Monday, January 5, 2015

SEC Basketball, Part III

Continuing our series on SEC basketball, here are the last five SEC teams (in alphabetical order).

Year:  Coach (Nat'l Ranking):  Record (NCAA seed, if any)
2002:  Quin Snyder (27):  24-12 (12 seed)
2003:  Quin Snyder (25):  22-11 (6 seed)
2004:  Quin Snyder (48):  16-14
2005:  Quin Snyder (98):  16-17
2006:  Quin Snyder (160):  12-16
2007:  Mike Anderson (65):  18-12
2008:  Mike Anderson (56):  16-16
2009:  Mike Anderson (7):  31-7 (3 seed)
2010:  Mike Anderson (24):  23-11 (10 seed)
2011:  Mike Anderson (48):  23-11 (11 seed)
2012:  Frank Haith (8):  30-5 (2 seed)
2013:  Frank Haith (31):  23-11 (9 seed)
2014:  Frank Haith (78):  23-12

It occurs to me that I saw Mike Anderson's last game in charge of the Missouri Tigers -- a loss to Cincinnati in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament that was played here in D.C.  Anderson, who did a great job at Mizzou, left the cupboard full for Frank Haith, who started off 14-0 in 2011-12, but who never recovered from losing to 15-seeded Norfolk State in the first round of the NCAA's.  Haith was let go after the 2014 season despite a record of 76-28, and was replaced with Kim Anderson, a Missouri alum who took Central Missouri to the D-2 championship last year.  This is a bold move, but it is far too early to tell how successful it will be.  Grade for the Missouri basketball program from 2002-14:  B.  Grade for the current coach:  Incomplete.

South Carolina:
2002:  Dave Odom (20):  21-15 (NIT Runner-Up)
2003:  Dave Odom (85):  12-16
2004:  Dave Odom (41):  23-11 (10 seed)
2005:  Dave Odom (48):  20-13 (NIT Champs)
2006:  Dave Odom (18):  23-15 (NIT Champs)
2007:  Dave Odom (111):  14-16
2008:  Dave Odom (108):  14-18
2009:  Darrin Horn (71):  21-10
2010:  Darrin Horn (95):  15-16
2011:  Darrin Horn (146):  14-16
2012:  Darrin Horn (163):  10-21
2013:  Frank Martin (210):  14-18
2014:  Frank Martin (114):  14-20

South Carolina is one of the few teams in the SEC who hires basketball coaches that have already coached big-time programs.  Dave Odom came to USC after years of coaching at Wake Forest, and kept the program respectable for several years.  (He was particularly good in the NIT, which he also won while at Wake.  But then SC decided to try Darrin Horn, who had just enjoyed a great run of success at Western Kentucky.  Like Dennis Felton at Georgia, Horn could not get the talent needed to compete in the SEC, and the Gamecocks declined under his watch.  Finally, the Gamecocks made a really bold move -- taking Frank Martin, who was practically an institution in Manhattan, away from Kansas St.  Martin blew up the team in his first year, and well into last year appeared to be making no progress.  But his guys came together at the end of the year, and they won four of their last six games -- including a big upset of the Big Blue.  This year the Gamecocks are 9-3, and have moved all the way up to 28 in the rankings.  So the Martin hire appears to be working.  Grade for the South Carolina basketball program from 2002-14:  D.  Grade for the current coach:  B minus.

2002:  Buzz Peterson (61):  14-16
2003:  Buzz Peterson (66):  17-12
2004:  Buzz Peterson (94):  15-14
2005:  Buzz Peterson (79):  14-17
2006:  Bruce Pearl (16):  22-8 (2 seed)
2007:  Bruce Pearl (27):  24-11 (5 seed)
2008:  Bruce Pearl (13):  31-5 (2 seed)
2009:  Bruce Pearl (38):  21-13 (9 seed)
2010:  Bruce Pearl (26):  28-9 (6 seed)
2011:  Bruce Pearl (63):  19-15 (9 seed)
2012:  Cuonzo Martin (58):  19-15
2013:  Cuonzo Martin (75):  20-13
2014:  Cuonzo Martin (7):  24-13 (11 seed)

Oh, what a saga the UT basketball program has been.  From 1963 to 1989, the Vols had only two coaches:  Ray Mears and Don DeVoe.  These guys built teams that were focused on defense and beating the Kentucky Wildcats, and they were generally quite popular.  But DeVoe left about the same time that Rick Pitino showed up at UK, and the Vols spent the next 15 years or so wandering in the wilderness due to a series of mediocre coaches.  But then Bruce Pearl arrived.  He was the ultimate UT basketball coach -- brash, controversial, and determined to prove himself against the Big Blue.  The folks in Knoxville (who like basketball more than they get credit for) were beside themselves with joy.  The only problem, of course, was that Pearl got into trouble with the NCAA and had to take a time-out.  He hung around Knoxville, while the Vols turned to Cuonzo Martin.  The UT fans hated Martin, despite lots of evidence that he was really good (if somewhat unlucky).  Last year his team was probably the best Tennessee has fielded since Ernie and Bernie were taking the court.  The Vols came this close to meeting UK in an Elite-Eight match-up for the ages, losing to Michigan in the Sweet 16 by only two points.  Pearl, seeing the handwriting on the wall, decamped for Auburn, where he was greeted as a liberator.  But Martin, fed up with the UT fans who spent most of last season calling for his head, also left -- for California.  The Vols were forced to grab Donnie Tyndall, who did very solid work for Morehead State and Southern Miss.  It's too soon to say how Tyndall will work out.  Grade for the Tennessee basketball program from 2002-14:  B.  Grade for the current coach:  Incomplete.

Texas A & M:
2002:  Melvin Watkins (216):  8-22
2003:  Melvin Watkins (92):  14-14
2004:  Melvin Watkins (188):  7-21
2005:  Billy Gillespie (47):  21-10
2006:  Billy Gillespie (26):  22-9 (12 seed)
2007:  Billy Gillespie (7):  27-7 (3 seed)
2008:  Mark Turgeon (21):  25-11 (9 seed)
2009:  Mark Turgeon (37):  24-10 (9 seed):

2010:  Mark Turgeon (10):  24-10 (5 seed)
2011:  Mark Turgeon (49):  24-9 (7 seed)
2012:  Billy Kennedy (119):  14-18
2013:  Billy Kennedy (105):  18-15
2014:  Billy Kennedy (121):  18-16

Texas A & M had the misfortune to lose two successful coaches -- Billy Gillespie went to UK after the 2007 season, and Mark Turgeon left for Maryland after the 2011 season.  The Aggies current coach is Billy Kennedy, best known to Kentucky fans for leading Murray State to a 66-65 victory over Vanderbilt in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.  So far, Kennedy has had only limited success, although he is off to a 9-3 start this year.  Grade for the Texas A & M basketball program from 2002-14:  B plus.  Grade for the current coach:  C minus.

2002:  Kevin Stallings (84):  17-15
2003:  Kevin Stallings (101):  11-18
2004:  Kevin Stallings (24):  23-10 (6 seed)
2005:  Kevin Stallings (36):  20-14
2006:  Kevin Stallings (49):  17-13
2007:  Kevin Stallings (40):  22-12 (6 seed)
2008:  Kevin Stallings (62):  26-8 (4 seed)
2009:  Kevin Stallings (82):  19-12
2010:  Kevin Stallings (40):  24-9 (4 seed)
2011:  Kevin Stallings (41):  23-11 (5 seed)
2012:  Kevin Stallings (12):  25-11 (5 seed)
2013:  Kevin Stallings (95):  16-17
2014:  Kevin Stallings (112):  15-16

From 2004 to 2012, Kevin Stallings was one of the best coaches in the SEC -- he went to the NCAA Tournament most years and he gave fits to UK and Florida, especially when they came to Nashville.  His greatest accomplishment was beating Anthony Davis and UK's National Championship team in the 2012 SEC Tournament -- the first time Vandy had won that tournament since it was re-launched in 1979.  But Stallings could never get the big NCAA win he needed to propel Vandy into the next level.  Look at these results:

2007:  Lost to Georgetown 66-65 in Sweet 16
2008:  Lost to Siena 83-62 in first round
2010:  Lost to Murray St. 66-65 in first round
2011:  Lost to Richmond 69-66 in first round
2012:  Lost to Wisconsin 60-57 in second round

I thought that Stallings and Vandy seemed discouraged after the break-up of their 2012 team, which was certainly their best squad since Eddie Fogler's 1993 team.  The Vandy teams in each of the last two years lacked the high-powered offense that Stallings's teams have had in the past.  But the Dores are 10-3 so far this year, and they could be on the way back up.  Grade for the Vanderbilt basketball program from 2002-14:  B.  Grade for the current coach:  B.

1 comment:

  1. This whole series was fantastic. I feel caught up. Go, UK!