Morning Five: 03.17.14 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on March 17th, 2014
- Well we are finally here. The brackets were released a little over 12 hours ago and by now you have probably analyzed (or overanalyzed your picks). And you have your choice of bracket challenges to enter including the ridiculously hyped Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge from Quicken Loans (it’s not technically a billion if you read the fine print), which has some interesting caveats. If you want a contest free of all of those hassles and you want more glory, join our annual Bracket Nonsense Challenge.
- We have spent a lot of time talking about the coaching carousel, but players will also start to move on in the next few weeks. Most of the names will be less well-known players transferring, but there are also some very big early entry decisions pending. Perhaps the biggest name to make news on this front is Noah Vonleh, who appears to be leaning toward entering this year’s NBA Draft. Indiana has a decent, but not spectacular incoming class so Vonleh leaving early would be a significant blow to Tom Crean’s ongoing rebuilding efforts. With Vonleh expected to be a top-10 pick in this year’s Draft we have a feeling that he will not be wearing an Indiana jersey for much longer.
- Speaking of the coaching carousel, three more coaches were fired over the weekend. The biggest move was at USF where Stan Heath was fired despite having four years remaining on his contract. Heath went 97-130 in seven seasons so his dismissal should not be that surprising and although the USF program is far from a powerhouse it does have many things about it–being in the AAC and a major city–that could make it appealing to a high-major assistant looking to take his first coaching job or a mid-major coach looking to move up a level. Tom Herrion was slightly more successful at Marshall (67-67 in four seasons) than Heath was at USF (albeit without a NCAA Tournament appearance), but that was not enough to help him retain his job as the school bought out the last two years of his contract. Herrion’s team went 11-22 this season, but undoubtedly would have been better if their best player from last season (DeAndre Kane) had not transferred and/or their top scorer this season (Elijah Pittman) not been suspended nine games into the season. The final firing of the weekend came from Jacksonville where Cliff Warren was fired after nine seasons. Warren led the Dolphins to five straight winning seasons from 2007-11 before finishing with three consecutive losing seasons.
- If you want to find out what happens in the aftermath of a coach getting fired, we encourage you to check out Brandon Marcello’s piece on what happened to Tony Barbee and his Auburn players after the coach was fired. One could argue that the decision was not necessarily a surprise, but the timing and speed at which it was made likely caught many of the involved off-guard. We are not sure whether to view the Auburn players’ reaction (or lack thereof) as one of shock or apathy. It will be interesting to see what will happen to all of those coaches who expressed their interest through Charles Barkley, who apparently has become the unofficial go-between for the job.
- We are literally as far away from Championship Week as we can possibly be, but that doesn’t there was not some news about its future over the weekend. The ACC appears to be on the verge of moving out of Greensboro and could be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The two sides are currently negotiating a mutli-year deal that could bring the ACC Tournament to the New York area as soon as 2017. This would fit with the ACC’s goal of expanding its reach up north and could make the New York area the place to be during Championship Week with Madison Square Garden being the other premier venue.