Indiana ended the 6 weeks search with the hiring of Kelvin Sampson today. Formerly of Oklahoma, Sampson has proven to be a winner, albeit with some difficulty in the NCAAs. He comes to the Hoosiers with an investigation underway regarding recruiting issues, but nothing significant enough to merit his dismissal from his former team. Most of Hoosier nation does not seem excited, some even referring to him as Davis 2.0. However, I fully support him in the role. And while he was not on my short list of Crean or Calipari, he is far better than what could have been with Alford or Whitman. If he ends up being yet another transition coach, so be it. But I think that he will be more, and can guide the Hoosiers for the next 10-15 years with some of the success that they have previously experienced. And at that time, if a former Hoosier legend has proven himself worthy, then maybe he can take over the program. But not until then.
March 28, 2006
March 22, 2006
It appears that Steve Alford will not be asked to Bloomington for an interview. Good. Reports have the top two candidates being Randy Whitman, a former Hoosier player now an assistant with the Orlando Magic, and Marquette head coach Tom Crean. As I have mentioned previously, I think Crean would be an excellent choice. He has done well with the Marquette program in his 6 years, and could add a great deal to the program without losing anything on the recruiting front. Also, Crean coached at Michigan State for 5 years as an assistant under both Izzo and Heathcoat, so he knows what the Big Ten used to be about. Before Orlando, Whitman was a head coach in the NBA with Clevland, where he had a less than stellar record in the pre-LeBron era. His coaching skills are more in doubt, but his following with loyal Hoosiers will play a role. He likely would be the safe pick with that in mind, but he is probably not the right pick.
March 19, 2006
The Hoosiers were put out of their misery last night by the Hippies from eastern Washington. And while it was never really a game (ala NBA), they hung around long enough to help fans waste another 2 hours of their lives. Thankfully, the Davis era is over.
As a matter of fact, the entire Big Ten was put out of their collective misery. No Big Ten teams advanced to the Sweet 16. Bradley did. George Mason did. Witicha State did. The entire conference is in dire need of a house cleaning. I would start with the officials. The fact that Ed Hightower is still working games says enough about the sorry state of the league. From there, the conference should pick up another team, and split both Basketball and Football into two 6 school divisions. In Basketball, you would play every team in your division home-and-home annually, and every team in the other division home-and-home bi-annually. Still have 16 conference games, but the standing would mean something and would be less arbitrary. Conference tourney would stay the same, except 1 & 2 seeds would be the winners of their respective divisions, with the seeds falling into place based on record. Football could be done in similar fasion, except you would only play each team in your division once annually, and the teams in the other division bi-annually. You would have 8 conference games each year, just like now.
The real question is who to court for the 12th spot. Notre Dame would make a great addition, with the Irish already scheduling Michigan St, Michigan, and Ohio State regularly. But their ties to Big East basketball might make it messy. Beyond that, there are few big time football-basketball programs that would seem to make sense. I think this deal could have been done while the Irish were still independant for basketball and the football program was in the tank, but the Big Ten could not get it done with the ND television contract in place. Too bad. Now the Big Ten are just 11 teams that have time to go on Sping Break.
March 17, 2006
I believe that I can effectively state my case for Steve Alford not being Indiana’s next coach as follows:
14 Nortwestern State 64
3 Iowa 63
Davis will coach another day – against the 70s looking throwback Adam Morrison with his long hair and cheesy mustache. I will cheer hard in this one, not only to support IU, or because I bought 10 Sweet16.Indiana contracts at 30, but to show my distain for everything that is 70s. While the 80s were generally the decade of ‘fake’, the 70s were just plain vile. A grunge era with bad music. Very bad music. The only thing worse than listening to Fleetwood Mac in concert would be having to go to 2 different 3 hour document management vendor presentations on St. Patrick’s Day.
Back to basketball. The Hoosiers did everything they could to lose this game, except score fewer points. Poor defense, shot selection, passing, shooting, everything. All of this begs one question – how the hell did Steve Fischer win the NCAA in 1989? I know he had decent players, but he must have had a labotomy since. I really had a great deal of difficulty watching the whole Hoosier game, especially since I fell asleep after I turned it off. But the 30 minutes of “action” I saw were just plain bad. But since Davis is gone anyway, they are playing a bunch of hippies, and I want to roll my contracts forward, I will cheer loud and proud come Saturday.
March 12, 2006
Indiana makes the field of 65, with a surprising 6 seed in the Oakland Bracket. I know that the math does not translate perfectly, but IU has not been a Top 25 team for a month, and the 6 implies that they were. Indiana must have been the last 6, but at least they drew better than Oakland Bracket 7, Marquette. IU’s first round opponent San Diego St. has only lost 3 games in 2006, while the Hoosiers recently lost 3 in one week (Feb 4 – Feb 11). This is the exact type of team that could beat Indiana by 15 in long and boring match up, especially if they shoot like they did in the Big Ten tourney.
If Indiana were to make it to the weekend, a likely draw of Gonzaga could be interesting. The Zags have not played well out of conference or in tournament games this season, and Indiana has (relative to the rest of the season). I would really like to see Gonzaga lose to IU this March, and then have their coach come to Indiana a few weeks later. That could be the 1-2 punch that eastern Washington State deserves. I will be checking TradeSports.com in the morning for Sweet16.Indiana contact pricing.
March 6, 2006
After losing 5 in a row, the Hoosiers close out the season winning their final 4, including 2 tough to come by road conference victories (Purdue, Michigan). Are they going to the big dance? Probably. Even without a win against Wisconsin on Friday in the opening of the conference tournament, they closed out the season pretty well, and looked good doing so. If you take out the automatic seed conference tournament winners, their RPI should land them in the top remaining 34 teams. Does it matter? Probably not. With Davis’ resignation and the impending departure of the players loyal to him, the best that the NCAA tournament can offer is a little experience for the kids staying with the program, and maybe a recruiting plug for the next head coach.
And speaking of the next head coach, I am firmly in the “other than Alford” camp. When Davis was hired, I thought Alford was probably a better choice. And while he had just signed on with Iowa, that kind of sniping does take place with a coach and his alma mater. After looking at his “body of work” during the past 6 seasons, it is clear that I was wrong. And it would have taken much longer to rid the program of a Hoosier hero than Davis. With that said, I am not that excited about the big names being mentioned, such as Majerus or Pitino. Any previously successful big name would simply be looking for a place to pick up a big check while coasting to retirement. I think the focus should be on solid up and coming coaches, good candidates that if successful will have a 20 year run at IU. Some top names I like, both with Milwaukee ties, are Bruce Pearl from Tennessee (formerly UWM) and Tom Crean from Marquette. Although Pearl has done some job hopping, it has always been to a much better program. And with Crean, he has turned Marquette back into contenders, and was able to do so with (or because of) Dwayne Wade turning pro early. These are the types of coaches that I think would return IU to the college basketball elite.