Bardo: Carmody deserves another year

ESPN college basketball analyst Stephen Bardo said Monday he believes Bill Carmody should remain Northwestern’s coach for at least one more season.

“I would keep him,” Bardo said. “I think he’s done enough to warrant that. The trajectory of the program is in the right direction.”

Northwestern struggled during Carmody’s first eight years and experienced one winning season. He’s since had four consecutive winning seasons and coached the Wildcats to a school-record four consecutive NITs. The Wildcats have gone 179-191 overall and 66-136 in the Big Ten in Carmody’s 12 seasons

Northwestern has never been to the NCAA tournament, but has also come closer during Carmody’s tenure than it ever has before. The Wildcats were considered an NCAA tournament bubble team this season after an 8-10 Big Ten season, which included a win over Michigan State. Close losses did Northwestern in this season with seven losses in Big Ten games by five points or fewer, or in overtime.

The Wildcats finished 19-14 this season and lost in the NIT second round to Washington on Friday. They’ll graduate all-time leading scorer John Shurna, but will return four other starters.

Carmody signed a contract extension for an undisclosed amount of time in 2011.

“I think he’s a good fit for Northwestern,” Bardo said of Carmody. “They’ve been knocking on the NCAA tournament door. The last couple of years they’ve definitely had NCAA tournament talent on the team.”

Despite Bardo’s personal feelings, he isn’t sure what decision Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips is headed with the decision. Carmody said last week he would meet with Phillips after the season to discuss his future.

“It’s hard to say,” Bardo said. “Is there a lot of pressure on the administration or alums at Northwestern to go a different route?

“I would think people are pleased. I’ve seen Northwestern when they weren’t competitive compared to when Carmody came in. He has a unique style of play, and he’s been able to recruit Chicago kids who have done well, and I think he’s represented the program in good fashion. They have a new athletic director, and it’s unclear what his expectations are for the basketball program.”