Thursday if he was interested in succeeding Mike Davis as coach at Indiana,
Iowa coach Steve Alford repeatedly answered that his "entire focus and
energy is on helping my team win a Big Ten championship and get ready for the
NCAA tournament." Translation: I want the job so badly, I can taste it.
Several sources confirm Alford's interest in the job; the only question is
whether Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan will offer it to Alford
(above), who has won only one NCAA tournament game in six seasons with the
Hawkeyes. While there are other qualified Indiana alums, such as Bowling Green
coach Dan Dakich and Orlando Magic assistant Randy Wittman, none would send
pulses racing in the Hoosier State like Alford, who has been an icon there
since his days at New Castle High. Greenspan could go outside the family and
hire someone like Marquette's Tom Crean or former Utah coach Rick Majerus, but
then he'd have to answer questions about why he didn't hire Alford. In the end
I expect Greenspan will make the obvious choice.
COACH IN HOT
Rumors are flying
in New Jersey that Rutgers officials have discussed firing coach Gary Waters
because he went to Ohio for his induction into the Kent State Hall of Fame and
missed the Scarlet Knights' Feb. 12 game against Marquette when his flight home
was grounded by the Northeast blizzard. Rutgers AD Bob Mulcahy has implied that
Waters attended the ceremony without permission. The reality is that the coach
has been on the hot seat for the last two years, and his job security has grown
increasingly tenuous this season as the Scarlet Knights (15-11, 5-8 in the Big
East) have sunk to 10th place in the conference. So if Rutgers wants to fire
Waters because he hasn't won enough, fine. But to pin such a move on a travel
snafu would be ludicrous and not the least bit believable.
1 Tennessee has
defense and toughness issues. The No. 10 Volunteers (19-4, 10-2 in the SEC) can
light it up on offense, but they are ranked last in the SEC in
field-goal-percentage defense and rebounding. Tennessee allowed Alabama to
shoot 76% in the first half of last Saturday's 92-79 loss.
2 Louisiana Tech
helped itself the most of the BracketBuster participants. By winning at
Southern Illinois, Michael Wilds (left) and the Bulldogs (17-10, 81 in the RPI
before the game) strengthened their case for an at-large bid to the NCAA
tournament if they don't win the WAC. At the very least, the committee would
have to take Tech ahead of the Salukis (18-9, 24 in the RPI).
3 The Big 12 is
really having a down year. It's looking like a four-bid league at best, and the
fifth-place team, Nebraska, hurt its chances by losing at home to Texas Tech on
For more Hoop
Thoughts from Seth Davis, go to SI.com/collegebasketball.