1) We have never been a basketball school. We went to the NCAA tourney 19 out of the 41 years preceding Grant's tenure. From 1939 (first year of tourney) through 1974 we went to the tourney exactly zero times. We are second in overall and conference basketball wins in a football conference with one helluva basketball school. That's nothing to be ashamed of, but being an infinitely distant 2nd to Kentucky in the SEC does not make us a basketball school. For a little perspective: Kentucky has been to the Final Four 15 times; we have never been. Our expectations should be measured against this history. Grant went to the tourney once in five years but got completely screwed by the selection committee in 2010-11 and was very close last year.
2) Our best hope for national prominence is to follow the Florida model. Florida hired Billy Donovan at the age of 31 after he had two moderately successful seasons at Marshall but no NCAA appearances. We followed a similar path in hiring Anthony Grant at the age of 43 after he won 3 conference championships in 3 years and took VCU to 2 NCAA appearances. Any potential new hire will almost certainly follow this model.
3) Grant compares reasonably in SEC and overall wins with Donovan's first five years. Donovan went 45-35 in the SEC in his first five years; Grant is 46-38 in his first five. To be sure, Donovan had the Gators going in a much better direction than Grant after five years, but Grant has a solid roster lined up for 2014-15, which should be considered a a relatively strong rebuilding year with a shot to make the tourney and something to build on.
4) Grant compares reasonably well in SEC wins with Wimp Sanderson's first five years. Sanderson became a master at winning the SEC tourney but he only won one in his first five years and his record was 51-39 in the SEC regular season for those first five compared to Grant's 46-38. Sanderson took the team to the tourney in 4 of his first five years but it was a different age in which the SEC was a respected conference. Case in point: Sanderson finished 8-10 in the SEC and tied for 8th in 1983 but still got a bid to the tourney without winning the conference tourney.
5) Grant is third in SEC wins to Donovan and Calipari in the last five years.
6) Grant has had some bad luck and experienced disappointment with two highly-touted recruits. Every coach experiences untimely injuries and gets recruits that don't pan out. Grant has had more than his fair share of both. The difference is that impatient Bama fans view these as excuses, and in the case of failed recruits, more evidence of needing to oust him. A more patient approach would look at the bigger picture and see that Grant has had a reasonably successful tenure and is building for the future.