Friday, April 06, 2007

Billy's Bio

Follow this link to read all about Coach Gillispie's history. It's going to be really exciting to see how fast he can get UK back to contending for a championship. His other jobs have all been rebuilding, but this time he already has everything except maybe a few more players to start contending immediately.

UK Has Their Coach

Billy Gillispie is going to be introduced as the head coach at Kentucky today at 12:45. This is following a pep rally that is scheduled for 12:15.

Congratulations Coach Gillispie!!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Billy G

It looks like Kentucky might finally have their coach. ESPN is reporting that Kentucky has permission to speak with Billy Gillispie, and that he will likely be named the new head coach, maybe as early as Friday.

I expected everything to move quickly after Donovan said he wasn't interested, and it looks like that's what is happening. It's good to get this done and get on to recruiting.

I'm very happy with Gillispie as the new coach. He is a big rising name, and will want to make his mark on the program. He worked wonders at Texas A&M by turning around their whole program. He is going to inherit a much better situation at Kentucky, and he will have them playing hard all the time. There might not be a ton of talent at UK next year, but you can bet that Gillispie will make sure he gets results. He won't let his first year in this program be unsuccessful.

But, he isn't officially hired yet, and that means anything can still happen.

Now who's next?

I would hope that people wouldn't criticize Donovan for making a decision to stay in Florida where his whole family lives and at a place where he's been for 11 years. So many Kentucky fans were just in love with him less than 24 hours ago, and now they just want to see him fail miserably. But, this is the nature of the UK "fan." While I agree that Kentucky has by far the most interest in their basketball program, I don't think that all of those people are true fans. Many just wait for an opportunity to criticize.

Now, who's the next coach going to be? I don't know that there is a clear leader anymore, but here is how I would rank my top 5.

1. Tom Izzo - 4 final fours; 1 nation championship; great recruiter; defense 1st, but style would be different when not playing in the Big 10; good record vs. Florida.
2. John Calipari - Great recruiter; fun style to watch; would love to see what he could do at a big name school.
3 tie. Billy Gillispie - Maybe the most motivated of all the candidates.
3 tie. Rick Barnes - Final 4; another great recruiter; what could he do at a basketball school?
5. Mark Few - Media would love this; what could he do with better players?

Donovan Stays at Florida

Here is the official statement from Mitch Barnhart:

“Throughout this process, our focus has been on finding the right person to lead college basketball’s most storied program. We have had productive conversations with various individuals over the last two weeks, and it’s obvious there are a number of outstanding coaches who could succeed at Kentucky. With the nation’s most passionate fan support and unmatched facilities, I’m confident we’ll find the right man.

“I had a conversation with Billy Donovan today to gauge any interest he might have in the head coaching position at Kentucky. Billy informed me that he intends to stay in Gainesville. As a former UK assistant, we wish him the very best.

“Obviously, finding the right coach is more important than finding the next coach quickly. Patience remains a priority as we continue to identify the best individual to lead the Big Blue Nation.”

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

UK has permission to talk with Donovan

According to WKYT-27 in Lexington, Kentucky has asked for and been granted permission to talk to Billy Donovan. I don't live in the Lexington area, but I watched their late news on the web, and they did indeed say that this is happening. They said that their sources had given them this information, but did not say who that was.

This was reported at the same time as Andy Katz was on Sports Center on ESPN2 reporting that Florida had not yet been asked by Kentucky for permission to speak with Donovan. I believe Katz was just going off of what Donovan had said earlier in the day. Just because Kentucky has been given permission, doesn't mean that they have spoken to him yet.

Many people seem to think that the decision has usually been made when a school asks for formal permission, but that might not be the case here. I do think that there will be a decision by Saturday at the latest. Maybe we'll get lucky and it will be tomorrow night, but I wouldn't count on it.

Donovan's Marshall Press Conference

Billy Donovan is at Marshall to speak at a dinner tonight, but he also had a press conference this afternoon which I spent over an hour watching. Most of that time was spent looking at a tarp and trying to listen to what the media was talking about.

When Donovan finally arrived, he was asked about his future, and he said that he wasn't going to talk about himself. After talking about Marshall and their search for a head coach, Billy started talking about his situation. He said he needed time to think, and they he hasn't yet talked to anybody about another job. He said that he's happy at Florida, but also that needed some time to really think about his future and discuss it with his wife. He seemed to understand that most people wanted to get a decision from him soon, but he said that he would take as much time as he needed.

It really is so hard to read what he is going to do. If you go by what he says, then he has not made up his mind. But, I find it hard to believe that he still hasn't talked to anybody about the Kentucky job. It may be that Kentucky is going to officially offer the job to Donovan until they know what his answer will be. This probably will all go on through his agent. I don't see how Kentucky can wait more than a few more days to name a coach considering the signing period is coming up next week, and we have 2 scholarships still open.

I think Billy is doing his best to be respectful of both Florida and Kentucky, but I also think he isn't telling the whole truth, which I don't blame him for. I predict that UK will have an answer by Friday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More SEC Coaching News

Kentucky still doesn't have a head coach, and there are more rumors now than ever. I've read that Donovan, Gillispie, Barnes, Izzo, Few, Crean, Pitino, and Pat Riley are all for sure coming to UK. That will be some staff. Somebody is going to be right with their rumors, but I still don't think anybody who is posting on a message board knows for sure.

Arkansas had a new coach for a day, but Dana Altman has already left to go back to Creighton. I know that there is pressure to succeed at Arkansas, but they have tons of fan support and always have a lot of talent. I really think that they could get a bigger name than Altman. I don't know why there aren't more coaches wanting to take that job. The SEC West is just waiting for a team to takeover.

I really want Donovan as the new coach, but if he doesn't come, Kentucky will still get a very good coach. If it's Barnes, then you get somebody who can recruit as good as anybody, and has been to a Final 4 since UK has. If it's Gillispie, then you get a coach who has made a terrible program into a contender, and would be great in the spotlight at UK. If Donovan doesn't come, then the fan base needs to support the new coach, and give them a fair chance. That means not judging after just 1 year.

Think about it this way. Tubby had 25 losses the last 2 years with teams that now have 2 players in the NBA. He has left the cupboard bare. I'm not trying to bash Tubby, because I really liked him, but the new coach isn't coming into a great situation personnel wise. Next year might be rough no matter who the coach is. I just hope the fans don't act the way that the media has made them out to be.

Coaching Candidate Profiles

Everybody is mainly focused on Billy Donovan as the next Kentucky head coach, but there are other candidates out there. Here are the histories of some of the supposed candidates.

Billy Donovan:

1995: 18-9
1996: 17-11

1997: 13-17
1998: 14-15 NIT 1st Round
1999: 22-9 NCAA Sweet 16
2000: 29-8 NCAA Runner-up
2001: 24-7 NCAA 2nd Round
2002: 22-9 NCAA 1st Round
2003: 25-8 NCAA 2nd Round
2004: 20-11 NCAA 1st Round
2005: 24-8 NCAA 2nd Round
2006: 33-6 NCAA Champions
2007: 35-5 NCAA Champions

Total: 296-123

Rick Barnes:

George Mason:
1988: 20-10 NCAA 1st Round

1989: 18-11, 1st Round
1990: 17-12, NCAA 1st Round
1991: 19-13, NIT Quarterfinals
1992: 14-17
1993: 20-13 NIT Semifinals
1994: 20-10 NCAA 1st Round

1995: 15-13 NIT 1st Round
1996: 18-11 NCAA 1st Round
1997: 23-10 NCAA Sweet 16
1998: 18-14 NCAA 1st Round

1999: 19-13 NCAA 1st Round
2000: 24-9 NCAA 2nd Round
2001: 25-9 NCAA 1st Round
2002: 22-12 NCAA Sweet 16
2003: 26-7 NCAA Final 4
2004: 25-8 NCAA Sweet 16
2005: 20-11 NCAA First Round
2006: 30-7 NCAA Elite 8
2007: 25-10 NCAA 2nd Round

Total: 418-182

Billy Gillispie:

2003: 6-24
2004: 24-8, NCAA 1st Round

Texas A&M:
2005: 21-10 NIT Quarterfinals
2006: 22-9 NCAA 2nd Round
2007: 27-7 NCAA Sweet 16

Total: 100-58

Mark Few:

2000: 26-9 NCAA Sweet 16
2001: 26-7 NCAA Sweet 16
2002: 29-4 NCAA 1st Round
2003: 24-9 NCAA 2nd Round
2004: 28-3 NCAA 2nd Round
2005: 26-5 NCAA 2nd Round
2006: 29-4 NCAA Sweet 16
2007: 23-11 NCAA 1st Round

Total: 211-52

Tom Crean:

2000: 15-14 NIT 1st Round
2001: 15-14
2002: 26-7 NCAA 1st Round
2003: 27-6 NCAA Final 4
2004: 19-12 NIT Quarterfinals
2005: 19-12 NIT 1st Round
2006: 20-11 NCAA 1st Round
2007: 24-9 NCAA 1st Round

Tom Izzo:

Michigan St.:
1996: 16-16 NIT 2nd Round
1997: 17-12 NIT 2nd Round
1998: 22-8 NCAA Sweet 16
1999: 33-5 NCAA Final 4
2000: 32-7 NCAA Champions
2001: 28-5 NCAA Final 4
2002: 19-12 NCAA 1st Round
2003: 22-13 NCAA Elite 8
2004: 18-12 NCAA 1st Round
2005: 26-7 NCAA Final 4
2006: 22-12 NCAA 1st Round
2007: 23-11 NCAA 2nd Round

Total: 278-120

Jay Wright:

1995: 10-18
1996: 9-18
1997: 12-15
1998: 19-12
1999: 22-10 NIT 1st Round
2000: 24-7 NCAA 1st Round
2001: 26-5 NCAA 1st Round

2002: 19-13 NIT Quarterfinals
2003: 15-16 NIT 1st Round
2004: 18-17 NIT Quarterfinals
2005: 24-8 NCAA Sweet 16
2006: 28-5 NCAA Elite 8
2007: 22-11 NCAA 1st Round

Total: 248-155

Monday, April 02, 2007

Other NCAA News

While all of the attention is either on Florida's back-to-back titles or Kentucky's coaching search, there was some other big news in college basketball. 4 power conference programs hired new coaches on Monday. Iowa, Michigan, Arkansas, and South Florida all got new coaches, and all should be pretty big stories.

Dana Altman left Creighton to go to Arkansas. Creighton has had success in the MVC, and Altman will go to a program that will have huge expectations to get back to being a major contender. Altman should be able to succeed mainly due to the SEC West always being so inconsistent. That division is just waiting for somebody to take control, and Alabama and LSU have proven that they aren't able to do that long term. I think this is a good hire.

Jim Beilein is leaving West Virginia to be the new head coach at Michigan. Beilein had worked wonders at WVU, and made them into a quality team almost every year. He has a unique style, and it will be interesting to see what kind of players he goes after at Michigan. It should be much easier to recruit there.

Todd Lickliter goes from Butler to Iowa. This is another mid-major going to a power conference, and it looks like it will be good for Iowa. Butler was able to stay in the top 25 all year long, and beat many major programs. Lickliter goes into a situation that isn't that bad, and he could succeed pretty soon. Iowa is losing just 2 seniors, and they were 6th in the Big 10 this past season. This could be the surprise hire for next year.

Stan Heath got hired by South Florida after getting fired by Arkansas. I never bought into Heath as a good hire at Arkansas. He had 1 good year at Kent St., and was hired immediately. He always had tons of talent and never took advantage of it. He won't have anywhere near that much talent at South Florida, and will be in a tough conference again. I don't think he will be able to have much success, but he will be given plenty of time due to South Florida's past struggles. It is possible that he will thrive without the pressure he had at Arkansas.

NCAA Final

Florida backed up their #1 overall seed with another convincing championship. Ohio St. never really had a chance to make a comeback and take the lead. Every time it started to get close, another Gator made a big shot to push the lead up again. The backcourt was the story for Florida tonight, with Humphey, Brewer, and Green all having very good games. The 3 of them were 10-18 from 3pt, and always came through. Noah wasn't much of a factor, but Horford had another solid game with 18 points.

Ohio St. was nothing like they had been during the rest of the tournament. Tonight it was all Oden and nobody else. They only shot 4-23 (17.4%) from 3, and let Florida get way too many wide open looks. The defense was weak for OSU letting Florida shoot almost 50% from the floor.

We now have to look at Florida's place in history with this group of players. I don't know are in the top 10 ever, but they are obviously much better than anybody out there right now. I really doubt all of the juniors will come back next year, but if they do, they should be #1 again. For Ohio St., I think that this game might make Oden the #1 pick in the NBA draft if he chooses to leave school this year. There's know way he'll be lower than 2nd.

And how will this affect Billy Donovan's decision to stay or leave for Kentucky? It might have no affect, because he might have already made up his mind. But, you have to admit that it would be hard for him to leave after winning 2 straight titles. Kentucky will get a very good coach no matter what Donovan decides, and will be back in contention for a title before too long.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Saturday's Scores

It's hard to believe that there is something else going on in college basketball other than Kentucky's search for a head coach, but there were 2 Final Four games on Saturday. Neither one was much fun to watch, but I really think that the Florida vs. Ohio St. rematch will be a good game. Florida was able to go on a run in the 2nd half, and UCLA had no way of catching up, because they have such a hard time scoring. Ohio St. can put up points just as fast as Florida, and they are much better than they were when they lost at Florida in December. I doubted Ohio St. all year long, but now I have no doubt that the 2 best teams are actually in the title game. This could be the last game for many of the players that will be on the floor Monday, and I think it will be a close one. I say it's a game of runs with Ohio St. going up by 10+ in the 1st half, but Florida coming back in the 2nd to get the win by 3.

Final Four Semifinals:

2 Georgetown 60 - Hibbert played well when he wasn't out due to fouls, but not a good team effort; OSU's quickness on defense made it difficult for them to score.
1 Ohio St. 67 - Oden is good, but the rest of the team is what makes them such a good team; somebody is always coming through, and they seem to always hit big shots.

2 UCLA 66 - Defense started off well, but the offense wasn't there; Florida figured out the defense and had a dunk fest, and the UCLA offense never showed up.
1 Florida 76 - Although it was just a 10 point win, this wasn't close after the first 10 minutes; so many weapons on offense that it takes an offensive oriented team to beat them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Where to find out more about the future UK coach

Here are a couple of places that you can visit to find out some more information about the search for the new UK coach. The first site has links to everything in the media dealing with Kentucky basketball. The second site takes a more sane look at the coaching situation without a bunch of rumors.

  • Aaron's UK Basketball Blog

  • Kentucky Sports Radio
  • Site Meter