i like 'em both
Reggie Theus, New Mexico State
|2007||25-9, WAC Playoff Champ, lost as 13 seed to Texas in NCAA|
|2006||16-14, no tourney|
|Inherited||A 6-24 team that hadn't been to the tourney since 1999.|
|Quick turnaround has people buzzing. College and NBA stardom a benefit to recruiting, and appearing as Coach Bill Fuller on "Hang Time" would provide a steady stream of material for this here blogger -- no dobut high on Bill Martin's priority list. Sure to be popular with mom on in-home recruiting visits. Apparently he's dreamy.|
|Only two years as a head coach gives him a flimsier resume than Amaker. Sure, he made a tournament but he didn't win the WAC and didn't stay close with a Texas team that was unceremoniously booted in the next round. Association with Jerry Tarkanian, the dean of dirty basketball coaches, can't sit well with Michigan administration. Apparently took a major shortcut to success:
The former NBA star has used his star power to attract a great deal of mercenary talent to the Las Cruces campus. By my count, 10 current players transferred from other universities, including players from Utah, St. John's, UNC-Charlotte, and Kansas State. Add in a Juco player, coach's second cousin Londale, and a couple of other Freshman, and you've got yourself a decent team.
Hasn't proven he can recruit high school kids -- though I bet he'd be pretty good -- or sustain success.
|No. Two years as a head coach and a sketchy turnaround is not enough of a resume.|
Todd Lickliter, Butler
|2007||currently 29-6, Horizon League champs, awaiting Sweet 16 matchup with Florida|
|2006||20-13, second round NIT|
|2005||13-15, no tourney|
|2004||16-14, no tourney|
|2003||27-6, Horizon League champs, Sweet 16 loss to Oklahoma|
|2002||26-6, Horizon League champs, secound round NIT|
|Inherited||Three-time Horizon League champs coming off back-to-back NCAA bids.|
|Two Sweet 16s at a mid-major like Butler is no mean feat. But more impressive is the way Butler earned this year's berth by rolling up a series of quality nonconference wins and earning a #5 seed, unheard of for a Horizon team. Some mid-major coaches get a bunch of hype because their teams get hot from three for a couple games; Lickliter's club would have probably finished third in the Big Ten this year. And... uh... the last Butler head coach to move on up in the world, Thad Matta, is working out all right.|
|Kind of old (51). A Butler alum who makes a decent chunk of change already and may be a little tough to pry away. What's with those middle two years there? Some of his success seems to piggyback off Matta.|
|Maybe not the first choice but certainly a very strong candidate.|
Chris Lowery, Southern Illinois
|2007||29-6, 15-3 MVC, awaiting Sweet 16 matchup vs. Kansas|
|2006||22-11, 12-6 MVC, NCAA 1st round|
|2005||27-8, 15-3 MVC, NCAA 2nd round|
|Inherited||A mid-major juggernaut.|
|Southern Illinois is rapidly turning into a basketball Miami of Ohio. Illinois' Bruce Weber and Purdue's terrifying Matt Painter are the last two coaches of a program with six straight MVC titles -- and the MVC is no joke -- and six straight NCAA bids. The Salukis are a four seed in this year's tourney: like Butler, they are a straight-up team and not a product of hot shooting at the right time.
Kyle Whelliston describes the Salukis like so:
The regular-season champions of the Missouri Valley play at one of the nation's slowest, nastiest paces and own the nation's third-stingiest team points-allowed average at 56.3. After dispatching OF Virginia Tech 63-48 in a second-round sludgefest, SIU is the sour part of this Sweet 16, the chocolate filled with rusty thumbtacks in the heart-shaped box.
There's nothing fundamentally incompatible with kickass defense and kickass offense and if anything the D is more a function of coaching than the O, which requires a far greater proportion of raw skill. Even in a down year it's likely a Lowery team would be a pain to play against and capable of scraping itself to something half decent.
|The aforementioned brutality would be fine if we win but agony if it doesn't work out. Recruits might be turned off by the prospect of joining the Riley Knicks. Also, Lowery doesn't have the track record of a few other prospects. He's got just one more year of experience than Theus and is only 34.|
|IMO, the top mid-major candidate available. Has enough on-the-job experience that his success is not a fluke, and the Salukis have earned a Sweet 16 seed this year because Lowery has them playing evil defense.|
Greg Marshall, Winthrop
|2007||29-5 (undefeated in conference), lost in second round to Oregon.|
|2006||23-8, first round loss to Tenn but scared the hell out of them as a #15.|
|2005||27-6, first round loss to Gonzaga|
|2004||16-12, no tourney|
|2003||20-10, no tourney|
|2002||19-12, first round waxing at hands of Duke|
|2001||18-13, lost in play-in game|
|2000||21-9, waxed by Oklahoma|
|1999||21-8, waxed by Auburn|
|Inherited||A 7-20 team that hadn't had a winning record since hammerpants were cool: 1990.|
|Has been to seven(!) tournaments since Michigan made its last appearance and did it at a program that had gone a decade without the barest hint of success. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar.|
|When I say "waxed" above I mean it. Seriously, we're talking 80-37 type scores more suited for the women's tournament. Winthrop is evidently not a mid-major; the Big South conference is the home of stellar clubs like Maryland-Baltimore county, who you may remember lost to Michigan in their tour of awful nonconference opponents this year. Winthrop's first four bids were as one of the lowliest members of the field and the results reflected that. This is a ton of success at a low major.|
|Maybe? I think Marshall's more of a risk than either Lowery or L
ickliter because up until the past few years Winthrop has been the big fish in an ugly little pond. After their two misses, however, Winthrop finally found some traction. They gave Gonzaga a decent game, were ousted on an improbable Chris Lofton buzzer-beater last year, and finally broke through against Notre Dame (ha-HA! [/nelson]) this year.
Karl Hobbs, George Washington
|2007||23-9 NCAA first round (hammered by Vandy)|
|2006||27-3, A-10 champs, NCAA second round|
|2005||22-8, NCAA first round|
|2003||12-17, no tourney|
|2002||12-16, no tourney|
|Inherited||A mediocre 14-18 team.|
|Built George Washington back up to its Yinka Dare glory days, though that appears to be limited to first-round appearances most years. Still: three straight bids and a second round appearance a year ago with a 27-3 team. Unlike Lowery, didn't inherit a program. His previous job was as a UConn assistant, where he was credited with recruiting Khalid El-Amin and Richard Hamilton.|
|His previous job was as a UConn assistant, where he was credited with recruiting Khalid El-Amin and Richard Hamilton. This, if you listen to certain axe-grinding segments of the media, is the equivalent of eating babies. And not in a good Jason Maxiell kind of way. Might run a gimmicky offense based on tons of backcuts.|
|Maybe? Certainly has built GW into an A-10 power. That 27-3 year netted them an amazingly low seed, though -- like an 8 or 9 or 10 or something -- which raises questions about the level of competition. What's your personal preference: a guy with better teams (Lowery) or a guy who built a program up (Hobbs, Winthrop, etc?).|
- Anthony Grant, VCU. Everybody's hero after VCU booted Duke out of the tourney, but has been a head coach for one year. Longtime association with Billy Donovan does not help... unless he's the guy who got them Roberson and Horford. But did he do it on the up and up?
- Sean Miller, Xavier. Doesn't have the resume the above do, IMO, and has the dreaded Product Hair.
Grand Rapids is ND-UAH-BU-MSU.
We are in Denver against Minnesota and North Dakota. I don't swear much on this blog.
Fucking fuck fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck motherfucking fuckers fuck.
UPDATE: FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK!
Ah, the Post. They title Larry Lage's dry AP article thusly:
MICHIGAN HAYMAKER KOS AMAKER
Martin interview. Interesting that the guys with the clutch Martin interview are the AANews guys instead of the Freep/News guys. Maybe it's because they weren't advancing ridiculous theories about the program in the last couple weeks. Sections of note:
Q: What are you going to look for in the next coach?
Martin: We need to win. Part of Michigan's culture is we have had sports programs that have performed at the highest level. We have sustained competitive excellence. We win routinely Big Ten championships and we knock on the national door occasionally.
Q: What if a candidate questions your outdated arena and lack of practice facility?
Martin: I will say we have hired a consultant who is at this moment working on the infrastructure components of Crisler Arena. We will be able to involve that new coach in this process going forward. I will not give a timetable. We do not have a project. But it's a wonderful opportunity to be a part of it. Furthermore, I will say that it's my believe Crisler Arena is not the end all and be all to having a successful program.
Q: What do you want to pay a new coach?
Martin: I haven't even thought about that. I think coaching salaries are driven by the market, and you've got to take a look at the market.
Q: Can you afford top dollar if you decide that's appropriate for a candidate?
Martin: Sure, we're capable. That doesn't mean we will. What do you mean by top dollar? Some current salaries are above what I'd consider responsible in terms of total salary and deferred compensation.
That's some gooooood diggin'. The Free Press managed to unearth the two Michigan fans who didn't want to see a new coach:
Nate Garafi disagreed, saying Amaker was unfairly singled out even though the team finished the season with about the same record as Michigan State.
"We say keep him," the 23-year-old Howell resident said, as another friend nodded agreement. "... They did play good this year."
About as good as your grammar (ZING!). Title of article? "Michigan fans conflicted about Amaker firing."
There is only one possible response to this assertion.
"They (Michigan) better take a look at what they're going to do from the top down because when you fire somebody who's won 20 games, I still say you've got to look at the whole deal," Izzo said. "It's easy to blame one guy."
Lloyd Carr, November 2002:
"I think it's very important that Bobby Williams be given the opportunity to fulfill his requirement at Michigan State University," Carr said. "This game is about the players, trying to get an education and compete in an arena that is very competitive."
Wonk has an issue. This is it:
During the Ohio State-Xavier game I learned that Tommy Amaker had been fired as head coach at Michigan. I reserve the right to say more on this in the coming days but for now let me just remark on one distressing aspect of the first cycle of coverage on this: I'm already hearing references to the "recruiting hotbed" of Detroit and how important it will be for a new coach at Michigan to corner that market.
As we embark on a couple weeks of what promises to be rollicking good coach-hire chat, let us note at the outset that proximity to a recruiting hotbed doesn't correlate real well with success. If it did, the best programs in the country would be St. John's, DePaul, and USC. They're not.
I must dissent mildly. While he's got a good point that proximity to "recruiting hotbeds" does not necessarily correlate with success, the assertion that Michigan needs Detroit to be a power, to borrow a style of emphasis, is absolutely true. The vast majority of Michigan's recent success has been built on the backs of Detroit recruits, and a major reason for their Edvard Munch-level horrific performance (tm) in recent years has been an inability to keep Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston and etc etc around. Detroit has always been Michigan basketball's primary stomping grounds when it has not sucked, and without a strong presence in Detroit -- which still sends kids like Dion Harris, Deshawn Sims, and Manny Harris to Michigan simply because they love the place -- any new coach will be behind the eight ball from day one. Unless the new guy is Mike Montgomery or someone else who could hypothetically recruit nationally, success in Detroit is a prerequisite to success on the court, though it does not guarantee it.
I am tired of Terry Foster's crap. Both he and Drew Sharp stated in no uncertain terms that Amaker was going nowhere before he was fired, citing Mary Sue Coleman's reluctance to fire Amaker because he was very nice and his wife was very good at his job. Despite being proven completely and utterly wrong, Foster refuses to back off this line of reasoning:
President Mary Sue Coleman did not want to fire Tommy Amaker as basketball coach. Athletic Director Bill Martin did. But Martin gave Coleman an ultimatum. Martin told Coleman that if she would not allow him to fire Amaker that he wanted to walk. Coleman felt pressure from Martin, but in the past week she began feeling pressure from the public too and it caused her to buckle and go against her initial instinct.
(Also, for God's sake, Detroit News: "click here to read the rest of this blog" is the equivalent of "Turn to A11 to read the rest of this newspaper.") Bill Martin directly contradicted this in an interview with the Ann Arbor News:
Q: What this your call?
Martin: It was entirely my call.
Q: Did other people at the university offer input?
Martin: Only if I sought input and I sought very little.
Foster has absolutely nothing to back up his assertions that there was a power struggle between Martin and Coleman, not even the questionable-at-best retention of Amaker, something he incorr
ectly forecast last week with authority. But yet he throws it out there without any repercussions. Remember this the next time someone decries blogs as unreliable spreaders of rumor. At least when I'm talking out of my ass I let you know, unlike Drew Sharp:
But it's unlikely Amaker is going anywhere.
This was his biggest week at Michigan, and although there's genuine disappointment at what likely will be another NCAA tournament shutout, the program wasn't humiliated against Michigan State or the Buckeyes.
Choking is one thing. But quitting is another, and the Wolverines fought hard.
But fueling the coach's job security most is that he's the second-most-popular Amaker on campus. His wife, Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, is an associate dean of students who co-chaired a large university fund-raising initiative. She's a rising star in the academic community, something that's not lost on university president Mary Sue Coleman, who remains an advocate of diversity despite recent legal challenges.
Do you think she'll risk losing a highly qualified African-American female educator because her basketball-coaching husband hasn't fulfilled expectations?
Yes. Yes, I do.
So it's with a mine of salt that you should take Foster's ludicrous assertion today that "the buzz around the University of Michigan is that Marquette's Tom Crean is a guy they would love to have coaching the Wolverines." Crean won't even schedule Michigan State -- a team he just got blown out by, by the way -- because it would be too painful to go up against Tom Izzo. (Evidently all MSU-affiliated coaches have a special relationship with the God Emperor of East Lansing.) And he's supposed to come coach MSU's biggest rival? And would Michigan even be interested in a vastly overcompensated coach -- he makes more than all but four coaches according to a recent USA Today article -- who has found distinctly mediocre success when not blessed with Dwyane Wade? Crean makes no sense for Michigan in any way, but Foster spins his disproportionate compensation as a reason Michigan will have to shell out way more money than they're willing to if they want to find a capable coach.
This is an egregious misrepresentation of the situtaion: Foster throws Crean's 1.5 million out as the only benchmark for a successful coach and underestimates Amaker's salary by 200k in pursuit of his erroneous thesis.* This '01 Daily article says Amaker was making at least 600k even if he didn't get a bump on later contracts, and Rosenberg's column cites his salary as 700k. The bulk of the coaches on the USA today list are within 200-300k of that. If Amaker had been successful, he would now be making the same amount of money as Bruce Weber at Illinois: 900k. Michigan will pay its next head coach a competitive salary, it won't be Tom Crean, and Terry Foster knows nothing.
*(For an even more dishonest take, check out this "blog" from earlier:
Here is the issue. If you fire Amaker who can Michigan get who is better? Now there are a number of high profile coaches who are better. But here is the problem. Michigan does not want to pay much more than the $165,000 base salary Amaker is making. So tell me who the Wolverines can lure for that kind of money?
Sure, that less than a quarter of what he's actually making but let's just throw it out there. Foster lies for his own aggrandizement and no one calls him on it.)
Better stuff: Wojo and Rosenberg's takes are similar: Amaker had to go, new coach not a panacea, facilities, etc. I find slight irritation at Wojo referencing Amaker's salary being one of the lowest in the Big Ten, since... um... Amaker's salary should have been one of the lowest in the Big Ten: he was one of the worst coaches in it. His contract was competitive when he signed his but he never got to renegotiate terms because he never got to the tournament. By the end six years of rapid salary growth -- as noted earlier in this space, over a six-year span from 1997 to 2003 average coaching compensation shot up 89 percent -- of course Amaker's contract is going to look paltry in comparison to those with actual accomplishments. This isn't parsimony, it's common sense.
Other than that, both columns are worth a look.
Grady "devastated" according to the AANews, who seems to be ahead of the game in this whole business. (They got the Martin interview, too, though it was Eric Lacy at the News who got in touch with Legion first .) The Gradys say they'll wait to see who the new coach is before deciding anything. Interesting possibility:
Kevin Grady Sr. said that it's possible his son could play football in college, perhaps even at Michigan. Kelvin Grady's brother, Kevin, is a backup tailback for the Wolverines.
Kelvin had a hell of a playoff run, IIRC.
National reaction. The Amaker firing is big news, getting prominent placement on ESPN.com on an enormously busy sports day yesterday for a large part of the day and spurring notes from various analysts during a full day of March Madness action. Andy Katz called Michigan the premiere job of the offseason on ESPN Radio. The New York Times:
Publicly, Big Ten coaches will say that the firing of Amaker is unfortunate, but privately they are concerned about the reawakening of a power that won a national championship in 1989 and made the title game in 1992 and 1993 behind the famed Fab Five.
Robert Parrish at CBS Sportsline:
Now you know why people weren't jumping all over the Minnesota job. It's because few wanted to get too involved with that gig until they were certain Michigan wouldn't open considering everybody assumed Michigan would open eventually.
On Saturday, eventually arrived. And if Michigan is willing to throw around big money and invest in facilities then it will lure a high-profile coach from somewhere and again become a basketball power now that the uninspired Tommy Amaker era is complete.
Don't let the Amaker party line about facilities and Izzo and the like dissuade you. Michigan is a top 20 program historically and has the one thing you can't buy with money: sex appeal. Like Oklahoma or USC in football, once a historical power comes back to life it usually does so with a roar.
9 Michigan State
2 Notre Dame
15 Air Force
10 North Dakota
5 Boston College
12 St. Lawrence
First Round Adjustments
Michigan can't play MSU and Maine can't play UNH in the first round. Usually the way this goes is the committee will swap lower seeds in an attempt to give the 1 seed the easier draw -- and they display such charming faith in the exactitude of the PWR when they do so. So MSU will probably get swapped with North Dakota and Maine with Miami. We'll do this and use the actual seeds:
3 North Dakota
1 Notre Dame
4 Air Force
3 Michigan State
3 St. Lawrence
UNH is hosting so that bracket is in Manchester. The Clarkson bracket is a natural fit in Rochester. Now we're weighing Minnesota, UND, and Michigan versus ND and MSU for Grand Rapids. With Air Force providing a bit of a natural draw for the Colorado region and ND and MSU's proven ability to draw beans the last time they shared a GR regional, chances are we at least get to stay local for our zero percent chance of making the Frozen Four.
UPDATE: There's some odd sentiment in the Bracketology thread at USCHO. Some scenarios have us switching with BU instead of State with UND -- the upshot is that the GR regional is then 1 ND - 2 Mi - 3 NoDak - 4 Air Force, though I bet Air Force is the #4 in Denver no matter what -- for attendance purposes at both regionals. While we were just outplayed by Notre Dame, it wasn't a horror show like the Minnesota game and that would be much preferable.
Update 3/15: Downgraded PA LB Andrew Sweat to yellow. Downgraded OH TE Brandon Moore to red; bet you a dollar he's SEC. Added OH OL Matt Grieser, IN OL Kurt Wermers, FL DT Marcus Forston, NJ WR Dejuan Miller, OH LB Justin Staples, OR OL Matt Lipski, IL DE Darius Fleming, NY RB Latavius Murray, NV(!) TE Cody Aughney, PA WR Vaughn Carraway, and NJ DE Jack Crawford.
Linked to article on TX WR Daryl Stonum (down to Michigan & Florida), update on TX RB Sam McGuffie's track exploits. (Second McGuffie track update.) CA OL Khaled Holmes likes Borat. Linked to articles on MN WR Michael Floyd and IL DE Darius Fleming. Downgraded Zebrie Sanders to red -- we're not in his top five.
Removed OH OL Mike Adams (OSU).
Editorial Opinion: Many new names, though most seem marginal or unenthusiastic. IN OL Kurt Wermers has an offer and lists a bunch of Big Ten schools and ND, as does IL DE Darius Fleming. Those two recruitments will be worth watchin. The rest: who knows? I expect a number of those names will still be up there in a couple months with nothing other than a name.
Khaled Holmes likes Borat. You commit here? Is nice.
Mike Adams commits to OSU. Not a surprise.
Please do not call him "Dean". Aforementioned IN OL Kurt Wermers has 1) an offer and 2) a top three of M, Purdue, and Northwestern. So that's probably your first OL commit of the year. Seems a three-star type at 6-5, 260.
Zebrie Sanders does not seemed awed and thrilled. He's listing a top five of ND, OSU, Clemson, Southern Cal, and UGA. He has a Michigan offer but not one from ND or OSU. Downgraded to red.
Stonum. We've been his leader since Woolfolk committed, apparently. GBW picked up some quotes from him at a track meet (McGuffie also attended, winning the hurdles):
But when we were speaking with Darrell and Sam McGuffie together, Stonum told McGuffie that he is down to: "Michigan and Florida, Michigan and Florida" and that he will go to each place in the summer, then decide.
Notorious homewrecker Urban Meyer is the last person I want Stonum interacting with, but given his previous assertions about Michigan's status and his connection with Woolfolk and Herron I feel more confident about him than any other uncommitted recruit other than MI OT Dann O'Neill.
McGuffie. A local-irritating Wolverine summarizes recent paysite articles at Buckeye Planet:
McGuffie says that Michigan is his leader.
McGuffie asked for the #2 and Michigan agreed. McGuffie says Michigan has moved upto the top of his list.
[sic] Hooray beer. I, of course, am thrilled by this. He's guaranteed to be overhyped because of the whole Matrix thing but, as this other Youtube extravaganza shows...
...he's no one-run wonder. McGuffie has Mike Hart numbers playing in either Texas' toughest or second-toughest class -- I don't recall exactly -- and that's a six minute video of ridiculous hurdles, Playstation jukes, and more explosion than Bikini Atoll. I know he's kind of small and kind of pale, but I'm sold. His internet video exploits remind one of another smallish RB:
(Who betta den #20?)
He seems to have more -- much more -- raw speed but lacks Hart's miraculous ability to grind forward with four guys draped all over him. (On that one inexplicable 90-yarder the guy never really got ahold of him.) The vision, instincts, and cuts, OTOH, are Hart-esque.