Last week we profiled Tony Bennett and Gregg Marshall. Since then, Marshall's Wichita State Shockers steamrolled the Missouri Valley Conference tournament to go to 34-0 on the season and lock themselves into the #1 line. On Sunday, Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers dropped an overtime decision at Maryland. Their seeding was always going to be more dependent on the ACC Tournament and they could make their case for a #2 seed starting Friday when they take on the winner of tomorrow's Maryland-Florida State matchup. Now it's time to throw a couple more names in the hat.
- Mark Few
Is this guy the basketball equivalent of Chris Petersen? Building a relatively unknown program up in the Pacific Northwest into a household name and always being mentioned for higher profile jobs whenever there's an opening. Check and check. Unfortunately if you want to watch his team in action, you'll have to wait until the big dance, since the West Coast Conference has already concluded with Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs emerging on top and grabbing the automatic bid. Few has had higher profile teams in the past, including one that we all remember (thanks Gus Johnson) when we sent JP Batista and Adam Morrison crying all the way back to Spokane, but this one is good enough to be higher rated than the Bruins both in the polls and by KenPom.
Despite that setback, what is notable is Few's consistency. Fifteen straight tournament appearances including this year is hard to argue against, especially at a school that must be more difficult to recruit to than UCLA. Is that enough for UCLA to be interested? I don't know, but I'm certainly more interested in watching David Stockton (son of the NBA legend John Stockton) play point than Barfie. There haven't been many indications that Few is receptive to taking another job, but hey, Petersen is now the UW coach, so I guess anything is possible.
- Jay Wright
It's kind of scary how Wright's Villanova program has tracked the rise and fall of our own in recent times. Coming off of a Final Four appearance in 2009, Nova started to backslide until they hit bottom in 2012 posting a 13-19 record. The magic was gone, and a coach who was once being hailed must have been wondering how it could all go wrong so quickly. Sounds kind of familiar. Well guess who's back? Sporting a #3 ranking and Top 15 offense and defensive efficiency per KenPom, Nova is in line for a #1 seed this year. It's the kind of break from the malaise we wished we could have seen out of Ben Howland and to be able to regain and recapture that momentum is pretty impressive.
The Big East tournament starts today, and the winner of Butler-Seton Hall will go against Villanova tomorrow.
Just a few things to keep an eye on this week if you don't have the stomach to watch TIARA's #Daddyball trainwreck. Anyone else you're going to be watching this week? Let us know in the comments so we can all track the candidates for Alfraud's eventual replacement.