If you are more than a casual fan of college basketball, like I am, you enjoy reading and talking about it all year long, not just in season. ESPN.com has been counting down a top-50 ranking of active basketball coaches. On Friday, Kansas head coach Bill Self was revealed as No. 6 on the top-50 list.
Through process of elimination, we can identity who the five coaches are that ESPN.com ranks ahead of Self. We know who they are, although not the order.
The top-five coaches, who will be revealed next week, are Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, John Calipari of Kentucky, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Rick Pitino of Louisville and Billy Donovan of Florida.
When all is said and done, seven Big 12 coaches will be on this list. You can argue where they rank and whether it is too high or too low, but one thing that isn’t debatable is that all seven deserve to be on the list.
The Big 12 has a unique distinction of being the only conference with as many as five league coaches with 500 wins or more in their career. West Virginia’s Bob Huggins heads the list with 739 career wins (.709 winning percentage) through the 2013-14 season. Rick Barnes of Texas has 584 career wins, 382 of them at Texas.
Lon Kruger of Oklahoma has 537 career wins (.611 winning percentage), Self has 532 wins (,754) and 325 of those victories have come in his time at Kansas. Tubby Smith, who won a national championship at Kentucky, rounds out the Big 12 500-win coaches club with 525 career wins (.683). Smith is in his second season at Texas Tech.
The ESPN.com top-50 list is based on several aspects of running a college basketball program, with a 1-10 ranking awarded for each of the evaluation criteria. The emphasis is on how each coach is doing right now and not so much on past successes and his overall body of work.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, Baylor’s Scott Drew and TCU coach Trent Johnson did not make the list.
Big 12 Basketball Coaches and Their Ranking on the ESPN.com Top-50 List
6. Bill Self, Kansas Jayhawks
15. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State Cyclones
30. Bob Huggins, West Virginia Mountaineers
31. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma Sooners
39. Tubby Smith, Texas Tech Red Raiders
40. Bruce Weber, Kansas State Wildcats
44. Rick Barnes, Texas Longhorns