Every time there are job openings in college basketball, you hear the same names. This past summer was no different, with Butler's Brad Stevens and Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart leading everyone's list.
But there have to be coaches out there who don't get their due, right?
CBS' Jeff Goodman found out who other coaches believe are the most underrated across the country. The leader was Temple's Fran Dunphy, who garnered 14 percent of the votes.
There is no doubt that Dunphy does a great job. Look at the Penn teams that excelled under him and were annual contenders in the Ivy League. Now at Temple, with a better league, and better basketball resources, he has managed to recreate that success.
Dunphy falls into the non-mid-major group here at Mid-Major Madness, thanks to playing in the Atlantic 10, but the list was full of mid coaches.
Second on the list was St. Mary's Randy Bennett, who has made the West Coast Conference stand for more that Gonzaga's automatic bid each season. The guy does have the best players in all of Australia coming to hoop for him.
Belmont's Rick Byrd and Davidson's Bob McKillop also landed spots on the list (although you would think a couple of seasons back that McKillop was the Stevens or Smart of that year).
Bottom line is that there are more coaches out there who deserve a closer look each season. We already talked about Akron's Keith Dambrot and the job he has done in making the Zips annual contenders. And even Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor got a vote in this poll:
"It's all about his look. That's what holds him back. If he didn't have the bad hair-dye or look like Ron Jeremy, I think he could get a better job."
So OK, maybe that wasn't the description he wanted. But everyone's list shouldn't be the same five names in the offseason. Coming up Wednesday is CBS' list of most overrated coaches, and I would imagine some of the "big names" that were on the underrated list come up again (yes, I am talking about you John Calipari).
Ken Pomeroy's blog looks at the history of realignment in basketball, a force that seems to never end.
Now football does play a part in all this, something that seems missing from Pomeroy's analysis, even if it is just a recitation of the facts.
And it is interesting that the changes rumored 20 years ago finally are going to come to pass (so imagine some of the rumors we have now, and what that means for 2033. Perhaps an expansion of the PAC-12 farther into the Southwest is only two decades off).
It seems like the key takeaway here is that the big boys start with what seem like small moves, that have a domino effect until we have an avalanche of teams changing addresses. Seems like the mid-majors will have to keep their eyes focused up.
A sad end to Kodi Maduka's career at Tulsa
A couple of days ago, Sports Illustrated published their list of potential difference making players. Both George Mason's Erik Copes and St. Mary's Brad Waldow made the list among a number of players who you would have considered strong sixth men for bigger named teams last season.
Copes is an interesting choice, given that he scored less than one on the HOOPWAR scale. But he was a freshman. Plus he was a big-time defensive player for the Patriots, stopping 14 points per 100 minutes on the floor, a top performer in that category.
Waldow, a redshirt freshman last year, rang in at 1.77 on the HOOPWAR scale, and just slightly behind on the defensive side (8.91 DEF100). He was playing behind two of the better front court players in his league last year (including Rob Jones, who outscored conference POY Matthew Dellavedova (6.32 HW) on the HOOPWAR scale, with an 8.78).
Still, for both of these players, this is the right crowd to be named with, and a good sign for both these teams in the upcoming year.
Last, a bit of prereading for you all. Everyone might already read ESPN everyday, but the work by Dana O'Neil did on her eligibility pieces was fantastic. She sheds the spotlight on what it really means when an athlete is having their academic career examined, and what changes around the requirements really mean for freshman starting high school in a few weeks.
And don't miss Eammon Brennan's add-on to that reporting, where he talks to Findlay Prep, Hargrave Military and others about the changes.
I will have more comments on this later today, when I envision the college basketball world in 8 years under these new rules.