First off, this week's SEC Power Poll
I believe the East is a 3 team race of Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Tennessee is in turmoil as they flip flop on either not playing defense or not putting the ball in the basket. As far as NCAA invitations go, 3 of the 4 teams listed should make the tournament.
The west is a cluster(bad word). Miss State and LSU seem to be the front runners, but look out for Auburn... yes Auburn as they're in the mix as well. Only one from the west makes the tournament. Heck it might be a big fat zero.
Barring a miracle, Mark Gottfried is going to be replaced at the end of this season. We all know that. Who replaces him is up for debate. Another debate is where exactly does Alabama stand in regards to national attention in hoops. I'm going to go through the big 6 conferences and place us where I think we'd be.
ACC: Alabama is on par with Clemson. Clemson is the 6th best job in the ACC. UNC, Duke, Wake, GA Tech, and Maryland rank above us.
Big East: Alabama is about the prestige of Providence right now. Providence IMO is about the 10th best job in the Big East. UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Pitt, Marquette, and Cincy are more prestigious jobs.
Big 10: Closest comparison... Wisconsin. That's 6th best. I wish we had the consistency of Wisconsin. Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, and Iowa are above us.
Big 12: job profile compares to Missouri. Both schools have some historic success, but nothing "wowing." That would be 5th best in the Big 12. Only Kansas, Oklahoma, OSU, and Texas are better jobs.
PAC-10: Cal would be the best comparative job... minus a Jason Kidd or Shaeriff Abdul-Rahim (sp?) coming through the Capstone the last 15 years. 5th best. UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, and Washington are better jobs. You can debate either way Stanford and Washington... I give both the benefit due to Stanford's tourney success and Washington being in a great location.
SEC: Historically we're 2nd all-time in the SEC, over the past 15 years we're middle of the pack. That would put us with Vanderbilt. That's 6th. As of now, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas are more prestigious programs.
Why did I go through all of that? I want to temper expectations on who we as a fan base should target for HC. We can hit a "home run" with the next coaching hire, but it won't be because we brought in the Nick Saban of basketball. I HOPE we find a Billy Donovan type gem. We might end up with Stan Heath II or a Ron Jursa. Who knows... what I do know is there are going to be a good amount of HC jobs available and I'm not naive enough to think we'll be #1 on every potential coach's list. I just hope that whoever we hire the fan base rallies around him at least for a couple of years.
Regardless, next season will bring some hope to a fan base that desperately needs it.
Last thing... I hate Tennessee. They have cost me 2 streaks in the Streak for Cash contest on ESPN. First it was losing at home to Gonzaga and now it's Memphis. Thanks Viles... I hope you lose every freaking game the rest of the season!