Galen is joined by Sam Beishuizen of TheHoosier.com to talk about his reaction to the firing of Tom Crean. Sam gives us his post-mortem on the Crean era, and we discuss what might have gone wrong to lead to the firing this week. We also talk about the coaching search for Indiana, what we think the IU athletic department is looking for, and when we might hear word about the new coach.
Galen is joined by Zach Osterman, IU insider for the Indy Star, to talk about Tom Crean’s firing, the past nine years of IU basketball, the status of the Indiana men’s basketball position, and what’s next for IU and for Tom Crean. Come for the expert analysis by one of IU’s most respected media members, stay for the sounds of two dogs wrestling in the distance.
We are still trying to process the Tom Crean firing at CrimsonCast. There will be many podcasts about this whole situation in the future. But in the meantime, it’s time for a very early job board for the IU basketball job.
I have been unimpressed with the job boards that are currently out there. Most of them are either based on no information or bad information, and represent national media throwing darts, basically. We’ve tried to do our homework here at CrimsonCast, and here’s our early forecast for who’s really in the mix, and who’s not.
WHO IS NOT IN THE MIX
Gregg Marshall: The Wichita State coach is tremendously successful, and obviously talented. Word on the street is that he’s also a difficult guy to work with, doesn’t interface well with donors and fans, and isn’t terribly motivated to move away from what is a perfect situation for him in Kansas. Don’t expect him to have any traction in this search.
Archie Miller: This is a favorite name among IU fans, and for good reason — he’s done very well at Dayton and is an obvious rising star. But his focus seems to be elsewhere, and there are better options on the table.
Chris Holtmann: A really good choice – has Indiana history, doing a great job at Butler, would recruit the state very well. I do not see him entering the discussion unless a lot of people say no, and I don’t think a lot of people are going to say no.
Chris Collins: He would be a good choice, but Northwestern is willing to shell out cash for him to stay, and he doesn’t move the needle with the right people. Could be a stealth candidate but it’s unlikely.
Randy Wittman: If IU is going to hire someone from the IU family, it’s not likely to be the former Wizards coach.
Chris Mack: Would be a last resort kind of hire. This is a name being thrown in by lazy writers.
Dane Fife: Would be a fascinating hire for a number of reasons, but it would be shocking if he ended up in the actual mix for the job this time.
Other names: Will Wade, Kevin Keatts, etc…no. Not really worth discussing.
WHO IS IN THE MIX
(none of these are in any particular order)
Tony Bennett: Favored by a lot of IU fans and donors due to his style of play, which features low turnover rates and angry, efficient defense. Some fans see him as the logical stylistic successor to the Knight era for that reason. Turns some IU fans off with his slow offensive tempo. Would probably thrive in Bloomington due to a number of reasons, including improved recruiting, less stringent academic standards, and a weaker conference. Has done incredible things at Virginia, which is by no means a basketball powerhouse. Tournament resume is actually better than you’d think! (No, seriously, go look up his tournament resume at Virginia. It’s fine.)
Steve Alford: Has a lot of support among IU fans, huge support among donors. Hated by much of Twitter, partially due to legitimate concerns about his coaching and prior incidents, and partially due to the echo chamber of Twitter. Coaching resume is actually fairly impressive post-Iowa, if you look at it objectively. Has coached a top 5 offense and a top 5 defense in an 11 year span with two different programs. Would recruit the hell out of Indiana and the surrounding area. There may be too much baggage for the marriage to ever be consummated, and this would be the fourth time that he would be passed over for the IU job in his career. A polarizing candidate online, but not nearly that polarizing if you look at the overall fan/donor base.
Sean Miller: Has been stellar at Arizona. Can coach, recruit, and annoy Steve Alford. Seems to have a great thing going at Arizona, but has also been rumored for jobs out east in the recent past, and there’s a rumor that his wife is allergic to the desert. Would be a home run hire. Earns a LOT of money at Arizona (4 million plus), so that would need to be matched. Was rumored to have interest in the job the last time it was open, and of course wasn’t given an interview because of dumb reasons. Arizona is not as easy of a job as he makes it look — his recruiting base is in UCLA’s back yard, he doesn’t have a huge amount of local talent, so the program is kind of a west coast version of Kansas.
Billy Donovan: Lots of people say that this isn’t a plausible hire, but hear me out. Donovan was notoriously picky with his NBA shot. He accepted the Orlando job only to turn it down a day later and return to Florida. He turned down the pre-LeBron-return Cavs job and the Minnesota job because they weren’t the right circumstance. He accepts the OKC job because they have Durant and Westbrook, and they nearly win the Western Conference in his first year. Then Durant leaves, and now he’s stuck with a team that won’t ever finish better than 5th in the conference, and may see Westbrook depart early. You think Billy wants to have the rest of his coaching career handcuffed to a cheapskate franchise that has zero draw for free agents? If you can hire Donovan, you do it without blinking, or breathing, for obvious reasons that do not need to be repeated here. Plus he didn’t exactly shoot the idea down cold when asked about it. So we’ll see.
This is our official, Bracket Matrix submitted bracket projection, going in to the selection show.
Here is the bracket. Below that is the full seed list.
Last Four In: VCU, Wake Forest, Providence, Southern Cal
First Four Out: Illinois State, Illinois, Syracuse, Iowa
Seed List 1-68:
|51||East Tennessee State|
|55||New Mexico State|
|57||Florida Gulf Coast|
|62||South Dakota State|
|67||North Carolina Central|
|68||Mount St Mary’s|
1s: Villanova, Kansas, Duke, Gonzaga
2s: UNC, Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon
3s: Baylor, UCLA, Louisville, Butler
4s: Florida State, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Florida
5s: Purdue, Minnesota, Virginia, Iowa State
6s: SMU, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Michigan
7s: Maryland, Creighton, Wichita State, Miami
8s: St. Mary’s, Marquette, Northwestern, Oklahoma State
9s: Arkansas, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Michigan State
10s: Dayton, Xavier, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt
11s: Rhode Island, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State, VCU, Providence
12s: Wake Forest, USC, Nevada, UNC-Wilmington, Princeton
13s: Vermont, Winthrop, East Tennessee State, Bucknell
14s: Iona, New Mexico State, Florida Gulf Coast, Northern Kentucky
15s: South Dakota State, Texas Southern, Kent State, North Dakota
16s: Troy, Jacksonville State, New Orleans, UC Davis, NC Central, Mount St. Marys
- The first two one seeds are easy. The next four teams are hard. I went back and forth for a couple of hours on an order, and I’m still not totally sold on it. I think the committee will reward Duke’s top 50 wins and better away wins, and i think they’ll reward Gonzaga for only losing one game. That ends up making UNC the first 2 seed and Arizona the second 2 seed. I think if I was bracketing based upon my own interpretations (as opposed to trying to project the committee), I’d probably have the line ordered Villanova, Kansas, Duke, UNC, Arizona, Gonzaga.
- The last four teams in changed a little bit, as I looked at numbers more closely. I think today’s win moved Rhode Island up slightly, and dropped VCU down slightly, as the first team in the last four in. I also became less enamored with Wake Forest’s profile the more I looked at it, so they got bumped down.
- Of the teams not in my field that I’m the most concerned about, it’s Syracuse and Illinois State, for totally different reasons. If the committee opts for top 50 wins, Syracuse is getting in and someone’s getting bounced…maybe USC. Although that would leave the Pac 12 with only three teams, which also seems unlikely.
Here’s our second-to-last bracket. Our next one will be the final bracket of the season, and will be posted just prior to the selection show.
Yes, I have Duke as a 1 seed. No, I’m not proud of it. But they have a better resume than UNC overall.
Gonzaga probably shouldn’t be a 1 seed. I think both Arizona and UNC are better than them, but the committee is going to almost certainly reward them for a 1-loss season. So there we are.
Last Four In: Providence, Kansas State, Rhode Island, Southern Cal
First Four Out: Illinois State, Illinois, Iowa, Syracuse
Here’s the updated bracket through last night’s games. After this one we’ve only got two more brackets to do. This is always the most bittersweet of times.
Last Four In: Providence, Kansas State, Rhode Island, USC
First Four Out: Syracuse, Illinois State, Illinois, Georgia
Notes: Lots of little moves, a few big ones, and some potentially interesting matchups starting to materialize.
- The 1 seed line is suddenly muddled. Did UNC’s loss put their 1 seed in jeopardy? Could Arizona vault Gonzaga if they beat Oregon tonight (or, could Oregon do the same?). Could Duke actually make the 1 seed line?
- Regarding Arizona/Oregon, I think it’s possible they could grab that 1 seed in the West. Gonzaga’s profile just doesn’t have a huge amount of depth — of their six top 50 wins, three are against a St. Mary’s team that gamed the RPI this year.
- As far as Duke is concerned, don’t sleep on the idea that the committee will give them a pass on whatever losses they suffered during K’s absence. I still don’t think they’ll make it up to the 1 line, but I’ve got them as my last 2 now, largely due to the above scenario.
- At this point I think Providence and Kansas State are securely in. Rhode Island is certainly not a sure thing, and I really don’t like USC at all. I’ve read some metrics that make me think USC is going to get in, but their presence in the field has me hoping for a bid-stealer to come in and take an at-large spot away.
Here’s the updated brackets heading in to Friday’s games:
Last Four In: Providence, Kansas State, Rhode Island, Illinois State
First Four Out: USC, Illinois, Syracuse, Iowa
Notes: There’s a lot of movement in the bottom 1/3 of the at-large pool, mostly because the lines between these teams are razor-thin. Iowa and Illinois both had chances to move up (or in) to the field, but bad losses in the Big Ten Tournament hurt both of their causes.
Will the committee reward large win totals with a lack of impressive top-end victories, or will they reward big wins and bad metrics? That’s the big question right now. I’m wavering back and forth between those two realities, but right now I’m guessing they’ll reward the larger win totals. Bad as the RPI is, it’s what the committee uses, and the RPI is favoring a team like Illinois State over a team like USC.
There were some questions asked on Twitter:
Interesting question. From a competition standpoint, the answer is a no-brainer YES. But even if you went straight s-curve, there are other balancing issues you have to take into account, like keeping conference members apart from each other in the bracket. If you were to also do away with those restrictions, then I’d say go ahead and switch to straight s-curving. The regional orientation is a vestige of an era when plane travel wasn’t as easy as it is today, and while the current system does benefit some higher seeded teams by not sending them across the country, it disadvantages teams that are maybe one or two arbitrarily decided places below them.
SMU, St. Mary’s, Wichita State…lots of teams fit into this category of having a small number of top 50 wins but a gaudy overall record. SMU is in better shape than the other two teams I mentioned, with eight top-100 wins and 9 road/neutral wins. The committee has rewarded teams for regular season conference titles before, and I think that will happen here as well. Right now I have them in the 6/7 seed range, but wouldn’t be shocked if they ended up on the 5 line. I can’t see them rising any higher than that, though.
Good morning bracketology! Let’s take a look at the updated bracket heading in to Thursday’s games:
Last Four In: Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Iowa, Rhode Island
First Four Out: Syracuse, Illinois State, USC, Illinois
- I’ve gone back and forth on my last teams in a few times. At this point I’m rolling with Iowa and Rhode Island over Illinois State and Syracuse. I do not see the appeal of Illinois State’s resume — the lack of quality wins is too much for me to justify moving them ahead of Iowa, and Rhode Island has a more complete resume than the Redbirds.
- Syracuse is really kinda screwed at this point. Even if they are in the field, it can’t be by much, and now the teams below them (USC, Illinois, maybe Iowa, Rhode Island) have a chance to overtake, while the Orange have to just sit there and wait.
- Wake Forest’s loss didn’t really hurt them.
- How will the committee treat the resumes of Cincinnati, SMU, and Dayton? Light on top wins, but lots of overall wins.
- Today and tonight should give us some clarity on several teams, finally. This is always the biggest pivot point of Championship Week, when tournament teams play other tournament teams and resumes start getting padded with additional wins.