Time for a change

Stanford, Vanderbilt and Washington all tabbed their new coaches. Here's a rundown of the impact, plus what Kentucky's doing with John Calipari. Also, the transfer portal is humming, and much more.

The women’s Sweet 16 is now set, and it’s just as chalky as the men’s. All four 1 seeds, 3 seeds and three 2 seeds are still playing. The lowest seed still around is 7-seed Duke. Guess this makes them the plucky underdogs that America will root for, right?

Let's get to Monday’s news.

Need a new coach? Monday apparently was the day to announce your new hire.

Among power conference schools, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Washington all made moves. Missouri State and IUPUI did the same, while SUC Upstate is now starting a search.

Here’s a rundown of the moves and their impact:

  • Kyle Smith to Stanford. Few coaches have established winning cultures at more places with less to work with. Smith just took Washington State to its first NCAA Tournament since 2008 (and won a game!), and was 94-71 in five seasons. Wazzu hadn’t had a winning season since 2011-12. Throw in his years at San Francisco (63-40) and a 25-10 season at Columbia (!) and Stanford may finally have a coach who re-establish a culture similar to what Mike Montgomery had 20 years ago.

  • Mark Byington to Vanderbilt. You win 32 games and an NCAA tourney game at James Madison, and power conference schools will come calling. Vandy’s replacement for Jerry Stackhouse is a proven recruiter (the Dukes’ roster was filled with athletic, high-major players) and winner (aside the JMU success, Byington closed his Georgia Southern tenure with three-straight 20+ win seasons). Vandy’s the toughest job in the SEC. If Byington can build another roster with 4- and 5-year players, he’ll do just fine.

  • Danny Sprinkle to Washington. This had been in the works for a while. Sprinkle’s dad played football at UW. Combine that with three-straight NCAA tourney berths (1 year at Utah State and 2 at Montana State) and lots of victories (80 over three seasons) and Sprinkle was an obvious in-demand coach. Among these three, he’s got the least head coaching experience and maybe the most concern about making the leap to coaching at a power conference school. But he’s won — and at least one former player expects big things.

That’s now 50 coaching changes this season, and more than half still need to be filled. Among power conference jobs, Oklahoma State, SMU and Louisville are still available. And on that note …

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