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Coaching Search Bracket: Final Four Results — and an end?

A dead-heat between Matt McMahon and Todd Golden fell apart midway through Friday, and the possibility of Chris Holtmann is basically none. Then came word of an imminent hire.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-San Francisco vs Murray State Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, we were thrilled to unveil this coaching bracket. Today, it reaches, dare I say, an anticlimactic conclusion. You likely know why, too. On Friday, San Francisco’s Todd Golden was hired by Florida, taking him out of the mix.

So, the results were all but pro forma.

Below, you’ll see our picks and your picks. As usual, I’ve tried to (briefly) offer a few comments on what transpired.

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: NCAA Tournament First Round-San Francisco vs Murray State Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Golden vs. Matt McMahon

  • Sam Snelling: McMahon
  • Matthew Harris: McMahon
  • Matt Watkins: Golden
  • Fans: McMahon

We can all agree on this much: Thursday night was fun. Murray State and San Francisco staged a barnburner. Jamaree Bouyea went nuclear in the second half. Trae Hannibal hit every gap like a fullback. And Tevin Brown Brown showed up when needed most.

Maybe you loved the Dons’ guards shooting off the bounce. Or the Racers’ ball-screen heavy actions that sent guards hellbent toward the rim was your jam. And bigs who could screen, roll, pop and still bury a mismatch? Divine. All of it.

We all have our preferences, but hopefully we can agree on the fact that both coaches showcased their wares in style. Either would have been a phenomenal choice. Unfortunately, Golden took himself out of the mix. But if McMahon is the pick in Columbia, we can potentially look forward to a couple years of duels like the one we saw in Indianapolis this week.

Advancing: Matt McMahon


NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Pittsburgh- Loyola (Il) at Ohio State Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Holtmann vs. Thad Matta

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

Any smoke around Holtmann was wispy to begin with. Now it’s gone. But we appreciate you all respecting the format and casting votes. So, Chris advances today’s final. That’s it. No pithy comments from me here.

Advancing: Chris Holtmann


COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 05 Purdue Fort Wayne at Cleveland State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Next Up: A hire?

Around 9:40 p.m., this entire exercise became futile when a report emerged that Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates is on track to take over for Cuonzo Martin. No, a deal wasn’t done and signed, but these reports are usually a prelude to one

Sam’s covered that news in a separate post. I’ll be direct here: this hire is almost off the board. Gates’ name was always the fourth you saw linked to the job. And it’s been in the same pools at South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. So, there was always the possibility Gates might be get the nod. And the search here was a tad more opaque than those other SEC schools.

What’s mildly interesting is that Thamel’s sort of alone in reporting that Gates is the leader in the clubhouse. Usually, there’s a flurry on confirmation from other journalists. We saw that earlier in the day with Golden’s hiring.

Meanwhile, local scribes like Gabe DeArmond and Dave Matter didn’t expand much on Thamel’s story, either. Is this all navel gazing? Maybe. The news broke late. Sources sleep, too. Just noting that the usual sequence we see with hires didn’t rapidly unfold.

That didn’t stop a vigorous response on social media. To put it mildly, some fans are quite skeptical of the move. That’s understandable. Out of 6,100 votes cast in our bracket last week, Gates picked a whopping 127. Wyoming coach Jeff Linder dusted him the first round, which included a profile of Gates’ background.

Everyone’s preference order will be different, but it was abundantly clear who the favored options were: Golden, McMahon, and Kim English. All three were thought to prime targets of pursuit by the school.

Maybe waking hours bring clarity. Meanwhile, I’ve got to track down some film of the Vikings to see what exactly we might have on our hands.