Blog Entry

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

Posted on: March 15, 2010 4:18 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2010 4:22 pm

Iowa announced Monday that Todd Lickliter is no longer its basketball coach after just three seasons, making him the third coach to be fired less than 24 hours after Selection Sunday. What's sure to come next is a parade of people pointing to Lickliter's demise and suggesting it's proof that the "grass isn't always greener," proof that coaches should be careful about leaving their small schools the way Lickliter left Butler.

But that's a stupid thing to suggest.

Leaving Butler for a bigger job worked out fine for Thad Matta.

It'll probably work out OK someday for Brad Stevens, too.

(And it made Lickliter wealthy, if nothing else.)

In other words, leaving Butler (or any non-BCS school) for a bigger job isn't the problem. The problem is leaving Butler for a bigger job but continuing to recruit Horizon League players; that's career suicide. Horizon players are great for the Horizon. But you can't win with them in the Big Ten, and that's the biggest reason Lickliter didn't win in the Big Ten.

He didn't recruit Big Ten players.

So now he's gone.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: March 16, 2010 1:49 am

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

I think anyone getting a $2.4 million contract buyout will do quite fine.  He's hardly in need of much future luck with that kind of windfall.

We get all upset about CEO salaries these days, but the kind of money we throw at college coaches is simply obscene.

Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: March 16, 2010 12:57 am

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

It seems that some guys just aren't cut out to be the trendsetters in recruiting. By trendsetters I mean it seems most recruiting rankings are done by "which schools are recruiting them" as opposed to "who exactly is more talented". Granted John Wall and other studs are recognized few years before they turn seniors. Example, Florida St. football recruits get a top ten every year, yet they perform in the top 100 every year on the field. Are they ranking these players as individuals or by which "factory" is in on them. I believe it's "factory".

When you go down the list outside of the "blue-chippers", that's where these coaches earn their money. In most cases when schools like Iowa, Nebraska, Iowa St, and a lot of other BCS "non-factory" programs go and recruit they set the market for the mid-majors. If they connect, the mid-major's get hurt. If they miss, the mid-major gains. 

Mid-major's get talented players the big 6 school's think don't fit in. Lickliter is good at recruiting good players from Indiana that IU and Purdue didn't call. He has more to offer than Indiana St. without having to say a word. He doesn't seem to have the determination to recruit the way Thad Matta does, he still has a great hold over the Indianapolis area.

Billy Gillespie should get a call. I'm sure Bruce Pearl gets the first call, being he's been around Iowa during their glory days. The top fit for Iowa or anyone else looking to start at foundation level is Tim Jankovich, the Illinois St. coach with a great recent history recruiting the Midwest (high major guys). He was handed a good group when he got to ISU, but he's now brought in a better group that turns Sophomore next year. Imagine what he could do with a "Brand Name" to sell. He has credentials of bringing Bill Self Julian Wright and Sherron Collins out of Chicago. Deron Williams gave high praise to him for improving his Free Throw stroke while he was at Illinois.

I'd get on that guy Iowa, before the Illinois job opens up soon.

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: March 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

Thad Matta seems to be doing alright at Ohio State since he left Butler.

Butler has a very good team and will only get better.  The current team is very young and don't be surprised to see Butler make a swwet 16 appearance this year or possibley the next few.

I do think Parrish was right on with his article.  Lickliter did a great job at Butler.

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: March 15, 2010 10:24 pm

See also: Weber, Bruce

Illinois misses the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons due to Weber's pathetic recruiting.  Weber should thank God every night Bill Self left him Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head et al.  Those guys have made Weber alot of money, and he's wasted the near perfect situation he was given.  If he misses the Tournament again next year, he should be canned without question. 

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: March 15, 2010 9:50 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

So, Butler being "selected" as National Champions in the 20's has exactly what to do with recruiting now? A coach winning a National award 3 times between 1968 and 1972 means what to recruiting now?

I understand your point. You feel that Butler was slighted because they have had some recent success against the Indiana schools and some NCAA tournament success. Do you believe that Butler's success is representative the entire league? Do you feel that Butler could step in to the Big Ten and compete successfully based on this success? Do you feel that Butler could challenge for the Big Ten Title on a regular basis?

The Horizon league is a strong mid major league with a few teams that have made the tournament. Butler is currently the flagship team in this league. There is a big difference in playing a couple of games a season against top talent and playing an entire season against top talent.

Let's compare Horizon League and Big Ten NCAA success in this decade (total number of schools that have achieved set level at least once):

National Champs    -     Big Ten: 1  Horizon: 0
National Runner up -     Big Ten: 4  Horizon: 0
Final Four     &
   -     Big Ten: 5  Horizon: 0
Elite Eight     
;   -     Big Ten: 6  Horizon: 0
Sweet Sixteen    &nbs
p;   -     Big Ten: 6  Horizon: 2

From 2000-2009 (10 Tournaments) a Big Ten team was in the National Championship game in half of them.

So I believe Parrish's premise is correct. If Licklitter continued to recruit the same players that he did while at Butler then NCAA success should not have been expected. I would expect not him to fail as much as he did (transfers and other dismissals certainly were a factor) in conference but to suggest that players from the Horizon league would "thrive" in the Big Ten is unrealistic.

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: March 15, 2010 9:08 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

I think you're missing the message of this article.  This isn't an article bashing Butler.  The message he is trying to convey is that in major conference basketball it takes more than just good coaching to win.  The teams that boast the best records at the end of the season in major conference also usually have future NBA talent on them.  Look at Kansas in the Big 12 or Ohio State in the Big Ten this year.  Try looking at previous National Champs North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse, UConn, Kansas, etc. in recent years.  All come from major conferences, and all sent players into the NBA in the first round.  
Lick was not bringing in NBA talent in the Big Ten.  For that reason, even with his solid coaching he was unable to compete for Big Ten titles.  No matter what conference you are in, competing and hopefully winning the conference title is the goal.    His coaching and Butler's tradition helped him succeed in the Verizon, but when was the last time a Verizon team won a national title?  How about when was the last time they even played in the national championship game?  The answer is never because the current state of college hoops requires top talent as well as coaching, which is nearly impossible for mid-major schools to produce.  In addition, winning a title 81 years ago has nothing to with today's NCAA.  There have been Ivy League teams dominate NCAA football more recently than that, but they surely aren't winning any BCS National Titles any time soon.   The Xaviers and Butlers of NCAA basketball are strong programs who get well deserved respect, but ask Cincy how much fun the Big East is.  Sure they are still good, but playing top level talent consistently has a way of making dominant mid-major teams look lesser. 
I feel like I could ramble on and on, but the end result is that Butler has had great coaching and quite a bit of success in its league.  They have gone outside the league and had some success as well, but with the top teams from major conferences playing for titles and the top team from their conference usually topping out at the sweet 16 if not earlier, it is clear there is a gap in the level of play.  So as long as Iowa is in the Big Ten, it is only natural that the school will want a coach who can make them compete in that conference and hence want a coach who recruits and coaches at the top level.  Whether they get that or not remains to be seen, but Lick's inability to do that forced him out... with no offense to the Butler faithful.  

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: March 15, 2010 8:33 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

I believe Billy Gillispie is available.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: March 15, 2010 7:55 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

Iowa could probably give Drake a run for 3rd best school in the state still..!!

Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: March 15, 2010 7:40 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

Tell us about it....

We hired Barry Collier here at NU a while back, and our program has gone from mediocre to just..... gone since then. In college Basketball it all about recruiting. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting, and recruiting. And when thats done you need to go out and do some more recruiting. Any Xs and Os skill a coach brings is just icing on top.  Butler coaches seem to do fine.... at Butler.

Since: Oct 31, 2009
Posted on: March 15, 2010 7:39 pm

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players

What am I missing here? The Butler program has traditionally been one of the best basketball programs over the last decade, having won at least 20 games and reached postseason play eight of the last ten seasons, including six Ncaa Tournament appearances.<sup id="cite_ref-7" class="reference"> </sup> Butler also holds two national championships in men's basketball from the pre-tournament era; one from 1924 (earned via the AAU national tournament), and one from 1929 (selected by the Veteran Athletes of Philadelphia).<sup id="cite_ref-8" class="reference"> </sup>

In the 2000 NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs' lost a heartbreaking 69-68 overtime game to eventual national runner-up Florida as a No. 12 seed; a game considered an ESPN "Classic." The next year, Butler defeated Wake Forest 79-63 in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed. Butler's exclusion from the 2002 Tournament as a 25-5 team is considered by many as the biggest NCAA selection "snub" ever. I wonder why. <sup id="cite_ref-9" class="reference"> </sup> <sup id="cite_ref-10" class="reference"> </sup> In 2003 Butler reached the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 12 seed by defeating #5 Mississippi St. and #4 Louisville.

The 2006-2007 team won the NIT Season Tip-Off, which helped them to be named one of the top 12 underdog sports stories of 2006 by ESPN. <sup id="cite_ref-11" class="reference"> </sup> Butler finished the regular season ranked No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and #25 in the AP Poll.

<sup id="cite_ref-12" class="reference"> </sup> <sup id="cite_ref-13" class="reference"> </sup>

During the 06-07 season, the Wooden Award National Player of the Year finalists in college basketball included Butler junior guard Al Graves, while the 2006-07 mid-season Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year was awarded to Head Coach Todd Lickliter. <sup id="cite_ref-14" class="reference"> </sup> Lickliter was the second coach to win the award while coaching at Butler. It was also awarded to former legendary coach Jim Anthony who won the award 3 times in 1968, 1969,and 1972. He remains the only coach in college basketball history to win the award 3 times.

In 2007 Butler earned a #5 seed, the highest in the school's history. Its previous highest seed was #10 in 2001. Butler was ranked in the AP Top 25 throughout the 2006-2007 season, reaching as high as #9 (also a school record). In the first round of the Midwest Regional, Butler defeated #12 seed Old Dominion 57-46. In round two, Butler defeated #4 seed Maryland by a score of 62 to 59, earning a trip to the Sweet Sixteen #1 seed Florida. This marked the second time in five years and the third time in the school's history that Butler reached the Sweet Sixteen.

Butler has the best winning percentage and most wins of all D-I men's basketball programs in the state of Indiana over the last decade (21.6 wins per year through 2006). Now you may say that's because they play easier schedules, but they have won the last six meetings with in-state rival Notre Dame and two of the last four against Indiana .<sup id="cite_ref-15" class="reference"> </sup> <sup id="cite_ref-16" class="reference"> </sup> Butler defeated both Notre Dame and Indiana during the 2006-07 regular season, while also defeating in-state rival Purdue to move to 2-0 against the Boilermakers this decade. Butler has also been the defending champion of the Hoosier Classic men's basketball tournament since the 2001-02 season,<sup id="cite_ref-17" class="reference"> </sup> <sup id="cite_ref-18" class="reference"> </sup> and has advanced to postseason play eight of the last ten years (6 NCAA's, 2 NIT's). Butler has been to nine NCAA Tournaments and three NIT's since 1997.

Let me ask a couple of questions. Does anybody think it's easier to advance deep into the tournament from a low (as in #12) seed as opposed to a high seed? Does anybody think the officiating for a low seed, whether it be conscious or unconscious, favors or even equals that of a high seed?

I think Butler basketball's consistent tradition, i.e. quality programs over a lengthy period, negates any notion that their program could not compete in the Big Ten or is that Eleven. Thinking like this only fuels the reasoning used by the Jim Nances of the world justify the annual snubbing of quality, deserved programs.

Every year it's the same old same old; follow the money.        

Big Ten coaches must sign Big Ten players. Joke


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