Branding basketball and the selection of coaches

Written April 5th, 2011 by Jay

As the NCAA Tournament and the 2010-11 college basketball season wound down these past few days (and boy did it wind down last night), the annual movement of coaches among the college ranks started to pick up.  Teams are scrambling to fill vacancies with the best talent on the market, and while some coaches have indicated an intent to stay put despite recent attention (see Shaka Smart), others seem to have entertained the possibility of moving elsewhere (see Matt Painter).  Then there are those coaches who have already put pen to paper and signed on the dotted line, thus sealing their future (at least for the next few years) as the new head coach for a program.

One such coach is Archie Miller, who just signed on as the new head coach for the Dayton Flyers.  The Flyers’ former coach, Brian Gregory, made the decision to leave for Georgia Tech, leaving Dayton with an opening to fill and Miller as an attractive candidate.  Miller, who is coming to Dayton from the University of Arizona, where he served as an assistant under older brother Sean Miller, may be a familiar name to Ohio State followers from his days as an assistant under Thad Matta for the Buckeyes.  Miller was in Columbus for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons before joining his brother at Arizona.  Going one step further, the Miller family in general has some connection to Thad and Ohio State by means of the following: Read More

Impressions: West Virginia and Cincinnati

Written February 1st, 2011 by Jay

The Big East has a lot of ranked teams this year, to say the least, and some believe that the conference will have as many as 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament come March.  While the debate will rage on about the true strength of the Big East, it is fairly certain that the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Cincinnati Bearcats will be two of the teams from the conference on the periphery of the conversation at the end of the season, trying to make their case that they are worthy of being included in the Big Dance.  This pair of unranked teams faced each other over the past weekend, hoping to improve their stock and take a step forward in the conference standings among their more formidable brethren.

It was a packed house at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, as the fans turned out to welcome back Bob Huggins one more time.  Huggy hasn’t changed too much since his time in the Nasty Natty by all appearances, but the Bearcat program he left behind has certainly experienced a decline in stature.  The Bearcats have had some decent squads and some decent players come through since Huggins left in 2005, but have not made a trip to the NCAA Tournament since their former coach moved on (or more accurately, was moved on).

This year’s Cincinnati team has shown some promise of finally getting back to the postseason showcase, but a strong early season record is starting to look a bit misleading in the light of recent losses.  Saturday’s contest ultimately resulted in another loss for the Bearcats, only their fourth on the season, but likely a preview of things to come as Big East play rolls along.  Saturday’s final was a 66-55 tally in favor of WVU, a score that to some extent reflects the grind-it-out, ugly style that Huggins seems to have perfected. Read More

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