Archive for March, 2015

SEC Has Decided to Invest In College Basketball

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2015 at 1:36 pm

After years of not-so-benign neglect, the SEC has decided to take some of that extra media money and see if they can buy their way into March Madness.

What to do with all that money?

That is the questions SEC programs are facing as they gaze at the glorious amount of media rights money that is being distributed throughout the league.

Turns out the SEC Network is a little ahead of schedule, so teams are expected to collect over $5 million each this summer from their share of the profits.

The league has tier 1 deals with ESPN and CBS and with the SEC network at least one sports marketing firm is estimating that each team in the league will collect $35-$40 million in media rights during the 2017-18 school year.

That revenue stream will be there year in and year out, and you can add revenue from the college football playoff and other bowl games annually.

So what to do with some of that money?

How about using some of it to prime the pump of March Madness?

As John Calipari and Kentucky look to become the first college basketball team to go 40-0 this weekend at the Final Four, other programs are trying to buy their way into the game.

Greg Marshall-Alabama for $3 million?

That’s the rumor of the day. Marshall is currently playing Texas against Alabama, as Tide AD Bill Battle flew to Wichita to publicly state their love for Marshall. Obviously Alabama has decided that they are ready to upgrade basketball — they even called in ace recruiter Nick Saban to try and convince Marshall that Tuscaloosa is a great place to raise a family.

Bruce Pearl-Auburn, $2 million a year

Last year, Auburn brought Bruce Pearl back into the league. Auburn has been to the NCAA tournament just 8 times, with the last coming in 2003. Pearl got Tennessee into the NCAA tournament in each of his six year in Knoxville, including two Sweet 16’s and an Elite 8.  Pearl went 15-20 his first season at Auburn.

Ben Howland-Mississippi State $2 million+ a year

Mississippi State fired Rick Ray and less than 48 hours hired Ben Howland to take his place. Howland took UCLA to three straight Final Fours, but didn’t get out of the first weekend of play over the next 5 years. Mississippi State had a nice run during the 2000’s, including one Final Four appearance, but the Bulldogs have only appeared in the tournament 10 times and haven’t been back since 2009.

Rick Barnes-Tennessee, $2 million+ a year

Mississippi State may have set the land-speed record in hiring Howland, but it didn’t last long, as Barnes jump from one UT to the other in record time. Suffice it to say that readers of this blog are well aware of Barnes’ record (and shortcomings) at Texas, but he is a great hire for the Vols who are working on their 4th coach in 6 years.

Barnes has been to the NCAA tournament 22 times during his coaching career, or two more appearances than Tennessee has made during the history of the program.

It didn’t take long for the Vols to welcome Rick.

Rick Barnes is on the wall at Pratt. That was quick. #Vols pic.twitter.com/rj5UckaNZM

— Nick Carboni (@NickCarboniWBIR) March 31, 2015

This trio (along with whomever Alabama hires) joins the two coaches with hardware – Callipari ($5.5 million a year) and Florida’s Billy Donovan ($4 million), to give the SEC six coaches in the Top 20 highest paid category.

The league is finally approaching college basketball with the same tactic that they have used in football.

“You Need to Spend Money in Order to Make Money.”

Texas Ex Rick Barnes Takes Head Coaching Job at Tennessee

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2015 at 10:11 am

Gonna need to bleach those ties a bit.

It’s official: former Texas Longhorns head coach Rick Barnes has taken the head coaching job for the Tennessee Volunteers. Give your well wishes to SB Nation blog Rocky Top Talk.

All the best and happy trails, Rick.

Texas Longhorns Coaching Innuendo: Marshall, Smart, and So Forth

Posted by    |    March 30th, 2015 at 2:24 pm

What’s the latest?

Here’s a quick hitter at where things stand with the Texas Longhorns basketball head coaching search.

Gregg Marshall: Bama Bound?

Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde was banging the “Marshall ain’t interested in Bama” drum over the weekend. It appears Marshall wasn’t interested, until he was. The latest is that Marshall is inclined to acquiesce to Alabama AD Bill Battle’s request to meet with a suitcase full of hundred thousand dollar bills. Marshall and Battle will reportedly meet in Wichita today, presumably to discuss Kansas weather and FlightAware traffic patterns. And the increasing probability of Marshall possibly coaching Bama.

With regards to Texas, this means one of three things. (1) Steve Patterson is just not that into you, Gregg Marshall. (2) Patterson has leaked a $3M threshold for the head coaching salary, and Marshall is establishing a BATNA. (3) Marshall is genuinely intrigued by the Bama job and Pat Forde was grossly misinformed.

Shaka Smart: The Apple of Patterson’s Eye?

College basketball pundits like Jeff Goodman and Kirk “Kurt” Bohls have posited that Marshall and Smart are at the top of Texas’ coaching search list. According to a Virginian ABC News affiliate, Smart has emerged as the “leading candidate” for Patterson and Texas. If a local news affiliate uses a hashtag in its video lede (#ShakaWatch2015!), you know it must be fact.

Longhorn followers are skeptical that Smart would actually leave VCU for Texas, as Smart’s historical sample size indicates unlikeliness to leave for less than a blue blood gig (see: Marquette lands Smart! … or nah). It’s the same old story. Steve finds Shaka, Steve loses Shaka, Shaka finds Steve, Steve forgets Shaka, Shaka remembers Steve, Shaka dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.

There also seem to be concerns that Smart’s recent NCAA Tournament track record isn’t as stellar as Marshall’s, or that Smart’s style of play is not conducive to the offensive-friendly, Barnes-antithesis that Texas fans are craving, or that Smart’s recruiting track record does not indicate that he can land the top-tier talent that Texas should be bringing to Austin. Seriously.

Darkhorse Candidates: NBA Experience Required?

It would be unsurprising if Steve Patterson, ex-NBA Executive, wanted his next head coach to have ex-NBA something somewhere in his moniker. A few names that have been bandied about:

John Lucas, ex-NBA head coach. Last was a head coach before LeBron James played in the NBA. Outstanding grassroots connections in Texas, particularly Houston. Son Jai was a former player and grad assistant under Barnes. Lucas returning to coaching, particularly in Austin, could go about as well as Boyd Crowder returning to a coal mine.

Avery Johnson, ex-NBA head coach. Currently an ESPN NBA analyst. Theoretically outstanding grassroots connections in Texas, particularly Dallas. Son Avery, Jr is currently on scholarship at Texas A&M. No collegiate coaching experience of any kind. Might continually remind you of Kevin Hart, and how much Kevin Hart annoys you despite your teenage son/daughter thinking Kevin Hart is the greatest thing since sliced bread or Dane Cook.

Larry Krystkowiak, ex-NBA head coach. Currently head coach of the Utah Utes. Not currently bandied about as a candidate but seems to fit the Patterson preferred profile. Totally meets tenet three of this interesting John Gasaway article. Coach K nickname already taken, would cause extreme pronunciation problems for Kurt Bohls.

The Texas Longhorns Basketball Coaching Hunt Thread

Posted by    |    March 30th, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Buckle up.

So, Gregg Marshall was the guy then wasn’t the guy.

Archie Miller? Shaka Smart? Dick Motta?

Let’s follow along here.

Myles Turner to Forgo Remaining College Eligibility and Declare for the NBA Draft

Posted by    |    March 30th, 2015 at 11:05 am

We enjoyed your one season on the Forty, Myles.

Myles Turner, Texas Longhorn, will forgo his remaining three years of college eligibility and declare for the NBA Draft. He announced his decision via a Twitter message that BWG fanposted. Given the magnitude of the news, it’s worth cobbling together a full post on the matter.

Turner, a former McDonald’s All-American and consensus top 10 high school prospect, came to Texas with loads of potential. Though not as developed in skills or physicality as fellow freshmen bigs like Karl Towns or Jahlil Okafor, Turner possessed a world of potential as a two-way player, plus defender, and stretch big.

As a freshman at Texas, Turner averaged 10.1 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 2.6 blocks per game. He primarily functioned as Texas’ first big man off the bench, averaging 22.2 minutes per game. In his first two collegiate performances, Turner posted 15 points, 6 rebounds against North Dakota State, and 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks against Alcorn State, a harbinger of things to come. One of his best performances of the year came in Texas’ fifth game against St. Francis, where Turner had 25 points and 10 rebounds on 11-12 shooting.

Turner struggled somewhat against better teams, particularly a lackluster performance against #1 Kentucky that got scrutinized by many draft analysts. In Big 12 play, Turner had 7 games in double-figures and 4 double-digit rebounding performances, with back-to-back double-doubles against Texas Tech and Oklahoma in mid-February. Turner seemed to express on-court frustration with his role and the team’s performance as the season progressed, though he was always positive towards the media. Nevertheless, Turner’s role quizzically diminished over Texas’ final four games, as he did not break the 20 MPG or 10 PPG barrier in any of those matchups, and did not play a significant role in crunch time as Texas’ season dwindled to a bitter end.

In some ways, Turner’s season was a success. Out of high school, Turner was considered a raw big man with limitless potential. As a freshman, he displayed signs of rapidly maturing his game, including strong work as a help defender and an advanced array of skills as a low block post. However, his lack of physicality showed against stronger, more mature front lines, and he often settled for meandering on the perimeter rather than utilize his low block skills.

Earlier in the season, I maintained that, in terms of pure “tremendous upside potential,” I would take Karl Towns 1 and Myles Turner 1b in the NBA Draft. Given enough time and proper coaching, Turner has the ability to a be a defensive and offensive asset that stretches the opposing team. Because of his (relative) lack of performance and larger production-to-potential gap, Turner is currently seen as an upside lottery pick rather than a top 5 lock. He figures to be the last lottery pick of the Rick Barnes era at Texas.

Thanks for everything, Myles. It was great seeing you blossom on the Forty. Hook ’em.