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

It was a great run Thad. Well done, see you next year.

The Final Four of the 2011 NCAA Tournament has now been set, and as Eric’s mini-post highlighted, this year’s remaining teams make for an interesting assortment.  Four teams, one each from the SEC, Big East, Horizon League, and Colonial Athletic Association will take their hopes and dreams to Houston next weekend to see who will come out on top.  With the differing characteristics of these teams, it should be an entertaining weekend of basketball.

Of course, an Ohio State fan choosing to watch the Final Four games will have to decide which team warrants his or her support.  With the Buckeyes knocked out, and seemingly no clear-cut alternative of which team to root for given the lack of Big Ten teams, who rises to the top?  Unless you’ve got a significant other’s alma mater still in the running, tBBC is here to help.  Let’s take a look at each remaining team going into next weekend and try to figure out who is deserving of a little Buckeye love… Read More

Aaron Craft was one of the few bright spots for the Scarlet and Gray.

A classic matchup awaited the Buckeyes in the Sweet 16.  The Kentucky Wildcats, who to date were a stunning 0-5 against the Bucks in the NCAA tournament, arrived as the 4 seed to challenge top-seeded Ohio State.  Kentucky got everything a team has needed this season to beat this Buckeye team, securing the tough fought win by a score of 62-60.  The player of the game for the Buckeyes has to be Aaron Craft, who’s hustle and drive was enough to keep the Buckeyes in it most of the way, despite not putting up particularly impressive stats.

Both teams started out with a tough defensive mindset.  It was apparent from the early shooting that the looks simply weren’t there for either team.  It’s quite a credit to both teams’ man-to-man defense that they were able to force shots late in the shot clock, and make certain they were not the best looks possible.

Sullinger’s tough play early on was quickly rewarded.  Terrence Jones, one of Kentucky’s phenomenal freshman, collected a charge, followed closely by hacking Sullinger on a shot.  He was forced to sit with more than 16 minutes still on the clock in the first half.  His loss was not fatal to the Wildcats, however, who were demonstrating a fantastic talent at blocking shots in the paint.

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Calipari leading the traditional UK "Wildcat Impression"

On Friday night things could truly start to get interesting for Buckeye fans in the NCAA Tournament.  After first and second round blowouts, albeit a rather unexpected one in the case of George Mason, Ohio State next faces the Kentucky Wildcats.  If you want to talk about basketball royalty, Kentucky is near the top, and while this year’s team may not quite fit the mold of the program’s past, it has plenty of talent to pose a legitimate threat to the Buckeyes’ run through the 2011 Tournament.

It’s almost as if Kentucky has flown under the radar a bit this season, having lost John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Patrick Patterson…and Daniel Orton…and Eric Bledsoe…and some others from last year’s high-profile team.  After putting together a solid season in a relatively weak SEC this year, UK romped through the conference tournament and laid the smack-down to rival (and subsequent higher NCAA tournament seed) Florida in the championship game.  You’ll be hard pressed to find many teams younger than Coach Cal’s 2010-11 Wildcats, which has 5 out of its 10-man roster representing the freshmen class while only featuring one senior, but clearly the team is dangerous.  Here’s why: Read More