Blog Entry

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 12:22 pm
Gonzaga was No. 12 in the preseason Associated Press poll.

Butler was 17th.

Neither school met those expectations this season. But in the past two days they've both still managed to do what they always do -- make the NCAA tournament somehow, someway. The Zags earned a spot with Monday's 75-63 win over Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference tournament title game. Then on Tuesday, Butler went on the road and beat Milwaukee 59-44 to win the Horizon League's automatic bid.

So now everything makes sense.

And do you see why Gonzaga and Butler are both great coaching spots?

While power-conference jobs like Clemson, Marquette, Minnesota, Alabama, Baylor, Southern California and countless others require coaches to build to the point where they can hopefully earn at-large bids during nice years, Gonzaga and Butler are setup to make the NCAA tournament in good and bad times alike. Both are national brands that garner intriguing non-league opportunities. When things go well, the Zags and Bulldogs receive Top 25 votes and remain ranked most of the season. When they don't, the programs are still solid enough to win their inferior leagues, which is why Gonzaga is about to play in its 13th straight NCAA tournament, Butler in its fifth straight.

That's also why Few has never left Gonzaga.

And it's why Stevens probably won't leave Butler (unless Indiana calls someday).

In a sport where coaches secure contract extensions with NCAA tournament bids and get fired after consecutive NITs, this season proved why Few or Stevens would be foolish to leave a job with so many built-in advantages for a middle-of-the-pack power-conference gig. At most BCS-affiliated schools, a coach has to at least slightly overachieve to make the NCAA tournament. But Gonzaga and Butler are so strong relative to their conference brethren that coaches there can reasonably expect to make the Field of 68 regardless of the circumstances or even if they underachieve.

That's the definition of a great job.

And by great, I mean really, really safe.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Butler, Gonzaga

Since: Dec 22, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:31 pm

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Yeah, really three teams.  Do you really believe that your team improved and Gonzaga and others stayed the same?  Heck, we beat your shell of a team with our shell of a team and Gonzaga is playing much better now than they were playing.  Xavier is not that good.

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:21 pm

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Really three teams? Congrats on beating us at home when we were still a shell of the team we are right now. Have fun losing in the first round when we get to the sweet 16 again. Being seede 6th is going to be alot better then 10 or worse. Have fun. 

Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:16 pm

Who has the longest winning streak in college bk?

It is not George Mason..... it is...

NOVA..... not Viillanova  ... Nothern Virginia Community College with 22 staright  wins to end the season, The last Lost was on Dec 2 to Cecil College which is ranked no. 4 in the country

NOVA men’s basketball wins first state championship   CHESAPEAKE, VA (March 6, 2011) – Northern Virginia Community College defeated Thomas Nelson 78-71 on Sunday afternoon to capture the 2011 Virginia Community College System men’s basketball championship at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.   Trailing 17-4 in the opening minutes, NOVA rallied to secure the College’s first ever VCCS Championship.  TNCC led 42-41 at halftime.   “We certainly made it a dramatic finish,” said fifth year head coach Mike Fitzmaurice.  “However, I am proud of the way we responded with our backs to the wall.  We didn’t overreact and kept our composure.  It was a total team effort.”   NOVA closed out the season with 22 consecutive victories and completed the VCCS regular season schedule with a 10-0 record.   “The thing I am most proud of is this team never felt the pressure of the winning streak,” said Fitzmaurice.  “Emotion can be your worst enemy or your best friend.   Fortunately, it was our friend this year.  We played the entire season with an every possession matters mentality and it paid off.”    Tomas Camera led five scorers in double figures with 17 points.  Westley Ford added 14 points, and Rich Waldron netted 12 points.  Bobby Mott and Jonathan Ball each contributed 10 points.   TNCC was paced by Melvine Horne’s 15 points.   Waldron (Edison High School/Alexandria, VA) was selected as the VCCS Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.   Camera (T.C. Williams High School/Alexandria, VA) and Ford (Paul VI Catholic High School/Arlington, VA) were named to the All Tournament Team.   The NOVA women’s basketball team lost to tournament host Tidewater Community College 57-47 in the championship game.   TNCC (71) – DaVonte Jackson, 3; Sean Johnson, 14; Melvine Horne, 15; Darnell Berry, 6; Tyrone Berry, 14; Dana Jackson, 12; Danta Cooper, 7.
NOVA (78) – Gavin Peterson, 7; Westley Ford, 14; Bobby Mott, 10; Jonathan Ball, 10; Dominque Goodwin, 4; Tomas Camera, 17; Richard Waldron, 12; Jonathan Gaston, 5. 
RECORDS: NOVA 26-5 (13-0 VCCS); TNCC 11-6 VCCS

Since: Sep 3, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:59 pm

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

So Thad Matta should have stayed at Butler instead of going to OSU, Matt Painter should have stayed at Southern Ill instead of being Big Ten coach of the year 3 times in 6 years at Purdue.  If Stevens and Few are really good coaches they take the challenge at some point and move to an elite conference. They mayfail like Licklieter or succeed like Matta and Painter but I doubt if they can resist the challenge.  You won't be a great coach without that drive to be the best of the best

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:10 pm

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

"Saying Gonzaga & Butler are good coaching spots is only something that can be concluded after Few & Stevens are long gone."

Great point. Pundits love to make the argument Parish has, that coaches thrive in and should appreciate "safe" settings. That discouts the gazillions of coaches who have been in safe jobs, usually due to low expectations, and have had nary the success Few and Stevens have had. Sure these guys have job security, but they created that with their coaching and recruiting skills. It wasn't just a given that they would succed due to league weakness. If it was, all the major winning marks would be held by mid-major programs, wouldn't they?

Since: Dec 22, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:35 am

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Parrish doesn't know what he is talking about.  He says the WCC is an underperforming conference.  Consider the facts.  This year Gonzaga has had a tough season, they lost close games to Nortre Dame (now on his list at #4), a close game to San Diego State (now on his list at #8), they handed Baylor their first loss (Baylor was in the top 10 at the time of that game), they beat Xavier by 10 when Xavier wasn't on Parrishes list (now at 20 on his list).  They have had solid wins against Oklahoma State, and Marquette.  In Mark Few's time at Gonzaga they have at least 5 second round finishes and four sweet sixteen finishes.  In 2008 the WCC Tournament Champion San Diego went in with their automatic bid and knocked off #1 seeded University of Connecticut (Gonzaga finished in the sweet 16 that year).  Last year, Gonzaga won their first round game and the winner of the conference tournament St. Mary's finished in the sweet 16.

This conference continues to knock off higher seeded teams repeatedly in the NCAA and Parrish calls them an underperforming conference.  He doesn't offer any evidence to support his b.s. claim.  Sometimes I like reading his blogs and sometimes I think he is out to lunch - on this post he is totally out to lunch.  I think there are three teams better than Xavier in the WCC right now and look where he has Xavier on his list.

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:32 am

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

I'm torn by this blog post, because on the one hand Gary's right. These are great jobs because these teams get to the tournament consistently. Beyond that, the schools and the fanbases love their coaches. They are also, relatively speaking, lower pressure environments.
But, I also think Gary is underplaying the challenges these schools face, too. Recruiting is much harder, for example. A middle- or lower-tier major conference school can recruit top-50 players much more easily than Butler or the Zags. Moreover, I think he's underplaying just how difficult it is to win a conference, no matter how weak that conference may be perceived (that perception is often wrong: the Horizon has been ranked 11th in Sagarin all year long). Also, both the Zags and BU have to be every teams' superbowl every time they go on the road. Lots of other major-conference programs don't have that problem. When OK State shows up at Mizzou, it's just another game. When Butler shows up in Milwaukee, they pack the house.

Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:29 am

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Wow, did not realize Valpo fans were so bitter/jealous.  Good thing we have you all to kindly inform us that Valpo will be the new dominant power, "hands down" and that "Butler will not see the NCAA's for another 4-5 years." 

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:21 am

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

Stevens better not get too complacent... Valpo is on their way to the top.  Brandon Wood is a beast;  Broekhoff and Van Wijk are pretty solid as well.  As a Milwaukee fan, I have been most impressed by Valpo this year.  Losing Cory Johnson to graduation will hurt the crusaders, but I think Valpo stands the best chance of dominating the conference for the next few years... especially with CSU's Norris cole graduating, as well as Butler losing Matt Howard.  Nored and Mack will be great players for Butler next year, but Valpo is the future of the conference, hands down.  Detroit is also on the rise... I don't think Butler will see the NCAA's for another 4-5 years;  but that is good enough for a Horizon coach to keep his job.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2011 1:26 am

Guess who's in the NCAA tournament again?

While Butler was able to win the Horizon League, they are nowhere near as good as they were last year and odds are will not make a splash in the tourney.  Valpo wins the Horizon next year.

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