Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here's the problem

Just as it was with Knight, all the talk is about the coach rather than the program.

So, I'm gonna talk about coaches, despite the ESPMSM's plea that all this talk is hurting the players. Which I frankly don't believe; I believe idiots that want to protest Assembly Hall or have a "black-out" are hurting the program, and their own cause by giving Davis the chance to use them as a foil to make himself seem reasonable/victimized). I'm not going to list the possible replacements, but talk about the coaches who's names are being mentioned most often to provide some context. So here's some stats on Mike Davis, Knight, and because the latest embarassing loss was to Iowa, I'll throw in some bits about Steve Alford & his predecessor, Tom Davis.

Some of this I've said before, but here I'm really spelling it out. Despite all the "Davis-wrecked-our-beautiful-program", Bobby K. is not blameless. Knight was key in getting Kirk Haston out to the NBA early, and dissuading Sean May from attending IU (in fairness, he probably dissuaded him from going to Texas Tech either, given all the baggage that would've come along with it). But I have less of a problem with either of these cases (Haston had his diploma, and May hearing that he should be his own man is not bad advice) as much as the state of the program before Knight left.

Knight had talent leaving left and right, and I've covered the Luke Recker bit here, but even before that, there were major problems with Knight not being able to reach the kids or keep top talent in the program. At one point in 1997, Knight had recruited the leading scorers at three different schools, none of which were Indiana. Jason Collier at Georgia Tech, Neil Reed at Southern Mississippi (with whom I went to high school, incidentally) , and Rob Hodgson at Rutgers. Players were transferring from IU by the boatload. Besides the above names, guys like Michael Hermon and Steve Hart were athletes that often were starters when they left. And this affected the team. It wasn't just malcontents or bench-warmers, it was top players that Knight couldn't integrate and the team needed. And it showed up in the record.

Bob Knight's Big Ten records last 5 years

1995-1996: 12-6
1996-1997: 9-9
1997-1998: 9-7
1998-1999: 9-7
1999-2000: 10-6

for a grand total of 49-35. Compare this to Mike Davis' first five years in the Big Ten at 46-34, and it's pretty darn close.

And then take a look at Knight's NCAA record in those last five years: 1-5. And it's not just that they lost in the first round almost every single time, but that they lost badly, with a 17.2ppg difference in the margin of those defeats. That's huge.

Throw in uninspired loss to Missouri (60-65) in 1995 where Steve Hart was the only guy playing, and IU just looks like a program mired in mediocrity from 1995-2000.

So, in contrast, Mike Davis should feel pretty good about himself, right? He took Knight's players, let them play, and they blossomed into a contender for a couple of years. But! Here's the kicker:
since Jan 21 , 2003: Davis' overall record is: 49-50
and in the Big Ten: 26-28

Not so great, huh? Davis needs to go, and he needs to quit playing the media game. Just win some games and work a buyout with IU and then move on, Mike.

So, some folks might look at Iowa's win over the Hoosiers and say, hey, they're doing pretty great this year, they beat IU at Assembly Hall, what about Steve? The answer is, 1) did you watch the game? It wasn't the genius of Steve Alford that won that one. And 2) take a look at what Steve Alford has done with the Hawkeyes. This season is an anomaly.

Iowa: 41-55 in the big ten for the last 6 years under Alford. Even with this great season, Alford is now only 50-58. And this despite keeping talented convict Pierre Pierce on the team, until he screwed up again and predictably shamed the program.

If you think that Alford was rebuilding the Haweye program or any such nonsense, here are some numbers about his predecessor. Tom Davis last five years in the Big Ten: 9-7, 9-7, 12-6, 11-7, 9-9= 50-36
Yes, that is the best five-year mark we've mentioned so far.
Tom Davis' overall Big Ten record: 125-105

Tom Davis' last five years NCAA record: 6-4, with 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances, and one NIT appearance (when 6th place Indiana was selected over Iowa, 5th in the Big Ten standings).

This was not a program that needed rebuilding, only fine-tuning, and Alford has not done it. What's to make anyone think that he'll make Indiana better? He's got four senior starters, and the first big man off the bench is also out of eligibility after this season. If he's at Iowa next season (and he probably will be), tell me one year from now if you still think he's a great coach.

It's time for Davis to go, but Knight-worshippers need to calm down, and Alford is absolutely the wrong answer.


At 12:44 PM, Blogger WeLoveCov said...

I think you are right that Davis has to go, it looks like things have just gotten too bad. Where we might disagree is that I don't think he's been given a fair chance to succeed. Given all the expectations, scorn, etc. that have been heaped on Davis since he took over, how could anyone succeed in those circumstances?

I also agree that Alford is NOT the answer.


Post a Comment

<< Home