Well, it's one year later...
And Steve Alford is on his way down (in both the geographical and job-demotion senses) to New Mexico. I recall saying something about wanting to see if all the folks who were outraged that Steve didn't get the IU job would still be whistling the same tune one year hence. Beloved by Knight-first knotheads everywhere (yes, Bobby's a great coach, but you don't hire other people on the basis of his coaching acumen) Alford was the pick of ESPMSM, who couldn't imagine why some Hoosiers wouldn't want him.
To throw in an extra bonus (besides the Hawkeyes not making the NIT this year, while Sampson's Hoosiers finished 3rd in the conference and took UCLA to the final seconds before losing in the NCAA second round), Alford is apparently leaving Iowa in a somewhat unseemly manner, and engaging in possibly illegal activities as well. On behalf of the Big Ten, I say Good Riddance!
Are there any folks still out there carping about phonecalls that would've preferred Alford?
All that said, it's sort of interesting to watch the debate going on about the next Michigan head coach, who is rumored to be John Beilien of West Virginia. I think it would be great for the conference, and while it might make IU's path tougher, ultimately you want to be playing against the best talent and best minds in the game in your conference.
Quick note from a convo in my comments with the Taco from Indiana about Kelvin Sampson:
1) Indiana had the best (tempo-free) offense in the Big Ten this year.
2)IU improved to a 10-6 (3rd place!) finish in a surprisingly tough Big Ten after losing four starters.
3) IU came up just short in the NCAA's to UCLA, who then took down a very tough Kansas team to get to the Final Four.
4) Sampson motivated the IU players, who never quit in any game. The worst loss came at Purdue, which ended up as a 13-point loss after Earl Calloway got injured in the second half.
5) Sampson convinced almost all of Mike Davis' players to stay, landed two quality juco forwards, and then landed one the Nation's best recruiting classes for this next year.
I honestly couldn't've have asked for more from any coach.
Now I do want to see some things improve. What I want to see is IU's much-praised but actually mediocre defense and rebounding reflect the level of its hype, and the players to display some toughness in dealing with double-teams and traps, especially in road games.