Posted on: March 28, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2010 12:10 pm

Siena's McCaffery headed to Iowa

Siena coach Fran McCaffery has accepted an offer to be Iowa's coach, according to the Albany Times Union.

A formal announcement is expected Monday.

McCaffery spent five years at Siena and led the Saints to each of the past three NCAA tournaments. The 50-year-old Philadelphia native was also a candidate at St. John's and Seton Hall. He replaces Todd Lickliter, who was fired after three seasons.

Iowa finished 4-14 in the Big Ten this season.

Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:36 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 12:39 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

Fairfield blew a nice lead.

Saint Mary's did not.

Here's Tuesday morning's Gettin' In.

Teams that punched tickets Monday: Old Dominion, Siena, Saint Mary's and Wofford each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday. That means nine of the 65 spots in the field are claimed.

Best game:
Fairfield was up 13 with less than 18 to play Monday night, and bubble-watchers everywhere were debating whether Siena could get an at-large bid after the sure-to-come loss in the MAAC tournament title game. My opinion: No, the Saints probably wouldn't have received an at-large bid given that they own zero top 50 victories. But guess what? It doesn't matter now because the Saints stormed back, forced overtime and recorded a 72-65 victory that made them the MAAC's automatic qualifier. Now they'll sit back and wait for the selection committee to give them a No. 12 seed, then we'll all pick them to beat some No. 5 seed.

Team whose dream remained alive: North Texas was nearly upset in the Sun Belt quarterfinals, but the Mean Green easily handled Denver in Monday's semifinals. The 63-56 victory will allow them to take a 10-game winning streak into Tuesday's title game.

Team whose dream was crushed: Western Kentucky fell behind by 16 points late in the first half and only scored 48 in the game, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Hilltoppers lost Monday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament. What's surprising is that they had a chance to win, and that they actually led 48-47 with less than four minutes remaining. WKU seemed in control. But Troy countered with a 7-0 run, won 54-48 and ensured WKU's NCAA tournament streak will stop at two.

Performance I hope you witnessed: The West Coast Conference was probably going to be a two-bid league regardless, but Mickey McConnell ensured as much with a 26-point effort that keyed Saint Mary's 81-62 victory over Gonzaga in Monday's WCC tournament title game. McConnell hit 10 of 17 shots -- including four of seven 3-point attempts -- and helped the Gaels prevent Gonzaga from winning this event for the 11th time in 13 seasons.

Performance I hope you missed: David Schneider hit a big shot to lift William & Mary to the title game of the Colonial tournament, but missed pretty much every shot in said title game. He was 2-of-13 from the field in Monday's 60-53 loss to Old Dominion, 3-of-22 from the field in his past two games.

Three random notes

1. The Big East tournament starts Tuesday with four games. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for St. John's to beat Connecticut, for DePaul to beat South Florida, and for Providence to beat Seton Hall.

2. The Horizon League title game is Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for Butler to beat Wright State because the alternative outcome would turn the Horizon into a two-bid league, which would effectively shrink the field by one.

The Oregonian newspaper reported late Monday that P.J. Carlesimo is a serious candidate to replace Ernie Kent at Oregon. Kent is expected to be officially fired at the conclusion of the Pac-10 tournament.

Final thought: Nothing in the Top 25 (and one) got folks fired up like Purdue down at No. 11.

But I don't understand the argument.

I mean, where do you think Purdue belongs?

No question, the Boilermakers were on their way to the No.1  seed in the NCAA tournament three weeks ago. But everything changed when Robbie Hummel tore his ACL, and this clearly isn't the same team. They looked average in a home loss to Michigan State, then backed that with a couple of wins over bad Big Ten teams, and I honestly think placing Purdue 11th is pretty darn generous.

It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that Hummel is gone.

So we'll never know what the Boilermakers might've otherwise been.

But I think I know what they are right now.

And that's something slightly less than a top 10 team.
Posted on: February 15, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 4:44 pm

The Poll Attacks

How can a team with more wins and fewer losses than a league rival -- plus a 2-0 record against said league rival -- be ranked behind that same league rival? No idea. But some voters ranked them that way. Their punishment is a Poll Attack!

AP poll: I like Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

Both should be ranked.

That's why I ranked both.

But I have Vanderbilt ahead of Tennessee in the Top 25 (and one), and I can't make sense of any ballot that doesn't also have them in that order, which is why I can't make sense of lots of AP ballots this week. Vandy has more wins, fewer losses, a two game lead on the Vols in the SEC East and ... two wins over Tennessee!

Vandy beat the Vols by nine at Tennessee.

Then beat the Vols by 19 at Vandy.

Just last week.

So it should be fresh in everybody’s mind.

But it's clearly not.

Because Al Balderas of the Orange County Register has Tennessee ranked 13th and Vanderbilt ranked 19th, Jeffrey Martin of the Houston Chronicle has Tennessee 13th and Vanderbilt 23rd, and Dave Borges of the New Haven Register has Tennessee 18th and Vanderbilt unranked. Honestly, I don't care where you have Vanderbilt and Tennessee ranked -- proof being how I won't take issue with my man Seth Davis, who ranked Tennessee 14th. That's seven spots higher than I have the Vols. But Seth has Vanderbilt at No. 13, one spot ahead of Tennessee, so it's all good.

The number beside the name isn't as important as the order.

And if you've got Tennessee ahead of Vandy, you've got the wrong order.

Coaches poll: I've stayed away from getting after those who have been ranking Siena because, honestly, I didn't want to pick on Siena. It's a nice program that's accomplished nice things over the past two seasons, and I was willing to ignore the body of work and let voters give the Saints the benefit of the doubt as long as Siena continued to roll through the Metro Atlantic.

I wasn't going to rank Siena.

But I was OK with others ranking Siena if they wanted.

Not anymore, though.

Not after Friday's loss to Niagra.

And please don't suggest that I'm punishing a small school for losing to a bad team while I don't punish big schools for doing the same, because that's just not true. When Gonzaga loses to San Francisco, Gonzaga at least has nice wins (Wisconsin, Cincinnati, at Illinois, at Memphis, at Saint Mary's) to make up for it. Siena has nothing. The Saints are 22-5 with losses to every likely NCAA tournament time on their schedule (Temple, Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa) plus additional losses to a bottom-tier Big East team (St. John's) and a middle-of-the-pack MAAC team (Niagara).

Siena's best win is probably Northeastern.

And yet the Saints are still getting two points in the coaches poll.

That's one more point than Xavier is getting, by the way, and Xavier is 17-7 with wins over Cincinnati, Charlotte, Dayton, Rhode Island and Florida. Furthermore, all seven of Xavier's losses are to teams Jerry Palm has making the NCAA tournament. And just so we're clear, I'm not saying you have to rank Xavier. What I'm saying is that you can't rank Siena, and you sure as hell can't rank Siena if you're not also ranking Xavier.
Posted on: April 8, 2009 3:40 am
Edited on: April 8, 2009 3:53 am

The latest on Xavier's search for a new coach

Sean Miller wants Chris Mack to succeed him at Xavier.

"I'm hopeful that happens," Miller said at his Arizona news conference. "I think it would be a great choice."

As do the readers of the Cincinnati Enquirer . Nearly 60 percent of those responding to an online poll want Mack to be Xavier's next coach. In third place is Siena's Fran McCaffery with 9.4 percent (as I type), although McCaffery's comments to a New York radio station suggest he might not even be on Xavier's radar.

"I’d like to be the coach of the Lakers, but they didn’t call me," McCaffery said when asked about the Xavier opening. "There’s no sense talking about a job where nobody has expressed any interest in me." Also worth noting: At least one New York media outlet is reporting that McCaffery is on the verge of signing an extension with Siena. An announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

Other names in the online poll are Brad Brownell (Wright State), Brad Stevens (Butler), Ken McDonald (Western Kentucky), John Groce (Ohio), Louis Orr (Bowling Green), Jim Christian (TCU) and Darrin Horn (South Carolina).

Horn is the lone BCS-affiliated coach of the listed candidates.

But would he really leave the SEC for the A-10?

Answer: It's possible considering Horn is the lowest paid coach in the SEC East. According to published reports, Horn -- i.e., the man who just led South Carolina to a tie for first in the SEC East -- makes roughly $800,000 per year. That number is dwarfed by the salaries of Billy Donovan (Florida), John Calipari (Kentucky), Bruce Pearl (Tennessee), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) and Mark Fox (Georgia), the last of whom left Nevada for Georgia last week and signed a deal worth $1.3 million per year.

Posted on: November 30, 2008 2:32 pm

It was raining inside, but now it's not

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- I can't say for sure because I have a bad memory from years and years of not caring whether I remembered stuff, but I do believe that I just experienced by first rain delay at a basketball game. It came early in the Michigan State-Wichita State fifth-place game -- yes, the nation's fifth-ranked team is really playing for fifth place in the Old Spice Classic -- when the rain storm outside decided it would like to come inside and effectively turn the Milk House into the Wet House.

Anyway, we're back playing now.

(The Dry House?)

And if you're wondering, Oklahoma State won the seventh-place game, beating Siena 77-68. So that means the Saints finished last in this eight-team event and now have a strong case for biggest disappointment in the nation depending on what Michigan State does here against Wichita State. Understand, Siena was the sexy pick to be this year's George Mason, which is always a ridiculous label to put on anybody because George Mason went to the Final Four and teams like George Mason (and Siena) just never really do that. But still, the Saints were supposed to compete for an at-large bid this season, and now that's pretty much out of the question considering they're leaving here with three losses to Tennessee, Wichita State and Oklahoma State, and without the type of schedule that can overcome those defeats.

In other words, better win the MAAC title, boys.

And in the meantime, try to keep dry.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 28, 2008 1:53 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2008 1:54 pm

It's been downhill since the win over Vandy

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Siena's at-large hopes are taking a beating here at the Old Spice Classic.

First, Tennessee thrashed the Saints on Thursday to ruin everybody's early upset pick. And then Wichita State came from behind to beat Siena 72-70 in a Friday morning loser's bracket match-up that dropped the MAAC favorites to 2-2 overall and officially eliminated any momentum experts thought the Saints might carry over after their win against Vanderbilt in last season's NCAA tournament.

Meantime, Gregg Marshall now has a notable victory in his second season since leaving Winthrop. After playing Georgetown tight on Thursday, the Shockers rallied against Siena to notch one more win than most thought they would here at Disney.

"That's one of those wins when the kids are fighting and clawing, and they never gave up," Marshall said. "This is a good win for a young basketball team this early in the year."

Wichita State will now play either Michigan State or Oklahoma State on Sunday.

Category: NCAAB
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