Thursday, March 22, 2007

Minnesota just made the first big move of the off-season

So Minnesota just put their names on the front page of with a gigantic hire of Tubby Smith. It's huge in terms of name recognition, and it's huge in terms of money--he's reportedly getting about $1.8 milly a year.

It'll be interesting to see who makes a move next in the Big Ten. Will Michigan or Iowa land a coach first? Will Ed DeChellis get the axe at PSU--and would anybody notice?

Minnesota making this move first sets the tone for publicity and expected pay in the Big Ten this year. If Iowa counters by hiring some no-name coach from a nearby high school, Barta's going to get murdered in the papers and on the internets. It's not necessarily fair, but for all the "on-the-job training" Iowa had to endure with Alford, choosing a guy with even less experience at the college level to take over would be asinine.

No, Iowa needs a big name here. They need to "out-name" Alford. Barta looks awfully good already for saving the buyout money and pushing Steve out to the wastelands of New Mexico; now's the time that he uses that money and announces, "Oh, we lost Steve Alford? The Steve Alford? That's an awful shame. Oh, by the way, we're paying twice his annual salary to Bruce Pearl now. See you in the Elite 8."

There are some very good candidates out there. Kevin Stallings was a good choice before he went to Vandy. He's bumping up against the ceiling of success there already; now would be a good time to bring him into a program with a bigger budget and arena. Mike Montgomery might like to rekindle some of that Stanford magic. I already mentioned Pearl, and why not swing for the fences and throw a ton of money at John Calipari? What's he going to do, say no--which is where Iowa would be if they never offered him in the first place.

Fuck it, Barta. Aim high. You've got the money to do it. Find anyone who's coaching right now (short of Boeheim, Self, Roy Williams, or Coach K--I think they're set) and offer an insane amount of money. Put Iowa back on the map immediately. Do it.

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