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Coaching Search Bracket — Round 2: Power Players and Risk Tolerance Regions

This side of the bracket asked you to deal in hypotheticals, which both proved more attractive than the one actual candidate — Jerome Tang — for Mizzou’s vacancy.

Ohio State v Illinois Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament is here, and Rock M Nation wants to contribute to your distraction with the second round of our coaching search bracket. On Thursday, you helped set our Final Four.

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.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Dana Altman vs. Chris Holtmann

  • Sam Snelling: Holtmann
  • Matthew Harris: Holtmann
  • Matt Watkins: Holtmann
  • Fans: Holtmann

None of us can turn down a good deal. Based on the math outlined Thursday, there’s a world where the combined buyouts of Holtmann and Cuonzo Martin come to $6.6 million. That’s almost $3.4 million less than freeing up Altman from Oregon.

Holtmann’s accomplished quite a bit, but even his body of work is thinner than what Altman’s put together over three decades. But Altman’s also 63, and you have to wonder just how much longer he has before retirement. Holtmann’s 13 years younger, and you could probably offer a similar salary to what he’s making in Columbus.

It’s an affordable play if you’re athletic direct Desiree Reed-Francois.

Advancing: Chris Holtmann

2016 CBS Sports Classic - Ohio State v UCLA Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jerome Tang vs. Thad Matta

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

Poor Jerome. The man’s a proven recruiter in the Lone Star State. He’s helped build a rugged defense. And based on past reporting, he’s felt like athletic directors have only given him courtesy interviews. You also don’t want to settle for just any opening.

Yet three other Baylor assistants went out and tried to establish themselves beyond Waco. On paper, Tang’s more accomplished than Kim English, and at the very least equal to Dennis Gates. However, both took the plunge and are running their own programs. And as I documented yesterday, the track record of assistant coaches jumping directly into power-conference gigs is usually break-even at best.

It says a lot that the idea of former Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who’s a strictly hypothetical choice, knocked off someone working in the profession. Folks would rather gamble on Matta’s balky back instead of seeing whether Tang makes a smooth transition to the big chair.

Unfair? Probably. But maybe Jerome proves us all wrong in the end.

Advancing: Thad Matta

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

Next Up: Final Four

The doldrums have arrived.

The window for a quick hire has closed, and now prime candidates are focused on the NCAA Tournament. MU’s reportedly had initial contact with several options, but they’ll be occupied until at least early next week.

We’re also winding down this extended thought exercise. There are four candidates remaining: Todd Golden, Matt McMahon, Chris Holtmann, and Thad Matta. As noted above, only two are legitimate possibilities. But we’re going to keep moving ahead, because your votes still go into a raw vote pool that helps us understand your top choice and your back-up options.

One procedural note: Both semifinals will be in a single piece today. We’ve written enough over the course of the week that you should have a keen sense of each coach. What really matters now is you clicking a dot and submitting choices.

That piece will post later this morning.