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Coaching speculation huge part of Madness


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The Madness of March doesn’t just concern itself with buzzer-beating losses and which mid-major copped Cinderella’s slippers.

A portion of the month’s charm revolves around rumors of players transferring and, even better, Coach A leaving his cozy multimillion-dollar post to start anew at Program B.

Some absolute gems are floating about, my favorite being Indiana University coach Tom Crean leaving to succeed the retiring Jim Boeheim at Syracuse.

All together now ... huh?

As far as I know, the 69-year-old Boeheim, who in the past has gone public with his disdain of down time, isn’t going anywhere.

Why would he? The guy is revered in Syracuse, a city known for Boeheim, his yearly top 10 teams and little else. The Orange play home games inside a 35,446-seat cash magnet that on a snowy night with a lousy opponent in town might draw only 23,000.

Boeheim played for Syracuse, graduated from Syracuse, spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Syracuse and since 1976 has been head coach at Syracuse.

Every one of his 946 career victories have been at, yep, Syracuse.

As for who is supposedly moving into Crean’s office, everyone from Coastal Carolina’s Cliff Ellis to one-time IU swingman Mike Woodson to — you might want to sit down for this one — Pat Knight has been mentioned.

One problem. OK, three.

Ellis is 13 months younger than Boeheim. Not a great age to be out recruiting for one of the sport’s blue-blood programs in one of the country’s truly elite conferences. This is IU, for heaven’s sake! We need to set the bar higher with our rumors.

Woodson, the embattled and quite possibly soon-to-be-ex-coach of the New York Knicks, has never coached at the collegiate level and owns a sub-.500 won-loss record in the pros. Just because he was one of the Hoosiers’ all-timers as a player doesn’t make him the next Bob Knight.

Speaking of the Knights, uh, no.

In Lexington, there is a John Calipari watch with the Kentucky coach supposedly yearning to get back to the NBA after going 72-112 with the New Jersey Nets from 1996-99.

That and the fact Cal’s last two five-star-studded classes of likely one-and-done Wildcats have been pretty underwhelming.

Staying in the Bluegrass State, is Rick Pitino seriously contemplating hanging up the hideous white Colonel Sanders jacket he breaks out once or twice a season and retiring from Louisville? After his 2013 Cards won it all, anything, I suppose, is possible.

Turnover-prone Purdue sophomore point guard Ronnie Johnson has heard all he wants to hear from the Mackey Arena boo birds and has announced he’s going to transfer.

Maybe his classmate, 7-foot center A.J. Hammons, follows him out the door by making himself eligible for the NBA Draft.

Chemistry and in-your-jersey defense used to be what made Boilermaker hoops fun to watch. Purdue games now are an errant pass or low-percentage shot attempt waiting to happen.

Painful. Just painful.

No Matt Painter rumors to discuss. Yet. But if someone wants to start one about him bolting for greener pastures and being replaced by Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, I’ll definitely listen.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to mbeas@dailyjournal.net.

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