MINNESOTA VS. UCLA
The Gophers’ biggest challenge in finding a new men’s basketball coach could be that UCLA, a program with a grand tradition and recent success, also looking for a coach. Those two are the best jobs out there. Here is what each has to sell a prospective head coach:
• Legendary John Wooden put UCLA on the map, coaching the Bruins to 10 of their 11 NCAA championships. Even under fired coach Ben Howland, the Bruins made three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006 to ’08.
• The Bruins were nomadic in recent years while Pauley Pavilion was renovated, but it reopened in November better than ever.
• You might have heard the weather is pretty nice in Los Angeles year-round, a selling point for recruits.
• Unlike the Pac-12, which has faded in recent years, Minnesota plays in the Big Ten — the best basketball conference in the country this season.
• The state has become a fertile ground for prep talent. Combine that with the fact that the U of M has the only D-I men’s basketball program in the state, and a big-time recruiter could bring in a major haul.
• Williams Arena has history and charm. A new practice facility, once built, will have bells and whistles. Best of both worlds.