Make no mistake, last night’s win over Tennessee State was sorely needed for UT Martin, but why can no one defend the Tigers? In non-conference play, this was one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Now? They’ve put up 81 and 94 points in their last two games, both on the road. Sure, both were losses, but it has to be a bit concerning that their offense is running this well. Patrick Miller, who has been fantastic all season long, has gone off in both those matchups, averaging 34 points a contest. (It’s not that far of a cry from his 22.2 points per game season average)
Against Division I competition, their last two games are the highest scoring of the season for the Tigers, and to be fair, they both played much tougher competition in their non-conference campaign, and neither UT Martin or SEMO are exactly making their mark on the defensive end of the floor. Still, for a 2-17 team, Tennessee State is scoring really well right now, and could provide quite a road block for teams looking to make it to Nashville.
Speaking of the Skyhawks, next week could be really telling for their chances of making a run to Nashville. After traveling to Morehead State this weekend, UT Martin hosts Eastern Illinois and SIUE next week. If they win both, you have to feel much better about their chances, especially if they can split on the road two weeks later. If they lose both? It would take nothing short of a miraculous recovery to make it to the eight seed.
What about if they spilt? It could matter which team they lose to. Odds are that two teams from each division will be left out. Tiebreakers could be very important to determining who’s in, and who’s out.
I don’t entirely know what to think about the Bill Clark interviewing at UAB rumors floating around. For now, I’m not going to try to determine the truthfulness of them, rather just opine on whether he would even want to leave.
The reaction to the news on twitter yesterday was, for the most part, “UAB is terrible, why would he want to go there?” The answer: It’s an FBS school, with FBS money. Sure, we can discuss whether he’d be able to win there, whether the sport is supported, and so on. And there’s a lot of reason to feel that Clark has a lot more success ahead of him at Jacksonville State. But it’s hard to make the jump from FBS to FCS. Some athletic directors would rather pluck a coach that’s spent time as a high level coordinator rather than a coach at a “lower level.” Positions that Clark would have a reasonable chance of getting aren’t going to come open every year. Sure, he wouldn’t be going into a perfect situation, but that’s also where the money comes in.
I’m not saying he will leave. I’m not even saying he’ll get an offer. But it could be an opportunity. Time will tell whether he takes it.