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Keatts vs The Field: It’s The Midwest Swing, Ya’ll

Ain’t got a clue how Keatts performed compared to members of the B1G footprint? Well here we go...

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Note: Feel free to reference this post for reasoning and methodology. For comparisons sake here are Keatts’ point totals. Credit to KenPom, 247 Sports, CBS, SI, and USA Today throughout.

Overall Record: +1

Conference Record: +1

KP Overall: +2

KP Offense: +1

KP Defense: +2

Postseason: +2

Recruiting Rankings: -2

Total: +7 Overall

Prognostications (not listed in the previous article): Keatts was credited as a “quality” hire, earning B+s. Compliments on the fit with the program as well as an infectious “hungry” attitude were mentioned.

Our third and final edition looks at 3 programs from the Midwest that have been to the Final Four 4 times combined since the turn of the century. With each having varying degrees of success since their last appearance.

Note: I said I’d cover the AAC as well in my initial post, but I have no words to say about Brian Gregory replacing Orlando Antigua at USF...he went 10-22...soooo yeah my bad for not covering that.

LaVall Jordan

June may forever mean something completely different to Butler Bulldog fans. While they’ve yet to have reached the success Brad Stevens brought, Bulldogs fans had to feel inspired by Chris Holtmann’s run to the Sweet Sixteen. If they weren’t going to be in multiple Final Fours again soon, at least they’d make some runs past the first weekend. Then on June 9th, Holtmann left for the greener ($) pastures of the Ohio State University. This left a promising program that could’ve hired a quality coach, scrambling to just have anyone, someone in place before the season started. What a difference an alum makes as LaVall Jordan, with his previous stints as a player, assistant at Butler and assistant on Beilein’s best Michigan teams, took up the mantle. While his losing record at Milwaukee left a lot to be desired, it was only one year, he had the pedigree and heck man Butler just needed themselves a coach ASAP.

Butler

Coach (Reason; Prior Job) Chris Holtman (Left) LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee)
Coach (Reason; Prior Job) Chris Holtman (Left) LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee)
Record (Conference) 25-9 (12-6) 21-14 (9-9)
KenPom Rank (Offense; Defense) 25 (20; 49) 20 (22; 45)
Post-Season (Result) NCAA (Sweet Sixteen) NCAA (Round of 32)
Recruiting Ranking (2016; 2018) 47 102

Point Total

Overall Record: -1

Conference Record: -1

KP Overall: 0

KP Offense: 0

KP Defense: 0

Postseason: 0

Recruiting Rankings: -2

Total: -4 Overall

Prognostications: Not a lot of prognostications from any of the sites sourced earlier because the hire came in so late. Once tOSU hired Holtmann, the CBB media didn’t seem to care who’d end up at Butler.

Analysis: By this metric, Jordan is either on par or worse than Holtmann in many categories but the part that should frighten Butler is his recruiting fell off a whole cliff for this year. A name-ish program from a basketball state in a premier conference should have better results than what Jordan has done so far in that area. While the present feels alright, the future is what to keep an eye on here.

Comparison: Jordan made the NCAAs just like Keatts did, but his squad regressed overall despite beating the eventual national champs three times. Keatts had a better year due to overall improvement alone.

Brad Underwood

Hey, remember Stephen F Austin!? Kind of…not really? Yeah! Just another mid-major who talking heads predicted as a “Cinderella,” had a surprising upset of WVU in the NCAAs but are easily forgettable because they didn’t make it to the second weekend? Thanks to Brad Underwood you’ll always forget to remember that team. Underwood parlayed that run into a job in the big leagues and after 1…strange…year at OKSU, lept to replace former NC State Assistant Coach John Groce at Illinois. John Groce always felt like he was just...there. No discernible style of play, no broad personality to pick on, never did good enough to get national notice, never bad enough that hot seat lists cared put him too high. Underwood was the change they needed, a huge coup...the results though are TBD.

Illinois

Coach (Reason; Prior Job) John Groce (Fired) Brad Underwood (Ok State)
Coach (Reason; Prior Job) John Groce (Fired) Brad Underwood (Ok State)
Record (Conference) 18-14 (8-10) 14-18 (4-14)
KenPom Rank (Offense; Defense) 66 (123; 35) 103 (86; 130)
Post-Season (Result) NIT (Third Round) none
Recruiting Ranking (2016; 2018) 110 23

Point Total

Overall Record: -1

Conference Record: -1

KP Overall: -1

KP Offense: -1

KP Defense: -1

Postseason: -1

Recruiting Rankings: +2

Total: -4 Overall

Prognostications: Oooooh did the media love this hire for the most part. He received an average of a “B+” with an “A-” from USA Today and a “B” from SI, with SI mostly worried about recruiting. CBS was the highest on Underwood calling it a “slam dunk” saying Underwood would be there for a decade, make a Final Four and put them in the Top-25 in two years. Whoa.

Analysis: In TWO YEARS? CBS’ Matt Norelander is good at his job but as Anthony Keidis would say “he cocked his brain to shoot his load” on that one. Underwood had a worse year than Groce in all metrics except for the one that may eventually prove CBS right and that’s recruiting. Pulling a Top 25 class after a down year is a good sign but nothing in his first year made anything a guarantee.

Comparison: Underwood took an NIT team to 0 postseason play and managed a losing record. Keatts smoked him.

Archie Miller

The stars seemed aligned didn’t they? The stars seemed to suggest that NC State could land a favored son in Archie Miller. Yet unlike the previous search where his brother Sean Miller, Shaka Smart and Billy Donavan were bandied about, NC State was surgical, avoided a long damaging process and hired Kevin Keatts before they forced Archie to publicly turn down the job. Word was Arch was discouraged from coming to State by his brother and others, and told to wait patiently for a supposed “dream job” at tOSU to open up. Well tOSU did open up but only after Miller got hired at blue blood Indiana. IU fired Tom Crean after levels of success that would keep most schools happy, and Arch’s pedigree plus his success at Dayton made all the sense for IU. Also note this job wasn’t a rebuild... IU won the B1G regular season and made a Sweet Sixteen two years prior...Miller had a pretty solid situation to walk into. Still sometimes it’s not going to go the way you think.

Indiana

Coach (Reason; Prior Job) Tom Crean (Fired) Archie Miller (Dayton)
Coach (Reason; Prior Job) Tom Crean (Fired) Archie Miller (Dayton)
Record (Conference) 18-16 (7-11) 16-15 (9-9)
KenPom Rank (Offense; Defense) 44 (27; 104) 74 (92; 65)
Post-Season (Result) NIT (First Round) none
Recruiting Ranking (2016; 2018) 23 9

Point Total

Overall Record: -1

Conference Record: +1

KP Overall: -1

KP Offense: -2

KP Defense: +1

Postseason: -1

Recruiting Rankings: +1

Total: -2 Overall

Prognostications: The media loves (loved?) the Millers and they love the blue bloods so Indiana making a good hire was praised uproariously by them. Two “As” plus a “slam dunk” while CBS said this will be his job for as long as he wants it (until the NBA comes calling). Others praised IU’s process and had only small reservations about recruiting.

Analysis: Geez Arch...tough first year in a very weak conference overall. Missing the postseason completely after Crean was fired for making an NIT made some of the natives restless immediately. To be fair, Arch wasn’t their dream candidate but he was a good, young coach so expectations are tempered. Fortunately, while Miller suffered in a few categories he vastly improved the defense and has recruiting in the Top 10. Crean was no slouch on the trail either so it’s more than recruiting that must improve.

Comparison: Finally, State fans have let the past die with the Millers. I will always have a part of me that roots for an alum’s success (especially since he spoke highly of us whenever asked about the job). The reality is though that some threw a hissy-fit when we didn’t scoop Sean, first or Archie, second somehow letting rumor of their interest become a truth that highlighted some perceived failure of the athletic department. And while it is entirely possible Keatts doesn’t work out and/or Miller leads IU to a couple of Final Fours, for this one year...this one time capsule...Keatts outperformed Arch...and we’ll take it for now.