Carlson: Could Porter Moser leave OU for Notre Dame? Doesn't seem crazy at all
Porter Moser motored through the postgame handshake line so quickly TV cameras didn’t catch him shaking TCU coach Jamie Dixon’s hand.
Hardly caught the OU coach shaking anyone’s hand.
It is difficult to blame Moser for wanting to get away as fast as possible Tuesday night ― his Sooners were abysmal. Unorganized and disjointed. Uninspired and disinterested even.
The result: TCU beat OU to a pulp.
Of course, TCU dispatched the same punishment to Kansas on the Jayhawks’ home hardwood last week, so losing to the Horned Frogs isn’t a crime. But the way the Sooners lost, never leading and never putting up a fight, wasn’t good.
“It was a beatdown,” Moser said of the 79-52 loss to the 11th-ranked Horned Frogs.
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As another so-so season plugs along ― a year after OU just missed the NCAA Tournament, the Sooners again find themselves on the outside edge of the bubble ― you have to wonder if Moser is becoming a little beatdown, too.
You have to wonder, too, if Moser going to Notre Dame isn’t such a far-flung idea.
Earlier this month when Notre Dame coach Mike Brey announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season, Moser’s name surfaced as a possible replacement. Numerous names have been floated, but for a Catholic university in the Upper Midwest looking to rebuild its lackluster program, Moser might be near the top of Notre Dame’s list.
He rebuilt a lackluster program at a Catholic university in the Upper Midwest already, and he did it at a place with fewer resources, tradition and cachet than Notre Dame. His success at Loyola Chicago ― a Final Four and regular NCAA Tournament appearances ― should resonate with decision-makers at Notre Dame.
Moser’s buyout is steep, $9 million, though it drops to $6 million on April 1. Still, if there’s one thing Notre Dame rarely allows to get in the way of anything, it’s funding. If the Irish want Moser bad enough, they’ll figure out a way to pay any buyout.
Would Moser want Notre Dame?
He has never shied away from his Catholic roots. He has said he went to Creighton without a scholarship to play basketball because he wanted to go to a school that lived his faith. When he wrote a book after Loyola’s Final Four run, it was as much about faith as coaching.
Seems natural Moser would be interested in Notre Dame.
Maybe he’s even more interested after nearly two years at OU. Being the men’s basketball coach at OU has never been an easy task. Even though the program is well-funded and well-supported internally, it is neither loved nor beloved like football. It takes a Buddy Hield or a Trae Young to get fans interested.
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Moser had to know that before taking the OU job in 2021. Still, when you’ve built a winner at Loyola Chicago and convinced fans in a major metropolis that your team is worth seeing, you probably think you can work your magic anywhere.
And it’s fair to say, Moser and the Sooners have grown the fan base. Last Saturday, the announced attendance for the Baylor game was 8,808. The Saturday before that against West Virginia, it was 7,756.
But often after home games with good crowds, it feels like Moser is practically begging people to come back. That’s the type of thing a lot of coaches do around the country, but is it something Moser wants to do?
Of course, if the Sooners were better, Moser might not have to.
He isn’t without blame for where the program stands. Why isn’t the team’s overall athleticism better? Why stick with rotations that aren’t producing? Why start the game Tuesday by going nearly five minutes without a point, then allow an even longer drought to start the second half?
Those types of things fall back on the head coach.
Listen, in no way am I suggesting Moser should be on the hot seat or OU should make a coaching change. But the fact is, this season isn’t looking like much of an improvement over OU’s first season under Moser. Maybe that will change next season with a couple of incoming four-star high school signees, Kaden Cooper and Jacolb Cole, but time will tell.
The same could be said of which direction Notre Dame goes with its coaching search. But if the Irish are interested in Moser, don’t be surprised if he’s interested in them, too.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or email@example.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok, and support her work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU basketball: Interest between Porter Moser, Notre Dame may be mutual