Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Program Status

If you're wondering why there hasn't been a post regarding the Monday, it's because I have yet to come up with words that can properly express my feelings. But let me just offer up the toast that April 7, 2008 will go down as one of the finest days in the history of this earth. Or at the very least, in NCAA championship lore. So as not to leave you empty-handed as I'm sure your productivity at work is still not back up to speed, I put together a quick post in regards to an interesting conversation I had yesterday.

Specifically, the discussion began on account of all the T. Boone rumors and what kind of a step down Bill Self would be taking if he took the money to return to his alma mater. Nationally, it's been viewed as an enormous step down, as Andy Katz likened it to "a one seed playing a nine seed." Gene W. threw out a holier than thou article ridiculing the notion of even considering the switch. Contrarily, a writer for OSU made the statement that "if Kansas, UCLA, etc. were 'A', OSU was a 'B+' job.

Originally, I scoffed at the Rivals writer, considering OSU a much larger step down than 1/3 of a letter grade. But upon further review, there really aren't that many elite jobs out there. And so the way I see it, whereas the difference between a 'B' and a 'B-', etc. may be rather minimal, we have to consider the step between 'B+' and "A" to be enormous. This will be evident here shortly when I present my lists. Also, the numbers in the parentheses represent Final Four appearances and National Championships

'A' Jobs

Kansas: No place has more history or a more loyal fan base. Facilities and funding aren't too shabby, either. (13, 5 (or 3))

UCLA: No team has more Final Four appearances or championships (and likely never will) because of John Wooden's legendary run in the sixties and seventies. Ben Howland has done an incredible job returning them to prominence, but he's going to need to hang a banner soon, as right now he has them looking like the early nineties Buffalo Bills. Only Jim Harrick's likely dirty '95 championship is separating them from a 33 year drought. (18, 11)

North Carolina: They trail only UCLA in Final Four appearances and with Roy at the helm, are showing no signs of letting up any time soon. (17, 4)

Kentucky: They have a history of prolonged success, combined with an incredibly enthusiastic fan base, which has become notorious for unrealistic expectations. With that said, it's interesting to think what could have been, had Rick Pitino never bolted for NBA failures. (13, 7)

Duke: Like UCLA, Duke has done most of their damage under a specific coach. Where they differ though, is that that coach is still on the bench and could be for a while. Despite Duke's recent flameouts and unwillingness to play road games out of conference, they're easily one of the top 5 jobs in the country. (14, 3)

Indiana: This is the only one of these schools in danger of dropping from 'A' list status any time soon and with all their history, fertile recruiting grounds and rabid fan base, it's unlikely they ever will. With that said, though, they haven't won a title since Keith Smart's jumper in '87 and have only gotten past the Sweet 16 once since then (when they went to the Final Four in 2002). Speaking of Smart, here is his take on Chalmers' shot.(8, 5)

'B +' Jobs

Georgetown: I'm actually pretty surprised there isn't a bit more here. (5, 1)

UConn: This one is debatable as there really is no history here with both Final Fours and championships coming in the last 9 years, but with the way Calhoun has recruits flowing in lately, it seems valid. (2, 2)

Arizona: Similar to Georgetown, I thought there was a bit more here. (4, 1)

Michigan State: Along with Magic, they have Izzo's tournament prowess to thank for these numbers. I think he's made it a great job, but it will be interesting to see how the program responds when he leaves. (6, 2)

Louisville: As with all of these programs, they are from 'A' list, but with Pitino at the helm and some history already in the books, they're certainly the top of this class. (8, 2)

Florida: Billy Donovan. (4, 2)

Syracuse: I look at them as a bit more established version of UConn. Given the recruiting base, though, I can't help but feel like they're underachieving. (4, 1)

Ohio State: On instinct alone, they seem more 'B' level, but with more Final Fours than anyone not in 'A' status, it's hard to deny them. (10, 1)

Texas: This one is more a product of default, because I look at this as a better job than those with 'B' status. But as you can see, they're the only team mentioned without a title to their credit. (3, 0)

"B" Jobs

Maryland: Given the arrogance of the ACC and the names associated with Maryland, it seems like there should be more here. (2, 1)

Oklahoma State: They have a great arena, tons of funding and the most Final Fours on this list, but they haven't won a championship in 64 years. (6, 2)

Illinois: If Liberacci stays at the helm too much longer, they could easily fall to 'B -' status. (5, 0)

Memphis: I'm not even sure I believe this one as they've never won a title and play in Conference USA. But apparently tons of players with NBA talent are willing to play somewhere without their own arena, much of a history or any semblance of competition for over half a season. (3, 0)

Those missing the cut…

Villanova, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Tennessee

Thoughts? Suggestions?


GingerBalls said...

But, where is Missouri on this list? I would go with F minus

Robo Boogie said...

Right below K-State (4,0 though none since 64). A tad better than the Missouri (0,0) line. I think a (0,0) is like an incomplete not even an F minus.

Hiphopopotamus said...

Mr. point zero.