Friday, March 9, 2007

Out of the loop

I apologize for being out of the loop. Here we are, staring at a high profile LSU coach resigning suddenly amid allegations of "inappropriate conduct", and I not only say nothing about it, but I actually buried Poseur's eminently helpful post on the SEC men's basketball tournament, which also briefly touched on Pokey Chatman's resignation, through a clerical error that caused me to list a post actually posted on Wednesday to be listed as Friday, meaning posts from Thursday just lined up behind that one. You'll have to forgive me for being a little distracted, not to mention sleep-deprived.

Poseur is definitely right that we won't have any truck with potentially hurtful (not to mention potentially libelous) rumors here. She's resigned, and if you want to read the salacious rumors, there are plenty of websites around that will provide that information to you. I won't discuss it unless there is some kind of confirmation beyond "reports say...".

I'm more interested in what this means about the direction of LSU Women's Basketball. Pokey inherited a really talented team that was also in a good position to keep it going through good recruiting. The fan base was very solid. we had Final Four calibre teams and the best player in the country. Dream job? Absolutely. But before we just say that Pokey was put in a position where failure was almost impossible, realize that LSU has continued to be a power without Seimone Augustus. Pokey developed Sylvia Fowles into a dominant post player, developed Erica White into a very good point guard, and recruited the next generation of stars as well. She had a good thing going at LSU.

I made the observation recently, in response to someone who said that the LSU women's basketball program was nothing before Augustus and would return to nothing afterward, that the team was a mid-level power before Augustus and would probably be a consistent top 10 team for the foreseeable future post-Augustus. That has been borne out so far, but the key phrase in that sentence was "for the foreseeable future." No one foresaw this.

The good thing is that there is no reason to believe that the LSU program can't maintain its strength even despite this setback. Pokey reportedly received a salary of $400,000 per year. I am not that familiar with the economics of women's basketball, but I would venture a guess that $400k put her in the upper eschelon of women's basketball coaches, salary-wise. If the budget remains the same, I am sure that Skip Bertman can find a very good coach who would be willing to come in and coach the talent that will return to the team next year. Just don't blow it by hiring a dud.

Anyway, congratulations on the men's team's big win over Tennessee. I missed the end of it because I needed to sleep. I am a very bad fan. I did, however, see the highlights on SportsCenter this morning, and that offensive foul call on Garrett Temple was a complete travesty. At least it didn't end up mattering.

I think that despite the men's mediocre record, and poor performance at times, this is a team capable of putting together a run to win the tournament. This is after all a team that has beaten not one but two potential #1 seeds in TAMU and Florida. We also lost a lot of close games, suggesting that our team is more talented than our record, to be distinguished from "better" than our record. Last night, we figured out how to win a close game, and pulled the upset.

We get Ole Miss next, and despite Ole Miss's superior record, they don't exactly strike fear in my heart. If we play up to our ability, we are a better team than Ole Miss. We just haven't played up to our ability nearly enough. And of course, if we don't play up to our ability against Ole Miss, we'll lose.

At least we seem to be a sure shot to make the NIT now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your Garrett Temple foul call analysis. I've been talking about it all day. Horrible.