So let's have a grump-off. Good luck ...
- I received an e-mail blaming my parents for Toledo’s Naama Shafir not being named Mid-American Conference women’s basketball player of the year. My parents? Sure: My parents met, they had me, and I was to blame … Hahaha. Really funny. I guess.
For those of you blaming The Blade’s BG writer for a Toledo player not getting the award, I have one word for you: Wrong. I voted for Shafir at the top of my ballot. What’s more, we were allowed to vote for second and third as well … and my second vote went to Crystal Bradford of Central Michigan, with my third going to Courtney Osborn of Miami. I didn’t even give a vote to the eventual winner, Akron’s Rachel Tecca. So there.
- I'm tired of people sending me messages that say BG made a “terrible decision” to give men’s basketball coach Louis Orr the final year of his contract. Here’s the problem: Many people view it as a basketball-only decision, and the more I’ve thought about it, the less I agree. I think all of the circumstances surrounding the program and the school played a role.
OK, consider this: You own a car, but you’re not totally satisfied with it and you want to buy a new one. You still owe some money on your car, and the car dealership won’t help you with the payment. What’s more, the new cars you are looking at will be MUCH more expensive than the car payment you are already making. And to add insult to injury, your boss just told you that pay cuts are in the works for your business.
Still going to buy that new car?
Yes, it’s crass to compare a human being, a coach, to a car, so my apologies to Coach Orr for that. But I hope you understand the point: This decision isn’t happening in a vacuum.
One thing I have heard a lot is that people think the Bowling Green men’s basketball program will “fall further behind” other schools in the MAC? To which I say: Really? If this were the MAC of 15 years ago, maybe. But the MAC had just one NCAA team, only one NIT team (and a SIXTH seed at that!), and only two CIT teams. Bowling Green was in the CIT last season. ...
- Speaking of coaching changes, two MAC schools (Ball State and Buffalo) have changed coaches. I had one reader ask if I thought there would be others. I don’t, mainly because I don’t think any other school is in a position where change is imminent.
By that I mean the teams that are most likely to change –- current bottom-dwellers such as Miami and Northern Illinois would be two examples -– have recently made a change. Miami’s John Cooper has only had one season, and NIU’s Mark Montgomery has only had two. I’d be surprised if those programs made changes. Akron may lose Keith Dambrot, but that would be Dambrot’s decision to move up the ladder, not the school’s choice.
The only coach who might still be feeling heat is Rob Senderoff at Kent State. The Golden Flashes have been good recently, but not good enough for a suddenly spoiled fan base that expects NCAA tournament runs and isn’t even getting NCAA tournament bids.
By the way, in reading about the Ball State basketball situation I came across this story where Dambrot said he felt only three MAC programs were “fully invested” in basketball. Guess what three schools that would be? Then click here to read the story where Dambrot explains his answer.
If you’re surprised by Buffalo’s move to fire coach Reggie Witherspoon, click here to read a column on the move by the Buffalo News.
- One question from an intelligent reader (Thank you, Sam!) asked if I felt Toledo would receive an at-large bid to the NCAA women’s tournament. Sam laid out a well-reasoned platform for why he thought the Rockets deserved a bid, then asked my opinion.
Sam, the bad news is that I would be surprised if the Rockets received an at-large bid. Yes, I know the record is good (27-3) and the RPI is worthy (45, at last glance).
But the strength of schedule is bad (202, at last glance) and truthfully there’s no excuse for that: Central Michigan’s strength of schedule is 55, and women’s basketball coaches around the country knew entering the season how talented the Chippewas would be. Is it easy for a good team like UT to play a tougher schedule? Of course not, because it would mean more road games against top-notch opponents. But the alternative is the current situation: Wondering if the team had done enough to earn an at-large bid, knowing in your heart of hearts that it hasn’t.
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