Monday, March 15, 2010
Fran McCaffery is no Fan of High Majors
Let me say as a coach I have the utmost respect for Siena coach Fran McCaffery. He took over a program that won 6 games the year before he arrived and almost instantly turned things around. Playing an uptempo brand of basketball, the Saints are fun to watch and have qualified for the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. They have won first round games in each of the past two years.
This year they are a chic pick to upset Robbie Hummel-less Purdue, however a word to the wise, if Clarence Jackson can't go, I'd think long and hard about picking Siena. He's athletic as hell and the team's best three point shooter. They have very little depth and losing Jackson would be a big blow.
So while I think the world of McCaffery as a coach, as voter in the USA Today coaches' poll, he's a bit of a clown. Now obviously these rankings don't mean anything since college basketball actually decides its champion on the court, but McCaffery's ballot, revealed here, has Syracuse at number 9, behind teams such as Butler, Temple and Northern Iowa.
As the Times Union points out, his ballot has been favorable all year to mid-majors, but putting Syracuse 9th - five spots behind Butler is just plain dumb. The Bulldogs are a fine team but they wouldn't win the Big East by two games. Temple had a very good year in the A-10, but they aren't 4 spots better than the Orange. And Northern Iowa is a 9 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Of course the common denominator regarding Butler, Temple and Northern Iowa? They all beat Siena. So maybe the key to getting Fran's vote is to get on the Saints' schedule and toss them a quick beating.