Now that we have gone through a first round of NCAA tournament games in which most, if not all of the teams with candidates to become the new basketball coach at the University of Massachusetts, have been eliminated, there would appear to be few obstacles in closing a deal for UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford.
Which means there should be no road blocks to focus on Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley, who according to several sources is a prime candidate on Bamford's search list.
FGCU ended its season on Thursday with a respectable 86-80 loss to No. 3 seed Florida State in an NCAA first round game in Orlando.
Which means that if UMass is seriously interested in getting Dooley, Bamford should be headed south this weekend to talk to Dooley to see if a deal can be worked out.
Dooley, who has credentials as an assistant coach at Kansas and a 91-45 record and two straight NCAA tournament appearances at FGCU, is ready to move up to the next level--which UMass clearly would be. He is a Jersey guy who has made no secret that he would like to return to the Northeast. UMass is the only opening in the Northeast that would match his profile for moving up.
Bamford knows he must move quickly because there could be a domino effect among mid major schools as Power 5 conference jobs such as North Carolina State, LSU, Illinois, Washington, California and Indiana are filled.
The route for UMass seems clear. Whether it gets done and gets done in the next few days are the key questions.