Fired Bill Carmody: February 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NIU AD on his way to Evanston

looks like the search to replace Mark Murphy is over. i don't know any NU fans that are all fired up about this hire. i don't really know a thing about Jim Phillips, but the move just seems uninspired to me. i guess all that stuff about grad dates is good, but i really just care about how this will affect men's hoops.

during Phillips's time at NIU, the basketball squad won 39.6% of their games. during that same time period Northwestern actually won MORE - 42.7%. that doesn't bode well. however, you can't really blame him for seasons before this, since Rob Judson was hired under the previous AD. and at least we know he's not afraid to fire people, having replaced Judson with Ricardo Patton before this season.

at least now that they have someone in place, they can begin taking a hard look at what Carmody has done and not been able to do. hopefully the new guy doesn't just wander in and say, "hey, these guys just beat Michigan and almost beat IU. let's give Carmody a couple years to really see what he can do with the program!"


FINALLY held on for a win. Michigan spent most of their time worrying about stopping Coble, and Moore came up big - maybe he read my post yesterday - hitting 8 of 12 from beyond the arc. certainly it didn't help that Harris and Sims went a combined 5 for 17, and the many empty seats didn't make for an intimidating road venue, but we'll take it.

in all it was a pretty complete effort: made 7/9 free throws, held their own on the boards, and forced turnovers in the first half to take leads of 14 and 19. most importantly they didn't crumble after UM took its first lead with a minute to go. also got big time contributions from Ivan Peljusic, who had 13 pts and 7 reb, plus a big dunk that for whatever reason BTN didn't feel like including in their highlights. and to think, this from a guy that back in 2006 Carmody described thusly: "He looks like Fred Flintstone with that body he's got. He's like a rectangle."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where have you gone, Robbie Reid?

so on paper tonight's game looks fairly even. (although vegas has the 'cats at ~10 point underdogs) both teams have similar records and the points for/against are almost identical. i think "surging" is probably too strong of a word here, but Michigan has won four out of five following a brutal 1-11 stretch (of course, that 1 victory was a 10-point win in Welsh Ryan). they are coming off a home win over the Illini during which UM honored Jalen Rose, who sadly didn't break out his NBA Draft suit for the occasion.

hard to say if the effects of recent tough losses will be en- or discouraging for Coble and Co. we just have to hope that Moore has one of his good games tonight and can knock down some shots against that 1-3-1 defense.

Monday, February 25, 2008

NU bubble watch

i mentioned this back in a November post, but there is a third post-season tournament starting this year.

loyal FBC reader Marc Bergman recognized that according to the latest Jeff Sagarin numbers...

if the NCAA takes 65 teams and the NIT took (theoretically) 64 more and then the 3rd tournament took the next 64 (again, theoretically), that totals 193. Which would leave NU as the first team out.

and that is yet another clear example of how far back our basketball program is: you could create the tournament bracket THREE TIMES and you still would find more deserving teams than us.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


did not expect that. the boys played well, as they have for much of the game in recent weeks. hopefully they can build on that, now that two of their last four games look somewhat winnable (@ Michigan, home vs. Iowa). still got killed on the boards and at the line. Coble's 37 points earned him the right to get referred to as "Kyle Coble" by John Buccigross on SC last night.

damn, especially after that traveling call against Gordon, this truly was one that got away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Here comes the sea of red

big headline on today: FAN ADVISORY FOR SATURDAY NIGHT'S GAME. apparently NU is worried not only about the invasion of Hoosier Fan but also the media crush that will result of today's expected announcement that IU's aussie president will throw out Sampson. and what an interesting ride it continues to be for Dan Dakich. six years ago he turns down the WVU job to stay at Bowling Green, where he proceeds to kinda suck and then resigns a year ago. he latches on with IU as Dir of Basketball Ops last summer, gets bumped up to assistant when some of Sampson's cronies are thrown out, and now Dakich is about to be handed the keys to his alma mater's top 15 team playing its best ball of the season. not a bad place to end up.

meanwhile, what does this all mean for the 'cats? not much, i'm afraid. no matter what distractions this mess will provide for Indiana, i don't see them slipping up enough to do anything other than beat us down tomorrow, especially the way DJ White is playing inside. and it is unfortunate if we get blown out, since the highlights will be one of the lead stories tomorrow night. but at least this time we'll be losing to a legit IU team - unlike '99 when we were done in by a banked three-pointer by the guy on the left.

UPDATE: maybe Northwestern has a chance to beat Indiana after all. a roster without all their best players doesn't seem so scary. at this point, i don't care what bizarre circumstances help us get a win.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Or not.

blame this one on me. i jinxed it. 11 real-time minutes after my earlier post, NU had gone from up by 12 to down by 4. the 'cats went into one of their classic dry spells and a perplexing switch to 1-3-1 zone allowed the hawkeyes to hit a couple threes. they kept it close with a couple shots down the stretch but never got back to even. a 40+ second possession in the final minute led to a missed three by Moore and he missed another one close to the buzzer.

i don't really have a problem with going for the win on the road, but you hate to lose a game where they actually had some things go their way: NU outrebounded them 33-30; iowa missed 15 of 21 from deep; but was not enough. in the postgame interview Carmody sounds like he's going to cry, and i don't blame him.

This could be the one!

don't know how this one will turn out, but i had to get it on the record. about 11 minutes left and NU is in position to pick up their first conference win. at this moment they are actually rebounding Iowa 29-20. just a ridiculously ugly game, only 17-15 at the half. hopefully they can hang on here, since it was about this point in the game where it has all fallen apart several times this season, including vs. Purdue, Ohio State and Indiana. Tim Doyle doing the game on WGN - surprisingly he is not awful in the booth, his NY accent notwithstanding...


i love how in today's Daily Iowan there is an article about not taking the struggling NU team for granted coming off Iowa's bad loss to Michigan and it is important to give respect to Northwestern, etc. and yet in the same article they say the Wildcats are from Evansville, Illinois.

meanwhile the 'cats fell short over the weekend against purdue, which actually drew a sellout. surprisingly they took a two-point lead midway through the second half but from there it was a 23-6 purdue run to close the game.

hard to imagine Carmody withstanding a 2-32 conference record the last two seasons. especially now that people are finally openly discussing his status as head coach. while i don't necessarily agree with the constant comparisons to Stanford, Duke, Vandy - you cannot underestimate how severely our hoops program is lacking in tradition, history, reputation, etc. - it is at least encouraging to know that the frustration is growing. that said, there are also comments posted to that article which suggest we give Carmody another year or two, so who the hell knows what will happen. boggles my mind to think that some "fans" could be satisfied with the recent results on the court.

and i'm becoming increasingly pissed off with NU's painfully long search for a new athletic director. it was just over two months from when Rick Taylor announced his retirement to when they introduced Mark Murphy. Murphy was installed as Packers CEO on December 3, but certainly speculation of that move was widespread for weeks before, so i'd say that Bienen is offically dragging his feet.

Friday, February 15, 2008

You heard it here first

because rampant speculation is what blogs are all about, i like Kevin Stallings as the next coach at Indiana. the AD Rick Greenspan hired him at Illinois State, and Stallings played and coached under Gene Keady's hair at Purdue.

of course, this is assuming Greenspan survives - not a lock since neither Sampson nor Greenspan were hired by the current IU president. i'm sure there will be an outpouring of support from fans and alumni to stay within the family, but it was pretty clear two years ago that there aren't a lot of viable IU-related candidates out there.

it is a nice pipe dream that Northwestern could throw the bank at Stallings, but it would make no sense at all for him to leave what he's built into a top-third SEC program for our sorry asses. and that's too bad, since our coach can't even get into his own locker room.

Purdon't beat us too badly

disappointed that i won't see the game against Purdue tomorrow. i watched much of their game against Sparty and i kinda like that team. Painter seems to just let them play and throw up 3s whenever they feel like it.

i think Robbie Hummell has to get consideration for POY in the conference. Neitzel has sucked at times, and as i mentioned earlier, Eric Gordon is overrated. i'm not saying he's a bad player, but at this point he is riding on the stats and highlight dunks from December's non-conference opponents. in their five biggest games - Connecticut and Wisconsin/Illinois twice - he's shot 25/70. of course, against us, Neitzel and Gordon have combined for 70 points in three games.

i guess i've never really minded Purdue in general. obviously less obnoxious fans than pretty much every other big ten program, and they even have a little nerd in them, as they are apparently big fans of math. and don't accuse me of being racist for liking this team just because over half their roster is white.

perhaps my favorite thing about Purdue is that on game days in the fall they do this thing called Breakfast Club. the bars open up at 6am and everyone gets after it nice and early. my good friend James will forever be kind of a puss for sleeping through it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nothing interesting about this one

hung for a while against the buckeyes, but then over a 9:23 span in the second half NU scored only 6 points. otherwise i didn't really see anything noteworthy, aside from another less than half-filled arena.

on another note, in browsing The Daily today, i came across an article suggesting that Northwestern could leave the big ten conference. i'm not really sure of the point of the article, since it explains in detail that NU has no plans to leave the conference and there really isn't a viable alternative. but it was frustrating enough that i had to mention it.

i don't know why someone would suggest that NU would be better off giving up our BCS bowl money and national TV exposure for the greener pastures of Conference USA. thankfully all the comments point out the ridiculousness of the idea, including one reader who observed, "This looks like it was written by someone with the intelligence of an 8 year old."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pat Forde nails it again

Other coaches who might be headed to divorce court at season's end:

Bill Carmody, Northwestern. The success Carmody had at Princeton has not translated at all to the Big Ten, where the Wildcats remain miles removed from their first NCAA Tournament berth. They are 0-10 in an underwhelming Big Ten this season and have just one victory over a team with an RPI better than 223.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nobody home

aside from the bad defense, what really disturbed me in the Minnesota box score was the attendance. and it is not limited to that game: NU has averaged 56% of arena capacity in four conference home games, including an abysmal 2872 fans, or 35% of capacity, for the Minnesota game.

i certainly don’t expect people to turn out en masse for non-conference games – and don’t worry, they didn’t, as attendance hovered around 3K – but no one is coming for big ten opponents either. in terms of the major Welsh Ryan visitor take-overs, we don’t play U of I at home this season and Wisconsin, IU and Iowa are yet to come, but only the Michigan and Michigan State games have resulted in more full seats than empty ones. maybe they need to get the marketing department cranking out some more CTA advertising campaigns.

the ncaa doesn’t have data on attendance for the 07/08 season, but after a quick glance over last year’s stats, it appears NU’s average attendance was lower than all but three schools in the major conferences; only Colorado, South Florida and Miami averaged less fans per game. even bottom-dwellers Rutgers and Oregon State outdrew us, and John Brady just got fired from a bad team that averaged 7000 SEASON TICKET HOLDERS.

again, I’m not calling for or expecting a packed house every night, but rather pointing this out as another consideration for the new athletic director. I can’t imagine NU going with an ol’ boy AD-type (e.g. Frank Broyles or Gerald Myers), so the new guy is bound to look at more than just wins and losses. when your hoops arena has a capacity of 8117, and this season 9 of 11 games have drawn totals starting with a 2 or a 3, that’s almost as alarming as finishing 6-21. almost.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Boooooooooosier Daddy

i'm declaring an official moratorium on all bob knight discussion. hopefully after tomorrow's College Gameday airs the jay bilas interview we can all move on and agree to disagree. i'm not even getting into whether he is an overall plus or a minus as a coach (in my book he's a plus) but i'm just tired of hearing people argue whether he quit on his team or if he earned the right to do it "his way." that's the phrase i've been hearing all week, and i'm not entirely sure what it means.

i'll just point out that other legends like John Thompson and Lefty Driesell also "quit" in mid-season, when they, like The General, woke up one morning and realized one or all of three things: [a] i'm old and i don't want to coach anymore; [b] i can't recruit and/or coach 'em up like i used to and i don't want to go out like this; [c] oh my gosh, i have 786 wins and i'm getting my Georgia State Panthers ready to battle Gardner-Webb. (the last probably only applied to Lefty).

anyway, my point is that no one killed those guys for retiring mid-season. and even Dean Smith hung it up just on the eve of the 1997 season, so i say we leave Knight alone and let him go shoot at some more neighbors.

[also, i'm perplexed by the rumors that he's going to coach again. i don't see him taking a step down from the level of texas tech, and obviously he has considerable baggage. none of the major programs will have openings this off-season, and would he really leave texas tech for a program of similar caliber like south carolina or LSU? plus, Pat Knight did most of the recruiting for the past few years, and i can't picture Robert Montgomery out on the road visiting family rooms.]

Orange Krushed

i certainly enjoyed seeing the Illini lose last night. by no means am i a fan of IU or Sampson (and i think Eric Gordon is overrated), but Illinois is by far the most annoying fan base i've ever witnessed in person. watched an NU game there four years ago, and it was extremely irritating. i've never seen more yelling/complaning/booing about the refs, and they even went overboard with sarcastic cheering after fouls were called on NU.

and of course back then the whole chief illiniwek nonsense was still going on. i remember all of us were completely dumbfounded by how silent the arena got and how ridiculous the bare-feet dancing was. other fans were shooting us dirty looks for talking while it was going on, and looking back, i am pissed at myself for not standing up and booing. although maybe it is good that i didn't, since last night that same fan base threw beads and ice at Indiana fans, including Eric Gordon's parents. i love that to get Gordon ready for the harsh reception, IU assistant coach Dan Dakich told him, "If you're worried about some engineering student from Wilmette in an orange shirt, you're not as tough as I thought you were."

maybe if U of I had less players driving drunk and leaving teammates for dead, they wouldn't have to worry so much about which recruits went elsewhere.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Now THAT is a beatdown

wow, i have to take a few days off from posting, and this is what i come back to? i was thinking yesterday that given what a struggle it has been for big ten teams on the road this season, last night was theoretically NU's best remaining shot at a conference win. if it was, then we're in a lot more trouble than i thought.

two postgame quotes jumped out at me. the first is that his team is now not-so-subtly complaining about Carmody's recruiting, as Michael Thompson observed: "We don't have a 6-10 guy who can rebound."

and regarding Carmody... look, i understand he is a beaten man by now. i realize it has been a long season and an even longer eight years. i'm sure he's tired of answering the same questions after each ass-kicking, but still, i would like to see a little more life out of him. check out this quote:

"Usually a 1-3-1 zone can help neutralize post guys. We lost Tim Doyle and Vince Scott (through graduation). How did our defense change so much? I don't understand it. We've tried a bunch of stuff defensively, and nothing seems to work. We have to do something about it, whether it's going man-to-man or pressing and falling back into something."

here's a tip, coach: you can't use the absence of last year's seniors as an excuse after your NINETEENTH game of the season. maybe in the first five or so games, but by now you should have a pretty good handle on the current roster and its limitations. i don't understand why he sounds so startled by this, like it just happened overnight. for those of you keeping track, NU is now #331/341 in effective field goal defense, allowing their opponents to shoot an astounding 55.7%.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Clarifying my position

for anyone out there who may question whether i actually prefer to watch NU hoops suffer, let me reassure you that is not the case. i would like nothing more than for us to revamp the program, strike gold with a couple recruits, make the tournament for the first time, become a perennial bubble team, and have my blog put out of business by passionate medill students who are better writers and have more free time than me.

i mean, it's not like i WANT northwestern to lose. it's not like i'm some hypothetical fan watching NU vs. Iowa football in 2005 that becomes so frustrated with NU's poor performance that when they stage a tremendous fourth quarter comeback he can't even enjoy it because he spent the previous three quarters booing and yelling about how bad the Wildcats are. i'm nothing like that guy.

but for the time being, the basketball program is very far from being revamped. so i'll continue to use this space as a vehicle to air my observations and grievances. and from the comments i've been receiving, it is encouraging to know i'm not the only one frustrated by what we're dealing with. (i will also take pride in somehow maintaining my interest level in this blog, unlike those fags over at Knight to Cats. how does it make sense to stop posting once the season starts?)


ok, so they held off UTPA and eeked out a 9 point win. they started off awfully slow, and trailed by 8 early in the second half. but at least they shot the ball better from the free-throw line - 80% - including Thompson who was 8/11. Coble continues to be the only reliable scorer (29 on 11/17 shooting) and Moore continues to be the most inconsistent player (1/7 shooting in 40 minutes).

what jumped out at me, however, was their apparent inability to keep things from getting interesting at the end. i'm not saying i expect them to blow anyone out, but in the final minute, leading by ~10, they committed three fouls. i wasn't watching the game so i don't know in what situations the fouls were committed, but come on. i understand you may get called for one going for a loose ball or something, but you have the game in hand - all you need is 60 ticks off the clock. and it's not just one foul down the stretch but THREE IN THE FINAL MINUTE?!? that to me is a lack of discipline. i'm sure to many this may seem like an insignificant detail, but a team that makes these kind of mental mistakes will not be prepared to win a close game against an opponent more formidable than UT Pan Am.