Summer jobs in Princeton and Boston

When Joe Scott got fired, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I'll admit it; I was worried about not having summer employment.

At least now I have something to fall back on, right? No way they could turn me away from the Princeton job, which now has the reputation of turning Tournament-caliber coaches into hoarse chain-smokers.

Then, I visited Princeton's post on the NCAA's job site: apparently you actually have to have "a successful background in coaching basketball." And what's more, you have to certify yourself in CPR.

Damn. Looks like I'm out.

But that's nothing compared to the requirements at Harvard**, which seems awful picky for a school that's never been to the Dance. Here's a dealbreaker if I ever saw one:

"Ability to work in accordance with Harvard, Ivy League and NCAA rules/guidelines. Nights, weekends and travel required."

Ouch. Nights AND weekends? No wonder they got stuck with the same guy for 16 years.

So now that the Crimson and Tigers are out, I'm down to my last hope: the Big Ten. Specifically, the University of Michigan. And I'm optimistic, because the comprehensive "minimum qualifications" are as follows:

1. Bachelor's degree required.

Well, I almost have it...that counts, right?

**(I printed it out, but in the past few days, Harvard's taken down its ad. You'll have to take my word on this one. Or as Norries Wilson put it: "If you want me to send you the clip, I'll send you the clip.")

Pulling a Joe Scott

It's been a tough week for speechwriters around the college basketball world.

In three places, coaches have had to act like they'd just gone from Southeastern State U. to UCLA when they switched jobs.

In reality, they'd gone from Princeton to Denver, Iowa to New Mexico and Kentucky to Minnesota. Not because they were going to have a better job, but because they were still going to have a job.

Joe Scott, Steve Alford and Tubby Smith may have had just days or weeks before they were going to be fired. I can't be sure; I'm not close enough to any of the programs.

But if not, they might have all made the right move, going to places where they weren't yet a tired act to avoid an axe that was getting closer and closer to their heads. All three went to lower-pressure jobs where they can build a program instead of having to uphold high standards.

It's an interesting trend that I can't remember seeing too many examples of before the coaching carousel spun three of these revolutions in two days. But if somebody can help me out, please post and enlighten me.

Some things to keep you busy tonight

First off, congratulations to Penn guard Ibrahim Jaaber, who has been invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. If you're not familiar with the event, it's a showcase tournament for college seniors to show off for NBA and foreign scouts, held in Portsmouth, Va., early next month.

The last Penn player to play there was Tim Begley two years ago. Hopefully Jaaber can impress enough to get a shot to make an NBA roster over the summer.

Now, for the irrelevant, but good stuff:

Much has been made about Penn's nine-game NCAA Tournament losing streak. Last year, we figured out that Fran Dunphy's eight-game slide is the longest for all coaches. But are the Quakers in possession of the longest slide in history?

Not quite, but they're close. Here are the top 12 losing streaks of all time (with 11 of them happening to be current)...years of the streak are in parentheses:

1- Murray State: 11 -- 1 2nd round, 10 1st round (1988-present)
2t- North Carolina A&T: 9 -- Never won a game, including seven straight years from '82-'88 (1982-present)
2t- Holy Cross: 9 -- 1 Elite 8, 8 1st round (1953-present)
2t- Penn: 9 -- 1 2nd round, 8 1st round (1994-present)
5t- Louisiana-Monroe: 7 -- Never won a game (1982-present)
5t- Eastern Kentucky: 7 -- Ditto. (1953-present)
5t- Davidson: 7 -- 1 Elite 8, 6 1st round (1969-present)
9t- Nebraska: 6 -- Never won a game (1986-present)
9t- BYU: 6 -- 1 2nd round, 5 1st round (1993-present)
By the way, BYU has just passed Princeton for the worst record to .500 in NCAA Tournament history, at 11-25. The Tigers are 13-27. Penn, meanwhile, sits in third worst at 13-25.

9t- Northeastern: 6 -- 1 2nd round, 5 1st round (1982-present)
9t- Winthrop: 6 -- Broken this year! 6 1st round (1999-2006)

Next up, we have the title of "Worst Team Ever." Every tournament in all sports, I like to see who is the "worst" team, in that it lost to a team that lost to a team that lost to a team, etc., until the champion. For example, last year's team was Iowa, which lost to Northwestern State, which lost to West Virginia, which lost to Texas, which lost to LSU, which lost to UCLA, which lost to Florida.

Since the NCAA Tournament began in 1939, the team that has done this more than any other, and thus is "The Worst Team Ever," are your Wyoming Cowboys! Here are all the teams to have done this at least twice (Don't worry Penn fans, the Quakers can't do it this year since Texas A&M beat Louisville):

Wyoming, 4: 1941, 1947, 1948, 1953
BYU, 3: 1950, 1957, 1979
Kentucky, 3: 1945, 1955, 1964
Princeton, 3: 1952, 1969, 2001
St. John's, 3: 1978, 1984, 1988
Arkansas, 2: 1949, 1958
Bowling Green, 2: 1959, 1968
Furman, 2: 1973, 1975
Louisville, 2: 1974, 1977
Rhode Island, 2: 1961, 1966
Temple, 2: 1944, 1967

Incidentally, Penn has only done this once, in 1970.

Finally, we have an Anything but Uniform special edition. You may have noticed that Nike decided that four teams needed radically different uniform designs just for the postseason, so they unveiled The "System of Dress" for Syracuse, Arizona, Florida and Ohio State.

I don't normally like to comment on national uniform issues, but when we were in Lexington last week I couldn't resist asking an Ohio State player about it. Also, it doubled as a legitimate excuse to go to the Buckeyes' locker room to see the Man-Child.

So I asked Ivan Harris what he thought of the uniforms, and I got an interesting answer. First, he liked the fact that the OSU unis, as opposed to all the other System of Dress teams, have the LeBron James logo on them. What's funny about that, of course, is that when I say LeBron, I'm sure college basketball is exactly what you think of. But he is from Ohio, and maybe would have been at OSU for a year if the NBA age limit was in effect then. Never mind, it's still ridiculous.

Harris also said he likes the look of the tight jersey and huge baggy shorts.

"It's a nice fit. It's a nice style," he said.

The best thing he said though, was specifically about the tight jerseys.

"Not much to grab, that's good for the jersey," Harris said.

That's a pretty good point, and goes along with football players having tighter and tighter sleeves to reduce holding. It is probably annoying to be constantly getting grabbed when playing. I think all Princeton opponents would benefit from this kind of jersey.

Anyway, that's it for me. Enjoy Bill Raftery.

Some happenin’ stuff

You know what they always say. Stuff happens. But some stuff happens all the time, and some stuff hasn't happened in a while.

Here's some stuff that just happened and when else that stuff happened.

The event: The Ivy League went nine straight years without winning an NCAA Tournament game.
The last time: 1985-1993
The details: Just those two. With one more loss, the Ivies will break the collective consecutive record for futility.

The event: A Penn player (Ibrahim Jaaber) has scored 15 or more points three times in his Tournament career.
The last time: Ugonna Onyekwe 2000, 2002, 2003
The details: The always-consistent Jaaber went 15, 15, 16 in 2005, 2006 and 2007, while U dropped 17 as a freshman followed by 16 and 30 in his final two seasons.

The event: No team in the lower half of the seeds made the Sweet 16
The last time: 1995
The details: In fact, '95 was the only year since the tournament seeding began that no 9-seed or below (or 7-seed or below back when there were only 48 teams) has made it to the round of 16.

The event: Two Penn starters went without a field goal in a Tournament game.
The last time: Paul Romanczuk and Geoff Owens in 1999.
The details: This year it was Steve Danley, who gets an asterisk for his injury and the 0-for-6 Darren Smith who did the trick. Back in '99, Romanczuk went 0-for-3 and Owens didn't attempt a field goal, although he went 3-for-6 from the line in the loss to Florida.

The event: The same pair of Quakers players (Jaaber and Mark Zoller) reached double figures in three straight Touranament games.
The last time: Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney (4 straight games from 1993-95)
The details: Maloney and Allen combined for 53 points in Penn's OT loss to Alabama in 1995.

The event: No Ivy hockey team made the NCAA hockey tournament.
The last time: 2001, back before the field expanded from 12 to 16.
The details: Down year for the usually powerful Ancient Six. Since '01, Cornell and Harvard have each made it, with both making the field the last two years.

The event: Two players have combined for more than two-thirds of Penn's points in a Tournament game (Jaaber and Zoller 35/52)
The last time: Onyekwe and Andy Toole in 2003
The details: Ugonna's 30 and Toole's 14 were just over two-thirds of the Quakers' 63 against Oklahoma State.

The event: Eight Penn players scored in an NCAA Tournament game.
The last time: 2002 against Cal
The details: For the last time more than eight got their names in the points column, go all the way back to the consolation game loss to DePaul at the 1979 Final Four in Salt Lake City when nine did it.

The event: No team from the Northeast (and I make the rules on this one) made the Sweet 16.
The last time: 1986
The details: I don't count Washington (Georgetown) or Pittsburgh as the Northeast. Actually 1986 is the only time other time in the 69 tournaments that this has happened. That is, unless you're counting 1986 sweetheart Navy as being in the Northeast. Then it's never happened.

This is why I hate #&*^ing court rushing

I can't believe what I have just seen in the last two hours. First, Clemson beat Syracuse after nearly blowing a 17-point second half lead and its students rushed the court.

Then Air Force held on in a tight game against De Paul and the Falcons fans stormed the court.

In case you're not aware, this was the QUARTERFINALS OF THE NIT!!!!!!! Both home teams were favored (at least by the NIT committee) and while this was the last home game of the season for these schools, it is absolutely inexcusable to rush the court in the quarters of the NIT. First of all, it's the quarterfinals, and second, it's the NIT! I can't even say this any other way.

And Clemson was up 17 in the second and almost blew the game! What if they won by 20? Still rushing?

And there's no way this happens if these games aren't on TV. So you may have disagreed with me about the Penn-Temple game, but this is what I'm afraid of. If court rushing becomes so casual, then it's no longer special. It's just like singing the Red and the Blue after Penn games.

Scott knows 335 > 266

I find it hard to believe, and I'm sure many other people do as well, that it was former Princeton coach Joe Scott's decision to leave Princeton to become the head coach at the University of Denver.

You might think that it had to be because Princeton (11-17, 266 Pomeroy RPI) is so bad, but that is not the case. Well, the Orange and Black are, indeed, horrible, but they aren't as bad as Denver. The Pioneers went 4-25 overall and 3-16 in the prestigious Sun Belt Conference. In Ken Pomeroy's RPI ratings he has Denver at 335 of 336.

When it got to play good teams, Denver lost to Stanford 82-39, to Wyoming 91-59, but the showing was worse in-conference.
The Pioneers somehow beat West division winner Arkansas State (11-7 Sun Belt), but lost to both Middle Tennessee and Arkansas Little Rock by 26, and Louisiana Monroe by 36. What's even worse is that Northern Colorado -- the only team lower than Denver in the RPI -- beat Denver, 74-59.

Here's what Scott said today.

"The head coaching position at the University of Denver represents a great opportunity for me both professionally and personally," Scott said today. "DU showed a real interest, a genuine commitment and a high level of understanding of what it takes to be competitive in Division I basketball. We're going to work hard every day to build our program and define the Denver brand of basketball. I think the way we do things matches up really well with the vision and mission of the University of Denver."

Did Princeton not have that same commitment to basketball? That seems like the only real reason he gives for leaving his alma mater for the Pioneers. But if there's a team with a commitment to basketball it's got to be the one with the second-worst RPI.

Here's what Scott said following his team's loss to Penn.

"I'm extremely disappointed in the outcome of the games, extremely disappointed in the record. It hurts a lot, but at the same point in time I see promise. I see young guys with the ability to get better, and I see us in those games with numerous chances to win those games.

"I'm confident in our younger guys because they're workers," Scott said. "The level of their love to play -- we're going to find all that stuff out. But if you combine the love to play with the work ethic plus the experience that they just went through, that's how you make a jump and do get better."

Sure sounds like a coach itching to get out.

Four-year all-bench team

In this morning's paper, we gave you the best of the best. Our four-year All-Ivy, All-Big 5 and All-Penn-opponents teams. Now it's time for that list that didn't quite make the print edition starting lineup.

The four-year Penn all-bench team.

Before we get started with the best of the bench, let me first tell you how important this role is to me. Simply because this was me. In high school, I was the guy who scored five points all season, the guy who would only see the floor if we were up 20 or down 20. So on a personal level, here's to the guy who's the first one at practice, the guy who lightens the mood and the guy who busts his butt for that few minutes a game when he does see the spotlight.

Here are the four categories by which we scored the nine nominees from the last four years on a scale of 1-5.

1. "Captain of the bench" -- A term coined by my high school volleyball team (the one sport where I wasn't a scrub), captain of the bench refers to the guy who seems to really want to be there. He embraces his role and doesn't let 40 minutes of pine get to him. Automatic 0 if you quit the team.

2. Fan support -- Is he the guy who everybody in the crowd cheers for when the Quakers are wiping the floor with Dartmouth? Or is he the guy that makes the fans hold their breath every time he comes in? Or is he the guy who sends everyone in the crowd leafing through their program?

3. Memorable scrub moments

4. Bonus points at our discretion

Thanks to Matt Meltzer and Josh Hirsch for their input on this list.

Your candidates in alphabetical order.

1. Aron Cohen
Captain of the bench: 1
Fan support: 1, Doesn't seem to receive that much love from the Red & Blue Crew.
Scrub moment: 5, He lived every bencher's dream when he took the shot to take the lead in the final seconds against UTEP, but he missed on the 23-footer.
Bonus points: 4, Big bonus points for never having attempted a two-point field goal in his career.
Total score: 10

2. Adam Franklin
Captain of the bench: 3, Always seems to be having a good time down there.
Fan support: 5, Has gotten the most chants during garbage time since Solomito.
Scrub moments: 1, His seven-point outburst in two minutes up in Syracuse gets him a well-earned point.
Bonus points: 5, A handful for being able to touch the ceiling of the Palestra on the broad jump.
Total score: 14

3. Joe Gill
Captain of the bench: 5, The undisputed captain of the bench. We wish we could have given him more for his role of patting down and directing Brian Grandieri in every pregame handshake. And for being the team's social director. Embraces every bit of what being a bencher is all about.
Fan support: 5, The people's champion.
Scrub moments: 1, for never having made a field goal in his career. But the team-first guy does have some assists.
Bonus points: 2, for his excessive lank.
Total score: 13

4. Eric Heil
Captain of the bench: 2, got a bit of a late start with the transfer
Fan support: 2
Scrub moments: 1, Not too many memorable ones.
Bonus points: 5, Another full handful awarded. This one for being engaged while playing on the team.
Total score: 10

5. Greg Kuchinski
Captain of the bench: 4, Was only on the team one year, but was certainly one of the guys right away.
Fan support: 1, Didn't have much time to develop a relationship with section 115. He was the "who's that" guy.
Scrub moment: 4, Barely played all year until he was put in the Princeton game in overtime. Welcome to Penn basketball.
Bonus points: 1, for checking my ID at Blarney's.
Total score: 10

6. Pat Lang
Captain of the bench: 0, Automatic for defecting.
Fan support: 5, Automatic for hitting the cheesesteak shot against Harvard back in 2004.
Scrub moment: 5, Ditto. The moment that can turn any bencher into a hero.
Bonus points: 2, One for being jacked. One for being attached at the hip to Conor Tolan.
Total score: 12

7. Cameron Lewis
Captain of the bench: 3, Always a hard worker. Always has a smile on his face.
Fan support: 3, Gets his fair share of cheers as the crowd hopes for that big garbage time block.
Scrub moments: 4, Every time he steps to the line, it's a great moment.
Bonus points: 1, For being able to send a shot into the upper deck.
Total score: 11

8. Nameir Majette
Captain of the bench: 4, Another guy with a smile on his face all the time.
Fan support: 3, Not the fan favorite, but always got a good cheer.
Scrub moment: 5, For perhaps the greatest moment by a scrub of all-time. Majette had the entire crowd cracking up when he went up for a dunk, bounced it 15 feet in the air off the front rim and watched it go back down for the deuce.
Bonus points: 3, For the height alone.
Total score: 15

9. Lorenz Manthey
Captain of the bench: 0, Automatic for quitting the team.
Fan support: 0, Lorenz who?
Scrub moments: 0
Bonus points: 3, For being German.
Total score: 3

10. Conor Tolan
Captain of the bench: 0, Automatic.
Fan support: 5, Who wouldn't want to see a 7-foot-tall Irishman in the basketball game?
Scrub moments: 1, for never making a field goal in his career.
Bonus points: 5, for being able to do pull-ups at the gym starting from his knees.
Total score: 11

So here are your top five totals, making up the four-year all-bench team:
Majette: 15
Franklin: 14
Gill: 13
Lang: 12
Tolan: 11
Lewis: 11

To break the tie in a very scientific manner, we declared Tolan the fifth. Frankly, we'd be scared not to.

Joe Scott out at Princeton

ESPN.com's Andy Katz has reported that the University of Denver has hired Princeton's Joe Scott as its new head coach.

Scott leaves Princeton after three seasons that saw Princeton's first sub-.500 conference record and a 2-12 mark this year.

Denver fired six-year coach Terry Carroll after a 4-25 finish this season.

The University of Denver's Sports Information Director would not confirm to The Daily Pennsylvanian that Scott has been hired, but confirmed that a press conference will be held at 5 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

Look in tomorrow's DP for much more.

Some more marketing stuff

When I woke up this morning, I already had two emails about my column so I decided I had better put this up now.

In addition to what I wrote, I wanted to share a couple more examples of what I was talking about. On ESPN from Sunday to Wednesday, there was this little scroller with facts about all the teams in the Tournament. Penn head coach Glen Miller was displayed as bandleader Glenn Miller. No fact-checking there, for four days.

On the other hand, CBS color man Dan Bonner called Penn's opponent, Texas A&M "Oklahoma" (same colors) and Texas Tech (same state) once each. The Aggies are not known for their basketball, and have barely been in the Tournament before Billy Gillespie took over three years ago. However, with a deep run this year and some more successes in the future, Texas A&M will be on the map and no one will confuse it with anything else.

I don't think Penn needs to make that kind of run, though. Again, this is one of the top 10 schools in the country. In academia, everyone knows what Penn is. But in sports, people seem to have no clue (and I'm not talking about some non-revenue sports where there are few schools competing and those people know what Penn is).

A few years ago, it appears that the school made a concerted effort to get people to stop calling it "Pennsylvania" and go to the more modern (I guess) "Penn." But the media cannot quite catch on to this, which I think adds to the confusion. In the beginning of all Penn athletics media guides, there is this little paragraph:

"It's Penn, Please:" The first time you mention us on-air or in columns, please use our full name -- the University Pennsylvania. After that, we ask that you refer
simply as Penn. We would ask that you refrain from calling
Pennsylvania at any time. Thanks for your cooperation!

If you've watched Penn coverage recently, you know that this is not the case in the national media. Half the time it's "Penn," sometimes it's "Pennsylvania," and there is not much consistency (although in games, it's usually "Penn" for most of the game).

I personally think that "Penn" sounds better than "Pennsylvania," but it does lead to the confusion with Penn State, which "Pennsylvania" probably does not. I'm not really sure what the answer is there, except to somehow make people know that "Penn" is not Penn State by making everyone know what "Penn" is.

Part of that, I think, can be accomplished by selling more merchandise. Except for Penn's Web site and a very limited number of items on some obscure sites, you really can't get Penn merchandise outside of Penn's campus. Especially in Philadelphia, I think that the school can do a better job of creating a fan base. No one knows who Penn is because there are essentially no Penn fans who have no connection to the school.

I am planning to try to talk to the Penn marketing department to see what they think about this and how they think their rebranding has gone, as a whole. And if that fails, maybe this can be a project for some Wharton marketing students.

Where was Carter?

A surprising non-factor in the Penn game and the Aggies' close win over 6-seed Louisville was Texas A&M's Josh Carter. After I got to praise him as the nation's number one three point shooter (51.6%), he goes out and hits 1-of-6 against the Quakers, and only went 1-of-2 in limited time in the foul fest a day later.

And it wasn't like he was getting blanketed - the Quakers started the game in a zone. Penn was more focused on stopping Acie Law's drives and Joseph Jones in the post, so Carter was left wide open from the right corner, he just couldn't hit anything. He kept gunning, and time after time was off. He didn't even attempt a shot after his five first-half misses.

To state the obvious, Texas A&M wins more often when he hits threes. But he's so valuable to a team with such a good point guard and such a solid man on the inside that if Carter is automatic from three, a defense must either let Law and Jones tear them up, or let Carter drop eight threes like he did at Nebraska last month.

If Carter gets out of his slump, you have to believe A&M is going to Atlanta.

Note:
Carter's 16.6% against Penn was his worst shooting day since he shot 0-for-3 in a two-point loss to Texas Tech in January.