April 1, 2008

Is Indiana Really a Step Up from Marquette?

ESPN's Andy Katz is reporting that Indiana will announce Marquette's Tom Crean as its new coach tomorrow. My first reaction on reading that: Really? That's a step up?

Why would Crean leave a Marquette team that finished 5th in the Big East and earned a 6 seed in the NCAA tournament for a scandal-ridden Indiana program? Marquette was one point away from a Sweet 16 berth, while Indiana's big story this year was that their coach violated the terms of his NCAA probation.

Indiana could lose all 5 of their regular starters from last year, as two seniors graduate, two starters were dismissed from the team this week, and Freshman Eric Gordon could bolt for the NBA. At this point, the Hoosiers program is clearly a rebuilding job, while Marquette seems to be on the cusp of something bigger.

Indiana certainly has more tradition than Marquette, but it's not that big of a difference. Al McGuire coached the Golden Eagles (known as the Warriors at that time) to the 1977 NCAA championship, and more recently Dwayne Wade led Marquette to some successful seasons. Unless a coach has a very strong connection to another school (like Roy Williams at UNC), I would think that Marquette is not a stepping stone job.

Best of luck to Crean at Indiana. I think he's a very good coach, but this was a stupid decision.

20 Responses:

Russell said...

I totally agree. The Big Ten is probably the fifth best conference now, and I think this is a poor basketball decision. However, it was probably a financial decision.

"ben" said...

I don't think this is a stupid decision at all. Certainly, he would be more than justified to stay at Marquette, but Indiana is the better job.

In the long term, the Big Ten is better than Conf. USA and I'm sure that Indiana is always on TV more than Marquette. I don't see this as a stupid move at all.

I'm just annoyed because he there was all this talk about how he's Izzo's BFF and they didn't want to be in the same conference. Not sure if Michigan ever spoke with him...I have the feeling Beilein was their first choice.

Russell said...

Ummm... Marquette's in the Big East now. They were on ESPN quite a bit.

J-Red said...

I think this move shows a lot of confidence in the Big Ten Network. One problem with a network that is only going to be carried in the midwest is that almost all your games are only going to be seen in the midwest. He must think the channel will go nearly nationwide, or he must think he can win with only big slow white boys and guys from Chicago.

I'm a little more surprised that Jim Larranaga is going to Providence (from George Mason). I thought he would hold out for a top-tier job, or maybe a rebuilding project like St. John's.

"ben" said...

Oh yeah, Marquette is in the Big East.

Oh yeah, the Big Ten Network sucks.

Well...I take back everything I said.

Richard L. Robertson said...

You are all morons - IU has won 5 national championships (3rd most all time) they are one of the top winning teams of all time. They are a recognizeable commodity which has lots of sponsorships, which in turn means lots of money for the program and the coach. They have a new practice facility, and a new stadium is in the works. You bring a top flight recruit to sold out Assembly Hall where it is rockin and rollin' and basketball is king or you can take them to Marquette - IU a step down?

J-Red said...

Yeah, but you have to live in Indiana.

Plus, Marquette is in Milwaukee, which means better endorsements. Plus, Marquette is a private school, which means more money. Every school has the same number of scholarships, and tons of schools have sold-out rocking arenas.

Plus, you're forgetting that IU is likely to lose some scholarships or undergo probation thanks to Sampson. There are five major violations on the books and the hearing isn't until June. Though IU has been very cooperative, the violations merit some kind of punishment.

I don't know where you live, but out here on the East Coast IU is not viewed as a very desirable position. Since Bobby Knight's situation blew up in 2000-2001, through Maryland knocking them back to Earth in 2002, there hasn't been a single piece of good news out of there in 8 years.

J-Red said...

Oh yeah, and today's savvy basketball recruit wants to be seen on TV. He doesn't care about being treated like a king by a bunch of kids and old white alumni. The Big Ten Network makes it unlikely that many games will be seen in New York, LA, or any number of NBA cities. Does Crean want a bunch of smart guys without the physical skills, or does he want a few more Dwyane Wades?

Nicole said...

Crean had signed a contract extension within the last year that put him at $1.6 million/year til 2017.

I can't imagine that the decision was based on money.

I think it has to be with Marquette always being considered the #2 program in the state. MU and Crean would always be 2nd fiddle to Bo Ryan and UW.

Anonymous said...

Based on this last year, Indiana was on TV much more than Marquette. Maybe it is just because of Eric Gordon. They were on all the time (that is ESPN and CBS).

I agree with everything richard l robinson said.

Anonymous said...

Common now... look up the articles about Crean taking this job. He said it had absolutely nothing to do with the money, but with the fact that he has always been a Hoosier at heart, ever since seeing them go undefeated to win the National Championship (last team to do that...). And yeah it has more tradition, but why such scrutiny... maybe he truly is a Hoosier at heart, and he wants to turn around the program he grew up watching... And the Big East is stacked with Georgetown, UConn, Pitt, W. Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville, 'Cuse, Marquette, and the other teams... come on this also has to be about winning conference titles and more games, which he will have a better chance to do playing in the currently weaker Big 10 conference... plus there is no decision yet on whether or not Eric Gordon is leaving, which if he stays Crean with have a Wade=level player

J-Red said...

Eric Gordon probably wants to know the unknowable (until June): What punishment will IU suffer? Obviously Crean thought nothing more than probation. If he just walked into a postseason ban, he deserves Gary Williams credit for liking IU that much.

I still am struck by how little respect the four of us have for the Indiana job compared to most the commenters.

J-Red said...

Eric Gordon probably wants to know the unknowable (until June): What punishment will IU suffer? Obviously Crean thought nothing more than probation. If he just walked into a postseason ban, he deserves Gary Williams credit for liking IU that much.

I still am struck by how little respect the four of us have for the Indiana job compared to most the commenters.

"ben" said...

Well, J-Red, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that Richard I Robertson and Anonymous have strong ties to IU.

I agree with Anonymous that it is easier to win the Big Ten with IU than it is to win the Big East with Marquette.

Also, I don't know much about Marquette, but I would imagine basketball is not as important to them as bball is to Indiana.

I think Crean has an equal chance of winning big at either school, and more of a chance at Marquette immediately. But long term, if there's something about IU that Crean likes (maybe he's just a softie for the Big Ten) then he did the right thing for him.

Ally Via Brian said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Come on, now, Richard!

"Rockin" Assembly Hall Capacity: 17456

Bradley Center Capacity: 18817 (and houses an NBA franchise)

Both are often sold out for their respective college teams.

Milwaukee, at over 600,000 people, is almost ten times the size of Bloomington.

Now, where would you rather take a "top-flight" recruit for a visit, especially a city kid?

The Professor said...

In the extreme short-term (if you like to engage in that sort of thinking), Marquette is more attractive than Indiana. For example, although Indiana was ranked higher this year overall (#7 midway through the season before the Sampson stuff hit the fan), Marquette finished the season ranked higher and did better in the tourney. Also, their prospects look much better next year and perhaps even 1 or 2 seasons after that (depending on the severity of NCAA sanctions against Indiana).

However, before you come to the conclusion that the two programs are comparable (or even relatively close), please take a minute to read the following:


The above link lists the top 20 most valuable college basketball teams in terms of "net worth" (Forbes Magazine). Indiana is 5th while Marquette is not on the list.


The above link lists the schools with the most NCAA championships, appearances, and victories. Indiana is 3rd, 5th, and 6th respectively while Marquette is no where to be found. Although not provided via the above link, Indiana is tied for 7th in final four appearances (last one in 2002).

From brand value to NCAA tourney stats to number of yearly (network and ESPN) TV appearances to players in the pros, etc., there simply is NO comparison between the 2 programs.

As for the cities, Marquette is much larger and urban, however Bloomington has better weather and a much better college town atmosphere. So that's probably a push. Of course, if an urban location was such a big deal then schools like Kansas, etc., wouldn't have good programs.

As far as the conferences are concerned, I do agree that the Big East is currently stronger than the Big 10. Although, we are talking very recently. In fact, if you look at final four appearances over the last 15 years the Big 10 is considerably stronger (see list below):

Atlantic Coast Conference=13
Southeastern Conference=12
Big Ten=11
Big Twelve=7
Pacific Ten=7
Big East=7
Atlantic Ten=1
Mountain West=1
Colonial Athletic Association=1

I always tell my college students that facts are stubborn things and to really try and objectively look at an issue without projecting your personal/subjective feelings into the subject (such as being from the east coast, liking the big east, etc.). Indeed, one poster said "I still am struck by how little respect the four of us have for the Indiana job compared to most the commenters." Perhaps this should have signaled to you how far out in left field you are relative to the facts--either that or the major networks and sports sites have it all wrong and are in dire need of your keen insights ASAP. :-)

Anonymous said...

i cant hear any of you - i have 5 national championships in my ears. give me a break that IU isnt a step up from Marquette. unbelievable.

Tirzah said...

Thanks for writing this.

Cecelia Rose said...

Proof is in the pudding. Seeing Marq as #1 in the Big East, ranked #8 in country is a great way to tell Tom Crean he made a mistage (In the short term). Look at IU, last in the Big Ten. I agree with Nicole, Crean was #2 in the state to Bo Ryan and UW, that played into his decision.

As a college coach I would much rather be in a top national conference, the Big East, than a conference that is not on par with the other major conference, Big Ten.

I would never want to live in Bloomington or Indiana for that matter.

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