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The Top of the Standings

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Special Saturday Edition: Best Big 12 Coaching Jobs

Yesterday I had the unfortunate “privilege” to be listening to the senile, old men that broadcast locally on ESPN Radio midday’s during the work week. Their topic of conversation, for one reason or another, was the rank, nationally, of the Arizona Wildcats basketball coaching position. They ranked it in the 10-15 range of college coaching jobs and then proceeded to go through different big name coaches around the country and pondered whether they would leave their jobs for the UofA position.

It did get me thinking of how I would rank the different coaching vacancies around the country. My specifications are to take the program as it is now, and what it can be into account. In order to make it fair, I will take into account that all openings are vacant and use a general “coach” as the basis. This coach has no regional or University bias, and will only look at the viability of the position.

I will start in the Big 12, since I live in Big 12 country (Denver) and graduated from a Big 12 school (Mizzou). Here is how the Big 12 hoops jobs rank in order

1. Kansas – If you can win the national championship, lose your five starters and come back to win your fifth straight conference championship, you have a winning program. KU has the most wins in Big 12 history and is a perennial national powerhouse. No question about this one.

2. Oklahoma – OU is another perennial powerhouse out of the Big 12. They aren’t as prominent as KU, but they have a long history of fielding greats teams, competing for the league title and making a run deep into March.

3. Missouri – Biased selection? Maybe. But Mizzou is certainly one of the best jobs in the Big 12. When Norm Stewart retired in 1999, Mizzou had some of the top names in the country applying for their vacancy. They had quite a downturn under the next regime, but have supplanted themselves again amongst the top jobs in the conference.

4. Texas – The biggest school in the biggest state draws more than just a few eyes its way. Even if they only recruit within their borders, UT can put a formidable squad on the floor year in and year out.

5. Oklahoma State – Eddie Sutton and Henry Iba are both legendary coaches who established a good reputation in Stillwater. That continues today.

6. Iowa State – The past decade has showed that the Cyclones can both be on top of the conference and also feed on the bottom. It is so hit-or-miss in Ames that ISU barely cracks the top half of this list.

7. Texas A&M – The Aggies have the benefit of their Texas roots, but the disadvantage of having their rival in Austin take center stage in the state.

8. Kansas State – K-State’s biggest issue is in their inability to recruit anyone of substance from what should be their recruiting area. The problem? Their in-state rivals in Lawrence. During Bob Huggins’ brief tenure in the Little Apple he was able to bring some of the best athletes in the country to Manhattan, but consider that an anomaly.

9. Texas Tech – See Texas A&M.

10. Baylor – The fact that Baylor isn’t last on this list says something about what the current administration has done to re-coup their image. Like the other Texas schools, Baylor’s advantage is a deep recruiting bed but also the ability to sell parents on Baylor’s academic reputation.

11. Colorado – Since my grandfather-in-law played basketball for CU in the early 40s, CU has had one relevant team, and that was due to the signing of Denver-born, future NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. There just isn’t enough talent in the Rocky Mountain region to bring kids to Boulder.

12. Nebraska – I hate the argument that you cannot field a good basketball team at a football school, because there are multiple examples of that not being true, but if you surveyed a group of 100 random Nebraskans, 99 wouldn’t know that the ‘Huskers had a basketball team.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

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