Fired Bill Carmody: February 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here are some goddamn facts

the Bill Carmody chatter cranked up this week to levels I've never seen before, not even after 3-34 in conference. the buzz of "HE SHOULD BE FIRED!" was exceeded only by those chastising others for suggesting that he should be fired. some people think FBC is nothing more than a rabble-rouser, but let's be honest: FireBillCarmody has always been more of a brand/nickname than anything else. I like to think that I've offered perspective more balanced than the name of this site would suggest. and now, thanks to today's Wall Street Journal, here are some facts with a side of context:

Since the 1996-1997 season, here are the major conference college basketball teams with the worst 50-game spans of conference play.

DePaul Big East, 2008-present2-48
Washington St. Pac-10, 2001-20036-44
Penn State Big Ten , 2002-066-44
Oregon State Pac-10, 2006-20096-44
Rutgers Big East, 2007-106-44
South Florida Big East, 2006-097-43
Northwestern Big Ten, 2006-097-43

and guess how many coaches have survived those stretches: exactly 1. check it out:

DePaul - hired Oliver Purnell on April 6, 2010
Washington State - hired Dick Bennett on March 29, 2003
Penn State - hired Ed DeChellis in April 2003
Oregon State - hired Craig Robinson on April 7, 2008
Rutgers - hired Mike Rice on May 6, 2010
South Florida - hired Stan Heath on April 2, 2007

from that list only Heath and DeChellis were around for significant stretches, and the other four schools made changes at or near the end of the down years. and yet our boy BC keeps chugging along. unbelievable.

If not the NIT, then what?

with all that tedious NCAA talk out of the way, NU fans are faced with the stark reality that NU might not be good enough to make the NIT. Rodger over at SoP has been reminding us for weeks that NU was the last at-large team to make the NIT bracket. this year's NU team is not as good as that one, although the postseason field is probably weaker in general.

i generally agree with this argument, that Northwestern basketball is in no position to decline any invitation to play into March, regardless of how crappy the tournament may be. it would be nice to give Juice another home game or two, and it would give the younger guys additional practice/game time. let's look at the two options:

College Basketball Invitational
This will be the fourth CBI, and BCS teams were part of its three previous brackets: 2008 Virginia, Cincinnati, Washington; 2009 St. John's, Stanford, Oregon State (champion); 2010 Oregon State.

That's not exactly a who's who of big six basketball programs, but at least it wouldn't be unprecedented if NU ended up there. It's worth noting that not all those major conference teams got home games. This tournament starts on the same nights as the First Four, and it's unique in that the championship is decided by a best-of-three series to be played in the week of the Final Four. TV coverage doesn't include every early round game and is on HDNet, aka Mark Cuban's channel. Postseason Tournament*
Certainly THIS would be an insult. The two previous tournaments haven't featured anything other than mid- and low-majors. The oddest thing about this tournament is that along with several distinguished former coaches - Lefty Driesell, Lou Henson, Riley Wallace - the selection committee includes Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson!?! This is about what you'd expect from a site that features both head coach and assistant coach brackets for the Fashionable Four. It looks like some of these games would be on Fox College Sports.

*edit: the CIT doesn't take BCS teams, so never mind. but still, that Vincent Jackson shit is weird.

The big X factor here is money. When these tournaments were created, I read that teams had to pay. I don't remember the details, and of course now I can't find those details. As I recall, there was a fee to host a game in one or both of these tournaments, but the payout was structured so that if you won at least one game you broke even; two or more wins meant a profit. Assuming the financial contribution is not too hefty, I bet Jim Phillips would be in. To my knowledge NU's only other home postseason game was 1994, so I'm sure the NU marketing department would go all out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We're fucked

that's as succinctly as i can sum it up. all the positive (or at not disastrous) vibes from two previous Saturdays are long forgotten. i was certainly frustrated by the collapse at the end of the Michigan game, but today's effort was so much more pathetic. it was something we've seen before from BC's crew, and i'm not even sure if it's a word: noncompetitiveness. can you believe that the Penn State seniors have never lost to Northwestern? the Wildcats are single-handedly letting Ed DeChellis keep his job. (of course, DeChellis has those five NIT wins in 2009. something BC can't sniff.)

nothing good can happen from the rest of this season. the trip to Madison will obviously be a massacre, and the rest of the games were considered virtual locks in January, but now i'll be shocked if NU wins more than they lose.

this is the weakest Big Ten we've seen in quite some time. do you realize that the twin dumpster fires of Illinois and Sparty are tied for fourth place?!? at this point no one would be surprised if only three teams made the tourney. the sorry state of the league only reinforces NU's lost opportunities this season. there were a lot of wins for the taking in this league, even more than we expected in December. but instead, Bill Carmody sits in 9th place with his supposed Best Team Ever, and finishing in last is a very real possibility. that certainly discredits Lindsey Willhite's defense of BC.

and PLEASE don't give me any BS about Kevin Coble. doesn't the head coach deserve some blame for losing his second-best player on the eve of the school's most important season?

when i started FBC over five years ago, my first post included this:

That's all I'm asking. Just the NIT. Beat up on some cupcakes then finish 6-10 in the conference. Play on ESPN once or twice a year. I don't have high expectations. Just stop sucking so much.

based on that, i suppose the program has met my then-so-very-low expectations. remarkably NU finished that season with a 6-10 conference record (although they lost 31 of the next 34 Big Ten games) and they made the NIT in 2010 and 2009. but fuck that, Northwestern can do better. Fitz has shown us that. but it remains clear to me that Northwestern can't do better with Bill Carmody in charge.

Monday, February 07, 2011

What a clown

yes, it was nice for NU to finally get a good win. but it strikes me as incredibly odd and awkward that BC gave a "shout-out" during his postgame interview with Raff. video here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Where do we go from here?

there has been a lot of introspection lately from Northwestern fans, so i might as well pile on. (although i really was tempted to simply ride out the rest of the season by writing nothing but updates to my previous post.)

last week Sippin' on Purple discussed whether NU is underachieving this year. i have to agree with Loretta8 and say absolutely not. this is part of an email i sent to a friend on November 4, 2010:

i could definitely see NU beating everyone they should but also not beating anyone they shouldn't. ...end up with a decent W/L record but terrible computer numbers.

that's exactly where we are with one month left in the regular season. the woefully weak nonconference schedule did nothing but kill off NU's at-large chances and artificially inflate the Wildcats' box scores and fans' expectations.

SoP pretty much nailed it regarding the national media stories and defensive problems, but one thing that wasn't touched on was the offense struggling against good teams. i will not pretend to understand or appreciate all the helpful stats out there as well as others do, so i'll just take the lazy way out and look at points scored.

i fully recognize that total points don't tell the whole story, but it's hard to ignore the obvious, and the numbers are easy to analyze because bad opponent = win and good opponent = loss. the W/L difference in NU's offense is actually bigger (83ppg vs. 63ppg) than the W/L difference in NU's defense (63ppga vs. 76 ppga).

all of this speaks to NU simply not having the horses to run with the big boys. whether trying to get a score or a stop, the Wildcats are outmanned in all the contests that matter. that's why i was so confused at the consensus reaction to the departure of Kevin Coble: "NU will be fine ... last year Coble didn't play and NU won more games without him ... Shurna is a better player ... Freundt can replace his points and rebounds." alright, maybe i made up that last one. but the point is this: Northwestern basketball is FAR from having talent to spare.

to me, that's the only thing that will get this thing turned around - better players. sure, it was fun watching NU take the Buckeyes down to the wire. and i've seen at least a few people call for Carmody to return full-time to the style everyone thinks of when they hear Princeton Offense. but we all know that's not sustainable. the coaches in this conference are paid too much money to be beaten consistently by a gimmick. i'm not saying that the rest of the Big Ten can't be beaten with offensive wrinkles, and i'm not saying the other guys can't be outcoached, but it's hard to do either when NU's players just aren't good enough.