The University of Delaware men's basketball program has been in the doldrums since Mike Brey left for Notre Dame in 2000. And Sunday's performance against James Madison didn't change anything.
The Blue Hens were beaten by the Dukes, 58-57, on two free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining. Some fans, as well as coach Monte Ross and some team members, are blaming the loss on the officials, saying an out-of-bounds call against Jarvis Threatt with 13 seconds remaining and a foul on Jamelle Hagins that led to the winning free thorws were both bad calls...ergo the Blue Hens would have won without those two official foul-ups.
But that begs the question of why this team, with Ross' best recruits, including a first, second and third team all-CAA player, couldn't hang on to a 6 point lead in the last couple of minutes of the game...and why they played so poorly in the first half and allowed JMU to lead for much of the game.
There are numerous points during the game where the team played poorly or Ross' coaching was lacking where they could have made sure this was not a close game. But that didn't happen. And in a year when the CAA is so depleted the champion will probably be awarded with a 16th seed, and certainly no better than a 15 seed, Delaware couldn't even make it to the championship. This is a league with 7 teams playing in the tournament...and the winner will be a team that was picked to finish below Delaware in the pre-season.
So in light of the fact that Delaware fired football coach K.C. Keeler with a far superior record, what will be the fate of Monte Ross? Will he be allowed another season, to see if he can't coax a title out of a team that brings back Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt but will be diminished in the front court...or will the school part ways with a coach who is well under .500 in his career but has posted back-to-back winning seasons.
If they let him go, it will be another significant buyout on top of Keeler's. If they keep him, the Bob Carpenter Center could be as empty as it used to be in the old fieldhouse before Delaware started to award athletic scholarships.
My money is on a return....with a CAA title necessary for Ross to come back for the 2014-2015 season.
Posted at 12:57pm on March 11, 2013 by Big Don Voltz
There are far too many teams which make the NCAA tournament. The Blue Hens proved they didn't belong, even in this diluted field, by not being able to win the CAA conference.
As for blaming the referees, the Hens would not need the ref's calls at the end if they dominated the game like they should have.
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