While the Hoyas' recent skid has created a dark cloud over the Hilltop and with an upcoming debacle in South Florida imminent, perhaps now is the right time to take a look at one of the brighter notes of the college hoops season, and one that is directly linked to JT3's coaching tree.
Over in the America East conference, former Hoyas Assistant Coach Kevin Broadus has elevated the Binghamton Bearcats to contenders for the Conference Championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. For Binghamton, whose men's program has never made the Dance, this is understandably a big deal.
Last season, Broadus' 1st, was a difficult one for the 'Cats, who finished 14-16 overall (though 5th in conference with a 9-7 mark) before losing to Vermont in the 1st round of the America East Tournament. This season, however, has been a remarkable turnaround, much of which can be attributed to Broadus' implementation of an efficient offense and disciplined defense, both trademarks of JT3's Blue and Gray. In fact, the Bearcats have improved from 266th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2006 to 143rd this season.
The Bearcats are currently riding a five-game winning streak, and have eclipsed the school’s Division I win total for a season, with 17 victories currently. St. Joseph's transfer D.J. Rivera (kind of like Victor Page without the hops) has been the big gun for the 'Cats, leading the conference in points per game (20.7) and ranking seventh in steals (1.7 per game) and eighth in rebounds (6.3 per game). With just 3 games remaining in conference play (all against sub .500 teams in the America East), the Bearcats are primed to snare a bye in the 1st round of the America East Tournament and have their eyes on the automatic berth.
Broadus' reign hasn't been without controversy, as much if his squad is built around transfers that have come under fire for being hired basketball guns rather than dedicated student athletes. Indeed, highly touted Gonzaga transfer forward Theo Davis, has left the team under a cloud of academic reasons/"didn't want to play anymore", and senior Dwayne Jackson has been suspended indefinitely since early January for undisclosed reasons. Nevertheless, the Bearcats have been playing inspired basketball of late, mostly without significant contribution from injured point guard Malik Alvin. Incidentally, one of Broadus' assistants is former NBA player Mark "Shakin' Bakin'" Macon.
I saw the Bearcats play earlier this season in an impressive victorious road game against Conference USA opponent Tulane, and had a chance to speak briefly with Coach Broadus afterwards. After nearly being blinded by the massive Georgetown Final Four ring on his finger, I suggested that he call JT3 to schedule a casual home-and-home series with the Hoyas. While that suggestion was laughed off with a "not so fast", I'd rather see the Hoyas play a decent America East quad than continue this nonsensical series with the former Hoya player Horace Broadnax-led Savannah State, one of the worst teams in D1 (324 out of 344 per kenpom.com).
This season has been a special one for Coach Broadus, the Bearcats, and the loyal followers at the BU Zoo. As the Hoyas chances to make the Dance dim with every crushing defeat, it's nice to see the success that Broadus has brought to Binghamton. As for why Broadus has yet to make an appearance on PTI with Binghamton alum Tony Kornheiser, I have no idea. It would seem like a logical Five Good Minutes for a Coach that hopes to have many more than that come March.