Tuesday, March 17, 2009

more basketball stuff that i wasn't going to post but am anyway

This was going to be Monday's post, but....you know. I swore to myself I'd make this post about other sports and not basketball and specifically not about the basketball coach, but I have no self-control. So, a couple of quick thoughts:

- Anyone who says they don't want Jeff Capel because of his connections to Duke needs to grow the %$&# up and get over themselves. Seriously - that is bullshit. What a horrible thing that we'd hire a guy with a winning background and a successful pedigree. If Duke seriously makes you that ill, you probably need to go be a Carolina fan or something.

- Of the top three names: Capel, Tubby Smith, and Sean Miller - any one of which I'd be very happy with by the way - I think our odds of getting one of them stand at 50/50 at the very best. Capel and Smith are not that far into their own reconstruction projects and believe me, we are a reconstruction project. The building materials are there, but there's a lot of work to be done. Capel is busy working on removing the stain left by Kelvin Sampson (though he did a lot more damage at IU than OU) and Smith is dragging Minnesota out from the dregs of the Big Ten to something beyond respectability and bordering on prominence. Both are gods among men in their towns, especially Smith, and both coach in top-five basketball conferences. And Sean Miller has maintained Xavier's king-of-the-hill status in a high mid-major, such that nobody thinks it's out of place to mention them alongside major-conference stalwarts. If we're going to lure them away it'll be a combination of these three things that does the trick:
  1. Glamour of coaching in the ACC
  2. Sparkling facilities that are still quite new
  3. A humungous wad of cash money that stretches to the moon
And #3 is non-negotiable. Leitao made just over $1 million a year. To bring in one of these guys we might well be forced to triple that - or at the very least make our new coach the richest in the ACC. Roy Williams at UNC makes about $2.6 million when you count incentives and such. That's the kind of money we're probably talking about. I would not be against this, by the way. But with the state of the economy, if we give a new coach that much scratch, look for the university to have to defend itself against more than a few critics.

- Lastly, Littlepage absolutely must succeed with this hire. He called himself a "search committee of one" when announcing Leitao's hire. Firing Leitao this soon (and by the way this should clear up any notions that this was Leitao's idea) is tantamount to admitting a mistake. No mistakes. He might get away with shuffling his feet on the football team, but basketball is what the ACC does. If the basketball team continues to struggle, the next one gone should be Littlepage.

Quick thoughts on the baseball team. So after TFSU got rolled on Friday at Davenport, Chief Osceola did a rain dance to save the weekend from total disaster for the Noles. So we get the series sweep, HA. Small Debbie Downerism: TFSU does not look like the TFSU that went to the CWS last year, and they probably will not return to Omaha. That being said, dude, our bats are for realz. The guy that we beat into submission is basically the Noles' ace, though he is but a freshman. (It's worth noting that TFSU committed an unforgivable five errors leading to mucho unearned runs. But it's not like we didn't go 14-for-38 at the plate for an average of .368. Cause we did.) Three games this week, one of which is a new addition to the schedule, then we can welcome Miami and use our bats to make their pitchers cry.

OK - off to watch the Wings game. Football recruiting board update is ongoing - when it's done and the hockey game is over, it'll be posted. Check back later tonight or tomorrow morning.

EDIT: Recruiting board is updated. The haps are:

- Added the following players to yellow: OT Khamrone Kolb, DE James Kittredge, DT Anthony Ferguson, LB Ty Linton. All received offers.

- Added OT T.J. Leifheit to red. Also got an offer, but it's one of like at least 20, which makes for long odds.

- Moved TE Josh Lovell to red. Hasn't actually got an offer and doesn't seem likely to, but on there for posterity anyway.

- Also moved LB Aramide Olaniyan to red, who hasn't received an offer either. This drives me crazy because Olaniyan was showing some interest in our program and has since received a generous pile of non-UVA offers, including Michigan, Tennessee, and Auburn. If we do offer, maybe he goes back to yellow, but the cat is out of the bag here and the nation is calling.

- Removed OT Marquis Wallace, who committed to West Virginia. Drat.

- Removed RB Marcus Lattimore, which basically ain't happening and was never going to happen.

Also an addendum on Tubby Smith so as to respond to the comment below: the pressure to win at Kentucky is maybe topped by two or three programs around the country, if at all. But it's a different kind of pressure. I think it will take many years of sustained actual success before UVA fans consider it a failure not to have reached the Final Four in any given year. The thing about Tubby is that if he can get Minnesota to the tourney in two years, he can get us there with his eyes closed, and UVA fans realize this. So there would be no talk at all of pressure because he could coast with his usual level of success and be considered just all kinds of godlike. That would work for a solid six years. And Littlepage will bear the brunt of the rage anyway in the event of failure.

Problem with Tubby is that my gut instinct says he's not the kind of guy to uproot himself after such a short time from a place that's embraced him the way Minnesota has. I'd like to be wrong about that.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I would personally like to see Tubby Smith in the ACC -- what a heck of a guy.

Kentucky is paying the price for cutting him loose. My gut would say that he would be hesitant to leave a place where he is certain to be the guy. Would the pressure to win at Virginia be the same as at Kentucky? Probably not to the same degree, but I think it would come down to how competitive he is as a coach and whether or not he wants to settle down at Minn.