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Opening Arguments

A one-year trial

No matter what Dan Dakich brings to the table -- he knows the IU culture and system -- his 3-4 record since taking over for Kelvin Sampson is probably enough to get him passed over:

Now IU has a 10-person search committee, which some call excessive when they're not ripping the Hoosiers' timing in announcing it a few days before last week's one-and-done NCAA tourney debacle.

No matter. The search is on, and interim coach Dan Dakich has made a passionate pitch for the job. Will he get it? Probably not, although it's unfair to use his 3-4 record after replacing Kelvin Sampson as an indicator of his worthiness, because A) he had to use Sampson's system and not his own; B) he had to work with Sampson's players, not his own, and there was a disconnect there; and C) some of the players lacked the maturity to deal with the transition and, in essence, quit.

The uncertainty with Dakich is not if he's a good enough coach — he is — but if he is a good enough recruiter. He didn't win big in the Mid-American Conference, which suggests he wouldn't win big in the Big Ten.

That's too bad. IU's reputation is in tatters right now precisely because winning big was placed above all other considerations. The school could go a long way toward restoring that reputation by giving Dakich a one-year contract to prove himself -- heck, they did that for Mide Davis. Even if he doesn't work out, that would give the school an extra year to find the right coach, instead of one with merely a winning record.

Posted in: Hoosier lore, Sports