Reusse: Teague should be nervous about caliber of Big Ten coaches

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2013 - 12:26 AM

His star is fading at the U — and in a Big Ten rich in coaching talent.

The Big Ten advanced four teams to the 48-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 1982. Indiana and Iowa won openers and were eliminated in the round of 32. Ohio State lost in the opening round. The Gophers were the conference champions. They had a first-round bye, survived Tennessee-Chattanooga 62-61, and then lost to Louisville in the round of 16 in Birmingham, Ala.

It was an unimpressive finish for a Big Ten that had come through its best-ever basketball era:

Indiana beat Michigan in the national finals in 1976 — the second tournament where more than one team per conference could get a bid. Michigan State beat Indiana State in the Magic-Bird final in 1979. Purdue and Iowa were in the Final Four in 1980. Indiana won the title again in 1981.

Jim Dutcher was Minnesota’s coach, and the sideline competition was tremendous. Bobby Knight was still full of steam at Indiana. Lute Olson would be at Iowa for another season. Purdue had replaced the successful Lee Rose with the dynamic Gene Keady.

Jud Heathcote was the first of back-to-back legends at Michigan State. Lou Henson, bad hair and all, was a monstrous recruiter at Illinois. Bill Frieder was the same at Michigan, after replacing Johnny Orr (gone to Iowa State).

Elsewhere, Eldon Miller was perfectly adequate at Ohio State, Bill Cofield was getting fired and replaced by Steve Yoder at Wisconsin, and Rich Falk was about to take Northwestern to its first-ever postseason tournament (the 1983 NIT).

Dutch had his work cut out for him in that league, against those coaches. Another obstacle of that era: There was no Penn State or Nebraska to hold up the standings.

Legend has it that Jim Delany, in his sixth year as Big Ten commissioner in 1995, was so upset with the trend toward lesser-name hires in the conference that he complained when Michigan State promoted longtime assistant Tom Izzo to replace a retired Heathcote.

Izzo’s appointment worked out well for Sparty.

And for all his accomplishments, Izzo must be looking at today’s Big Ten and seeing more first-class opponents on the sidelines than at any time in his tenure — more coaching competition than at any time since Dutcher was winning his Big Ten title three decades ago.

The state of coaching also explains the dilemma faced by Norwood Teague, the Gophers’ athletic director, when it comes to Tubby Smith. Teague doesn’t have the younger, full-of-steam Tubby to take on this extra-challenging Big Ten. He has a Tubby who has overseen teams that became completely unglued in conference play for three consecutive winters.

These Gophers lost 11 of 16, went 8-11 against Big Ten opponents and backed into a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament. The backing in could continue on Friday night: The Gophers have stumbled into UCLA — a No. 6 seed flawed by a lack of depth and a recent injury to standout Jordan Adams.

A victory over UCLA would be Smith’s first in the NCAA in his six seasons at Minnesota. There’s a strong sentiment (from here, anyway) that one win won’t be enough for Teague to keep Tubby.

Maybe Florida, the No. 3 in Austin, Texas, could get waylaid by Northwestern (La.) State, giving Tubby’s bunch an easier path to a Sweet 16. That would be a job-saver, but it wouldn’t change what lies ahead for the Gophers in the Big Ten.

Izzo: fantastic and energetic. Indiana’s Tom Crean: crazed and energetic. Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan: 66 and still the Miracle Worker of Madison. Ohio State’s Thad Matta: known as a great recruiter, and now as an outstanding coach with the rise of the current Buckeyes.

Michigan’s John Beilein: a veteran pro. Purdue’s Matt Painter: a younger pro. Iowa’s Fran McCaffrey and Illinois’ John Groce: Both replaced the humdrum with fire. Nebraska’s Tim Miles: No basketball tradition, but grand facilities for a program builder. Maryland’s on the way in 2014 with the promise of Mark Turgeon.

Teague has reason to be very nervous about the future of Gophers basketball. With today’s Tubby, tomorrow very well could put the Gophers perennially in the same tier as Northwestern, Penn State and perhaps Rutgers ... fighting for 11th through 14th in the Big Ten.

 

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. • preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close