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Coaching Search Bracket: Power Players Region Results

Dana Altman coasted against Kevin Willard, but a split decision over Kyle Smith or a mystery candidate required some mediation.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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.


COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 19 Oregon at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kevin Willard vs. Dana Altman

  • Sam Snelling: Altman
  • Matthew Harris: Willard
  • Matt Watkins: Altman
  • Fans: Altman

Pitting Willard against Altman doesn’t seem fair. The heft of Altman’s resume is just too much. And if you’re going to fork over more cash for buyouts, it might as well be for a proven commodity.

That said, Altman is 63 years old. It’s not unheard of for coaches to go past age 70, but how much longer is Altman wanting to do the job? Ageist? Maybe. But if spending $10 million for a coach who might only be around four or five seasons might not be the best return.

I put Willard’s name in the hopper knowing he’s a strong contender to fill a vacancy at Maryland and that he's worked mostly in the northeast. But he’s younger, has a maxed out rosters of guys who were rated similar to the talent Cuonzo Martin acquired, and developed a coherent vision of how he wants to play. Give him a staff with the right connections, and those strong suits might translate.

All at a lower price point.

But if Altman’s genuinely an option, it’s hard to voice loud opposition to that move.

Advancing: Dana Altman


NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Smith vs. The Field

  • Sam Snelling: Smith
  • Matthew Harris: Smith
  • Matt Watkins: Smith
  • Fans: The Field

As Matt Watkins noted and I mentioned on Dive Cuts, coaches who find success in Pullman tend to be pretty damn good once they move on. There are programs in the American Athletic Conference with more advantages. Closer to home, Saint Louis spends more, has better facilities, and a more fertile recruiting ground.

If a coach took an Atlantic 10 Conference program from 207th in KenPom to 55th in three years, he’d be all over hot boards. But I also get that it would be hard to sell Smith, who has never made an NCAA Tournament and only recently started landing upper-end talent.

Whether you think an unknown candidate emerging will be better or worse isn’t known. Given MU’s history, I’m assuming most are betting on the worst. But we’re at an impasse, so it’s time for our moderator to break the tie.

Tie-Breaker | Jim Root | 2nd Chance Points

Oh man, I love Kyle Smith and what he’s done at Wazzu. But the field has so many glorious options — good and bad.

Advancing: The Field


University of San Francisco’s Men’s basketball NCAA Selection Sunday Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Next Up: The Second Round

When we started this project, we thought consensus might be hard to find. In reality, there’s been very little disagreement. In almost every fan poll, the winner coasted into the next round, and given the tepid commenting on retreads and sitting high-major coaches, it seems like most of you are focused on mid-major options.

And that’s where we’ll start the second round.

Drake’s Darian DeVries fills the slot vacated by Niko Medved, and it’ll be fascinating to see if he can give Murray State’s Matt McMahon any sort of challenge. Meanwhile, Wyoming’s Jeff Linder and San Francisco’s Todd Golden could be close.

Unlike the first round, we won’t be offering up deep dives into each coach’s history and style. Instead, we’re going to compare and contrast them. By now, we assume almost any fan following the search knows the players. It’s time to parse them and see which is a better fit.

As always, the polls are at the bottom of the page. Read, comment, vote, and share. The response rate on those polls has been fantastic. If we had any sort of controls in place, we could use them to extrapolate the opinion for a group 300,000 plus people.

Put simply, your feedback is giving us a genuine sense of how the fan base feels about the search. Keep it up, and today’s pieces will post later this morning.