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Mizzou Basketball Coaching Search: Ben Jacobson

Including Andy's look at Kim Anderson, this is Coach No. 13 ... any more we need to do to cover our bases? Anthony Grant? The Tulsa coach?

Previous Profiles:
-- Matt Painter
-- Scott Sutton
-- Brian Gregory

-- Gregg Marshall
-- Cuonzo Martin
-- Buzz Williams
-- Chris Mack
-- Randy Bennett
-- Shaka Smart
-- Josh Pastner
-- Chris Mooney
-- Kim Anderson

Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa Head Coach

Career Record: 109-56, five years at Northern Iowa (57-33 in the MVC). Last three years: 73-29 (39-15).

Accomplishments: Perhaps you remember his most notable accomplishment? Jacobson succeeded Greg McDermott, and UNI took a step backwards for a couple of seasons, going 36-27 (18-18 in conference) from 2006-08. But once Jacobson had his pieces in place, UNI took off; they won back-to-back conference and conference tourney titles in 2009 and 2010, and they famously advanced to the Sweet 16 last year. Thus far, it appears that Jacobson's success levels are rather directly correlated to the experience level of his team. UNI lost Jordan Eglseder, Adam Koch and Ali Farokhmanesh and took a step backwards in 2010-11. Of course, "a step backwards" still meant 20 wins, a winning record in the MVC and a CIT bid.

Before He Was a Head Coach: I'm comfortable in saying that Ben Jacobson is one of the most accomplished basketball personalities to ever come out of North Dakota. He was the state's Mr. Basketball in high school and played his college ball at the Univ. of North Dakota, then he was an assistant at UND and North Dakota State for eight seasons before McDermott brought him onto his UNI staff in 2001. He's been in Cedar Falls ever since.

Ties to the Midwest: North Dakota and Iowa are in the midwest (as I define it), so...

Ties to Missouri: Iowa borders Missouri, and ... did you forget already?

Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Possibly. This is another situation where Mizzou wouldn't have to worry about him returning to his alma mater or a previous coaching destination. If, you know, Duke came calling or something, I'm sure he'd listen, but chances are he'd be with Mizzou for the long haul.

Can He Recruit? I guess. He falls into the Gregg Marshall camp of talent development. In the last four years, Jacobson has signed 15 players -- six were unrated by, five were 2-star recruits, and four were 3-stars. As I've said previously, he hasn't proven he can't recruit at a high level by any means ... he just hasn't proven he can.

This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): PG Deon Mitchell (**, 5'10, Pflugerville, TX), PG Jevon Lyle (**, 6'0, 170, Kansas City O'Hara H.S.), SG Matt Bohannon (***, 6'2, 175, Marion, IA), SF Marvin Singleton (**, 6'4, 225, Minneapolis, MN), PF Seth Tuttle (***, 6'8, 200, Sheffield, IA). Lots of regional recruiting there, and some decent quality.

UNI's Ken Pomeroy Stats

UNI's Five-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings

UNI Offense UNI Defense
Tempo 327.0
Efficiency 84.6
Effective FG% 127.0
Turnover % 55.4
Off. Reb. % 281.6
FTA/FGA 115.0
3PA/FGA 86.8
A/FGM 190.0

Statistical Tendencies: The quality of UNI's performance has been up and down from year to year, but the bones are pretty consistent. They play slow, slow, slow ... they block out like crazy ... they're almost nonexistent on the offensive glass ... they neither force nor commit turnovers ... they take and allow a lot of 3-point attempts ... they draw fouls but don't commit many. They are more patient than aggressive, taking few chances but positioning themselves to capitalize on any mistake you make.

Would He Come Here? Yep. He got an extension recently, but if Mizzou's proven nothing in the last couple of weeks, it's that they're willing to pay solid money for a head coach, and they should be able to make him an offer he can't refuse.

Thoughts: The risk with Jacobson, obviously, is that at both the mid-major and major conference levels, he proves himself ... a good mid-major coach. Like Greg McDermott, basically. He clearly knows what he's doing, his teams have a very strong identity, and as a bonus, he's beaten Kansas. But would the talent level suffice from year to year? Again ... I don't know that the answer's no, but I don't know that it's yes. Jacobson is yet another coach whose hire would neither disappoint me nor blow me away. Lord knows the last UNI coach we hired worked out pretty well, though...