2016-17 College Basketball Coaches on the Hot Seat

AP Photo/Michael Baker

The hot seat is a difficult place for head coaches to be, but it’s not a death-knell for anyone’s tenure within a program.

For the last three years, the man at the top of the NBCSports.com Hot Seat list managed to hold onto his job for at least another year. Rick Barnes got Texas back to the NCAA tournament in 2014 before eventually parting ways with the Longhorns in 2015. Mark Turgeon and Melo Trimble brought Maryland back to national relevancy with a terrific year in 2014-15 and Tom Crean’s Big Ten regular season title got him some relief from the Indiana fan base this past year. 

If there is someone that would fall into that category on this year’s list, it is probably Steve Alford, who has drawn the ire of the UCLA fan base but who has a roster talented enough to get the Bruin faithful to chill out.

Here are the high-major head coaches whose name you could hear pop-up during the Coaching Carousel this spring.

CONTENDER SERIES: Duke | Oregon |Kentucky | Kansas | Villanova

Subscribe to the CBT Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Audioboom


Johnny Jones: Jones hasn’t been horrible at LSU. He is 80-51 overall, he reached the NCAA tournament in 2014-15 and he’s never finished below .500 in the SEC. The latter could easily change this year, which is a problem considering that the biggest red flag with Jones is that LSU perennially feels like an underachiever. Last season, he had No. 1 pick Ben Simmons averaging 19 points, 12 boards and five assists and couldn’t get to the NCAA tournament. That’s a bad look.

Kim Anderson: Anderson has six SEC wins in his two years as the head coach of the Missouri Tigers. He’s 19-44 overall, and given the amount of turnover within the program – 11 of the 12 players in the 2013 and 2014 Missouri recruiting classes have transferred or been dismissed from the team – it doesn’t look at if this year will be much different. Throw in a new athletic director, and the former Division II national title-winner has an uphill battle to climb.

Richard Pitino: Part of Pitino’s issue is that he hasn’t been winning. After an NIT title in his first year, he finished 10th in the Big Ten during his second season and went 8-23 and 2-16 in the league last season. That’s bad, but what makes the situation all-the-more dire is that his program has dealt with a myriad of off-the-court issues of late. Sexual assault allegations. Arrests for domestic violence. The Gophers even had a player’s phone get hacked and a sex tape involving multiple team members get released onto social media. Should I mention that the AD that hired him – Norwood Teague – was fired amid a sexual harassment scandal?

LEAGUE PREVIEWS: Big 12 | ACC | Pac-12 | Big Ten | SECMid-Majors

Richard Pitino (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Richard Pitino (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Orlando Antigua: In two seasons at USF, Antigua is 17-48 overall and just 7-29 in the American, and it doesn’t look like the Bulls will be much better this season. If that wasn’t enough, the NCAA is investigating an academic matter that already cost Oliver Antigua, Orlando’s brother, his job as an assistant coach.

Jim Christian: Building a program up from the bottom of the ACC is not an easy thing to do, particularly when you’re Boston College. The Eagles are a college program in a pro sports town in a conference that’s centered 850 miles to the south. I get it. But the Eagles are 20-44 under Christian and 4-32 in ACC play, having lost to 20 consecutive ACC opponents. The only reason BC’s record isn’t uglier is that the Eagles somehow won four straight games to close out the 2014-15 regular season. Can Christian survive another year where his best player’s best memories of playing in the program involve going out to eat?


Steve Alford: A good year for most programs is probably defined as finishing in the top third of the regular season standings, earning a tournament bid and picking up a win against the program’s biggest rival. That’s not a good year at UCLA. That’s essentially what Alford did for his first two seasons with the Bruins, and that didn’t prevent him from drawing the ire of the influencers in that fanbase despite the fact that he’s recruiting as well as anyone on the west coast.

Coming off of a 15-17 season with a team that has an ideal combination of quality veteran players and super-talented freshmen with a chance to make the jump to the NBA, the Bruins, on paper, look like Pac-12 title contenders and a team that can get to the Final Four. Alford needs this team to be nationally relevant come March or he’s going to see more airplane banners and billboard trucks calling for his ouster.

John Groce: Groce went to the NCAA tournament in his first season with the Illini in 2012-13, but he’s missed the tournament the last three years and has still never recorded an above-.500 season in Big Ten play. He’s been on the wrong end of some injury luck, however, and he actually has a team capable of making a run at an NCAA tournament berth. Throw in some recruiting momentum in the state, and Illinois seems to be trending in the right direction, at least for now.

POSITION RANKS: Lead Guards | Off Guards | Wings | Big Men

John Groce, (AP Photo/Robin Scholz)
John Groce, (AP Photo/Robin Scholz)

Pat Chambers: This will be year six for Chambers in Happy Valley and the best that he’s been able to muster is a 10th place finish in the league and a 7-11 conference record. That said, his best year with Penn State was last season and he’s managed to put together a couple of quality recruiting classes in a row. Six straight years without an NCAA tournament berth is difficult for any coach to overcome in a Power 5 conference, but at a program like Penn State – where basketball isn’t exactly the school’s focal point – trending up may be enough to get him one more year.

Mike Anderson: A longtime Arkansas assistant in the Nolan Richardson years, the plan was for Anderson to take over and bring back the glory years. In the five seasons he’s been in charge, the Razorbacks were nationally relevant just once, a run to the 2015 NCAA tournament’s second round. He has a chance to be very good with this group, led by seniors Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs, but Anderson may need to return to the dance if he’s going to keep his dream job.

Bruce Weber: Weber took over for Frank Martin at a time when Kansas State had grown into national relevancy. He reached two straight NCAA tournaments to start his tenure, but has since gone 32-33 and just 13-23 in the Big 12. This year he has the pieces to make some noise in a league that’s wide-open after Kansas. Will anything short of a trip back to the tournament be enough to stave off a job change?

Jeff Lebo: Lebo has been at East Carolina for six years and has not made an NCAA tournament. In two seasons in the American, he’s 26-39 and just 10-26 in league play. The Pirates basketball program was not exactly a selling point in their pitch to the Big 12.


Tim Miles: This is Miles’ fifth season at Nebraska. He’s only had one year with less than 18 losses and more than six league wins. That was in 2013-14, when the Huskers reached the NCAA tournament. He lost Shavon Shields and Andrew White this offseason. The Huskers are certainly back in a rebuilding mode, but they were also 10th nationally in attendance in 2015 and 11th in 2016. He’s one of college basketball’s most likable characters, popular with the media and still selling tickets. Be better than Rutgers and Minnesota, don’t get fired. It’s a mantra everyone in the Big Ten can live by.

Top Backcourts | Top Frontcourts | Top 100 Players | Preseason Top 25

Lorenzo Romar: Romar hasn’t had a problem landing talent at Washington. He has had five players picked in the first round in the last five years. The issue has been winning: he hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament in any of those five years, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll dance this year even with potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz on the roster. But there’s more: Romar has landed a commitment from Michael Porter Jr., a top five player in the Class of 2017, and hired Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant coach. Will that be enough to save his job if Fultz isn’t enough to get the Huskies back to playing in March?

Brad Brownell: It’s been five years since Brownell has gotten Clemson into the NCAA tournament, but this may be the year that he gets it done. As a member of a loaded ACC, he has a couple of critical transfers getting eligible and got a boost when Jaron Blossomgame opted to return to school for his senior season.

George Mason Final Four star Tony Skinn hired as hoops coach

Doral Chenoweth/Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

FAIRFAX, Va. – Tony Skinn, who helped lead 11th-seeded George Mason to the Final Four during March Madness as a player in 2006, was hired Thursday to coach men’s basketball at the school.

Skinn replaces Kim English, who left George Mason for Providence after Ed Cooley departed Providence for Georgetown.

“Tony Skinn is the right man for this moment in Mason’s basketball program,” university President Gregory Washington said in the news release announcing the hiring. “His coaching style will galvanize our student-athletes and his connection to our finest hour on the court is sure to electrify our alumni and fans.”

Skinn was a starting guard for the Patriots 17 years ago when they picked up a series of surprising wins – including against UConn in the regional final in Washington, about 20 miles from campus – to make the semifinals at the NCAA Tournament.

George Mason’s coach at the time, Jim Larrañaga, is now at Miami and has the Hurricanes in this year’s Final Four.

Skinn was most recently an assistant coach at Maryland. He also has worked at Ohio State, Seton Hall and Louisiana Tech.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to step back on campus,” Skinn said. “I’ve had some of my greatest memories here and I’m looking forward to making new ones with our fans and our community.”

Gonzaga’s Timme among five finalists for men’s Wooden Award

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – Drew Timme of Gonzaga is one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award as the men’s college basketball player of the year.

He’s joined by Zach Edey of Purdue, Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana, Houston’s Marcus Sasser and Jalen Wilson of Kansas.

Timme took his team farthest in the upset-riddled NCAA Tournament with Gonzaga losing in the Elite Eight. Sasser helped Houston reach the Sweet 16. Purdue lost in the first round, while Indiana and Kansas were beaten in the second round.

The winner will be announced April 4 on ESPN. All five players have been invited to Los Angeles for the 47th annual presentation on April 7.

Also among the top 10 vote getters were: Jaime Jaquez Jr. of UCLA, Brandon Miller of Alabama, Penn State’s Jalen Pickett, Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky and Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis.

Voting took place from March 13-20.

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley will receive the Legends of Coaching Award during the ceremony at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Indiana’s Teri Moren wins AP Coach of the Year

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

DALLAS – Teri Moren has led Indiana to some unprecedented heights this season.

The team won its first Big Ten regular season championship in 40 years, rose to No. 2 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll and earned the school’s first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Moren was honored Thursday as the AP women’s basketball Coach of the Year, the first time she has won the award. She received 12 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley was second with eight votes. Utah’s Lynne Roberts received five and Virginia Tech’s Kenny Brooks three.

Voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.

“I think a lot of people were like this is going to be a year where Indiana is reloading, rebuilding, they won’t be as good as they had been the year prior. We were picked third in the Big Ten,” Moren said.

Moren was surprised by her team, who told her she won in an elaborate ruse.

“Anytime you can share it with people that made it happen. the staff, the players, the most important people who have been instrumental in the season and this award is special. I was speechless.”

Moren accepted the award at the Final Four, sharing the stage with AP Player of the Year Caitlin Clark to complete a Big Ten sweep.

The team has come a long way from when Moren was a young girl growing up in southern Indiana. She was a diehard fan of the Indiana basketball team. The men’s one that is.

She would attend men’s games with her family when she was a kid and was a big fan of coach Bob Knight. She has a constant reminder of the Hall of Fame coach in her office as a picture of his infamous chair-throwing incident hangs by the door. Moren said it’s the last thing she sees before heading to practice.

As far as the women’s team, they just weren’t very good. Times have changed, as Moren has built the program into a blue-collar team that focuses on defense and is a consistent Top 25 team the last few seasons, appearing in the poll for 75 consecutive weeks starting with the preseason one in 2019-2020. That’s the fourth-longest active streak.

Before that, the Hoosiers had been ranked for a total of six times.

“People still talk to me about living in Bloomington and they couldn’t afford a ticket to the men’s game. Not that they settled, but became women’s basketball fans. At that moment, you could walk in and find any seat you wanted and watch women’s basketball,” Moren said.

“There were 300-400 people in the stands, now to what it is today, it’s an unbelievable thing to watch it grow. Things you dream about to see fans and bodies up in the rafters.”

The Hoosiers had six of the school’s top 10 most attended games this season, including crowds of over 13,000 fans for the first round of the NCAA Tournament and 14,000 for the second round game – a shocking loss to Miami.

“It stings right now, but that last game doesn’t define our season,” Moren said.

AP source: Alabama’s Brandon Miller declares for NBA draft

Getty Images

Alabama All-American forward Brandon Miller is heading to the NBA after displaying versatile talent and athleticism in a lone season of college ball that was blemished by revelations he was present at a fatal shooting in January near campus.

ESPN first reported on Miller’s decision, and a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the report to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Miller hadn’t yet made an official declaration for the draft.

The 6-foot-9, 200-pound freshman, who was one of the nation’s top high school recruits, is projected as a potential top 5 draft pick.

Miller displayed his accurate 3-point shooting and athleticism in the most productive season of any freshman in Alabama history. He led the Tide to their first No. 1 ranking in 20 years and first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed.

Miller averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds while hitting 38% from 3-point range. But he was scoreless in his first March Madness game, and went 3 of 19 and scored just nine points in a Sweet 16 loss to San Diego State.

Miller was described as a cooperating witness after the Jan. 15 shooting and was never charged with a crime.

But he and the Tide were dogged by off-court questions for the final two months of the season. Former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris, who was killed in early on Jan. 15.

Miller and fellow freshman Jaden Bradley were placed at the scene as well. According to police testimony, Miller brought Miles his gun. Miller’s attorney said the Tide forward was on his way to pick Miles up when Miles texted asking him to bring the weapon, but that Miller never handled the gun and didn’t know any criminal activity was intended.

Miller received threats after the news came out, and was accompanied by a university-provided security guard. “It doesn’t bother me,” Miller said of the threats at the NCAA regional in Birmingham, Alabama, “I send it to the right people and they handle it.”

Alabama finished the season 31-6 and won the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament titles.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark wins AP Player of the Year

caitlin clark
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

DALLAS — Caitlin Clark has put together one of the greatest individual seasons in NCAA history with eye-popping offensive numbers.

Iowa’s junior guard, though, saved her best performance for the game’s biggest stage, recording the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA history to get Iowa to the Final Four for the first time in 30 years.

Clark was honored Thursday as The Associated Press women’s basketball Player of the Year. She received 20 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. Voting was done before March Madness began.

“It’s a huge honor,” Clark said. “I picked a place that I perfectly fit into and that’s allowed me to show my skill set. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mean something. It’s not the reason you play basketball, it’s just something that comes along with getting to do what you love.”

The Iowa coaching staff surprised Clark by sharing that she won the award while they were visiting the Iowa Children’s Hospital – a place near and dear to her. It also has huge ties to the Hawkeyes athletic department.

They put together a video of some of the children in the hospital congratulating Clark on an outstanding season, and in the middle of it, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder popped on the screen to tell her she won.

“I’m there for inspiring the next generation and being there for the people that you know are going through a hard time,” said Clark, who grew up in Iowa. “Being able to give joy to people that watch you play and watch your team play is amazing.”

She averaged 27.0 points, 8.3 assists and 7.5 rebounds during the season to help Iowa go 26-6. Clark has 984 points, the sixth-most in a season by any player in Division I women’s history. She also has over 300 assists.

“She is spectacular. I don’t know how else to describe what she does on the basketball court,” Bluder said.

Next up for the Hawkeyes is undefeated South Carolina in the national semifinals. The Gamecocks are led by Aliyah Boston, last season’s winner of the award. She garnered the other eight votes this season.

“There’s so many great players, more than just me and (Aliyah),” Clark told the AP. “You can go on and on and list the tremendous players. I think that’s really good for our game when there’s a lot of great players. That’s what is going to help this game grow more than anything else.”

Whether it’s hitting deep 3s from the Hawkeye logo at home games, hitting off-balance game-winning shots or throwing pinpoint passes to teammates for easy baskets, Clark has excelled on the court this year to get Iowa to a place it hasn’t been in a long time.

“It’s funny, because the better the opponent, almost the better she plays,” Bluder said. “It’s like she locks in on those, when we’re playing against Top 25 teams. That’s when her statistics even go up even more, against great opponents.”

Clark is the second Iowa player to win the AP award in the past few seasons, joining Megan Gustafson who won it in 2019.