The Peterson Principle 3/25/13

Is Shaka Smart the answer for UCLA?

Virginia Commonwealth doesn’t look like such a cool story anymore when it gets blown out by 25 in the third round. Is Shaka Smart still a hot coaching prospect? It’s funny how a quick exit in March Madness can turn a coaching genius into a borderline moron.

I like Smart. He’s a good coach and I’m sure he’s a great guy. But I find it funny when UCLA fans scream for Ben Howland’s head on a stick in favor of a guy like Smart. Howland did take the Bruins to three final fours and has won four conference championships. Ten years ago he was heralded as the savior and he did deliver with the final fours. Did he suddenly forget how to coach in the last five years. Falling to Minnesota was a disappointment but Howland guided a team that had two potential starters transfer out (Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb) and a season ending injury to another (Jordan Adams) in the PAC 12 Championship game.

How would Howland’s resume look if Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday had played more than one year? Who knew that Reeves Nelson would turn into a knucklehead or that numerous other players would pack their bags because they couldn’t play for Howland? No Howland didn’t forget how to coach. He was hurt by an NCAA rule (one and done) that does absolutely nothing to help the players or coaches, and he was hurt by lazy players that didn’t want to work.

Smart is the answer? Really? Let’s see if you still feel that way when the Bruins get blown out by 25 in the tournament.

There’s really only one guy that would be worth looking at to replace Howland. Coach K himself – Mike Krzyzewski. And we all know he isn’t going anywhere.

The USC coaching situation isn’t ideal either especially with Pitt’s Jamie Dixon agreeing to a ten year extension. I wonder if Jim Ravel…George Raveling is available?

Victor Oladipo? Aaron Craft? Vander Blue? Sherwood Brown? You probably hadn’t heard of any of these guys before this past weekend but that’s what makes March so mad. The Harvard win was nice but they were brought back down to earth by Arizona on Sunday. Gonzaga became Gone-zaga and Florida Gulf Coast…yeah that storied program known as FGCU is in the sweet sixteen.

Despite what the one and done rule has done to college basketball it’s still the best tournament in sports. I mean really, when was the last time you got excited about the first round of the NBA playoffs? The baseball playoffs don’t really pick up until the league championship series and and do we really need to mention hockey? Yes the NFL playoffs are intriguing all the way through but there’s just something about that first weekend of March Madness that grabs you and doesn’t let go.


The only thing keeping the NBA interesting right now is the Miami Heat winning streak. Yes, it is easier to win in a watered down league and no I don’t think the 2013 version of the Miami Heat could have carried the 1971-’72 Lakers jocks. But it is difficult to put together this type of winning streak no matter what the sport or league. Everybody has a let down at some point and in a run of this magnitude you simply can’t have one. To Miami’s credit they haven’t. But they haven’t broken it yet. They still have seven games to go to tie it and eight to break. Go San Antonio!


The re-leaguing process for 2014 could get a little confusing. Where does Crescenta Valley end up? How would they stack up in the Rio Hondo? What happens to Blair? Do they join Hoover, Glendale and Marshall to form a new league called the Crescent? Wait a minute…if the league is called the Crescent shouldn’t Crescenta Valley be part of it? We’re all anxiously awaiting the answers. As the CIF world turns..

That’s my principle.

Tim can be reached at

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