The UMass Minutemen of the A-10 fell last night to The Ohio State University in the NIT Final. OSU of course, was a NCAA Final Four participant a year ago (albeit witht a few key players now gone.)
But the good post-season performance may be bittersweet for UMass fans, as it appears likely that Coach Travis Ford -- who played under Rick Pitino at Kentucky -- seems likely to be an attractive candidate for a major school with a coaching vacancy (LSU seems to be the leading contender). The up-tempo, attacking style that UMass played this year (led by mercury-quick PG Chris Lowe) will be popular with recruits, fans, and players. And it will presumably get more effective with better, "BCS-sized" players.
(The only quibble with Coach Ford's offense? It needs a catchy nickname that can be trademarked. Like this. Or this.)
This morning Ford claimed that he hasn't talked to anyone yet. And perhaps he hasn't. But at $200,000 per year (plus unspecified bonuses), Ford is well below market.
When the phone rings with a BCS school calling, Ford will be answering. And listening.