College basketball’s annual coaching carousel made a few spins recently, and we’re looking at how the changes might affect the NCAA futures odds.
David Padgett did a fine job at Louisville after the Cardinals fired Rick Pitino before the college hoops season began, just missing the NCAA’s and landing a No. 2 seed in the NIT. There were many who thought Padgett deserved an opportunity to stay on, but when a program can hire someone like Chris Mack, it has to jump at the chance, and Louisville did.
It might have been a buzzer-beater loss to then No. 1 Virginia late in the regular season that cost both Louisville an NCAA invite and Padgett the chance to stay on. Mack comes in after nine years at Xavier, winning an A-10 title in 2011 and the Big East crown last season when the Musketeers earned a No. 1 seed at the Big Dance before being upset in the 2nd-round by Florida State, a team Mack will get to face at some point on next year’s ACC schedule. Louisville made a huge investment in Mack to get him away from Xavier, who extended his contract into 2023 just last September, and will expect winning results from the get-go. That won’t be easy in the tough ACC where six other schools are ahead of The Ville on early college basketball futures and it remains unknown what sanctions the NCAA may hand down.
Can Capel Rebuild Gutted Pitt Program?
Taking Mack’s place at Xavier is Travis Steele, a longtime assistant at the school beginning with Sean Miller’s tenure with the Musketeers. Relatively unknown to many casual fans, Steele owns a very impressive résumé with stops at Butler, Ohio State and Indiana before coming to Xavier. He knows the Midwest recruiting trail, and should keep the Musketeers among the Big East elite.
Joining Mack as a 1st-year head coach in the ACC is former Duke assistant Jeff Capel who is taking over a Pittsburgh program that has fallen almost off the map the past two seasons. The nosedive was expected after the Panthers lost Jamie Dixon in the coaching carousel two years ago. Capel has previous head-coaching experience at VCU and Oklahoma and, of course, has been working for Mike Krzyzewski the past seven seasons. The good news is Capel can’t do worse than his predecessor, Kevin Stallings, who coached Pitt to an 0-19 conference record last year, the team never a favorite on the NCAA basketball odds.
Is UConn Headed To Time Out By The NCAA?
Joining Steele as a 1st-year head coach in the Big East is Dan Hurley who takes over at Connecticut. The younger brother of former Duke star and current Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, he most recently took Rhode Island from the dregs of the A-10 to the NCAA Tournament as conference champions. Dan Hurley walks into a program that is in turmoil after UConn axed Kevin Ollie who is disputing the firing to set up what could be a messy divorce. The Huskies lost 12-of-19 Big East games last season, so Hurley has his work cut out for him.
Tom Crean returns to the sidelines by accepting the job at Georgia. Maybe he’ll do better there than trying to run a basketball power-program like Indiana’s where he went 166-135 before being fired last spring, but has to show me more than he did with the Hoosiers before I start adding the Bulldogs to my free college basketball picks.