Shaka Smart to Marquette; Coaching Carousel Commences

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For college basketball fans, March is THE month, but not only because of the action on the court. The silly season, when the coaching carousel starts spinning, is a whole lot of fun to watch as well. Thursday brought news of Lon Kruger retiring from Oklahoma, Friday, the big development is Shaka Smart leaving Texas to replace the recently dismissed Steve Wojciechowski at Marquette.

With DePaul and Indiana also both sacking their coaches earlier this month, you now have a lot of open positions to be filled, and it will be interesting to see how it all shapes out.

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Chris Beard is being linked as a replacament for Smart in Austin, but that is unlikely for a whole set of reasons. It doesn’t seem likely that Beard will leave Texas Tech, but if he actually does, who replaces him? Another major domino fell today in Shaka Smart and that means more are to come.

This is definitely a step down for Smart, who never ever lived up to his annual hype, before making the jump from mid-major to power five. Shaka was the flavor of the month, who was wanted by banner programs all across the nation, turning down the likes of UCLA and Illinois, before eventually making the move to UT.

However, it just didn’t work for him in the lone star state.

That said, Marquette is a shell of a program of what they once were, so there is nowhere to go but up for MU. When all fi this shapes out this silly season and the coaching carousel stops spinning, this might all end up being quite similar to the 2004 silly season, which began with North Carolina firing Matt Doherty.

UNC alum Roy Williams replaced him, leaving the Kansas job open. Bill Self left Illinois to take that gig, opening the door for Illinois to hire Bruce Weber from SIU. That means Matt Painter took the Salukies job, preparing him to one day take the position at his alma mater, Purdue. We spoke with Painter about all this after the 2017 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Get ready for history to repeat this month and next.

Be sure to click on BetQL for the odds, moneylines, point spreads, over/unders and more for every sweet sixteen game and the rest of the tournament.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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