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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Coaching Carousel Just Beginning

It's going to be an interesting off-season in the Big Ten. Michigan and Minnesota each need a new coach, and now Iowa will reportedly be looking for one as well.

The Hawkeyes have been decent, tying for fourth place in the Big Ten this season and making several NCAA tournament fields under Steve Alford. More than failing as a basketball coach, however, Alford failed as a representative of the university, alienating alumni and recruits alike with his demeanor and inflated self-worth.

Bo and his staff might be able to make major inroads with some out of state talent while uncertainty runs amok at state schools to the west, southwest and across Lake Michigan. The shame is that if Iowa hires the right replacement, Wisconsin might not be able to plunder the state's best player again (good call J-Bo!). Much like Barry Alvarez did when he took over the Badger football program, the new coach of any of these downtrodden teams will likely "build a wall around the state" to keep the best talent from signing elsewhere.

On the bright side, the talent pool seems pretty thin anyway, so UW would not be missing out on much if that were to happen. In addition to Bohannon, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich jump out as recent high school stars who were too good for the black and yellow britches during Alford's tenure. Iowa was able to keep guys like Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner over that same span (Haluska originally went to Iowa State). Do the math. Iowa actually has more talent emerging from its thriving junior college scene. Indian Hills CC is the D-1 factory where the Badgers plucked Zach Morley from and where former Madison LaFollette star David DuBois transferred into from Idaho.

Even if Iowa's talent is not the greatest, getting another good coach (or three) in the Big Ten for next season will only help prepare UW for tournament time. Just don't take Bo Ryan for granted.

Good stuff:
- Ego? The O.J. Mayo-to-USC Story, courtesy of the NY Times
- Wisconsin's 2007 All-State Boys Basketball team, from JSOnline (scroll down)

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