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Andy Enfield jabs Steve Alford, Tim Floyd

Andy EnfieldAndy Enfield took some nice jabs at Steve Alford and Tim Floyd while speaking in front of USC Trojans boosters, according to some quotes shared in a Men’s Journal feature about the new USC coach.

Enfield is in his first year as head coach of the Trojans and is trying to build up the basketball program at a football school. The same way UCLA has to compete with USC’s tradition in football, Enfield has to compete with the Bruins’ tradition in basketball. But with Alford as the new head coach at UCLA, Enfield isn’t worried.

“I don’t worry about [UCLA],” Enfield told a group of USC boosters, per Men’s Journal. “I’ve made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years, and he’s made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years.”

That’s quite the zinger. It’s true, too. Alford’s only Sweet Sixteen appearance came when he was head coach at Southwest Missouri State, not even Iowa or New Mexico. Enfield reached the Sweet Sixteen at Florida Gulf Coast, which raised his profile and made him a candidate for many jobs.

Enfield got the USC job over several other candidates, including Floyd, who was the Trojans’ basketball coach until resigning in 2009. Floyd got in trouble for his star player OJ Mayo taking extra benefits, but he was considered for the Trojans’ vacancy.

Enfield zinged Floyd for being at UTEP now and for claiming that Enfield interfered with one of his recruits.

“Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas,” said Enfield. “And he’s pissed off that he didn’t get the USC job two months ago. I told him, ‘Tim, if I could have all this power to somehow convince a family to do this, why the heck didn’t the kid come last spring, when I first got the job?'”

I liked this Enfield hire when it happened and like it even more now. USC is 4-1 under him but it’s too early to say how this will work out. I just know I love his attitude. Trojans fans just want him to back up all his talk.

Steve Alford is a downgrade for UCLA from Ben Howland

Steve AlfordMost people agree that although Ben Howland had a very successful run at UCLA, it was time for him and the school to part ways. The hope was that we could get a young, hungry coach who could led the program back to Final Fours the way Howland did during the early parts of his tenure. But after being turned down by Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens, the Bruins turned to New Mexico coach Steve Alford as the answer.

It’s hard to be pleased with the decision. This a downgrade from Howland.

Alford agreed to a seven-year, $18.2 million contract with the Bruins, including a $200,000 signing bonus. UCLA also has to pay the Lobos for stealing their coach — a figure that may come out to around $1 million, per the Albuquerque Journal. Alford’s previous buyout was $200,000, but it is $1 million on his new contract. The new contract was supposed to take effect April 1.

New Mexico was blindsided by the move; Alford agreed to a 10-year extension with the school last week, probably well before he knew UCLA would have any interest in him. It reflects poorly on him for leaving a week after affirming his long-term commitment to the school, but it’s understandable why he would leave for this opportunity. I just don’t understand why UCLA decided on him.

Alford’s appeal is that he is a recognizable name for Bruins fans. He played college ball at Indiana and won a national championship under Bob Knight. He played on the Olympic team. He has been in the coaching game for over 20 years. He is 48 and has a pretty good image. He should be more affable than Howland, and he should be able to recruit well. My issue with him is he doesn’t cross me as a very good coach. He is a good coach. UCLA needed someone who had the potential to be great. We needed someone with upside.

Alford’s New Mexico team went 29-6 this season and won the Mountain West Conference with a 13-3 record. That looks great on the surface, but it’s terrible when you realize his team lost to Harvard in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Last year his team went 28-7 and lost to Louisville in the second round of the tourney 59-56, which isn’t bad when you consider that the Cardinals reached the Final Four. Three years ago his team went 30-5 and won the Mountain West. After beating Montana in the first round of the tournament, they were destroyed by Washington in the next round. Are you noticing a trend?

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Steve Alford Cusses at BYU’s Jonathan Tavernari After New Mexico’s Win

Last time we heard from BYU senior Jonathan Tavernari, he was in the middle of a Holy War skirmish between BYU and Utah. Not much has changed for the 6’6″ forward. Tavernari was guarding New Mexico star player Darington Hobson with 52 seconds left when the clock was stopped because of a timeout. Hobson was upset that Tavernari was playing him so closely and it appeared as if Hobson threw an elbow at Tavernari. The refs didn’t see anything wrong in the replay so the game played on. New Mexico won 83-81 but the hostility between the teams spilled over into the handshake lineup after the game. Check out this video of Steve Alford cussing at Jonathan Tavernari after the game via The Sporting Blog (warning: profanity):

While the video makes Alford out to be the bad guy, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Tavernari went into New Mexico’s locker room after the game to apologize for his behavior. Moreover, “Alford told Tavernari that he initially was just trying to tell him that he had a heck of a career at BYU.” Sure sounds to me like Tavernari is the a-hole in this one, even if Alford is getting all the bad press. By the way, that’s a heck of a win for New Mexico. At 27-3, they’re likely headed for a three or four seed in the tourney and they’ve proven they can win anywhere.