Mike Tranghese hopes to transform the SEC like he once did for the Big East

Former longtime right-hand man to Dave Gavitt hired to do one thing:  Bring similar success in men’s basketball just like football has enjoyed for years

The era of complaining may be coming to an end.

On Thursday, June 2, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey brought Tranghese to become the “special advisor to the commissioner of men’s basketball.”  After only seeing Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M qualify for the NCAA Tournament, only the Aggies made it to the Sweet 16.

All 14 head coaches sat in on a conference call announcing the hiring, and they are all gung-ho about trying to make the SEC a basketball powerhouse similar to the Big Ten and Pac 12.

“The Big East was step-children to the Big Ten and the ACC back in the day, and the Big East didn’t take a back seat to anybody.  And that was sort of the attitude that he brought to the meeting, that the reason he’s taking on this challenge is he believes in our league, he believes in our coaches, he believes in our commissioner and he wants to win.”

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl, who also happens to be the brother-in-law of popular Fox Business anchor/reporter Liz Claman

Among the changes the SEC is doing to bridge the gap is in their non-conference scheduling, they will be playing teams with an RPI average of at least being 175 over a three-year period.  In future years, that number will be bolstered to an average of 150.  For the average fan, this means these schools will be playing more quality opponents in November and December instead of what ESPN’s Dick Vitale usually refers to these games as “cupcakes.”

Simple case in point can be made about Frank Martin and the Gamecocks of South Carolina.  They won their first 12 games before fizzling during the meat of the SEC schedule after Christmas.  Their lowest RPI opponent was rated at number 271.

Mike Tranghese believes things can start turning around now instead of when fall practice resumes in mid-October with Midnight Madness events popping up across the country:

“If you can’t beat decent people, you don’t deserve to be in the tournament anyway,” Tranghese commented during his introductory conference call.

“So play them.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Everything.”

There will also be a weekly basketball show airing on the SEC Network, primarily to be using their top-notch football programs as a recruiting tool.  No longer will there be any major complaints about the basketball games airing on tape delay late into the night and not ending until the wee hours of the morning.

At least, Tranghese appears to have a firm plan in mind, and we will see if it leads to promising results in the next few Selection Sundays to come.  He was quoted also from the Associated Press article as saying:

“You’ve got to use it in your favor.  If I’m bringing a recruit in, do I want to bring him in the weekend of the Tennessee-Alabama football game versus somebody who doesn’t have football?  You bet your life I do.

Because you have the best football league in the country doesn’t mean you can’t be good in basketball. That’s an excuse.

Get rid of all those negative perceptions…Because you’re better than they are at football, kids shouldn’t come here?  It’s illogical.  In fact, I would argue you should come here.  It’s something to do on fall weekends, something really good to do on fall weekends.

But as we sit here the first week of June, it is still Kentucky’s conference to lose.  And with Monday’s news that John Calipari’s son Brad will be part of the Wildcats next season, but the school is uncertain about whether he will be a walk-on or be provided a chance to play on scholarship.

One final piece of news from the first days of June, and it involves a radio announcer continuing to add more prominent names to his resume:

Josh Lewin to add UCLA to his already growing radio broadcast schedule

The one-time WGN TV and Radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball team continues to find more work.  Currently entering his 12th season as the play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Chargers in the NFL,  he is currently doing his fifth season doing the New York Mets on radio.  Expect the travel budget to grow even more when the Chargers head East or if the Mets again reach the National League playoffs.


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