OU's Capel a hot commodity

March, 20, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few musings from Day 1 in Kansas City:

• Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione is one of the top five athletic directors in the country. He knows he has to get ready for the onslaught of suitors for Jeff Capel, notably from Georgia and Virginia. Capel has a great situation at Oklahoma. But the only issue is that he probably should be in the Big 12's top three or four in salary behind Bill Self (Kansas) and Rick Barnes (Texas), rather than in the middle of the pack. If Virginia and Georgia pursue Capel as expected, that might nudge him up further. Capel is smart. He knows that Georgia isn't a great basketball job. Virginia has players in the state and is in the ACC, but do you want to be going up against your former coach (Mike Krzyzewski at Duke) or the one of the most dominant recruiters not named John Calipari (Memphis) in Roy Williams (North Carolina)? It's not like Wake Forest, Boston College, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland or Georgia Tech are dropping anytime soon, either.

• President Obama had 11 of 16 correct picks on the first day of the tournament. I had 13 out of 16. I had Michigan originally but changed it late to Clemson. That was a mistake. I also went with Illinois over Western Kentucky and BYU over Texas A&M. The good news is I haven't lost any of my Sweet 16 teams yet.

• Michigan coach John Beilein was overjoyed with the victory over Clemson and the program-perception changing win that it produced.

• Cal State-Northridge coach Bobby Braswell said he plans on "sleeping for two weeks" once he gets back home. His week began by taking in his son's court appearance on theft and burglary charges.

• Morgan State's band and dance team were far superior to anyone else's in Kansas City. It wasn't even close. They could move like no other team here.

• Funny scene: When Oklahoma was waiting for its turn to take the court, the Sooner mascot, with his head on, sat in the stands for the second half of the Michigan-Clemson game as if he were a fan.

• The White House hoops court is on hold, at least inside. According to the president's personal aide Reggie Love, there is simply no room to put a court in the White House. That's not surprising when you see how low the ceilings are in many parts of the White House. So the new plan is to put an outdoor court beyond the playscape, down through a few trees where there is a tennis court. The all-purpose sport court material would be put down for outdoor playing during the spring and summer.

President Barack Obama and his staff have played next door at the Department of the Interior, and there is a court, with the presidential seal freshly on the floor, at Camp David.

• The coaching carousel won't move until some of these major jobs hire, since a lot of them are going after the same names: Capel, Minnesota's Tubby Smith, VCU's Anthony Grant, Missouri's Mike Anderson. Maybe I'll be proved wrong, but I can't see Smith leaving Minnesota. Capel and Anderson have good situations which they don't have to leave. Grant has Larry Sanders returning, and I'd be more inclined to see him go to the ACC than the SEC.

• Most of these schools continue to use search firms for hiring coaches instead of simply doing it themselves. Athletic directors who make bad hires continue to get second and third chances to do it again.

• The NIT game of Davidson-Saint Mary's would be a marquee NCAA matchup. That doesn't mean either team should have been in the Dance. I would have liked to see Stephen Curry vs. Patty Mills on a larger stage, but I'm not advocating for their candidacies. It was hard, based on the current merits, for them to receive bids.

• Dayton's Brian Gregory is getting ready to sign an extension, according to a report by the AP. Keeping coaches like Gregory at schools like Dayton is why some of these institutions can maintain success. A revolving door of coaches does work in some instances (Xavier and Tulsa), but it's not a recipe for success.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com




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