Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Let the audition begin

Thursday March 19, 2009

In addition to watching 40 players in the NCAA Tournament who chose to leave the state of Georgia, many of us will be wondering if somewhere along the way we’re watching Georgia’s next coach. You’d like to think that a decision like that would be based on a larger body of work than just this couple of games, but reality is that coaches make names for themselves at this time of the year, and an early exit can quickly cool off even the hottest names out there.

Take VCU’s Anthony Grant. Grant can still hang his hat on a tournament upset of Duke a couple of years ago. His 11th-seeded VCU team isn’t favored to beat UCLA, but there’s still plenty of people interested in the outcome. If VCU pulls the outright win, of course Grant’s stock will only skyrocket. But if they fall flat and don’t put up much of a fight against the favored Bruins in the first round, will it diminsish his attractiveness to a major program?

Other coaches might have more to lose. Jeff Capel at Oklahoma might be the hottest name in play right now, and he could command a larger contract than most candidates. His team raced to a 25-1 start, but they’re just 2-4 over the last six games. If Oklahoma doesn’t live up to their #2 seed, will Capel’s stock take a hit? Sean Miller at Xavier could also use a strong tournament. Xavier has established itself as a solid program, and they have a couple of recent Elite Eight trips to their credit. His team is almost expected now to be able to advance past somene like FSU in the second round.

Still other coaches can use the tournament to rise from complete obscurity. These coaches won’t necessarily become candidates for vacancies at major programs like Georgia, but they’ll certainly become the next group of coaches to rise up the ladder and possibly fill positions left vacant at the mid-major level.

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