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Coaching Search Bracket: Risk Tolerance Region Results

The response to Jerome Tang was lukewarm, and more of a shunning of Sean Miller. Meanwhile, Chris Mack’s exit rubbed you all so wrong that you opted for a Thad Matta comeback.

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Arizona v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

We get it. The Risk Tolerance Region didn’t really inspire many of you. That’s fine.

Below, you’ll see our picks and your picks. As usual, I’ve tried to (briefly) offer a few comments on what transpired. But we can’t dwell for long. Another four coaches are up for your consideration today.

And again, thanks to everyone who read, voted, and commented. Our goal is to give you a sense of the options and a chance to express your voice — even if this exercise is for fun. Thanks for playing along.


NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Washington Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Tang vs. Sean Miller

  • Sam Snelling: Tang
  • Matthew Harris: Miller
  • Matt Watkins: Miller
  • Fans: Tang

We certainly know where Sam stands on the matter. But the Matts are inclined to gamble. Will Wade getting evicted in the wake of a robust Notice of Allegations didn’t rattle us.

Someone will hire the former Arizona coach — maybe South Carolina — and there are ways to contractually protect MU if he receives a heavy sentence. Moreover, the implementation of NIL gives Sean a legitimate way to put compensation in front of prospects. Think of Miller as an updated version of Kelvin Sampson. The behavior that got him fired is now semi-permissible.

Fans, however, were not as sanguine. You all didn’t endorse Tang so much as reject Miller. Plus, it’s unclear how serious a candidate Tang is for Mizzou’s decision-makers. If anything, Kansas State is enamored with the longtime Baylor assistant coach.

For now, Tang moves ahead, but this was a matchup where neither option truly stirred much interest.

Advancing: Jerome Tang


COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 17 St John’s at Indiana Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chris Mack vs. Thad Matta

  • Sam Snelling: Matta
  • Matthew Harris: Mack
  • Matt Watkins: Matta
  • Fans: Matta

Listen, Chris Mack’s exit from Louisville epitomizes acrimony, a situation where the coach and his players couldn’t wait to be rid of each other. You can read all about how it went south — in great detail, too. That turned off almost everyone except me.

My counter: We sure that Thad Matta would want to jeopardize his health again? He makes good money not running between gyms in the summer and agonizing over scouts in the winter.

Mack’s behavior at Louisville soured vital relationships, but I also think many of his errors resulted from circumstance. Xavier is a smaller Catholic school perched on a hillside in a pro sports town, a market where there’s another successful Division I program fighting for oxygen. He was an alum. And while the Musketeers weren’t poor, they could cast themselves a small-budget crew going up more well-funded operations.

That isn’t Louisville. The Cardinals are the only game in town. The program is right up there with Duke and Kentucky for revenues and expenses, and the Yum! Center is an ATM. It’s a fishbowl of Swarovski crystal. And for the first time in his professional life, Mack hit turbulence. He handled it poorly. But the skillset and resumé are still stellar.

Columbia is none of those things I mentioned just now — and it might allow Mack to operate in an environment he’s more familiar with. But, alas, you all disagreed.

Advancing: Thad Matta


Seton Hall Pirates v Georgetown Hoyas Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Next Up: Power Players Region

Every fanbase wants the same commodity in a coaching search: a proven high-major coach to walk in the door and spruce up a program in shambles. That almost always ends in disappointment. When MU hired Martin, it was an outlier. Five years later, it’s back rummaging through the coaching market.

Given how rare and expensive these hires can be, we held off. We wanted to see how you reacted to other options. More often than not, an elite coach ascends from a mid-major to a power conference program. Or they’re like Shaka Smart last year and Mike White this year: getting out of town to find a cooler seat.

However, the names presented to you today are coaches who generate surplus value relative to what their programs spend. Washington State sits in remote Pullman. Only Butler’s average spending is lower among high-major programs. Oh, and Gonzaga is just up the road. All Kyle Smith has done is lift the toothless Cougars to 55th in KenPom.

Kevin Willard turned Seton Hall into a top-50 team in KenPom despite outlays ranking 61st among power-conference schools since 2012. And at Oregon, Dana Altman keeps justifying the money shoveled into his program, which has almost doubled in the last decade. Under his direction, the Ducks have made five trips into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and earned a Final Four trip in 2017.

Yet we’ve also made a concession. You may dislike all 15 names presented to you. That’s fine. You can express that by voting for the field.

The pieces will post later this morning.