Bruce Weber was fired after 9 seasons as Illinois basketball coach Friday and it isn't a surprise. The Illini lost nine of their last ten games and the school is trying to raise millions to refurbish its facilities. Fans will be disgruntled because the team isn't winning even though Illinois made it to the Final Four in St. Louis in 2005. But Illinois has struggled recently and it's a school that has had basketball success.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo railed for five minutes after his team beat Iowa Friday in Indianapolis about his disappointment in Weber's dismissal. Izzo cited athletic director Mike Thomas' comment in January about evaluating the basektball program at the end of the season. Izzo did not mention Thomas by name but the inference was clear. Izzo admitted Weber is a friend and as president of the basketball coaches' association he said he was frustrated toward the way his profession gets treated at times.
Illilnois is expected to hire Shaka Smart away from Virginia Commonwealth, a team in the Final Four last year. Smart is a friend of Thomas' from their days at Akron. Weber may well end up back as coach at Southern Illinois.