JU’s Cliff Warren and UNF’s Matthew Driscoll know how close they are to hitting the jackpot. They know when they watch VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens on the sidelines directing their teams to upset after upset and getting within a whisper of playing for the national championship that it could happen to them. It is the nature of basketball, particularly college basketball. Every coach is a couple of recruits — maybe just one if he’s a truly super recruit — away from being able to play with anyone.

Football is totally different. It’s a numbers game as in you need a lot of really good players and you need lots of money. The football elite with few exceptions are the large state schools with mega-stadiums, large and passionate alumni followings. But basketball is where Duke, Marquette, St. Johns, Georgetown, Gonzaga and, yes, Butler and JU have a chance to grab the brass ring.

I’m not suggesting its easy for the JUs and UNFs, but it is possible. The keys: get the right coach — both Warren and Driscoll qualify as such in my opinion — and have an administration that wants success. Get those and coaches can dream big. If Butler can do, so can JU. If VCU can do, so can UNF.


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