Bruce Pearl---With only two of the nine D-1 teams in Oregon and Washington playing above average basketball and many way below expectations, something might just give in the off-season. Of course, sadly, the give often comes with a coaching change.
My analysis says that at least one, maybe even two of those teams will make a change after the season, when it comes to running the show on the bench. And one person, that every team should look at is Bruce Pearl. Sure the guy has some baggage, but we are forever a country that forgives. If Ray Lewis can be adored by some for winning a super bowl, Bruce Pearl sure as heck deserves a crack at a great D-1 coaching position.
And since my advice is free, I have some today. Tyler Geving, Eric Reveno and Craig Robinson, so far have had dismal seasons, below expectations. I have no say in their employment, but I do say they should all get at least one more year. If I were looking at the same records for all three at this time next year, then major "hot seat" comes into play.
Now for some really good advice. If I were the Seattle Redhawks, who have an underachieving basketball program, why not bring in Bruce Pearl. The guy knows how to win, he creates a buzz and he would fire up the whole town. As a matter of fact, Seattle U., besides all of the above, you need Bruce Pearl to capture a piece of the pie, because you are going to need the media on your side, with an NBA team coming to town very soon. Not knocking the Redhawks, but do I think this might happen? I put the chances at 10 percent.
Bruce Pearl to the Redhawks is a great idea, but more realistic would be Bruce Pearl to the Washington State Cougars. I can't remember there being a tanning bed in town for him, but I can remember, the Cougs will support a winner. And Bill Moos, you have teased us all with Mike Leach, you have told people privately that you want to make the big splash with coaching hires. Nothing could be bigger with who is available than bringing Bruce Pearl to the Palouse.
Yes, I can see it now, Bruce Pearl marching down the main street of Pullman, shirt off, painted in crimson red, with a big WSU on his chest in 20 below wind chill. Remember, Pearl likes to take his shirt off to support other teams in his school, as he did several times in support of the Tennessee women's basketball team, all in great fun and done with class. If Pearl comes, it would also create my good friend and the greatest Coug supporter of all time, Seattle media legend Jim Moore to probably dance the Bundjaman or whatever you call it, on the top of the Space Needle.
So there you have some free advice, topped off, with the fact that two other pretty good coaches, Ernie Kent and Blane Taylor, both with great Northwest ties are also available. And right in your backyard, one of the most underrated coaches in the country, Wayn Tinkle at Montana. Final note to Northwest schools, if you make a change in your head coach, make it big time, spend the extra dollars, it does pay off most the time, big time.
Craw's Nine---The best nine team IN THE MOMENT, who play basketball in the six western D-1 leagues.
9. New Mexico State---Having stellar year, but not that many people are paying attention
8. Colorado State---Ditto the above, not to mention how tough it is to win the Mt. West
7. New Mexico---Still a powerful club, somewhat inconsistent, if you can call winning most of your games inconsistent
6. Long Beach State---Not many talk about the outstanding coaching job Dan Monson has done at "The Beach" since arriving
5. St. Mary's---Randy Bennett, just flat can coach basketball
4. La. Tech----10-0 in WAC Conference, 19-3 overall, where did these guys come from
3. Montana---11 wins in a row, a coach that could win at any school in the country
2. Arizona---Very good, going to be great battle between UCLA, Arizona and Oregon for Pac-12 title
1. Gonzaga---Back on top of Craw's Nine, might stay there the rest of the year, could run WCC table going out.
Scores----My attempt at humor, have had a horrible last three weeks, many people who follow these scores are now driving Studebakers with no doors (young people google famous model cars please)
2/6 Utah (65) at Oregon State (61) Do not like the way Beavers are playing, easy to say, but true
2/7 Colorado (70) at Oregon (71) Neither team at their peak right now, this could be a great game.
2/7 St Mary's (60) at Santa Clara (62) Mild upset, but Broncos are good, really good
2/9 Stanford (58) at Arizona St (72) ASU fooled us all, very nice basketball team
2/10 Washington (67) at USC (70) Bob Cantu can flat out coach, Pat Haden just give him a five year contract at USC
Mac's Message---A very good answer to a very good question from a reader of Crawford's Court to Andy McClouskey, assistant basketball coach at Portland State University.
"Coach Mac, what is the coaches routine on game day up to tipoff and why is it that head coaches come up on the floor about two-three minutes before game time, it drives me crazy and I would think they would want to watch their team warm-up," Thanks, Seth---North, Portland
"Thanks for the question Seth, the coaches routine varies some amongst staff, depending on who is assigned the scouting assignment for our opponent, the head coach's routine stays the same most games.
It is too bad you are driven crazy by the head coach not being on the floor as I would say 90 percent of coaches do not come out until 3 minutes before tipoff. The head coach may have a speaking engagement with service, alumni or booster groups. He prepares the chalk board for the return of the team from the floor at the 10 minute mark prior to the game. He goes over any last minute details. He is far from idle at this time.
The assistant in charge of the scout, prepares the board as well and may visit with the coach about any suggestions to the game plan. The other two assistants are generally on the floor watching the warmup period and perhaps giving a little individual instruction.
We have a formal warmup shooting routine that at least two of the three assistants put the team through at the 50:00 minute mark prior to the game and then go to the locker room at the 40:00 minute mark. Prior to that the players stretch, shoot and go through their individual routines, usually starting at the 65:00 mark before game time.
Our pre-game routine is pretty much like every other school I have been out. Lots of moving pieces, but totally organized. Seth I hope I answered your question and see you at Stott Center, please come by and say hello. The real deal always starts after the National Anthem, after starters are announced and we hit the floor. We must have a strong warm-up, but no one is keeping score then. Thanks, Coach Mac.
"100 in 90"---My quest to see 100 games in 90 days, slowed some last week, mainly cause there were very few games to attend. I did get to seven games last week, making my total for the year, 65. Have to push hard in February, seeing many doubleheaders and triple headers, may not make 100, but will do it for sure by March 9th, the end of the regular D-1 basketball season. I need encouragement.