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NCAA Tournament: The Better OHIO Does, The Sooner John Groce Leaves

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Energy and smarts. 40 years old. Cleanly shaven head. Ability to clap, stomp, yell. Like Geno Ford but taller. Perhaps an ideal coach for a bigger program if you can't pry loose Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens.

I'm not one to advertise one of our good looking young coaches to other programs and say "hey, please cannibalize our conference!" because that does us no good except to perhaps give other teams a chance to win the tournament, fer cryin' out loud. But it's hard to win the MAC two times in three years and not suddenly be someone other teams look at. For example, a writer is arguing John Groce could coach Nebraska.

As already explained, most fans of a MAC school are likely putting all their stock in OHIO, at least for now, to beat Michigan and perhaps go beyond that. In the event it happens, we will all be merry. As will Bobcats fans, for they'll get to the round of 32 yet again.

And why not dream beyond that? If they were to beat UM, they'd probably face Temple, a team that even BGSU was able to beat. The last Sweet 16 team for the MAC was Kent State in 2002, who made it all the way to the regional championship. We are all wanting for some hustle in the round of 16.

Should that want be fulfilled it shall come with a price: John Groce will be the new object of affection for large programs who enjoy loud men clapping and stomping but are also good at coaching and recruiting. He'll be remembered by Ohio State fans as the man who helped recruit Greg Oden and Mike Conley to the Buckeyes and he's done wonders building this program to a point where it's not only the most dangerous team in the MAC but with nary a senior.

Because remember that aforementioned 2002 Kent State Elite Eight team: they were coached by Stan Heath, a first-year man who got the Flashes to 30 wins and then promptly departed for Arkansas. Fun sidenote: Heath is now at South Florida in yet another wonderful turnaround job, and should his Bulls catch fire, they could hypothetically meet OHIO in a Round of 32 MAC-ish homecoming.

It is a little funny how much stock we would put into a coach's resume that they can win in the tournament when, good heavens, we know Groce's team is strong. Circumstance and luck truly determines most of these unlikely outcomes, but program building extends beyond brackets. A smart athletic director would interview Groce after the conclusion of OHIO's season, but a hopeful MAC fan is not thinking that far ahead.

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