Fired Bill Carmody: March 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Simply awesome

Davidson has made it to the second weekend, and their trustees wants to make sure students take full advantage. i hope NU is taking notes, so that when we finally make it, we can send busloads of purple-clad nerds to Spokane to watch us get crushed in the first round as a 12 seed. meanwhile, i will be in Detroit this weekend partying with all those Southerners rooting for Stephen Curry to help put the big ten out of its misery.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ESPN, you're not helping

because i have too much free time and enjoy being frustrated, yesterday i went back and watched the last few minutes of our loss to Minnesota. i didn't learn anything new - we still can't rebound and we still can't make a play off the dribble. but i was reminded of something that really bothered me while watching the game last Thursday.

we all know NU alum Brent Musburger was doing the game, but due to his inability or unwillingness to bash his alma mater, he and Steve Lavin essentially legitimized Carmody and the Princeton-style offense. because NU played their best half of the season, it allowed those two to go on and on about how difficult it is to prepare for and play against Northwestern's style of play.

as we've discussed many times before, there is nothing formidable about Northwestern basketball, its players, or its style of play. sure, it may be effective when slow white guys are running it against slow white guys, and it is clearly finalfour-good when the offensive options include Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Brent and Lav admitted during the telecast that is was their first time seeing the 'cats this year, and that was obvious. if they think this can work, or is working, then they must be drunk on the Hank Bienen Kool-Aid. at least there are some local and national columnists who see things as they are, but if you were watching NU for the first and only time last week, you probably came away thinking, "Hey, this guy really has us on the right track!"

i just thank god NU plays in the middling Big Ten, or we could be even worse. by my count there were three pro's in the league this year: Kosta Koufos, DJ White and Eric Gordon (although i stand by my assertion that Gordon will have no impact at the next level). imagine if Coble and Moore actually had to match up twice a week against players of significant talent.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"The list" shrinks by four

the primary source of frustration for all NU basketball fans is the fact that we've never been to the NCAA tournament. a few years ago USA Today talked about those schools who have never made it and mentioned Northwestern in detail. since this article was published I've kept track of who has earned their first trip. 12 teams are no longer on this list, including 4 who made it this year: American, UT Arlington, UMBC and Portland State.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well that sucked

i admit it, the 'cats sucked me in that time. when they countered with a couple threes midway through the second half in response to Minnesota's run, i thought they had a win in them. but down the stretch their familiar faults re-surfaced: no rebounding, no playmakers on offense, no idea what to do in a one-possession, need-to-score situation.

the bad news is that the entire roster returns for next season. yes, they'll be a year older, but they won't be a year taller or a year faster.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So far, so good

up 13 at the half over Minnesota. that 20 minutes was pretty much everything the rest of the season has not been:
  • NU shooting the ball very well - 11/17 overall; 5/9 from three; 7/8 from the line
  • Defense off the charts - UMN shooting 7/19; 2/10; 5/8. held to a season-low 21 points
  • NU with a 10-7 advantage on the boards

of course it didn't hurt that Minnesota C Tollackson left the game with an apparent ankle injury at the 17 and 8 minute marks, but i'll take it.

i do question Musburger and Lavin's research however, considering that Lav TWICE mentioned that Northwestern is not an easy team to come back against. those of us who have seen them give up lead after second half lead know that is not exactly true. plus Musburger at one point said, "The Wildcats are long at some positions but not sturdy." i don't know what roster he is looking at to see this "length."

...dammit. before i could even get these first-half comments posted, Minnesota has cut it to 6 and NU called timeout. dammit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

At least we have her to look forward to

that's right: the one, the only, Erin Andrews will be blessing espn2 with her presence tomorrow afternoon as the 'cats get run by the gophers.

relax, i'm not about to turn this into an EA fan site, but what else am i supposed to talk about? how about the fact that Minnesota scored a total of 174 points on us in two games this season. or that we've won 3 of our last 20 games. or maybe that NU under Carmody is a cumulative -101 points in ten conference tournament games; a number even more startling considering that three of those games were victories.

no, i think instead i'll just hope that there is a problem with the scoreboard or a referee controversy or perhaps a horrible, game-delaying injury that will allow everyone's favorite sideline reporter as much camera time as possible.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Here comes the sea of red, Part II

watch out! another fan advisory!! pretty unprecedented that a team this bad can issue two "long line warnings" in the same season.

back in the Ricky Byrdsong/Kevin O'Neill era they did senior day celebrations after the game; good choice to do it before the game tomorrow, since it might not be as fun after we get rolled by the Badgers. although, does the current senior class even warrant a ceremony? five bucks to the first reader who can correctly name the senior(s) on this year's team without clicking on this link.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Finding a new way to lose

this time it was NU's turn to rally. normally giving up a 13-point lead with 8 minutes remaining is our job, but this time a 12-0 run by the 'cats made it interesting. in the end, however, they couldn't quite get back to even and lost to Iowa by five.

that was loss No. 20 on the year. at this point in the season there are 51 other D1 non-independents with at least 20 losses. from the major conferences the only others are Michigan, Rutgers and Oregon State. (more evidence that the big ten is weak - almost 20% of its teams lost 20 games) also on the list is Harvard. (more evidence that Tommy Amaker sucks - both the team he recruited and the team he coached lost 20 games) also on the list is Northern Illinois (more reason for me to question our latest AD hire) the rest of the list is basically filled with Kennesaw States and Centenarys and Texas Southerns, institutions that i'd prefer not to be comparable to.

furthermore, we have one game left against Wisconsin, which likely means the team will finish 1-17 in the Big Ten. which gives us 3 wins in two conference seasons. let's acknowledge for a minute that conference wins (cw) is one way of measuring a team's ability to compete against its peers. over the past two seasons, our three conference wins stack up against only a few teams:

  • Oregon State - 3 cw 06/07; 0 cw 07/08. clearly a program in turmoil, but we have nothing on them. OSU has been to 16 NCAA tournaments, most recently in 1990.
  • Princeton - 2 cw 06/07; 2 cw 07/08. alum Joe Scott inexplicably drove this Ivy League juggernaut into the toilet after replacing John Thompson III. still, we clearly cannot come anywhere close to Princeton's basketball heritage: 21 NCAA tourneys, including recent victories in '96 and '98, plus a Final Four appearance.
  • North Florida - 1 cw 06/07; 1 cw 07/08. they get a pass considering they're only in their third season of Division 1. in Nov 2006 NU needed a put-back with 3 seconds left to defeat UNF at home 40-39. and of course Northwestern was out-rebounded by the Ospreys.
  • Maryland Eastern Shore - 2 cw 06/07; 1 cw 07/08. finally a hoops program with a similar profile to ours. never been to the dance and no notable achievements to speak of. a perfect match to NU, until you consider that UMES was an NAIA school until the mid-70s. the school is a historically black university with an enrollment of 3700 and an endowment of just over $16M. compared to all that Northwestern is and our $2.4B (150x more money), and the Fighting Hawks should feel pretty damn good about themselves.

3/10 update: Princeton and UMES each picked up an additional cw since this original post.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I know I'll regret this

i think the last time i posted an optimistic comment during a game, it was also against Iowa and it was followed immediately by one of our patented second half collapses. i was about ready to write off this game after they fell behind 10-0 and 25-9, but they went on a little run and cut it to four before being behind by 6 at the break.

however, i don't have high hopes for this one after looking at the box score. we're shooting 39%/36% and allowing Iowa to shoot 54%, both overall and from three. loss #20, here we come...

Monday, March 03, 2008


it took less than one year for another Coach K coaching disciple to start screwing up yet another program. i don't have a problem with admission exceptions (that is how Duke has done it and i wish NU would adopt the policy) but the much bigger deal to me is the possible NCAA violations.

Good news and bad news

bad news:
NU got destroyed by a second half 33-6 run on saturday at Purdue. this after actually outrebounding them in the first half and outshooting them 47.6% to 30.4%. but they were down one at the break and it fell apart from there.

more bad news:
one of FCB's spies says the attitude within the athletic department is that "Carmody is well liked and there's a general sense that NU is going to struggle in hoops and that's just how its gonna be." that's exactly what we were afraid of! i don't understand how that anyone can look at the last dozen years of our football program and then just give up on hoops. especially when the mediocre big ten is not running away from anyone and considering that unlike in football, just one or two basketball recruits/players can make all the difference.

good news:
last week we learned that Hank Bienen is calling the shots when it comes to Bill Carmody's future, but that won't be the case after next year.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

So I guess we're the only ones paying attention

obviously you guys were all over it yesterday, with the news that Carmody is not going anywhere for at least one year, although it sounds like his wiggle-room might be even wider than that. i wish i were a big-money booster and could put the pressure on Bienen, but i guess if that were the case i would actually be having an impact instead of writing this stupid little blog.

just very disappointed in the president's comments, which insinuated that it hasn't really occurred to him to let Carmody go. i guess at this point the administration has resigned itself to sucking and as long as there are no low grad rates or NCAA scandals, they're content to sit in a distant last place. and unfortunately that means i am forced to keep watching NU basketball for at least the next 12 months. i was pretty much hoping that they'd fire him in three weeks and then i could retire this site and ride off into the sunset.

i know the team has played better the last few games, and i know they don't really lose any seniors, but i look at it kinda like NU football's defense over the last few years - sure we may return a bunch of starters, but is that necessarily a good thing when we're giving up 450 yards a game?

they just assigned its last scholarship spot for next year. and while Davide' can call himself a center at 6' 9" playing in the Detroit Catholic League, i don't think that position transfers when you move to the big ten. we'll see...