Four factors to consider in Mizzou Basketball coaching search

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Mizzou Arena (Courtesy Mizzou Athletics)

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TIMING
The conventional wisdom says Missouri will target coaches with Power conference head coaching experience. That likely means candidates who will still be coaching after this weekend, so this won’t happen overnight. Kim Anderson wasn’t hired until April 28, which is late. It’s hard to imagine this search taking that long.
The NCAA recruiting period runs until March 29, then reopens and closes several times in April. With a coaching change, CJ Roberts, the one player Kim Anderson had signed for next season will be free to reopen his recruitment, if he chooses. There’s still one scholarship left, barring any more turnover.
 
ILLINOIS
For a good chunk of this season, it sure looked like Illinois was destined for a ride on the Coaching Carousel. Then John Groce’s went on a good run in February, and appeared to be playing itself into the NCAA tournament. But then his team lost to lowly Rutgers on Saturday afternoon. Groce has the Big 10’s top recruiting class coming in the fall. If he’s fired, then one name at the top of many Mizzou fans’ list, East St. Louis native Cuonzo Martin, would also be a serious name in play for Illinois. He’s a good recuiter, has SEC experience at Tennessee, and could be among the first available if his California team has its NCAA bubble burst next weekend.
 
TOM CREAN
The current Indiana coach is under fan scrutiny in his ninth season in Bloomington. It looks like the only way the Hoosiers will make the NCAA tournament is by winning the Big 10 postseason championship. Injuries have taken a toll on Crean’s squad this year, but there’s restlessness in the fanbase there about his style wearing thin. He rebuilt a program out of the NCAA sanctions doghouse Kelvin Sampson created, won two league titles and reached the Sweet 16 three times at Indiana. His roster has players from Jefferson City and Waynesville, and he’s recruiting current talent from Edwardsville (Mark Smith) & Chaminade (Jericho Hellems), so he knows the terrain. Will he feel enough heat that he leaves before getting pushed? There would be no shortage of candidates at IU, but would the school fire Crean without having a deal with a Gregg Marshall or Archie Miller all sewn up? That could throw a wrench into Mizzou’s timing.
PLAN B (or C)
It’s been widely reported that when Frank Haith left, Mizzou targeted Gregg Marshall first, and when he said no, upper level powers-that-be immediately went to Kim Anderson as Plan B, despite interest from other potential candidates. This search promises to be different in part because nearly all the principals involved in the previous search are gone. Who else is down Jim Sterk’s list? Are they all experienced power conference head coaches, or would a mid-major coach be in the mix if the search goes on?

 

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