The Gate

March 6, 2006

Hoosiers Dancing?

Filed under: Hoosiers — thegate @ 9:45 am

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.

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