1-800-524-4250

Articles

Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.

Coaches-go-'round

   by Larry Ness - 01/19/2005

While the NBA is clearly a league dominated by its PLAYERS, the college basketball landscape is just as clearly dominated by its COACHES!...

Prior to the beginning of last year, Roy Williams set in motion some major moves, involving a number of college basketball's elite schools. After 15 years and 418 wins at Kansas (but NO NCAA title!), Williams left Lawrence for Chapel Hill, a move that had been anticipated since the day Dean Smith retired....

That left Kansas, a Final Four team in each of the previous two years, without a head coach. Not for long though, as Bill Self walked out on a recently signed multi-year extension at Illinois, to take the Kansas job. Of course that left Illinois without a coach, so the Fightin' Illini stole (I mean hired) Bruce Weber from Southern Illinois....

That left Southern Illinois without a head coach (you are probably getting the picture by now) but the Salukis just decided to promote Weber's top-assistant, Matt Painter. All Painter did (in first-ever season as a head coach) was lead Southern Illinois to a 17-1 record in the MVC, a 25-win season and the highest ranking in school history at No. 15 during the season....

Naturally, Painter was so grateful for the opportunity, he left at the end of the year to return to his alma mater (Purdue), where he serves this year as associate head coach under Gene Keady. Keady is retiring next year, with Painter taking over....

So goes the college basketball world! Now we all know that North Carolina, Kansas and Illinois are just fine but what ever happened to poor little Southern Illinois? The Salukis are just fine, too! They promoted Painter's top-assistant, Chris Lowry, who has the Salukis at 5-0 in the MVC and 14-3 overall (although just 6-10 ATS for us bettors), heading into the team's January 19 game with Bradley....

With 35 Division 1 head coaching changes entering the 2004-05 season (there are 327 Division 1 schools playing basketball, much more than 117 playing Div 1-A football), I thought I'd check in on how some of those new coaches are doing this year with their new schools....

John Thompson III left Princeton (his alma mater) after a four-year record of 68-42 (including three Ivy titles and two NCAA appearances) to take over daddy's old job at Georgetown. That set in motion Joe Scott of Air Force (also a Princeton grad and former player), leaving Colorado Springs for New Jersey. Scott's top assistant, Chris Mooney, took over at Air Force. While not quite the Williams-Self-Weber scenario, it's not bad! Here's an update....

Thompson has Georgetown at 11-5 (3-2 in the Big East) through January 19, quite an improvement from last year's 13-15 (4-12) mark. Princeton (8-5) hasn't played since losing at Duke 59-46 on January 5 and doesn't begin its Ivy League schedule until January 28. Air Force, which under Scott last year set a MWC record by going 12-2, won a school-record 22 games and made the school's first NCAA appearance since 1962, is currently 11-6 (2-0) with its next game at BYU on January 22....

Stanford's Mike Montgomery had three 30-win seasons, 13 20-win seasons, won four Pac-10 titles and had one Final Four appearance at Palo Alto but left for the NBA. Actually, he just THOUGHT the Golden State Warriors were in the NBA. Through January 19, Montgomery's team is 12-27, 19 games behind Seattle in the Pacific Division (now THIS was a BAD move!)....

Trent Johnson left Nevada, where he led the Wolf Pack into the Sweet 16 last year, to take over the Cardinal. Johnson, a former Montgomery assistant (see how this works!), has the Cardinal at 8-7 (2-3) through January 19 and only a win in the Pac-10 tournament will get him back in the NCAA's this year. One wonders if he knew whether Lottich and Davis were seniors last year and that Pac-10 POY Childress, was headed to the NBA?...

As for Nevada, Johnson's long-time assistant Mark Fox, has taken over. Despite the loss of Kirk Snyder and BOTH starting guards, Fox is doing better than Johnson (with Nevada at 12-4 overall and 5-1 in the WAC) and WAY BETTER than Montgomery (so is almost ANYONE!)....

While Nevada's trip to the Sweet 16 was the WAC's best storyline last year, a close second was the turnaround at UTEP. In Billy Gillespie's first year at El Paso the Miners went 6-24. Last year, the school produced the biggest turnaround in NCAA history by going 24-8. When UTEP just missed beating Maryland (lost by just THREE points!) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, you knew Gillespie wasn't long for El Paso....

Gillespie left for Texas A&M, with Doc Sadler getting his first-ever head coaching job at UTEP. Things have worked out well for BOTH coaches and their schools! A&M was 7-21 last year, including 0-16 in the Big-12. The Aggies lost their final 17 games last year. NOT this year though! Through January 19 Gillespie's new team is 12-3 and while he may not win too many Big-12 games (he's 1-3 so far), A&M is likely headed to the NIT! As for UTEP, the Miners are an impressive 14-3 (4-1) in the first year of the post-Gillespie era. Or is this the first-year of the Sadler era?...

So far, except for Montgomery (and anyone who goes to Oakland to coach the Warriors DESERVES what they get...just ask PJ!), most of these coaching moves have turned out well for all involved. That WON'T be the case for all 35 Division 1 coaching changes though and towards the end of the year, I'll do a more complete 'report card'....

Tomorrow it's an NBA update and Friday an NFL championship weekend preview....

Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Predictem Free Sports Predictions

Follow BigAl on Twitter

Visit BigAl on Facebook

Football odds at Bovada (Bodog)
Pro football betting at Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook!