The college basketball world was dealt a big surprise on Friday morning when the news broke that Texas head coach Shaka Smart was leaving Austin to take the open position at Marquette.
With Indiana in the middle of its own search to replace Archie Miller, every other high major vacancy is likely to have connections to the IU process, and that is the case with today’s news.
Marquette was thought of by many as the leading contender for Loyola-Chicago’s Porter Moser, someone we believe Indiana also has on its radar. In many ways Marquette seemed like a logical fit for Moser, as another Jesuit school in the same area that could provide a big raise and a high major platform.
But with Marquette pulling Smart from Texas today, Indiana might now be seen as the leader for Moser if they decide to make a hard push. And that push would have merit. Moser has Loyola in the Sweet 16 for the second time in the last three tournaments, which is no small accomplishment for a mid-major program from what is often a one-bid league. In fact, over their respective last four college seasons, Moser and fan favorite Brad Stevens have almost identical winning percentages while each leading two magical mid-major NCAA Tournament runs.
The Shaka Smart news might also mean that another Indiana fan favorite has become less likely to land in Bloomington.
Although he is a Georgia native, Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard is a University of Texas alumnus and he has spent a substantial portion of his coaching career in the Longhorn State. It has been widely speculated that Beard would immediately become the favorite to land the Texas job if Smart were to be fired or otherwise move on.
National college basketball analysts have already started the Beard to Texas speculation, while has candidacy for the job at Indiana has been relatively quiet.
And of course if Beard were to take the Texas position, the Texas Tech job would open up — and round and round we go.
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