Not easy to be a college coach now
Coaching hoops at college level far from easy
By now you may have seen the video making the rounds of Michigan basketball coachKevin Borseth throwing a tantrum after his team blew a 20-point lead and lost a game that might have cost it a chance at the NCAA tournament. If not, watch it, if only for a glimpse into the often tortured state of mind of college coaches this time of year.
Borseth stormed into the postgame interview room the other day, slammed his fist on the podium and went into an angry tirade over his team’s lack of rebounding. He was so worked up that the veins on top of his bald head looked like they were threatening to pop.
Bobby Knight had nothing on this guy. About the only thing missing was flying chairs.
The only difference was that this was women’s basketball, where this kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen.
The real surprise is that it doesn’t happen even more often on the men’s side, where people care so much that entire Internet sites are devoted to the tracking of teams on the bubble, and where jobs and careers often ride on decisions made by 19- and 20-year-olds in the final seconds of games.
Jim Boeheim could have been excused for throwing a fit of his own after watching his Syracuse team repeatedly throw the ball away in the final minutes to blow a big lead and lose to Pittsburgh. Instead, he stood with a look of agony on his face that conveyed every bit of hurt in “the most disappointing game I’ve ever been involved with” in 32 years at Syracuse.
March Madness doesn’t officially start for a few weeks, but for most coaches it’s already begun. The luckier ones look for higher seeds and momentum going into the playoffs, while the less fortunate just hope they win to get in.
Theusual suspects likeUCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, and Duke will all be in the tournament. So, too, will be the usual group of teams that probably shouldn’t be there.
For teams like Cornell just getting there is the goal, and often the difference as to whether a coach will get a contract extension or a push out the door in the offseason.
No one knows that better than coaches in small conferences who will lead their teams into tournament play this week with nothing guaranteed past each night’s game.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop couldn’t even take a break to celebrate his team’s ascent into the AP Top 25 for the first time in 38 years because the Southern Conference tournament begins in a fewdays and even a 20-0 record in the conference regular season doesn’t guarantee anything.
So what happens if the Wildcats have a bad shooting night and get beat in their conference tournament on a shot at the buzzer that banks off someone’s head and the NCAA decides it can’t take two teams from the Southern Conference?
Not likely, but let’s hope somebody captures it on video.