Blum: Where Does Morgan Stack Up?

Ever wonder how Wayne Morgan's record stacks up with other recent ISU coaches? Want to know what Blum thinks about the Texas game? Come on in and check out commentary you can find here and here only at Cyclone Nation.

First of all some quick takes on the Texas game:

 

-Iowa State needs to at least attempt to establish a post-presence. Even if it means throwing it inside and right back out. I can count the number of times ISU made a move with their back to the basket Monday night on my hand.

 

-Texas did an outstanding job of hedging on ISU's ball screens. Normally Blalock and Stinson are able to penetrate off the screens, but Aldridge and Tucker were excellent at shutting down dribble lanes. The Cyclones may have looked lethargic on offense, but that is as impressive of defense as I've seen in person. Remember those Longhorns held an explosive Memphis team to 58 points as well.

 

-Nobody wants to hear it, but Texas had more talent than the Cyclones. In order to counter that, ISU needed to force turnovers off the press. Unfortunately, Texas broke the pressure with ease by using their bigs to bring the ball up the court. Something ISU has rarely seen utilized against their press. It's tough to trap dudes that can throw it right over the top.

 

-Iowa State can ill-afford a hangover going into Saturday.

 

Last Saturday, Wayne Morgan recorded his 50th win as an Iowa State Cyclone. That got me thinking. (Generally, a very dangerous activity for yours truly.) How has Morgan's first two and a half years compared to the more highly regarded beginning's of Tim Floyd and Larry Eustachy.

 

I remember when Floyd was hired out of New Orleans, during the Midnight Madness ceremony(which were much more memorable back then…today's have become a poor excuse for an exhibition) Floyd was brought out on a float disguised as a boat, in which he was "fishing" for Big 8 opponents. One-by-one he pulled out a conference logo, culminating in the final retrieval of Kansas, and the crowd exploded. I've heard many Iowa State fans wishing Floyd had stayed and saying ISU basketball was much more successful in the mid 1990s than it is currently. But, maybe, we were captivated by his theatrics.

 

 Truth be told, despite the fact he inherited an extremely talented team with Fred Hoiberg, Julius Michalik, and Loren Meyer, Floyd's first year was pretty similar to Morgan's. Both lost their first game in the Big 8/12 conference on the road at Colorado and both finished their first year in conference play at two games under .500. Floyd's team finished with 23 wins and Morgan's 20. Larry Eustachy's first year was worse than both Floyd and Morgan's. He finished at .500 (15-15) and four games under in the conference.

 

The second year is where Floyd and Eustachy make the huge leap on Morgan in the win column. Floyd revitalized his team with transfers and newcomers. They finished 24-9, 10-6 in the Big 8 conference. But, it was the final Big 8 tournament that Floyd cemented his spot in ISU lore. They reeled off three straight wins, including the final over Jacques Vaughn and Raef LaFrentz and Kansas. Eustachy also won the conference tourney and league title in his second year. His second year was probably the most successful season in ISU history (32-5, 14-2).

 

Morgan, on the other hand, only won 19 games, but did advance to the NCAA tournament like Floyd and Eustcahy.

 

Through 79 games as Cyclone coaches, here is how the three stack up: Floyd 58-21 (.734), Eustachy 58-21 (.734), Morgan 50-29 (.633).

 

It's not as big of a spread as some may lead you to believe.

 

 Take a closer look at the numbers, and see how Morgan's first 79 games match-up. In road games, Morgan is 7-16. In that same time-frame of two and a half years, Floyd was 12-9 and Eustachy 7-13.

 

Actually, Morgan has the second longest conference win streak on the road of any of the three coaches at 3 (at Texas, at Nebraska, at Kansas) Eustachy in the 32 win year never reeled of three straight conference road wins. (Eustachy did win 5 straight conf. road wins in 2001.)  

 

As far as records against ranked opponents: in their first 79 games, Floyd was 4-13, Eustachy 7-7, and Morgan 8-9. Their post-season records (including Big 8/12 tourney) Floyd was 7-3 in his first 2 years; Eustachy was 6-2 in his first 2; Morgan was 6-4.

 

So, from the numbers it is apparent that although Morgan's overall record isn't as stellar as either Floyd or Eustachy's, he isn't that far back. He also has more wins against ranked opponents. But, Morgan definitely hasn't received the praises that Floyd or Eustachy received after their first 79 games.

 

Certainly, there is some room to grow for Morgan's ball-clubs to reach the same championship level of Floyd (1995) and Eustachy (00-01), but the numbers aren't that far off. Hopefully, Morgan doesn't hit the same fourth year wall that both Floyd (12-18) and Eustachy (12-19) hit. Chances are by the end of next season; his four-year win total will surpass both of the previous coaches.

 

Not bad for a guy who was ISU's fifth choice to lead the program. All he needs to do is learn Floyd's theatrics or at least wear a turtleneck.        


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