The last time OU went looking for a basketball coach, I devised a 64-coach bracket and picked winners all the way down to the final two.
Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt vs. Wichita State's Mark Turgeon. Hewitt won.
Nothing wrong with that. Two solid candidates. But I also failed to include a certain Jeff Capel in the field of 64. So don't come to me for guesses on who the Sooners will hire this time.
But I can offer insight on from where OU could and should court a coach.
The Sooners won't — and shouldn't — try to shock the world. They wouldn't want a bigger-than-life personality, like this sport often creates, even if they had the sales pitch and checkbook to attract one.
Wouldn't work. OU is a football school, and while Bob Stoops wouldn't care about sharing the spotlight, a basketball coach accustomed to being the biggest thing on campus would go screaming down Imhoff Road after two weeks on campus.
But here's what the Sooners could do to get an established, successful coach. Seek a winner from a big-time basketball school that doesn't play big-time football.
Like Marquette's Buzz Williams, who seems to be the consensus choice in the early soothsaying. But there are other examples.
Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings. Memphis' Josh Pastner. Cincinnati's Mick Cronin. St. John's Steve Lavin. Georgetown's John Thompson III. Xavier's Chris Mack. Butler's Brad Stevens.
Those schools have either no or little football money and wouldn't likely win a bidding war with the Sooners.
Not that all or any of them would jump at an offer. Georgetown's a better basketball job than OU, and Thompson is a D.C. legacy. Lavin is married to a New York actress. Mack and Cronin are Cincinnati guys. Stevens is an Indianapolis folk hero.
But you never know who might be ready to move. If Joe Castiglione found the coach he wanted, he might lure him without paying silly money. Williams, for instance, is believed to make $1.4 million a year, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which is less than what Capel made at OU.
Conversely, OU certainly is a better basketball job than Alabama, but Bama could write a cashier's check to keep Anthony Grant.
Now, a coach coming from a Big East or similar school would have to have the right attitude about OU. Would have to realize that football is king and that's not going to change.
That won't work for everybody. But it might work for some, who wouldn't mind coaching in relative peace and with reasonable expectations, at a place where the Final Four is attainable.
If Joe C. doesn't find his man from that pool, he can always go the mid-major route, which brought Billy Tubbs and Capel to Norman.
Utah State's Stew Morrill, Richmond's Chris Mooney, St. Mary's Randy Bennett. Lots of good coaches out there, itching to work at a place where the cards and the NCAA selection committee aren't stacked against you.
Heck, Castiglione could let some school do the heavy lifting for him and just steal a plum hire, like Colorado's Tad Boyle, a Kansas grad who proved in one year at CU he knows what he's doing.
But OU's best bet appears to be a coach from a big-time school without big-time money.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Ranking the openings
With the departure Tuesday of Sidney Lowe from North Carolina State, seven basketball jobs are open in the power conferences, and those schools could be competing for some of the same candidates. How they rank:
1. Arkansas: Razorbacks have been to six Final Fours and 29 NCAA Tournaments. They won the title in 1994. The Hogs once had a huge fan following that could be rekindled.
2. Oklahoma: Sooners have been to 26 NCAAs and four Final Fours. Great facilities and plenty of money, but soft fan base.
3. Georgia Tech: 16 NCAAs and two Final Fours; plays in the tradition-rich ACC. But fan base has dwindled and expectations might be too high, even though the Yellow Jackets played in the 2004 title game.
4. Utah: Headed to the Pac-12, Utes have been to 27 NCAAs and four Final Fours, plus won the 1944 title. Utes were in the Sweet 16 as recently as 2005.
5. North Carolina State: Two NCAA titles, 1974 and 1983, plus another Final Four and 22 overall NCAA appearances. But Wolfpack plays third fiddle in its own state, to Carolina and Duke.
6. Providence: Friars have been to two Final Fours, but none since 1987. And while Friars have been to 16 NCAAs, they haven't won an NCAA game since 1997.
7. Texas Tech: Red Raiders never have made a Final Four. Their eight NCAA Tournament victories rank 91st in the nation.