The Peterson Principle 4/1/13

Is Steve Alford (above) better than Ben Howland?

When Dan Guerrero fired Ben Howland did he have Steve Alford in mind? With Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens spurning UCLA’s offers Guerrero turned to Alford but was this really his third choice?

The only reason Alford was available now was because his New Mexico team was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round…by Harvard. Did Guerrero get desperate when his first two guys said no? Guys like Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski and Billy Donovan were all still coaching in the tournament which makes one wonder why Guerrero didn’t wait. How about Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall? The Shockers are in the Final Four for the first time since 1965. It’s hard to believe Marshall wouldn’t have at least listened.

Why did Guerrero feel he had to pull the trigger now? Sure all of those guys might have said no also but if that happens he could have turned back to Alford. It’s not like everybody was beating down his door.

You want Final Fours? Alford has never been to one one in 18 years as a head coach. You want sweet sixteens? Alford has been to one, yeah just one, and that was 14 years ago. In his 18 years at three different schools, Alford missed the NCAA tournament 11 times. Of his seven appearances his teams have been knocked out of the tournament in the first round three times.

Really Dan? This is better than Ben Howland? I didn’t like the Howland firing from the beginning and now I hate it. Why would you replace a guy that had been to three Final Fours with UCLA with a guy that’s never been to one?

That being said I’m sure Alford is a competitor. He won a championship at Indiana and he did have some success at SW Missouri State and New Mexico. It’s not a horrible hire but when you fire a coach the idea is to upgrade- hire somebody better. Guerrero didn’t do that. Alford should have been the eighth or ninth choice, not the third.

USC is still looking for a coach with reports now that Andy Enfield of Florida Gulf Coast is on their radar. Not a bad guy to target, but if that doesn’t work out there’s a guy that is already living here and has four conference championships and three Final Fours on his resume – a guy by the name of Ben Howland.

Syracuse, Wichita State and Michigan might not have been in everybody’s bracket in the Final Four. In fact I don’t think anybody outside of Wichita had Wichita State going to Atlanta. But Louisville was on everybody’s bracket. The Cardinals are loaded and proved it in their tournament run. They simply ran away from Duke in the second half. The Cards should be cutting down the nets on April 6. I like Trey Burke and Michigan to beat Syracuse and advance against Louisville.

The leg injury to Louisville’s Kevin Ware in the first half against Duke was as gruesome as you’re going to see in sports. The strange thing is was that it was an ordinary play. Ware leaped to defend a three point attempt and landed awkwardly causing his leg to buckle. No rule change or new league implementation is going to prevent something like that. Injuries happen in sports. That’s just the way it is.


I caught up with Dusty Sanderson Saturday. The former Temple City Ram is now leading off and playing shortstop for the Azusa Pacific Cougars. Sanderson is enjoying the college life while still getting the opportunity to play the sport that he loves. In a 9-8 win over Dixie State he had a two run single in the seventh inning that proved to be the game winner.


It’s April 1. Do you know who your head football coach is? As for Arcadia, La Puente and Gladstone we’re still waiting. That’s no April Fool’s.

That’s my principle.

Tim can be reached at

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