I've long been an advocate that it takes four to five years to do a rebuild correctly. Allows for two freshman classes in to matriculate, concentrate on the high school ranks, build the culture from top to bottom, add pieces where need be (transfers, etc). Some coaches turn things around faster, others never make it. Some take shortcuts, or have a roster waiting for them that is more ready to go. How good the conference is or the schedule also has tremendous bearing in the results. Very difficult to compare one situation to another because none of them are alike. One position player can make all the difference in the world.
Where do we stand as the end of February approaches in year three of the rebuild for Coach Wojo? Simply put, we're absolutely heading in the right direction and possibly ahead of timelines. Some fans will demand turnarounds in 2 or 3 years, but looking at what Wojo inherited, what players remained, the quality of the league last year and this year, we're doing just fine thank you.
In Buzz's last year at MU, a year chosen to win newly formed weaker Big East (a conference that would finish ranked 4th overall), MU finished the year 6th and Buzz left for Virginia Tech. Half of the freshman on that team are gone. The one incoming Buzz recruit willing to sign, Sandy Cohen, is now in the Horizon League. Buzz was able to bring over Luke Fischer in a transfer for the second semester of Wojo's first year, and has been a solid player for the Warriors.
This season, we are currently trending ahead of Buzz's last year in every major computerized rating system. Using Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, RPI, and BPI as source data. In fact, looking at this year's team, they are not far behind in some ratings of Buzz's 2012-13 year that won the Big East and ran to the Elite 8. What's equally impressive is Wojo is doing in a conference ranked higher than Buzz's final year. The Big East currently sits 3rd and has reigning national champion Villanova ready for another deep run.
Plenty of work still to be done and a finish with or without a NCAA berth would not be surprising. The margin for error is small. We are a bubble team no matter how you slice it. Our defense has plenty of issues, we are young at key positions and lack depth in areas as well. If our three ball shooting is off, it's over. That being said, this is a team that is capable on any given night and using data comparisons, has progressed nicely in Wojo's first three years at the helm. The doom and gloomers, step back from the ledge. If it doesn't happen this year, it will next.