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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Number Two?

-- The Orange County (CA) Register's Todd Harmonson reports that USC isn't expected to announce Tim Floyd's hiring until tomorrow at the earliest, but that the Trojans are moving closer and closer to inking the former Iowa State coach. Not so says the Los Angeles Daily News' Scott Wolf, as he notes that a scheduled news conference to introduce Floyd was abruptly canceled yesterday after the Trojans learned that their would-be coach has "serious reservations." Why the last minute change of heart? Wolf offers two hypotheses. The first relates to the possible availability of a head-coaching job at LSU, the second to the drastic overhaul necessary to turnaround USC. I'll add a third, the mystery deterrent that drove Rick Majerus away. An NCAA investigation, perhaps?

-- Imagine you are the athletic director of a university with a rich basketball tradition (Arizona or Indiana would do) and you this summer find yourself looking for a new head coach. Who would you call? GW's Karl Hobbs, Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie and DePaul's Dave Leitao are on this blogger's short list. It won't take many more games like the one Billy's Aggies played last night against Texas for Gillispie to become the hottest of college basketball's rising stars.

-- After losing to Minnesota, Purdue is winless in the Big Ten. Ditto for Virginia in the ACC, whose loss to Miami should get the "Gillen is gone" rumor mill churning once more. Whereas Dan Monson's hot start and conference victory will buy him time, Pete Gillen's 2004-2005 troubles and conference loss all but seal his fate. In retrospect, the win over Arizona only served to unwisely raise expectations at Virginia.

-- CNN/SI's Luke Winn gives a shout-out to Blogger Ken Pomeroy's efficiency stats in breaking down North Carolina's dominance following the Georgia Tech game. If Illinois is the best team in America, UNC is 1a. Or vice versa. But, either way, I'd sure like to see a game between the Tar Heels and the Fighting Illini. As would Stewart Mandel. (Though Stu, Natalie Portman is taken, by a friend of a friend...of a friend. And, as pitiful as that sounds, I'm not making it up).

-- Blogger W.C.G. kindly breaks down Alabama's struggles following last week's loss to Vandy. A solid analysis that need not be revised following the Tide's close win against Arkansas.

-- Geoff Calkins of the Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal is less than pleased with what has become of John Calipari's program. A predictable result of Calipari's players generating more police reports than victories, Calkins column is among the first signs that John's failure to make good on his early-contract promises is beginning to turn friends into foes.

-- Duke played its last true road game in February of 2004. Woah. No other program could get away with such a feat without getting called out by ESPN's talking heads.

-- One of whom, Dick Vitale, feels compelled to scratch the back of a colleague, Steve Lavin, in a "c'mon, hire my buddy," column. With which I happen to agree. Lavin put together a string of Sweet Sixteen appearances at UCLA. Sure, he might use too much hair gel and lack an ability to develop talent. But that was then. And even if now only amounts to raising a school's profile and leading them to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he'd be a wise pick for a mid-level Atlantic 10 or Conference USA program. Including Massachusetts, dare I say.

-- Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports pens a column about the North Carolina - Georgia Tech game, noting that the Tar Heels grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in the first half alone. More importantly, he quotes Melvin Scott to accurately explain UNC's success: "[We've gone] from being the most selfish team I've ever been a part of to the most selfless team I've seen."

-- The Louisville Courier-Journal's indefatigable Rick Bozich suggests Joe Crawford just didn't get Tubby Smith's coaching philosophy. I tend to agree. A Kentucky freshman departing for lack of playing time after averaging 13 minutes a game? Please. UK is playing hardball with the former McDonald's All-American, threatening to leave him with but a season and a half of collegiate eligibility (and before the rumors begin, let me note that Crawford is not yet NBA material). Should Michigan State bite, even with a lower return on investment? Sure, says the Lansing State Journal's Todd Schulz, provided a lack of PT wasn't all that drove the former Detroit Renaissance star away from Lexington. Todd's best guess? That Joe was homesick. My take? Joe's pop wanted his son to see more action. Listening to the wrong crowd in Detroit, he told Joe to transfer to MSU. But Tubby's threat not to let Crawford out of his national letter of intent threw a monkey wrench into pop's plans. And now young Joe has until Friday to enroll in spring semester classes at MSU, return to Kentucky, or choose an alternate path.

-- On a related note, Michigan State was one of seven schools that asked for Crawford's transcript. Michigan, however, was not.

-- Welcome back, Wayne Simien. Thanks for helping us beat a pesky Iowa State team on the road. We became a much better supporting cast in your absence, but please, please, don't go away again.

-- The Arizona Republic's Norm Frauenheim notes that the gang of 500 has taken to Ike Diogu, making the Sun Devils star as good a bet as any to win national player of the year honors. Amen.

-- Maybe I should have stayed up to watch UTEP-Nevada. Steve Sneddon of the Reno Gazette-Journal makes it sound like it was among the year's most entertaining games.