Welser Wonders: Clock Issues, Indiana's Future, Bracket Busters..

    
February 21st, 2008

It’s been a fun week in the world of college basketball. The bubble keeps expanding and contracting, Indiana is in trouble and BracketBusters is nearly upon us. This week, that and more is what “Welser Wonders…”

…who will be the next coach at Indiana?
After Coach Kelvin Sampson’s recent troubles, which I am going to call the Teapot Phone scandal instead of the overused –gate suffix, the search for a new head coach at IU could very well begin this week. (Ed: Sources suggest Sampson has in fact been fired today). Two predecessors removed from the giant shadow of Coach Bob Knight, the school should pretty much have their pick of the litter.

There really aren’t any quality IU guys available that weren’t passed over last time so it looks like the Hoosiers should go in a different direction. Some names being thrown out, by which I mean totally randomly suggestions, are Tony Bennett, Scott Skiles, Mark Turgeon, Gregg Marshall, Mark Few, Mark Fox, Dane Fife, Isaiah Thomas and RMK himself, among a slew of others. We can knock out a few of those very easily. The last two are more for humor than anything else, so we can take those two off the list. Fife is too young, so we’ll keep him in mind in five years and Few probably would be wise to see what has happened to others (Dan Monson) who have gone from Gonzaga to the Big Ten. It is a different situation, but still Few has the most established program of any guy on that list…and that includes the Knicks. Current IU assistant Dan Dakich would be the likely candidate to take over for the rest of the season if Coach Sampson is terminated right now, but after nine so-so years at Bowling Green, hiring him full time could end up to be a mistake of Bobby Williams like proportions.

Tony Bennett might be the most interesting choice. The guy is a Midwesterner who coached with his dad at Wisconsin and played at Wisconsin Green Bay. Coming back to Big Ten country to lead his own team would probably be an offer he couldn’t refuse. The knock on Bennett could be that he is using his father’s players at Washington State, but the younger Bennett had plenty to do with building that success in the northwest. If I was the new AD at IU, that would be my top pick.

…why it is so difficult to make two clocks work?
Is it just me or are game clock and shot clock malfunctions up drastically this year? I’m not just talking about human error. That happens and is understandable. I’m talking about the technology of something clicking down every second. It seems like on any given Saturday, five of 50 televised games have some sort of clock failure. Football might not have to deal with tenths of a second like basketball does, but they seem to have far fewer technical problems. In football the clock just runs down a little too far so they reset it. In basketball, the stupid thing won’t work.

I have no point or solution, but Archimedes would be disappointed with what we’ve done over the last 2000 and some odd years.

…whether Notre Dame deserves a lot of respect?
Throughout November and December nobody really paid much attention to the Irish. The non-conference schedule was pretty weak besides a victory over Kansas State that looks a lot better now than it did in early December. Since then ND has garnered an impressive 9-3 record in the Big East, with the losses coming at Marquette, at Georgetown and at Connecticut.

What Coach Mike Brey’s squad lacks is a big road victory (Villanova doesn’t count anymore). If they had one, the Irish would be getting a ton of buzz right now as a team that could make an Elite Eight type of run come March. There is only one opportunity left for Notre Dame to make that big statement when they travel to Louisville the last day of February.

…who will make a statement on BracketBusters weekend?
Drake and Butler are the top two teams in the field and will square off Saturday evening. Drake is probably in the more interesting position. There is a ton of doubt surrounding the team due to a weak non-conference schedule and what many perceive as a down year for the Missouri Valley Conference. Can the Bulldogs (that’s the Drake Bulldogs, not the Butler Bulldogs) pull off a victory on the road over a top ten team? If they do, the Drake bandwagon will be a lot bigger.

Meanwhile, Butler is looking to hold onto a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament and a whole lot of people will have them slated to at least reach the Sweet Sixteen if that is the case. Drake has yet to earn that respect and unless they can beat Butler, most brackets will be screaming for a first round upset for the Bulldogs from Des Moines.