A couple of recent polls illustrate a fan base nearly split between wanting its team to win in the postseason and wanting a new coach.
The “Bruce Weber sucks no matter what he does” narrative has been a thing in and around Kansas State for some time; all the way back to the coach’s very first day for some Wildcats basketball fans.
How large that thing actually is has been unmeasured to this point, with the popular thought being that most of the rage boiled down to a vicious but vocal minority.
K-State’s best season since 2013-14 – at least 20 wins, a sixth-place finish in the Big 12 after getting picked ninth, and a return to the NCAA postseason (technically, considering it’s the “Last 4 In”) would seem to be the perfect time to prove that assertion. After all, the program seemed to show a trend upward the past three years, if only a very slight one, moving from 15 to 17 to at least 20 wins.
But hey, progress is progress … until it isn’t, apparently, as a couple of recent Twitter polls showed a pretty serious split among fans when asked to choose between their team winning and getting a new coach.
The first poll was conducted right after K-State knocked Baylor out of the Big 12 Tournament.
Interesting, right? I mean, four out of 10 K-State fans* are still hoping their coach gets canned after a big win that was needed in order to break a postseason drought.
*This statement, and this entire post, makes the assumption that it was K-State fans who voted in the polls. Is it 100-percent guaranteed that every vote had purple in its veins? No. Is it a pretty safe bet that nearly all of those votes were K-State fans? I feel pretty confident in saying yes, mostly because nobody outside of this fanbase cares enough about KSU’s troubles to try and sway a vote like this one.
Still the bigger shocker came via the second poll conducted Sunday afternoon, right after K-State’s name was called to participate in the NCAA Tournament play-in game against Wake Forest.
Just 60 percent of 463 votes said they were happy K-State made the postseason. That left 40 percent saying they either weren’t happy or were conflicted.
That’s no small minority. And, it doesn’t really matter how things got to this point, even if it’s sometimes illogical or unfair.* That nearly half of a fan base can’t or won’t put positive results ahead of wishing for a new head coach demands legitimate attention.
*Personally, I’ve found many of the arguments against Weber to be vague and dishonest — “He’s one of the worst coaches in the league” or “This team keeps getting worse under Weber.” This all despite results showing that Weber has either had success in the past or held his own. Take this year, for example, when he beats every other Big 12 coach outside of Bill Self and Steve Prohm with a team picked to finish ninth. He isn’t the best coach in the league, but he certainly appears to be on par with most of the other ones.
Twitter conversation the past few days also has asked whether Bruce Weber might be the beneficiary of a fluid athletic director situation. In short, one would have to believe so, right? A school president wouldn’t put a coaching hire on the shoulders of an interim director, or shouldn’t. Or, if that does happen, one would believe the interim tag would be lifted soon after.
That timeline bears watching, and in the mean time, it gives Weber, whose current contract runs through the 2018-19 season, enough time to go win a couple of games in the next week and complicate things even more.