>> Wednesday

Chief among our questions about why Tom Crean has decided to leave MU has been "why now?" He's been a hot candidate for other high profile positions in the past (including Kentucky and, if you believe rumors, UCLA) and has refused at times when the MU program was in worse shape than it stands today. Below are my best guesses at A: why Tom Crean decided to leave and B: why he decided to leave now.

It's Indiana Basketball

Indiana has a tradition, talent pipeline and fan base unlike any other school in the country. Crean even mentioned this himself, acknowledging that there are few programs that can top Indiana when it comes to the total basketball experience. The reasoning here is solid, although I'd be hard pressed to believe that this was the only reason he's going to the Hoosiers.

Maxed out?

Amidst the speculation floats the idea that Crean believed that he'd effectively topped out the potential of the Marquette program. Despite a run of solid years in the Big East, postseason wins have been tough to come by since the departure of Dwyane Wade. This is probably in part based on a limited talent pool. Tying into the first reason, Crean will have a much easier go of securing top talent in Bloomington than he did in Milwaukee.

Second Fiddle

Any Marquette fan that lives in Milwaukee (and the state of Wisconsin at large) can tell you that no matter what, Badger basketball is king in terms of coverage and fan support. As such, the decision for the state's top players is often rendered moot - the top talent is going to Madison barring a heavy push as in the case of Wes Matthews. Again, this isn't the case at Indiana. Crean will have little trouble getting the upper echelon players from a basketball crazy state to commit to the crimson and cream. It is highly unlikely that you'll see a repeat of any of Mike Davis' failures to keep players like Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Dominic James and Josh McRoberts in the Hoosier state.

Second Fiddle, part 2

As Badger basketball is an empire in Wisconsin, so too is Bo Ryan the emperor. He is almost universally fawned over by print and television media and is lavished with overtures of genius by fans and analysts alike. As such, Crean's accolades were by nature limited, regardless of the success he enjoyed coaching in the Big East at a nationally prominent program. Since it's no secret that Crean has an enormous ego (after all, he's a college basketball coach), one can easily see how grating this could be who prides himself as a showman and a marketer desperate to make himself a national household name. A move to a smaller pond with fewer big fish means that this happens by default, and as such, the move makes obvious sense.

Big Ten Ties

Remember that Crean came up in the coaching ranks under Tom Izzo at Michigan State. While it's probably a stretch that that means he's drawn back to the conference, it's enough of a possibility that it bears mentioning. However, it's not really valid to say that he's got legitimate familiarity with a conference in which he hasn't coached in just under a decade. Suffice it to say, I'm not buying this reason.

Life Made Easy

Let's face it - going to Indiana and the Big Ten makes life easier for Tom Crean in a lot of ways, some of which I've already mentioned. Recruiting is simpler, fan support is a given and national coverage is basically omnipresent (for better or worse, given the recent Kelvin Sampson business). One thing few people seem to throw out there is that Crean might think that he'll have an easier time stockpiling wins in a conference that is in almost every way inferior to the Big East. Having to deal with annual games against Purdue, Wisconsin and Michigan State seems awfully light when compared to the murderer's row of the top flight Big East programs. This may be Big East-centric arrogance on my part, but I think it's relevent enough to mention.

A side note to this, of course, is the question of whether Crean's up-tempo, guard-oriented style of play will succeed consistently in a conference that plays a brand of hoops considerably more goonish than the superiorly athletic Big East (arrogant enough that time?).

Well, there you have it. Those are, for my part, the best excuses I can give for why Tom Crean decided to fly the coop, as they say. Feel free to post your own ideas in the comments.


Zuch 2:42 AM  

I think Crean may have maxed out at Marquette, but I still think the right coach can raise the program a level or two. Very few jobs offer the compensation package, facilities and fan support (with relatively few critics in scheme of things) that Marquette can give a coach. Maybe I'll be a terribly wrong in a few days, but I think Marquette could definitely bring in a very good coach that may raise a few eyebrows to the Pat Forde's and Gary Parrish's of the world.

Vinnie 8:57 AM  

It could always be the simple explanation that he wanted a change of scenery. Any profession, and coaching in particular, is dynamic by nature. Very few people can stay in the same place for too long, and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. Having said that, he probably should of told some more people before he up and left like, you know, his players.

Mike 9:51 AM  

Man, if you wanted a change of scenery, there's better places to go than Bloomington. I've been there a couple times, and suffice to say, it makes Milwaukee look like Manhattan.

Sure, career-wise, scenery blah blah blah, but you still have to wake up every morning with Bumblefuck, Indiana outside your window.

Iain 10:48 AM  

I think the two main reasons Crean left are that he isn't getting the accolades he diserves given what he's done for Marquette Basketball, and the Big East is too deep.

Patrick 6:09 PM  

Getting almost 10 years out of a coach in any profession is almost impossible. People like to move on like in any profession to potentially bigger and better things. That said, I thought our program was getting a bit stale with numerous first round exits (there is no way this team should have been blown out by Alabama and Michigan State). Tommy Boy got our Program back to where it should be, now its time to make it into an elite school. There is no reason Marquette can't be the next Duke with our facilities and $$$. I am hoping they bring in a guy like Bennett or Fox(as Indiana had to pay MU a shit load to buy out Crean's contract which ran through the 2016 season).

MU fans need to stop worrying. Lets not be bitter toward Crean as he could have walked away after 2003, which would have really hurt our Program. The basketball Program has had so much National success, that it is really has its own momentum no matter who is the coach.

Patrick 6:10 PM  

And actually, I wouldn't be too upset if Bruce Weber were the next coach. Remember what he did for the Illini after Bill Self left. If he would be able to keep James from going (which if he does, he won't last more than 3 years), this team is almost Final Four bound

Vinnie 9:54 PM  

One correction: the Alabama loss was by no means a blowout. I'd call it a "squeaker."

Patrick 11:19 PM  

But Marquette WAS getting blown out during most of the game. Just because the final score was relatively close doesn't mean it was actually close

Patrick 11:24 PM  

Wow, not sure if any of you watched this video on ESPN, but man he pretty much bashes Marquette...my opinion of him just dropped a couple notches.


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