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The Top 50 College Basketball Coaches

These are our rankings for the current men’s top NCAA basketball coaches. Certainly there are active coaches that have all time strong resumes like Leonard Hamilton, but would I want him coaching my team the next three or four seasons is the question I we ask here. Doing big things at lesser schools is an added plus.

Tier 1

NET has existed for 5 seasons, in that time there have been 4 NCAA Champions (UConn, Kansas, Baylor, and Virginia) No coach has went to more than 1 Final Four. In this period representing one college generation Mark Few, Bill Self, Kelvin Sampson, and Scott Drew have dominated the sport with average finishes of in the NET from 2 to 13 per year. Each has made the Final Four once and, Bill Self and Scott Drew have won National Titles.

5 YearAvg NET

Mark Few and Kelvin Sampson have arguments doing it at a more consistent level at lesser places. Essentially building both from the ground up. Houston had history but hadn’t been good in 30 years. Is it easier to win at Kansas than Gonzaga or Houston, most would say so. Still the championships are hard to get. I think you go…

1. Bill Self

.769%, 2 championships, 4 Final Four’s. 

It’s not just the multiple championships now at a blue blood like Kansas, getting Tulsa to the Elite 8 is a big feather in his cap in his resume, showing he could do it at a have not program too. What is most impressive is probably the consistency in 19 years at Kansas. While most every program has had a season, 17th is the lowest end of year AP ranking. 

2. Mark Few

.836% 1 National Championship Game, 2 Final 4’s

Few was there from the start, helping Gonzaga get to their first NCAA tourney. He’s helped build them brick by brick from a nobody to a national power. They are easily the #1 ranked team in NET comfortably the last 4 years. Unfortunately, the big one has alluded him. I wouldn’t have knocked him for that 5-10 years ago for one because I think it can be fluky. He’s a victim of the expectations he has helped create though. He’s essentially had a blue blood program the last decade that recruits against anyone. He’s unique in that he’s built a powerhouse ground up but I think he now needs to get a championship to really cement his legacy.

3. Kelvin Sampson

.678 2 Final 4’s

In the history of NET rankings, Gonzaga is comfortably #1 and Houston is comfortably #2.  To take them to a final four and build them into a national power and as quickly as he did is strong. Yes they have history, pretty much ancient history. Before him, they went to one fluke auto-bid NCAA in 22 years. He also has history of his own taking Oklahoma to the Final Four as well.

4. Scott Drew

.644% 1 Final Four, 1 Championship

You got to remember he took over a Baylor program that had a player murder another player. Everyone left and they were on probation and had little history prior. He built them to the point that the last 5 years they have basically been Kansas and at a more difficult place to win.

5. Tom Izzo

.714%    8 Final 4’s, 1 Championship

He gets there all the time which is great, but the closing percentage is light with only one title, but he gets there.  So is the overall success in the last couple of years. He’s a great coach that still has it, I just think the championship is a long time ago at this point the other four are doing a better overall job today.

Post season matters, but for a look at the last 5 years, the average NET rankings of each schools tells a big part of the story and weighs in the rankings. Still he’s someone you would want coaching your team in the NCAA tournament.

*Average NET included if the coach has been at the same school all 5 years.

5 Year
1Bill SelfKansas10.5
2Mark FewGonzaga2.2
3Kelvin SampsonHouston6.3
4Scott DrewBaylor13.2
5Tom IzzoMichigan State32.4
6Nate OatesAlabama
7Chris BeardOle Miss
8Eric MusselmanArkansas
9Randy BennettSaint Mary’s30.6
10Brian DutcherSan Diego State38.0
11John CalipariKentucky24.6
12Tony BennettVirginia32.0
13Rick PitinoSt. John’s
14Bruce PearlAuburn31.6
15Mick CroninUCLA
16Jim LarranagaMiami84.6
17Rick BarnesTennessee19.6
18Tommy LloydArizona
19Greg McDermottCreighton31.8
20Shaka SmartMarquette
21Fran McCafferyIowa27.4
22Dan HurleyUConn42.8
23Matt PainterPurdue18.0
24Dana AltmanOregon41.6
25Buzz WilliamsTexas A&M
26Jerome TangKansas State
27Brad UnderwoodIllinois40.2
28Steve ForbesWake Forest
29Sean MillerXavier
30Chris JansMississippi St.
31Porter MoserOklahoma
32Andy EnfieldUSC45.8
33Greg GardWisconsin33.6
34Jamie DixonTCU67.0
35Dusty MayFAU123

Matt Painter

We had the hardest time ranking Painter. He clearly has one of the best programs in the country, but losing to 15 seed, Saint Peter’s, 13 seed North Texas, and 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson the last three years is rough. In fairness one of those was in the Sweet 16 and he did make an Elite 8 in 2019 so it’s not all bad. What is the bigger redflag is the fact Zach Edey was playing 19 minutes a game two years ago while having an all time per minute season. He was the same player as last year where he had one of the best seasons in College basketball history. Trevion Williams was also great but as a coach if you have two players like that you have to find a way to get both on the court or either play Edey like you did last season. That’s being too married to the system and not adaptable when you play one of the best players in the history of the game 19 minutes a game.

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