Because Jones was a former LSU assistant coach, hiring another one may not sound appealing, but Kermit Davis, 57, has his Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders headed to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament. They are ranked for the first time in school history at No. 25 and have a No. 37 RPI with a 27-4 overall record and atop Conference USA at 17-1. This team may be better than Davis’ No. 15 seeded team last season that shocked No. 2-ranked and No. 2 seed Michigan State, 90-81, in the first round. Yes, Davis knocked off the best in the business — Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. That alone should get Alleva very interested, but there is much more to consider.
Davis left LSU after the 2001-02 season to go to Middle Tennessee State, which had not reached the NCAA Tournament since 1988. It took a long time, but Davis got them there as a member of the Sun Belt in 2013. Through 15 seasons in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Davis has had just one losing season overall and in conference play and has had eight seasons of 19 wins or more.