New NCAA Basketball Coaches Off to a Rough Start in 2013-14

David Aldridge@davidmaldridgeFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

New NCAA Basketball Coaches Off to a Rough Start in 2013-14

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    Many NCAA basketball teams around the country are beginning the 2013-14 season with new head coaches.

    Some of these coaches have inherited situations that are built for success while others find themselves in a position that will take hard work and time to get things turned around.

    Because of those challenges, a few new coaches are off to rough starts through the first part of the season.

    Here are five new coaches that are struggling to start the 2013-14 season.

Bobby Hurley: Buffalo

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    Bobby Hurley finally got his first win as a head coach on Saturday as Buffalo defeated West Virginia Wesleyan, and it must have felt great after dropping the first two games of the season.

    The Bulls struggled in the season opener against Texas A&M, falling 82-58, and then followed that up with an 11-point loss on the road against Niagara.

    West Virginia Wesleyan is a Division II opponent, but it still counts as a win for Bobby Hurley, who is only three games into his head coaching career.

    Javon McCrea is the senior leader of the Bulls, and he’s carried the team through the first part of the season, averaging 21.3 points and 11 rebounds per game. He’ll have to sustain this production for Hurley to have any chance at a successful first year at Buffalo.

Richard Pitino: Minnesota

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    It may appear strange to include Richard Pitino and Minnesota on this list considering the Golden Gophers are 3-0 with wins over Lehigh, Montana and Richmond.

    However, this spot on the list is more about the tough news Pitino has had to deal with on the recruiting trail.

    The Golden Gophers were a long shot to land 5-star point guard Tyus Jones, who announced last Friday he’d be attending Duke, but many around the program thought Minnesota had a great chance to land 4-star power forward Reid Travis.

    Travis is an elite prospect from Minnesota, and Pitino really tried to push for him to stay at home and become a Golden Gopher, but Travis elected to head west to play for Stanford.

    For Pitino, it was a tough break, as he simply had too much ground to make up to close the deal on Travis.

Steve Alford: UCLA

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    Despite anything Steve Alford said after the game, starting the season with five-point win at home against Drexel isn’t what he was hoping for in his debut as the head coach at UCLA.

    This is a program that has to regain the interest of the fanbase and get excited about the future, and pulling out a tough win over Drexel will do nothing to invigorate the fans.

    Most coaches are always happy to win their first game at a new school. At UCLA, that won’t cut it.

    The Bruins looked better in their second game in a 91-60 victory over Oakland, but now the pressure is on for them to play that well in their next few games against mediocre opponents.

Andy Enfield: USC

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    USC opened the season on the road at Utah State, one of the toughest places to play in college basketball that no one knows about.

    Utah State was clearly the better team and the 78-65 victory over the Trojans was no fluke.

    Andy Enfield got USC back on track with wins over Cal. State Northridge and Northern Arizona, but it’s obvious he’ll have his work cut out for him in making the Trojans competitive in what should be a very strong Pac-12 this season.

    It will take some time for Enfield to turn USC into the west coast version of Dunk City.

Eddie Jordan: Rutgers

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    Considering everything that happened in the offseason with the Rutgers basketball program, it must be a sigh of relief to get back to worrying about things that are actually happening on the court with the Scarlet Knights.

    However, the on-court play should still be cause for concern.

    Rutgers has a 2-1 record, but had to struggle to get those two wins against Florida A&M and Yale. The Scarlet Knights won the two games by a combined nine points.

    The loss was a three-point defeat to UAB.

    If Eddie Jordan’s team doesn’t improve quickly, it could be another very long conference season for Rutgers.