schools were longshots to get an at-large and probably needed to be playing on Saturday to have a chance. Losing yesterday ended that.

Cal: The Bears can’t possibly get in after losing by double digits to USC yesterday, can they? Hope not.

Missouri: The Tigers continue to struggle away from Columbia during 2011. This one wasn’t even close and you have to wonder how close to the bubble they really are. They were 8-8 in the Big 12 and went 1-7 on the road. The wins over Illinois, Vanderbilt, and Old Dominion will probably pull them through.

Marquette and Cincinnati: Hide the women and children. Last night’s games at the Garden were hideous they lost by 25 and 38 respectively. Marquette should be good, but the RPI is still in the 60’s.

Washington State: The Cougars blew a big lead and most likely their scant at-large chances last night against Washington. Now they hope for a NIT bid.

Friday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(84) Dayton vs. (21) Xavier: Noon EST

(39) Georgia vs. (85) Alabama: ESPN3 at 1 EST

(38) Illinois vs. (56) Michigan: ESPN at 2:30 EST

(45) Boston College vs. (59) Clemson: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

Patriot League Championship (226) Lafayette at (81) Bucknell: ESPN2 at 4:45 EST

(49) Michigan State vs. (8) Purdue: 6:30 EST

(16) Connecticut vs. (15) Syracuse: ESPN at 7 EST

(64) Colorado vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN3 at 7 EST

(30) Tennessee vs. (9) Florida: ESPN3 at 7:30 EST

(51) Penn State vs. (12) Wisconsin: 8:55 EST

(66) New Mexico vs. (5) Brigham Young: CBS College at 9 EST

(67) USC vs. (18) Arizona: 9 EST

(65) Virginia Tech vs. (44) Florida State: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

(19) Louisville vs. (6) Notre Dame: ESPN at 9:30 EST

(28) Texas A&M vs. (14) Texas: ESPN3 at 9:30 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 6

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 6

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 7th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Xavier Musketeers RPI 21

  • 24-6, 15-1 in A10  Away: 8-4  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over Butler and Georgia. They have losses to ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincinnati. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 14.
  • A10 Wins: at URI, UMass, Day, at SB, Tem, GW, at Rich, SLU, at Duq, at SJU, For, Las, at Day, Char, SLU   Losses: at Char
  • The Musketeers have a chance to get a 4 seed if they win the A-10 tournament. Losing in the finals to Temple or Richmond would most likely put them into a 6 seed. Losing in the semis would give them a 7 seed, or maybe put them into an 8-9 game.

Temple Owls RPI 29

  • 24-6, 14-2 in A10   Away: 9-4  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with good wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown along with losses to Cal, Texas A&M, Villanova, and Duke. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 39, schedule 58.
  • A10 Wins: at Ford, SLU, SB, Char, at SJU, Las, URI, Ford, at Day, Rich, SJU, at GW, at UMass, Las   Losses: at Duq, at Xav
  • The Owls could climb to a 4 seed if they win the A-10 tournament. Losing to Xavier in the finals should get them a 5 or 6 seed and losing in the semis to Richmond will drop them to a 7 seed. Losing their first game and they will be in an 8-9 game.

 

Bubble Territory:

Richmond Spiders RPI 54

  • 24-7, 13-3 in A10  Away: 10-3  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a big win over Purdue, but losses to Iona, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, and Bucknell. They also had 5 gimmes. RPI 86, schedule 189.
  • A10 Wins: Cha, at Las, GW, at UMass, at Day, SJU, at For, at GW, SLU, SB, at Cha, at SJU, Duq  Losses: URI, Xav, at Tem
  • The Spiders need to beat the URI-St Louis winner to be safe on Selection Sunday. Beating Temple would get them into a 9 or 10 seed and winning the A-10 tournament could be good enough to get them a 7 seed.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Dayton Flyers RPI 82

  • 19-12, 7-9 in A10  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with solid wins over Mississippi, George Mason, and New Mexico and losses to Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, and Old Dominion. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 32, schedule 54.
  • The Flyers can’t get an at-large and need to win the A-10 tournament.

Duquesne Dukes RPI 97

  • 18-11, 10-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 125, schedule 146.
  • The Dukes hold out hope for some postseason tournament.

Rhode Island Rams RPI 97

  • 18-12, 9-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over BC and Drexel and some good losses, but two bad ones. RPI 77, schedule 117.
  • The Rams got swept by UMass. Enough said.

Massachusetts Minutemen RPI 145

  • 15-14, 7-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and a couple of bad losses along with a non division I win. RPI 135, schedule 113.
  • Fordham found a team that they are better than.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies RPI 112

  • 16-13, 8-8 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with a win over St. John’s, but two bad losses to Canisius and Niagara. RPI 113, schedule 135.
  • The Bonnies are trying to make a run to the CBI.

LaSalle Explorers RPI 179

  • 14-17, 6-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 204, schedule 164.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

George Washington Colonials RPI 135

  • 17-13, 10-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with no good wins and lots of bad losses. RPI 223, schedule 245.
  • Is Karl Hobbs done in DC? A new AD might think so.

Saint Louis Billikens RPI 170

  • 12-18, 6-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-8 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 195, schedule 65.
  • No NCAA’s in the last 10 seasons, soon to be 11.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks RPI 196

  • 9-21, 4-12 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-9 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 164, schedule 81.
  • The Hawks have lost at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jim Boyle’s final two seasons, 1988-89 and 1989-90. There was a new coach for the next season.

Charlotte 49ers RPI 222

  • 10-20, 2-14 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a good win over Tennessee but a bunch of losses. RPI 161, schedule 234.
  • Season over.

Fordham Rams RPI 248

  • 7-21, 1-15 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with a good win over St. John’s but a bunch of losses. RPI 183, schedule 130.
  • Win over UMass stopped their 41 game A-10 losing streak. They will be one of a few teams to end their season with a win.

Make sure you check in every morning for a review of the previous day’s games on the Road to Selection Sunday.

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 1

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 1

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 1st. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Xavier Musketeers RPI 23

  • 22-6, 13-1 in A10  Away: 7-4
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over Butler and Georgia. They have losses to ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincinnati. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 45, schedule 19.
  • A10 Wins: at URI, UMass, Day, at SB, Tem, GW, at Rich, SLU, at Duq, at SJU, For, Las, at Day   Losses: Char
  • The Musketeers have a chance to make a run at a Sweet 16 seed if they win out. Winning at least 3 more would get them a 5 or 6 seed.

Temple Owls RPI 30

  • 22-6, 12-2 in A10   Away: 8-4
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with good wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown along with losses to Cal, Texas A&M, Villanova, and Duke. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 33, schedule 47.
  • A10 Wins: at Ford, SLU, SB, Char, at SJU, Las, URI, Ford, at Day, Rich, SJU, at GW   Losses: at Duq, at Xav
  • The Owls need to win at least another game to be safe on Selection Sunday. They have an outside shot at getting to a 5-6 seed if they win at least 4 more. If they win out and win the A-10 tournament, the committee could reward the Owls with a 4 seed, but only if they beat Xavier along the way.

 

Bubble Territory:

Richmond Spiders RPI 62

  • 22-7, 11-3 in A10  Away: 9-3
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a big win over Purdue, but losses to Iona, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, and Bucknell. They also had 5 gimmes. RPI 88, schedule 196.
  • A10 Wins: Cha, at Las, GW, at UMass, at Day, SJU, at For, at GW, SLU, SB, at Cha  Losses: URI, Xav, at Tem
  • The Spiders need at least 3 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Dayton Flyers RPI 66

  • 19-10, 7-7 in A10  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with solid wins over Mississippi, George Mason, and New Mexico and losses to Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, and Old Dominion. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 32, schedule 57.
  • A10 Wins: at SLU, SJU, Ford, SB, at Las, at Cha, Duq Losses: at UMass, at Xav, Rich, at Duq, at URI, Tem, Xav
  • The Flyers probably can’t lose another game before losing in the A-10 tournament final to have a chance at an at-large.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Duquesne Dukes RPI 99

  • 17-10, 9-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 126, schedule 146.
  • The Dukes have lost 5 of 6 to end their at-large hopes.

Rhode Island Rams RPI 83

  • 18-10, 9-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over BC and Drexel and some good losses, but two bad ones. RPI 78, schedule 109.
  • The Rams got swept by UMass. Enough said.

Massachusetts Minutemen RPI 131

  • 15-12, 7-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and a couple of bad losses along with a non division I win. RPI 137, schedule 116.
  • It’s been 13 years since Minutemen fans have filled out a bracket with their team in it.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies RPI 114

  • 15-12, 7-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with a win over St. John’s, but two bad losses to Canisius and Niagara. RPI 105, schedule 125.
  • The Bonnies are trying to make a run to the NIT.

LaSalle Explorers RPI 178

  • 13-16, 5-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 205, schedule 159.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

George Washington Colonials RPI 153

  • 15-13, 8-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with no good wins and lots of bad losses. RPI 224, schedule 248.
  • No NCAA’s this season because of their OOC resume.

Charlotte 49ers RPI 218

  • 10-18, 2-12 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a good win over Tennessee but a bunch of losses. RPI 155, schedule 222.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

Saint Louis Billikens RPI 185

  • 11-17, 5-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-8 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 179, schedule 44.
  • No NCAA’s in the last 10 seasons, soon to be 11.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks RPI 197

  • 8-20, 3-11 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-9 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 163, schedule 82.
  • The Hawks are about to lose at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jim Boyle’s final two seasons, 1988-89 and 1989-90. There was a new coach for the next season.

Fordham Rams RPI 247

  • 6-20, 0-14 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with a good win over St. John’s but a bunch of losses. RPI 191, schedule 141.
  • No NCAA’s or A-10 tourney this season.

That’s this week’s Atlantic Ten overview. This will be updated next week.

Make sure you check in every morning for a review of the previous day’s games on the Road to Selection Sunday.

Top College Basketball Coaching Candidates

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

The next Thad Matta?

Top College Basketball Coaching Candidates

As we creep towards March and the madness that ensues, the time for coaching changes is approaching quickly. St. John’s Steve Lavin headlines the coaches that are currently in their first season at their schools and many administrators will be looking to replicate the immediate success that Lavin has brought to Queens. With that in mind, here is a list of the top candidates who could be in-line to make the jump to one of the BCS conference openings.

1. Chris Mack, Xavier: College administrators and their professional counterparts are notorious for their lack of creativity. If they see something that works, they try to emulate that. Chris Mack should be the beneficiary of this mindset. Mack is in his second year as the head coach at his alma mater. Under Mack, the Musketeers are ranked 25th nationally in what was supposed to be a transitional year and they are heading towards their 5th consecutive Atlantic Ten regular season title. Why would Mack be at the top of the list of potential coaching hires? The last three coaches at Xavier are Sean Miller (quickly reviving Arizona), Thad Motta (rolling at Ohio State), and the late Skip Prosser (led Wake Forest to their first #1 ranking). Those are three straight slam dunk hires and AD’s are sure to view Mack as another.

2. Brad Stevens, Butler: Stevens should be at the top of many lists, given Butler’s improbable run to the NCAA tournament final game last season and the fact that Butler has been ranked in the top 20 in each of Stevens’ four seasons. After last season’s run, Oregon thought they could throw millions of Nike dollars at Stevens, but the baby faced 34-year old turned them down to stay at home in Indianapolis. Widely regarded as a sure-fire coaching star, Stevens is likely waiting on a plum Big Ten job. The big job in Bloomington could be open after next season if Tom Crean doesn’t turn things around next year.  As an Indiana native, Stevens would undoubtedly top that list of candidates.

3. Dave Rose, Brigham Young: Yes, Rose has benefitted from having the great Jimmer Fredette for the past four seasons. But Rose went 25-9 the year BEFORE Fredette showed up in Provo and is 153-42 during his six seasons as the coach of the Cougars. Rose has been at BYU since the beginning of the 1997-98 season and if he’s going to leave, now would be the time. He’s got a top 10 team that’s could go deep into the tournament and he graduates not only Fredette, but his backcourt mate and Cougars all-time steals leader Jackson Emery. Also, the Cougars are leaving the Mountain West Conference for the West Coast Conference after this season. Even with the addition of a solid BYU team, the WCC wouldn’t be close to a lock to send three teams to the NCAA tournament annually. Does Rose want to compete with Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s for two spots each year? If he doesn’t, he could take the opportunity to cash in on this year’s success. Would a move to archrival and new Pac-12 school Utah be in the cards? That would be bold for both the Utes and Rose.

4. Blaine Taylor, Old Dominion: Taylor, like Rose, is in a good job that he could have for the rest of his coaching career. The question is this; if you get offered $1.5 million per, how do you turn that down if you’re not making half of that? That’s what faces Taylor next month if and when ACC and SEC schools come calling. Taylor has won two thirds of his games in his 17 year coaching career at Montana and ODU. He is two wins away from leading the Monarchs to 24+ wins in 6 of 7 seasons. This year the Monarchs might be the best team in the Atlantic Ten, having beaten Xavier, Dayton and Richmond. Why would an ACC, SEC, or Big East school go for the 53 year old coach? Simple. Recruiting. After ten seasons in Norfolk, Virginia, Taylor is tied into all of the local high school programs in Hampton Roads region and would be able to tap into those connections at, say, NC State if he went there. There aren’t many more fertile recruiting grounds in the country than Southeast Virginia and Taylor knows the area as well as anybody. Somebody is going to try and get him and the talented recruits that would follow.

5. Steve Wojciechowski, asst coach Duke: Believe it or not, but Wojo is in his 12th season as a Duke assistant coach. He didn’t win any national championships as a player, but he’s won two as an assistant coach and seems to be very similar to Coach K in demeanor and pedigree. It’s doubtful that Duke would hand the reigns over to Wojo when Coach K retires without any head coaching experience. If Wojo wants to be the head coach at his alma mater, then he’s going to have to prove himself elsewhere. But where could he go? The ACC is sure to have at least 2 openings (NC State and Georgia Tech) this offseason and also George Washington could be a landing spot if their new athletic director wants to move on from Karl Hobbs.  

Other top candidates up for consideration:

Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
Chris Mooney, Richmond
Shaka Smart, VCU
Cuonzo Martin, Missouri State