basketball Edit

Florida Man: Pros, cons of Indiana coaching candidates

The Indiana coaching search rages on in Bloomington, and with a handful of candidates still alive in the NCAA Tournament, it may not reach its conclusion anytime soon. This week, Rivals,.com’s national basketball analyst Rob Cassidy has a look at the pros and cons of five possible candidates for the gig.


RELATED: Rivals Roundtable on coaching carousel

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30


PORTER MOSER, Loyola-Chicago 

Porter Moser
Porter Moser (AP Images)

PROS: Moser’s name is red hot, as the Loyola-Chicago head coach is in the process of his second NCAA Tournament run in three years. The coach that first made a name for himself with a run to the Final Four in 2018 now sits in the Sweet 16 with wins over Georgia Tech and Illinois. He knows the recruiting landscape in Chicago as well as anyone and has proven that he can take a struggling program and turn it into a powerhouse with far fewer resources than he’d have in Bloomington.

CONS: Moser has been incredible on the national stage, but the fact that it took him seven seasons to get the Ramblers to the dance isn’t often mentioned. Expectations dictate that Indiana won't have that kind of time to dedicate to a rebuild. Also, IU just fired a hyper-successful mid-major star with heavy ties to the Midwest. A Moser hire would have a déjà vu factor.


SCOTT DREW, Baylor   

Scott Drew
Scott Drew (AP Images)

PROS: There’s a long list. Drew took over a historically insignificant program that found itself in unimaginable turmoil under the previous regime and has turned into a sustained national power. His family has ties to the state of Indiana and his name carries a serious cachet on the recruiting trail.

CONS: Convincing Drew to leave the program he has constructed from the ground up in Waco is a tall task. The only obvious con is fear of rejection, but the call needs to be made. Maybe it already has, as Drew’s name seems to have little buzz as it relates to this search.



CHRIS BEARD, Texas Tech  

Chris Beard
Chris Beard (AP Images)

PROS: This is a shoot-for-the-stars situation, as Beard is thriving in Lubbock and has led a Red Raiders program that was toiling in mediocrity before his arrival to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Final Four. Beard’s system works on the high-major level and has been proven in a rebuild situation, as the Red Raiders registered losing records in five of the six seasons before he was hired.

CON: Like Drew, Indiana runs the risk of being turned away if it knocks on Beard’s door. Regional ties don’t always matter in recruiting, but it’s worth noting that Beard’s entire D-I head coaching career has been spent in Texas and Arkansas. Beard is in his sixth season as a major head coach, meaning the sample size of success is relatively small. Texas Tech was only one season removed from tournament appearance when Beard took over, making the Indiana rebuild a taller task from that standpoint.




John Beilein
John Beilein (AP Images)

PROS: A proven head coach with high-level success in the Big Ten to his name, Beilein knows his way around the recruiting circuit in the Midwest and also has national ties to New York and other hotbeds. His name still carries weight with prospects and his high-major track record at Michigan and West Virginia speaks for itself.

CONS: Beilein is 68 years old. There’s no telling if he’d even want to take on a rebuild that comes with national attention. Even if he agreed to take it on, it’s fair to question the energy and motivation of a coach nearing retirement.



Mike Woodson
Mike Woodson (AP Images)

PROS: If Indiana is looking for heavy ties to the program, Woodson has those. He’s the most qualified former Hoosier and can use his time in the NBA to attract prospects with their eye on the pros. If all things are equal, high-level recruits like coaches that have been where they are trying to go. Woodson certainly checks that box, having been the head coach of both the Knicks and the Hawks.

CONS: It seems like this deal would be done by now if Woodson was the pick, but there’s a chance he’s functioning as a backup option. There’s also the fact that he’s never served as a college coach. That’s not always a factor. Just ask Michigan’s Juwan Howard. Still, there’s a learning curve when recruiting suddenly becomes a major part of your job.



We should all probably take a step back when it comes to dismissing the Big Ten and its season-long body of work in both advanced metrics and on-court results as fraudulent.

Yes, the Big Ten had a tough week. Going 7-8 and having just one team reach the Sweet 16 after being lauded as some kind of super conference is less than ideal. But it’s hardly a reason to dismiss a non-conference slate that saw the league as a whole thrive. The sky-high adjusted efficiency rating it maintained for most of the season shouldn’t be tossed out due to a few untimely losses, as computer models don’t harbor bias.

Still, all it took was a handful of injuries to key players (including Ohio State’s Kyle Young), a couple of bad breaks in overtime and some unfavorable matchups - including one with a clearly under-seeded Loyola-Chicago team - to turn the league’s national perception from unstoppable juggernaut to overrated fraud? The whole thing seems a bit simplistic for an unprecedented and especially unpredictable season.

Did people like me get a little carried away celebrating the league's greatness in February? Definitely. Is the last week of games proof that the conference was wildly overrated? Not at all. The truth is likely, like most things, somewhere on a sliding scale.