Saturday, March 16, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Fire Bill Carmody - the final chapter?
The past few seasons, while at times maddeningly frustrating, have at least included sparks of great wins, of athleticism, of hope. There were blown leads and crushing losses, sure, but there was also a surprising absence of embarrassing defeats. In the previous two seasons, Northwestern joined Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, and Georgetown as the only schools who didn't lose to an RPI 100+ team.
That was not the case this season, as NU lost to four of those teams: Nebraska (103), Purdue (116), UIC (171), and Penn State (184). And Northwestern's best two wins - Minnesota and Illinois - look a lot less impressive now than when they happened.
The only thing that makes me feel better is that fans are aware of it. This March is filled, as was last year's, with chatter about the current & future state of Northwestern basketball. That's all I ever asked for. Just five years ago, BC had just gone 3-31 the previous two conference seasons and not a whole lot of people were talking about him. There were no "stay or go" polls on LTP, but now you can't go anywhere on Twitter or the web without stumbling across a heated debate over Coach Carmody's future. Even all those who feel strongly that he should stay- at least now there are a whole lot more people who give a shit.
I came across one of those arguments earlier this week. Part of it included:
@gillard19 Two-part tweet: Remember when Frank Solich got fired by Nebraska in 2003? He won 9 games that season. 7-7 in 2002. (continued...)
— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) March 12, 2013
@gillard19 It would have made sense 2 fire Solich after 2002. It was less than honorable 2 fire him after 2003, even if program wasn't eliteFirst, no Northwestern fan should ever speak or type the name Frank Solich without including the descriptor "fucking asshole." How quickly people have forgotten the fucking asshole Frank Solich gleefully running up the score on our beloved 'Cats. I was there, and I can assure you that it was even uglier in person than on TV.
— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) March 12, 2013
Second, just because Steve Pederson waited a year too long to fire fucking asshole Frank Solich, it doesn't mean he shouldn't have fired him. But you didn't come here to read about fucking asshole Frank Solich, especially since that example doesn't even apply here: Nebraska was actually better the year he was fired. In our case, it's obvious that Northwestern basketball took a step backwards this year.
This is where the rest of you jump in and say "But the injuries!" and "It's not Carmody's fault - he was without Crawford & Cobb!" And yes, injuries. However:
a) Every team and coach deals with injuries and academic issues. It's not as if no coach has ever been fired after an injury-laded season.
b) Every November Coach Carmody tells us that FINALLY THIS YEAR WE HAVE DEPTH. If I was better at this, [here] is where I would link to previous yearly BC quotes about a deeper bench, more guys getting minutes, etc. I am not making this up - he's said it at the beginning of each of the last few seasons.
The one quote I do have handy is that on 12/22/09, he told Andy Katz, "I think we're a little deeper, much deeper, so you know, our eighth, ninth man is very capable. And there isn't that big a drop-off to the eighth or ninth man from our fourth and fifth guy." Check the stats from that season: three guys averaged over 34 minutes per game. I'd say the drop-off from Crawford & Mirkovic to Rowley & Curletti (both sophomores) was significant. All this supposed depth hasn't been able to mitigate the injuries.
c) BC is not completely off the hook when it comes to these injuries. Let's start with the Kevin Coble clusterfuck. While Coble may have been kind of a dick and not the best teammate, I don't think there's any question that Carmody totally mishandled that situation. Move ahead to the following season, when JerShon Cobb had hip surgery in April 2011. He started the season and averaged 17mpg in November, missed three games, averaged 17mpg in Dec/Jan, then missed eight more games. Last season Tre Demps suffered a torn labrum over the summer but kept playing (with a brace). He started the first game and played in three more before season-ending shoulder surgery in December 2011.
When I heard that Crawford was done in December 2012, my first thought was, "I can't believe BC screwed this up again." Drew had aggravated a previous shoulder injury in September and was clearly never 100% in the ten games he played. Carmody explained that Crawford "attempted to play through it, but it just hasn't responded as we all would have liked." While I'm not accusing a win-desperate coach of asking players to put off surgery or rush back too quickly, it's clear that this coaching and/or medical staff has mismanaged off-season injuries.
There are plenty of Carmody defenders out there who can come up with lots of excuses for why he should stay. They're obviously not the only ones who feel that way, considering BC's bosses have essentially brought him back twelve times. In Loretta's well-reasoned SoP post last month, what really stuck with me was this:
We know all parts of that to be true. Hell, Mark Gottfried took basketball-history-less Alabama to five straight tourneys, an Elite Eight appearance and a #1 ranking and he got run in the middle of his eleventh season. Meanwhile, I've said a million times that I'll shut down FBC if he makes the tournament just once. But the fact is that Bill Carmody has not made the tournament once. He's had some tough bounces and a handful of injuries, but no more than anybody else. You can't look at all the bad luck and consider what might have been without also considering the good luck that got NU this far. Thirteen years is a significant sample size. It all evens out over time, and he's come up short.
So if Carmody is out, who is in? Teddy Greenstein put together a comprehensive list of potential replacements. I'm still not sure who my first choice is, but I know it needs to be someone who isn't scared. You're competing against a conference that's really good and has infinitely better facilities than NU. It's an extremely difficult gig, no doubt. I don't think you definitely need to get a rah-rah Fitz type, but it certainly has to be someone who is going to work his ass off while staying patient at the same time.
I think I would lean towards one of the younger guys. As terrified as I am by the dreadful Coach K coaching tree, Collins is certainly an intriguing candidate. Hard to imagine him finally leaving Cameron for this job. I want no part of Greenberg, Floyd, or Mooney. I have to assume Teddy included Dakich as a joke. Drew, Jacobsen and the OSU assistants are all interesting ideas. I would also consider Dr. Brett Reed from Lehigh, in part because it would be fun to have a head coach who is a doctor.
Shaka Smart is also on Teddy's list, even though he's way too good and much too expensive to come to Evanston. Of course, that wasn't the case four years ago, before any of us had heard of him, when I had the perfect candidate. WHY DON'T YOU PEOPLE LISTEN TO ME?
I'll be watching with the rest of you on Thursday night. As I always do, I'll be hoping for a NU win. But I have to think that a loss might be enough for Jim Phillips to push BC out the door, and that could turn out to be a much more important win for Northwestern.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Time to watch the non-NIT postseason tournament
1. watch Jared Sullinger get all the calls against inferior competition.
2. watch Jared Sullinger bitch about the scarce foul calls that do go against him.
3. party with Larry Eustachy.
4. stay the hell away from Mr. & Mrs. Bernie Fine.
in the meantime, AC is in charge.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Let's start with this
that got me thinking about all the NU transfers whose teams made it to the dance. feel free to add anyone I forgot in the comments; I'm sure I'm missing some.
Kyle Rowley - St. Mary's
Steve Lepore - Wake Forest
Brody Deren - Creighton
Rex Walters - Kansas
3/8 edit: thanks James. how could I forget Ed McCants? he led UW Milwaukee to the Sweet 16 in 2005.
3/9 edit: yes, coaches count too. KO went in 2008 with Arizona and 2011 with USC.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
It’s only been a few hours since Northwestern lost yet another close one, their sixth conference loss this season by five points or less. In that time I’ve already seen a bunch of writers use phrases like “all-too-familiar” and “not again” and “SO CLOSE as usual.”
Uhh, no. While the losing is certainly familiar, I don’t think any reasonable person can say that Northwestern always comes up just short. The lifetime record of NU basketball is 960-1386. Bill Carmody’s Big Ten record is 65-136. A team that has lost 59% of its games and over two-thirds of its recent conference games is not always “SO CLOSE.” Most of the time they just flat out get their ass kicked.
Now, let’s move on to more important matters. I have to admit that after the game I was actually pretty positive (hard to imagine, I’m sure). I figured that was not a win NU needed to have, and they made a game of it after getting dominated early. At this point I’m numb to the rebounding deficiencies, so that didn’t even bother me that much. Despite lots of frustration out there, I was feeling alright.
Then I looked at last night’s scores. Colorado State, South Florida and Cincinnati all took down top 20 teams to nearly lock up spots in the field. Lunardi has NU as the last team in, which basically means we’re out; you have to assume that there will be at least a couple of bid thieves from the OVC, CAA, WCC or any of the major conferences.
You have to figure at this point that NU needs three wins. Iowa certainly is a must on Saturday, and a loss next Thursday would be to a bad team, whoever it turns out to be. A loss in the quarters would leave the ‘Cats with just the January win over Sparty as the only impressive line on its tournament resume. As the bubble shrinks, I don’t believe that one big win will be enough. And this team has shown me nothing to indicate they can win three straight away from Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Monday, January 30, 2012
BREAKING: Northwestern basketball still sucks
Purdue guards driving right past Sobo (and others). missed free throws plus at least one lane violation. offense that managed to be completely ineffective as well as downright ugly to watch. an extended scoreless stretch that is now seemingly featured in every NU game. an inability to stop the other team's best player in crunch time. even less ability to score in even crunchier time.
we've seen this all before. for TWELVE YEARS. i have to think BC has, finally, utterly, run his course. Juice Thompson can't save him this time.
both the Carmody bashers and Carmody defenders are at full throat this week. i am fully aware that BC is the most successful coach in school history. i cannot argue that there are obstacles to success with this program that go beyond the head coach. but it also can't be debated that he has fallen short. he's lasted through three athletic directors, somehow skating through as incrementally successful only when contrasted with the previous 100 dreadful years of Northwestern basketball.
but surely Jim Phillips has to see it. he has to recognize that it all comes down to talent. perhaps moreso in basketball than in college football, because one or two guys can make so much of a difference. to me, this is where BC has failed more than anywhere else. when i see so many minutes going to guys like Curletti, Marcotulio, and Hearn (his two big buckets on Saturday notwithstanding), i can't Expect Victory. it's not like we're competing against the Summit League.
it doesn't help that the two most talented players in the Carmody era were/are unequivocally soft. we all know that Kevin Coble quit the team on the eve of its potentially greatest season. and John Shurna hasn't shown me an overwhelming amount of heart this year. from where i sit, he appears to lack the desire to demand the ball and take over a game, the ability to convince his teammates to let him do so, or both.
the bottom line is that Northwestern's players haven't been good enough to win on talent. and the coaching hasn't been good enough to make up for that talent deficiency. i think twelve years is enough time to figure that out.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Happy new year from AC
presented below in their unedited entirety are four emails FBC received from AC Titticock. these were sent to me during and after the loss to Iowa in October, and i wasn't sure what to do with them until now. enjoy.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM
Dear Bill Carmody, AC Means Pat Fitzgerald,
WE HAVE THE BEST QB IN NU HISTORY WHY THE FUCK ARE WE ROTATING HIM WITH KAIN FUCKING COLTER???????????????????????? and yes, the caps were intentional.
I might have to fucking slum it and post something on laketheposts. FUCKING Moronic.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:47 PM
Dan persa is fucking good at football. Carshitty should recruit him to play the bottom of the 1-3-1 defense.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 9:26 PM
Subject: 3rd and 5
AND WE BRING IN COLTER????????????????????????
Persa is like 30 of 36 throwing the ball, no fucking joke, and we bring in cain kolter on 3rd and 5 to run the option which ISN'T FOOLING ANYONE.
Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 11:19 AM
The 3rd and 5 play in the 4th quarter when we were driving and only down 7 is pretty much a microcosm of this season. I’ll try to type this without dropping too many f-bombs, but we have the BEST QB IN NU HISTORY (or at least since Otto Graham was going deep on flappers by the Rock, and apologies to the great Lenny Williams and Brett Basanez, but Persa is better) who at that point in the game had completed like 54 consecutive passes and was something like 98 for 102 and had converted 37 straight third downs (2 thumbs up for Ebert by the way) all while solving the elusive P vs. NP problem (and I may have rounded some of those numbers up a bit) and yet WE FUCKING TAKE HIM OUT ON THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAY OF THE GAME FOR KAIN FUCKING KOLTER TO RUN THE OPTION which everyone in the entire mutliverse knew was going to happen? Really????? That was an even worse call than running Jacob Schmidt on third down at the end of the Army game or wearing flip flops to the White House.
Look, I have sworn to never say a bad thing about Pat Fitzgerald for all the joy he and NU brought me during the Gary Barnett era, and I have nothing against Kain Colter (in fact I think he will give Andrew Brewer a great run for the title as NU’s best former quarterback who is a threat on offense (and look how good it has worked out for Andrew)), but you don’t fucking rotate Dan Persa off the fucking field EVER unless his arm is hanging off or he’s late for his own personal dance marathon with NU grad Jaime Ray Newman. It boggles the fucking mind.
Kain Colter certainly brings something to the table (and should he ever learn to throw without wearing his purse, he could be a terrific QB), and he is an amazing athlete, but you just don’t take Persa off the field. Shit, it’s like the movie Who’s Nailin Paylin. Did anyone want to have fewer scenes with Lisa Ann just break things up? I mean there’s a time and a place for Nina Hartley (like the 1980s), but when Lisa Ann is in her fucking prime, you don’t leave her out of any scene. It’s a crime against humanity (and even Professor Arthur Butz would agree with that) and so was taking Persa off the field on that 3rd and 5 which just makes less sense than the entire Bill Carmody era (or error as it is better known), rugby punting, or Kate Shindle winning Miss America.
I am flummoxed, flabbergasted, and every other f word out there about that move and the coaching this season. It’s such a shame, NU may never have another Dan Persa and we’re treating him like he’s Tim Hughes. So Coach Fitzgerald, I implore you to do the right thing and Free Persa.
PS. This Siemian guy looks like a fucking monster. That TD throw was incredible. I really hope we convert Colter to a wr/rb (where he will be unbelievably effective) and let Siemian shoot it around next year, that guy is impressive.*****
if that doesn't get you fired up for Texas A&M, i don't know what will.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Pat Forde remains unimpressed
Pat Forde submitted his list of college hoops' underachievers, and Northwestern has moved to the #1 spot. (As Loretta already pointed out, three of the top four are Big Ten teams.) here is what he had to say about NU:
1. Northwestern: Being an egghead school is a proven impediment to winning national titles for everyone but Duke -- but plenty of egghead schools have at least experienced some success. Stanford has gone to a Final Four and been a No. 1 seed several times, and Vanderbilt has become an annual contender in the Southeastern Conference.
Then there is Northwestern.
Despite proximity to a slew of talent, the Wildcats are famously still waiting for their first NCAA tournament invitation. Not first victory; first berth. That's pathetic.
I'm not posting this because it's terribly interesting or tells us anything we don't already know. i just want to point out that when Forde wrote this column four years ago, Northwestern was #5 on the list. so while NU has made three straight NIT tournaments amongst its most successful seasons ever, it has somehow fallen even further behind expectations, at least according to Forde.
On the plus side, one member of the media thinks Jimmer Shurna will lead us to the promised land next season.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I found him, redux
i'm simply using yesterday's win as an opportunity to pat myself on the back for spotting greatness so early. also, it's much more fun to re-read the comments from Smart and Norwood Teague considering recent events. (the original post is here, for anyone in the mood for classic AC vs. Anonymous arguments)
3/29 edit: Shaka's wife has a Master's from Medill. i can't believe they let this guy get away.
3/31 edit: "Chicago is my favorite city in the whole country."
this is him. this is the guy. the man who will lead Northwestern basketball to the Promised Land. forget for a minute that he was just hired as head coach by another school. NU isn't throwing out Carmody just after they made the NIT. but when BC's contract is not renewed after the 2009/2010 season, this is the coach who should make the leap from a great mid-major job to the Big Ten Conference.
his name? Shaka Smart. "hmmm," you're wondering, "i like the sound of 'Smart' but 'Shaka' doesn't sound like the kind of name that would fit in with the Northwestern administration." but wait, i can explain. a brief bio:
- 32 years old
- native of Madison, WI
- coached/recruited for five years in the midwest (Akron, Dayton)
- served as an assistant under Billy Donovan
and there's more:
- played basketball at Kenyon College, but only after deciding not to go to Harvard, Yale or Cornell. graduated magna cum laude. as a senior was North Coast Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year. was one of 20 student-athletes selected for the 1999 USA Today All-USA Academic team and received a NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
i dare you to read this article and tell me Shaka Smart wouldn't immediately energize an NU program badly in need of it.
"WREAK HAVOC ON OUR OPPONENTS' PSYCHE"
are you kidding me?!?! VCU even had Billy Donovan as part of yesterday's press conference! i'm calling on all NU boosters to put aside some money right now. we'll use it to take care of whatever trifling little buyout will be necessary to get this guy to Evanston in 12 months. mark it down - you heard it here first.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
First-hand account of Saturday's win
"Our NU contingent at the game was decent (120 tickets sold through the alumni website). Because Boston College did not have a lot of fans there and because Boston College was generally sucking, we were pretty loud. When we yelled for the NU player introductions, the coaches turned around (we were in the upper level behind the bench) in surprise. When Carmody did the shift change with around a minute left to get the scrubs in, one of the assistants grabbed him and gestured towards us. Then he walked along the bench and talked to the players and gestured towards us again. After the post-game handshakes they came over and waved and celebrated with us. I thought it was pretty cool that the assistant recognized that they needed to appreciate the vocal fans who had shown up to support them 1,000 miles from Evanston. Then, in honor of FBC, I decided that it was a sure good thing the assistant thought of it, because Carmody is far too douchey to ever come up with such an idea."
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Juice's career not finished yet
i generally agree with Loretta8's comments on twitter and SoP that NU is in no position to turn down any chance at postseason basketball. Jim Phillips' competitiveness is well-documented, so i guess i understand how he would look at the CBI as a slap in the face. i also understand there are financial obligations of playing in the CBI, at least at home. but i would look at it as an opportunity to grow the program and take advantage of extra practice time for the returning roster. the cynical side of me thinks that perhaps Jim didn't want to give BC credit for a "third consecutive postseason appearance." but all of that is irrelevant now - call the banner company to get a third NIT in the rafters!
in other news, sadly i'll miss the first weekend of the tournament this year due to some (wife's) family obligations in the Dominican Republic. on the plus side, this is the second consecutive year a NU blogger planned a trip to the Caribbean in March with absolutely no chance of missing the Wildcats' first tourney appearance.
and finally, how about some dap for Ed DeChellis. for the last few years he has been on more "hot seat" lists than Carmody. the support that PSU hoops team doesn't get from the university is ridiculous. and although the Bryce Jordan Center is newer than Welsh-Ryan, that doesn't mean it's much better. and yet, two years ago DeChellis got an NIT title, and obviously this weekend he did what BC has never been able to do: string together enough wins at the end of the season to get the committee's attention. that plus Ed's absolute ownership of NU makes Bill Carmody look even worse.
Friday, March 11, 2011
So much for that
Even if NU had held on, it would have been nearly impossible for them to win two more in two days. With such a short bench the 'Cats looked gassed, and some of those late jumpers were well short. Hate to see Juice go out like this - wondering what could have been - but hopefully he's not finished quite yet. Who knows, maybe NU will even get a home game out of this. See you Sunday on ESPNU.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
who the hell knows what's going to happen on Friday, but it was an inspiring effort all around. with such a short bench, guys stepped up and - for the most part - didn't make mistakes. i do not like NU's chances without Capocci and Cobb playing defense, but maybe we'll get some sweater vest karma working in our favor.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Your Summit League update
Mikey took issue with my discussion about NU's options if the Wildcats are not invited to the NIT. he started off by claiming he doesn't "really care one way or another about @firebillcarmody's opinions on his (or her) own school/coach/etc" and then proceeded to assail those opinions.
it made for high comedy at the time, and of course the most preposterous of his statements is that "Post season basketball is post season basketball." if that were true, sports fans everywhere would be tuning into ESPNU on March 13 for the NIT selection show, a nation of white-collar workers would be scrambling next Monday to fill out CIT brackets for the office pool, and IUPUI's own gym would feature a picture of its 2010 CBI squad alongside the 2003 team that made the NCAA tournament.
so don't be sad about the loss, Mike. IUPUI finishes the year with a 19-14 record, so they'll likely end up in the CBI or CIT, which according to you, is just as good as playing in the big dance. enjoy the ride.
for those who weren't following along last month, here you go: