It is Championship Week and the links are flying around with interesting news. I wanted to include some here so that people could keep up. There's good information about Northwestern and more on the DePaul coaching search. Here are my thoughts about all of them.
Northwestern's Big Ten Tournament Chances: The Wildcats have a .4 percent chance of running the table and making the NCAA Tournament according to Ken Pomeroy's Log 5 analysis of the events in Indianapolis. That low, but not ridiculously low, number seems about right. (Compare is to say Iowa's .003 percent chance.) Two things though that stick out from the link, which includes the excellent analysis of Bradford Doolittle.
1) I don't think Northwestern is an NIT lock at the moment, which is what Doolittle appears to imply further down the page. The Wildcats have to at least beat Indiana. A close loss against Purdue wouldn't hurt either. Also, right now Northwestern has an 11.4 percent chance of making the semifinals and a 2.8 percent chance of making the finals. If the Wildcats made a miracle run to the finals and lost could they get in as an at-large? Depends on who they beat to get their. But their neutral court record would look awfully good then.
2) Look at Wisconsin. They don't have any NBA prospects and they're considered the team to beat according to Log 5 in the Big Ten. You don't need highly recruited prospects to win basketball games. Bo Ryan's (photo above) a great coach. Other teams should try to emulate his success.
A chat with Bill Carmody: ESPNChicago did a chat with Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody today in advance of the Big Ten Tournament. I had no idea this was going on, but others on Twitter alerted me. I didn't get to ask any questions, but people asked pointed ones about success (or lack thereof) in the past 10 seasons, Kyle Rowley, Luka Mirkovic and the balance between John Shurna and Kevin Coble next season. Plus the NIT, CBI and CIT. I'm glad there are people who were able to ask good questions. I got there too late to ask mine, but I would've wanted to know what he intends to do to help Michael Thompson get some rest every once in a while. The guy has played the third highest percentage of team minutes in the NCAA this season.
On a related note, congratulations to Shurna for being named the NCAA's Most Improved Player by The Sporting News. This is a great honor. He's really stepped up his game on offense. Personally, I wish he'd do a little more on the defensive side of things.
High School Coaches want to coach DePaul: I'll admit, I laughed out loud when I read this headline. I understand why coaches like Brooks' Chris Head and Simeon's Robert Smith think they could be coaches at the college level. They've been very successful high school coaches. But look at it logically - DePaul would get laughed out of the Big East if they hired a high school coach. Sure Smith and Head could recruit in the Public League, but DePaul needs to have a national influence, not just a local one. This would be a public relations disaster. It's a fun scenario to throw out there - and maybe Head or Smith could coach at say UIC and eventually move up, but it isn't happening.
Also, The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh caught up with Jerry Wainwright.
And then there is this by the New York Times' Pete Thamel. It just further explains why programs like Marquette are succeeding in the Big East (Jerry Wainwright is quoted there too.) They are willing to spend the money necessary to do so. It should be noted that Cracked Sidewalks followed that article up with a post of their own which notes that the Marquette basketball program brings in 97 percent of the school's athletic revenue and has a 23 percent profit margin.