Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Farewell to the Colonels

The mens' basketball team for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels finished the season with a record of 6-10 in the OVC, and 15-16 overall.  The Colonels did not make the OVC Tournament, and so their chance at winning the NCAA Basketball Championship is over.

This was the first year for coach Dan McHale, who had previously served as an assistant under Richard Pitino, Jr. at Minnesota.  McHale got his start as a staff assistant under Rick Pitino in Louisville, from 2001 to 2003.  Rick Pitino has an outstanding record of developing college coaches, and so we can understand why EKU decided to give McHale a chance after long-time coach Jeff Neubauer departed for Fordham.  We would note, however, that in 10 seasons in Richmond, Neubauer -- who took the Colonels to two NCAA Tournaments -- never did worse than 7-9 in conference play.  This year's team also fell from 116 in the final 2015 Ken Pom rankings to 191 this year -- EKU's worst performance in the rankings since 2012.  We wish Coach McHale and the Colonels better luck next year.

EKU's elimination means that there are five Kentucky teams -- Murray, Morehead, Western, Northern Kentucky, and the Big Blue -- still vying for a chance at this year's title.  We wish all the remaining Kentucky teams the very best of luck.

(We will say a formal farewell to the Louisville Cardinals -- who are not eligible for this year's NCAA Tournament -- once the Ville has played its last game of the season.)

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