I’ll admit to the roller coaster ride (but anyone who has ever seen me play sports knows that’s just who I am. I’m honestly that crazy frustrated when I lose and if I feel that way when teams I root for lose you can imagine who I treat myself when I feel like I’m responsible for a loss). Look, I’ll even admit I think Bill Carmody is an overall good basketball coach with some flaws, but I think every coach has some flaws. However, look at the 2000 Wisconsin team that went to the Final Four playing man-to-man defense and tell me how that team is more athletic than this Northwestern team. I mean Mike Kelley was their top defender. You think he was a better athlete than Drew Crawford? Man-to-man defense is about as the late Randy Walker called it “want to” that means desire. That Wisconsin team played their rear ends off on defense in man-to-man because that’s what they were coached to do 100% of the time from day one of practice. From day one of practice at Northwestern I think our guys are coached on our offensive philosophy and we run really great offense. Remember I think NU should run the Princeton Offense regardless of who the coach actually is. Maybe it’s just a matter of coaching philosophy and I’ve started to think defense first is the right way to go. But I guess that doesn’t mean I’m right.
At this point I still think Northwestern can make the tournament, but it’ll take either an upset win or a couple breaks where other bubble teams stumble. When they do Carmody deserves the praise, but I still wish he’d get his team to rebound better and be so dependent on the 1-3-1 because then the team wouldn’t have to sweat it out on the bubble.
I do have to admit I think Carmody is to some extent a victim of his own success. He created the expectation that it was realistic for Northwestern to make the tournament. He also brought Northwestern to within points of beating top-ranked teams on several occasions. If he’s hearing critics because he hasn’t made the tournament or beaten those teams it’s the result of the positives he’s done. That’s something he deserves respect for. However, and don’t take this as my saying he should be fired, to say that Carmody should be retained because firing him might make the team worse isn’t the best argument from those who want Carmody to remain in the job. After all, a new coach might make things better. We really don’t know. Any, yes, if Carmody is fired and the new coach takes Northwestern to the tournament Carmody deserves a great deal of credit and respect for setting the table. If and when Bill Carmody leaves Northwestern I’ll be the first to thank him for what he did for this program because he did more than anybody else. The question is has he achieved as much as he’s going to achieve? That’s the question the rest of this season will answer. Either way, I’ll admit the guy deserves some credit and I honestly hope everyone else will too.