Friday, April 06, 2007

The ever changing landscape of College Basketball

It's amazing what a couple of coaching moves can do to effect College Basketball. I'm so glad CU got Jeff Bzdelik signed, sealed and delivered earlier this week. Because there are now two Big 12 schools that are searching for a head coach and Arkansas has been left at the alter by Creighton head coach Dana Altman (in what turned out to be a very bizarre 24 hours for both Altman and the Razorbacks). So let's take a look at what has transpired in the coaching ranks over the last few weeks.

In November, the University of Minnesota fired their head coach Dan Monson. Fast forward to March where beleaguered University of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith resigned to take the Minnesota job shortly after the Wildcats were ousted from the NCAA Tourney by Villanova. Now, everyone in the bluegrass state is waiting for the University of Florida to finish their tourney run so that Kentucky could talk to the hottest coach in CBB, Gators Head Coach Billy Donovan. Coming off a second consecutive National Championship Donovan's price probably jumped up, but that was no obstacle for the UK Wildcats right? Well, no price was not the obstacle apparently, actually talking to Donovan was. Donovan announced he was coming back to the Gators shortly after winning on Monday, and the UK Wildcats were left holding their you know what's in their hands. Kentucky then approached Texas head man Rick Barnes about the vacancy. As the folk in Austin held their collective breath, Barnes interviewed with UK only to say "thanks but no thanks". Next in line: Texas A&M head coach Billie Gillespie who accepted the UK job. Slight jump in basketball tradition, no? Now, aTm is in search of a new coach and their run of 3 consecutive 20+ win seasons could be in jeopardy. Not only is aTm losing their head coach, but there are rumors swirling that a prized 7 foot recruit maybe following Gillespie to Lexington. Got all that?

On March 18th, the University of Michigan fired head coach Tommy Amaker after an up and down six years at the helm of the Wolverines. Earlier this week the Wolverines hired West Virginia coach John Beilein, who had just lead the Mountaineers to the NIT Championship and prior to that had lead the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight and the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. It did not take long for the Mountaineers to contact homegrown Bob Huggins, the former Mountaineer All American who grew up in Morgantown, along with attending WVU. Huggins, more (in)famously of the University of Cincinnati where he had some great teams but was also followed by a black cloud stemming from a drunk driving arrest, low to zero graduation rates and for running what was perceived as renegade yet very successful program. Finally, Cinnci had grown tired of all this and fired Huggins in 2005. A year later the controversial Huggins was given a reprieve by Kansas State University. Huggins had a successful season turning around the Wildcats and earning 20 wins and an NIT bid, to go along with what many had deemed the number one recruiting class in the country, headlined by superstar Michael Beasley. Huggins could not resist the temptation to take what he had called "his dream job" and left KSU after just one season to take of the head man seat at his alma mater. This rapid departure left KSU fans and administrators feeling a variety of emotions, from shocked, pissed, disappointed and angry. It's hard to feel sorry for anyone at KSU in regard to this matter for a couple of reasons. 1. This is guy who has the chance to go back to his alma mater and take his dream job 2. Probably more important for KSU fans and boosters to realize was they had already gone to bed with the devil, what in the hell were they expecting to happen? Huggins track record of wins has always been clouded by his low graduation rates and off the court shenanigans. It's not as if Bob Huggins was an angel prior to landing in the Lil Apple and each and every person associated with Kansas State knew exactly what they were getting in Bob Huggins.

So, there you have it in a nut shell. In a matter of two days, new CU head man Jeff Bzdelik went from having the least seniority in the Big 12 to being number 10. Strange how that all works out.

And lastly we come to the once proud University of Arkansas. Earlier this week the Razorbacks thought they had found their new coach in Creighton coach Dana Altman (ironically, a former KSU head coach) and introduced him to the media and booster in Fayetteville. Amongst the "Pig Sooeeee" shrieks, Altman looked noticeably uncomfortable as Arkansas AD Frank Broyles handed him a cap and t-shirt. Broyles, a long time Augusta National member wanted to get this thing wrapped up pronto go he could catch a plane over to Augusta and participate in the festivities of Masters Week. Little did Broyles know that Altman would have a change of heart and promptly resign and return to Creighton. Altman cited family reasons for his change of heart and said that Omaha felt like home to him and his family. (Seriously, Omaha? Ugh) So, needless to say, AD Broyles week of rubbing elbows with other 70 year old southerners at Augusta was rudely interrupted and he now has to find someone that want to come to Fayetteville. Good luck with that Frank.

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