A day after the Indiana Hoosiers fired head coach Tom Crean, many believe Hoosiers legend and current UCLA head coach Steve Alford is atop the list to replace Crean. ESPN College Basketball analyst Seth Greenberg joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and when he was asked if Alford would leave Westwood and return to Indiana, Greenberg didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Gone. Gone. Gone,” Greenberg said before Rome could finish the question. “He gave a year back of his contract. Let me ask you, Jim. Things go a little sideways, you going to give back a year of your contract?”
Rome answered with the obvious “No” and Greenberg continued, “They basically held him hostage in my opinion. And told him, hey, this will be good P.R. You need to give back a year of your contract, we need to give back a year of your extension. Are you kidding me? Seriously? Give back a year of your contract? Where does that happen?”
Greenberg said just like at UCLA though, Alford will be under pressure to win in Bloomington quickly.
“[He] left Iowa, didn’t work. You go from Iowa to New Mexico, did a great job at New Mexico. Alright. Comes to UCLA, two Sweet 16’s, and then doesn’t make the tournament. How would that fly at Indiana after a couple years?” Greenberg said. “Look, I think he will do great, because he will be able to recruit the state of Indiana. He can really coach offense and he’s the right fit.
“When you think of Indiana basketball, you think of Coach Knight. And you think about great defensive teams. You think of great ball movement, low turnover teams. Tom’s teams were really good, but they were not great defensively, and they turned it over some. Everyone gets compared to Knight no matter what. He was the anti-Knight. He was a terrific coach, innovative, and you watch his practices, he could really, really teach, but after a while he wore out, and that’s what happens. Look, he inherited a bad situation, but stuff happens, and sometimes it’s time to move on. I think it’s healthier for him, even though at the time it really hurts, and he will go somewhere else and do a great job and get back to the tournament and maybe get to the Final Four.”
The biggest story of the NCAA Tournament thus far has been Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Davis decision to foul Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh with a one-point lead with 17.8 seconds remaining. McIntosh made both free throws and Northwestern went on to win 68-66. Greenberg talked about how he would handle Fisher-Davis and his teammates if he was in Vandy’s Bryce Drew’s shoes after the game.
“You go in the locker room first of all, you tell your guys how much you love them. And you know what we didn’t quit, we played a full forty minutes. We found a way to get back in the game, we continued to compete. Matthew, you were a big part of that man. You were making shot after shot, you brought us back in that game. One play doesn’t define our season, one play doesn’t define you,” Greenberg said. “What it’s all about really, is where do we go from here? We’re going to go from here, just like we started the season, that were all in this together, alright were not going to stand behind each other but besides each other. And were going to hold our heads up high, that we’ve accomplished some great things this year and this is just the beginning. And I guarantee you he walks up to that kid, he tells him how much he loves him, his teammates do the same thing and it’s the first step in kind of the heeling process.”
Greenberg also shared his thoughts on the backlash Fisher-Davis received on social media.
“The thing that blew me away, and again Twitter is basically an opportunity for people to vent unanimously but to see grown adults taking shots at this kid. They’ve never even walked in those shoes and don’t understand that moment in time,” Greenberg said. “To me, that was wrong. The kid had a hell of game, it’s unfortunate and those things don’t always happen. I can see where he was confused with what Coach Drew was telling him. He was pointing to him, he was saying pick up the ball, turn the ball handler, we can buy some time by you basically making the ball handler use some floor and use some time. He misunderstood. He probably short-circuited and there goes the foul. They had a chance to win though, I mean they got the ball back, they had a chance to win. It’s not like the game was lost in that moment in time, you still had the ball back with a chance to make a play.”