Friday, April 04, 2008

NIT over, what does Travis do?

The NIT is finished and that means that the University of Massachusetts Minutemen have finished playing their season. This means that the rumors of UMass Coach Travis Ford and a possible departure to Louisiana State University will only get stronger unless both parties involved say that it is out of the picture.

Here's one take on things:
"We've made great strides with UMass basketball, and I'm looking forward to coaching these guys, absolutely," Ford said, while standing on the court at Madison Square Garden after his Minutemen lost to Ohio State in the National Invitation Tournament championship game.

"I've heard everything you guys have been hearing," he continued. "It's been kind of interesting actually to hear everything. It makes me question everything, because I haven't talked to anybody."
The Boston Globe actually has more of the quote:
"I'm excited about the strides UMass basketball made this year and I'm looking forward to coaching these guys," Ford said. "I've heard everything you guys are hearing, but it makes me question some things because I haven't talked to anybody. When you watch something, is it true?

"Well, I haven't talked to anybody."

Asked if he planned on coaching UMass next season, Ford said, "Absolutely. We need to build on this, there's no question."

If someone calls, though, will he listen? "Hey, I haven't even thought about it," Ford said. "But no one has called. That [attention] just goes with success, that goes with winning. That goes when you take over a situation that wasn't doing very well and all of a sudden you get it back very quickly; if they're even talking about that, it's a tribute to this basketball team."
This next one begs to differ:
year after taking over the Final Four without playing in it, shadowing Billy Donovan, Kentucky is taking over SEC basketball without winning the division, the league or a single game in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

One way or another, Kentucky always wins.

If two sources close to the process are correct, Travis Ford will be the next head coach at LSU. One source who's talked to Ford said there's already been back-channel communication between the two sides.

Ford finished his third season at UMass in the NIT championship game Thursday night. It's no coincidence that LSU has yet to fill the opening created when it fired John Brady in February.

LSU will be the second SEC school to hire a new coach, following South Carolina's decision earlier this week to promote mid-major up-and-comer Darrin Horn.

What do Ford and Horn have in common?

Ford's a Kentucky native who played at Kentucky and coached at Eastern Kentucky. Horn's a Kentucky native who played and coached at Western Kentucky.[...]

Gillispie's unique in another way that highlights a major difference between SEC basketball and SEC football. If LSU hires Ford, he'll be the ninth basketball coach to join the league from a mid-major. Then there's Stansbury, who was promoted from within at Mississippi State.

Only Gillispie (Texas A&M to UK) and Andy Kennedy (Cincinnati to Ole Miss) moved from one power conference to another, and Kennedy was merely the interim head coach at UC.

SEC basketball programs hire coaches who have to prove themselves at this level. SEC football programs don't have the time or the patience for on-the-job training.

Ford, for example, has been a Division I head coach for eight years, but has yet to lead a team to a victory in the NCAA Tournament. He's only had one chance. At Eastern Kentucky. Lost in the first round. To Kentucky.

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