Saturday, October 22, 2016

Does the Big 12 Have the Best Basketball Coaches?

By Travis Stone for

Photo by Steve Helber AP

Photo by Steve Helber AP

With the Texas Longhorns appearing to be zeroing in on VCU head coach Shaka Smart, could the Big 12 now have the best collection of coaches in the NCAA? Now granted, the ACC probably has four Hall of Fame coaches with Coach K, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, and Jim Boeheim and they are probably the leaders in this debate.

With those coaches age and years of experience compared to the BIG 12, could we see the BIG 12 close that gap? Let’s take a closer look at this argument from each side:

Coach K leads the ACC in wins with 1,016 but does have 40 years of experience while Bob Huggins has 765 wins in only 33 seasons. Coach K’s win total per season is 25 and if you add the 7 seasons of difference between the two coaches, Huggins would have 940 wins at 25 wins per season.

Bill Self is the other top name is the Big 12 coaching ranks that would surpass that 1,000 win total by his 40th season, but Roy Williams is on a better pace than Self is. That leaves a big gap between the top coaches in the two conferences.

If you look at the up and coming coaches in the Big 12, Fred Hoiberg (115 Wins in 5 Seasons) and possibly Shaka Smart (163 Wins in 6 Seasons), one has to believe that the BIG 12 is closing the gap of having the best coaches of any NCAA conference.

If you take the current win totals for Hoiberg and Smart translated to the a 40 year career like Coach K, Hoiberg would have 920 wins and Smart would have 1,080 wins which puts him at a better pace than Coach K.

From the ACC standpoint, if you take Jamie Dixon at his current rate of wins he would be at 1,000 by the time he’s been coaching at Pitt for 40 seasons. However, Pitt has shown inconsistency in the past few seasons.

Buzz Williams (21 Wins Per Season) is another coach in the ACC that has enjoyed success early in his coaching career but had a rough time adjusting to the ACC this past season. You also have to take into account that Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber will have their respected schools in a position to start competing at a high level very soon and their track records speak for themselves.

The two wildcards here are Scott Drew (19 Wins Per Season) and Lon Kruger (19 Wins Per Season). Both have shown improvement over the past few seasons but have just not closed the gap on the ACC’s best coaches.

The other aspect here from the ACC side is that the bottom of their conference just can’t seem to get a consistent coach for their respected schools and the Jim Boeheim’s sanctions could affect his win total and reputation as a Hall of Fame coach.

With all these aspects and arguments, it now appears to me that if Texas does hire Shaka Smart, the BIG 12 Conference could pass the ACC for the best collection of head coaches in the NCAA.


Edited by Michael Walker



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