Dave Matter on Crean and Mizzou: “I just don’t feel like it’s as strong as it was”

Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch joined The Hollywood Casino Pressbox to discuss the latest news surrounding the Missouri basketball head coaching search, seeding for the women’s basketball team, and the impressive win-streak for Missouri baseball.

When it comes to the coaching search, the same names have floated around and will continue until the NCAA tournament is over. With more head coaching spots opening up, Missouri appears to have more competition at filling their own void.

Tom Crean seemed like a solid candidate with mutual interest, but Matter believes the different personalities of the Indiana coach and the Missouri athletic director could be a deciding factor for Missouri to look elsewhere.

“Over the weekend I think he was still in play and that gave time for them to meet. I just don’t feel like it is as strong as it was. I’ve been told Jim Sterk and Tom Crean have very different personalities and can they co-exist personality wise? I’m just not sure it’s the right fit for this situation,” Matter said.

Cuonzo Martin, a native of East St. Louis, will now have Illinois’ interest in addition to Missouri after the firing of John Groce.

Matter suggested a colleague of Martin’s could persuade Sterk in his feelings towards hiring the Cal coach.

“I do think Missouri is interested in him and Jim Sterk is interested in him. Somebody that Sterk listens to a lot is Tony Bennett at Virginia, who Martin has worked with in the past. I think he [Martin] is in the mix for Missouri and it is safe to say with his background is also in the mix for Illinois,” Matter said.

However, Martin isn’t in a hurry to find a new employer and could use Missouri and Illinois as leverage to get a new deal with Cal.

“He’s not in a rush to leave Cal and I don’t think he’s in a position to need a soft landing right now to get out of that situation. There’s also North Carolina State open and LSU open, so he has some other options too,” Matter said.

There still appears to be an outside chance Missouri lands Greg Marshall from Wichita State, although the price will certainly make Sterk reach deep into his pockets.

“Missouri is making more money than they ever have and they’re also spending more money in terms of athletics. It’s not like they just have blank checks rolling around,” Matter said. “Greg Marshall turned down something in the range of $4.8 million at Alabama so he’s not going to listen unless you’re in that range. Can Missouri afford that? Maybe, but I don’t think they’re really in a position to go out and do that.”

It isn’t as simple as dollar signs either. As Matter notes, the courting of Marshall happens every year and would require more work for something that doesn’t seem likely.

“You also have to convince Marshall that he is THE candidate. Not just the number one candidate, but the candidate and that takes a lot of time and resources.”