WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army basketball team seemed to hit every bump and pothole in the road the last two seasons, derailing one of the best senior classes ever to play at West Point. Continue reading
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Bill Carmody and turnovers don’t get along much. So much so that Carmody’s Northwestern teams – even against Big 10 competition – did a remarkable job of not giving the ball away without at least getting up a shot. How good? Here are the national turnover rate ranks for Northwestern from 2006-07 to 2012-13: 17th, 20th, 34th, 30th, 5th, 7th, 37th. That’s pretty damn good, no matter what the competition.
(Some irony in the fact that turnovers were not the reason Milan Brown was canned after last season. Holy Cross finished 14-16 and 8-10 in the Patriot League, but were 50th in offensive turnover rate.)
WORCESTER, Mass. – The past, of course, is an extremely poor place to live, but if you’re a mid-major fan, particularly the Ivy League, you couldn’t help but root for Bill Carmody at Northwestern. For 12 seasons, he tried mixtures of magic potions and illusions that seemed to rival the Copperfields and Blaines of the world, trying to get the Wildcats to their first ever NCAA Tournament (one of five with St. Francis Brooklyn, Army, The Citadel, and William & Mary who have been a Division I institution since the beginning in 1939 and never gone to the NCAAs).
While it was tough sledding, Carmody always had an upset or three in him, and from 2010-2012, looked to have gotten over the hump. In each of those three seasons, Northwestern ranked in the top 30 nationally in offensive efficiency, with a deliberate style that almost never turned the ball over, and seemed to miss shots even less (as he did at Princeton while going 92-25 in Ivy games from 1996-2000). He won 20 games in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but just fell short of the NCAA bubble. The Wildcats started 10-1 in 2011-12, but finished 8-10 in the Big Ten, the last two losses coming in overtime to ranked Michigan and by a pair to Ohio State, who eventually ended up in the Final Four. The verdict, once again, was NIT.
Soon after that (two seasons later), Carmody’s sleeves were out of tricks and he was fired.
After winning 41 games in his first two seasons at Fairfield, the last two seasons have been a struggle, winning just seven games in each of the last two seasons.
Bill Carmody stood in his purple shirt Friday night at Webster Bank Arena and he could have been transported to Northwestern a few years back or maybe even Princeton a few years before that. He’s been out of the game for a couple of years now since being fired by Northwestern. He never did get the Wildcats where he got Princeton twice, the NCAA Tournament, even though he was there 13 seasons.
He came damn close, though, with four straight NIT appearances at one point, and his 1-3-1 and Princeton offenses gave more talented teams fits, although Carmody never did quite get enough talent to Chicago to get them over the NCAA hump.