Big Ten Wonk
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Monson gone?
Jeff Shelman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting this morning that Minnesota coach Dan Monson "is not expected to return next season." Reports suggest Monson may take the head coaching job at Idaho, his alma mater and the school where his father, Don, coached from 1978 to 1983.

Whether or not Monson's expected exit from Minnesota will be voluntary is apparently yet to be determined: "It's unclear whether Monson will be fired or reach a buyout agreement," Shelman reports.

Monson was brought to the Twin Cities from Gonzaga in 1999 to take over a Gopher program brought low by an academic cheating scandal under previous coach Clem Haskins.

The Gophers' season ended last night with a 76-62 loss at Cincinnati in the NIT.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Maybe Steve Alford won't be returning to Indiana after all. At Andy Katz is citing the inevitable "source close to the situation" as saying that "Indiana's search committee let Alford's representation know that the Hoosiers would only be bringing in two candidates and as of Tuesday Alford wasn't one of them. (Oracular Hoosier observer Terry Hutchens has helpfully ranked the top ten candidates this morning. Top three: Mark Few, Tom Crean, and Billy Gillispie.) At the same time, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden has received permission from Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby to talk to Alford about coaching the Tigers. And if the Hawkeyes do end up with a coaching vacancy, Greg McDermott won't be an option: he has accepted the job at Iowa State.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says he may advise Shannon Brown to participate in an NBA predraft camp in early June. If Brown did attend the camp he would still have until June 17 to remove his name from consideration for the draft. Izzo says that in his years in East Lansing he's advised only one other Spartan undergraduate to attend the predraft camp: Jason Richardson....Izzo's also still stewing about his team's season: "I think this is one of the few times in my career here as a head coach that we didn't get done what I think we were capable of getting done....There's a lot of aspects of it. You know, was this as good a home crowd as it was five years ago? Anybody here think it was? I'm gonna get killed for saying that, but is it? No."

Illinois coach Bruce Weber is sounding a Norman Dale note with regard to next year: "Everyone has to improve their skill levels, get back to basketball basics." More: "I thought the thing that hurt us this year, and it was obvious down the stretch, was [not] having somebody who could create, whether for themselves or for a teammate to get open." Amen, brother.

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