The single strongest and most frequently shared trait shared by the most consistently successful teams, in any sport, or at any level, is the quality of their coaching. I believe it so true as to be self-evident. And the SEC is a uniquely poignant and extreme example of this theory, given the disparity between our unprecedented success in football, and absolute ineptitude in basketball. It's the same schools. The same fan bases. The same budgets. It's the same recruiting bases. Is is football generally more popular in the SEC, than basketball? Absolutely. But is the preferential fandom of each sport enough to explain the completely opposite ends of the increasingly wider chasm between our football success and basketball futility? I don't think so, and in fact, don't think it's even possible to use this as an excuse to fully explain the difference away. i'll even go a step further, and say that the overwhelming majority of SEC fans have an allegiance to the entire sports program of their member institutions, and don't just put on a different hat, or simply stop caring, simply because it's basketball. The majority of SEC fans don't care about basketball because it's a god-awful product, and they have no reason to care about it. And that apathy lowers the bar of not just interest, but expectation. And so AD's place less emphasis on it, and don't feel anything near the white-hot heat assigned to football, and the absolute demand for success, and competing at the highest level, for championships. And so, they approach the courting, paying and hiring of basketball coaches in that same vein of little to no expectations, and lo and behold, it almost always turns out to be exactly what they end up with. And so, they continue to suck, and fans care less and less and less, and the vicious cycle not only perpetuates itself, but gets worse and worse and worse. Want to "fix" SEC basketball, and almost immediately? Start hiring the kind of basketball coaches as you do in football - or, hell, even something modestly comparable. Because right now, we aren't, and the results of that decision speaks for itself. On the football side, the movement of assistant coaches, and the significant upgrades that teams are making to their assistant coaching ranks is only beginning to truly show itself - we're just seeing the very first uptick in what is about to be a very long, lasting and critically important trend - where the quality of coaching begins to extend well beyond the HC's, alone, and down to assistants, as well. Some notably recent examples include: LSU hires Cam Cameron, a former NFL HC, as offensive coordinator. Saban hires Kiffin as OC. Auburn hires Muschamp as DC. aTm hires Chavis away from LSU. Florida just hires Randy Shannon as LB coach. Bama has Kevin Steele as a LB coach. Simply, teams are beginning to see how upgrading the quality of assistant coaches can have a significant impact on their overall success, or failure, and some - the smart ones - are acting accordingly. Quite frankly, this should scare Tennessee fans to death, but curiously, seems to have thus far gone largely unnoticed or flat-out ignored. So, here is another way of thinking about it: If you think that the disparity of high-quality coaching between Butch Jones and Nick Saban is significant, worrisome, and maybe even insurmountable (barring the anomaly and miraculous) - imagine what happens to that gap when you then throw the disparity between Lane Kiffin and Mike Bajakian, or that which exists between Jones/Malhzan and Muschamp/Jancek. If Tennessee is already behind when our HC versus other HC's who we must be expected to compete with - and regularly beat - proves difficult, then the disparity between these newly buffeted staffs, and our own, will almost certainly make it insurmountable. Simply, if you think that our current coaching deficiency is glaringly bad, now, wait until you see what's about to happen over the next several years. Being a bad HC will eventually get you fired. Being a bad HC who is also too stubborn / loyal to inadequate assistant coaches, can also greatly expedite that process, and leave a freshly devastated program on its wake. The valley of SEC basketball is plunging lower and lower, while the mountain of SEC football is only growing larger. To stand still in either, is to lose precious ground.