Will Holtmann Be The Next King Of The Big Ten After Izzo Retires?
We start our College Basketball Head Coach Power Rankings series with the Big Ten. A competitive league with a much clearer hierarchy of head coaches than other leagues. There isn’t much to argue about with the top and bottom of this list. The middle? That’s up for debate.
14. Ben Johnson – Minnesota Gophers
Johnson reached only 4 conference wins in his first season as head coach of the Gophers. He has a roster short on talent to compete in the Big Ten. He’ll need to hit some jackpots in the transfer market to get this turned around.
13. Fred Hoiberg – Nebraska Cornhuskers
There’s a decent argument to be made for Hoiberg as the worst coach in the Big Ten. He’s a pathetic 9-50 in the Big Ten. He gets a one spot bump on this list only because of his success at Iowa State (2010-2015)
12. Micah Shrewsberry – Penn State Nittany Lions
He had a respectable year one leading Penn State at 14-17. His ranking is indicative of the quality of coaches in his conference, not his coaching acumen.
11. Chris Collins – Northwestern Wildcats
Outside of an impressive 2016-17 season, it’s been the bottom of the conference for Collins and Northwestern. It’s not easy to coach at an academics first school.
10. Mike Woodson – Indiana Hoosiers
Woodson had a talented team in year one at Indiana, but seemed to underachieve much of the season.
9. Kevin Willard – Maryland Terrapins
Wouldn’t have been my choice to take over the Maryland program. However, it would be hard to underachieve more than Turgeon did.
8. Juwan Howard – Michigan Wolverines
Michigan’s postseason run makes this a tough call. He won’t have a problem bringing in talent. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the NBA soon.
7. Matt Painter – Purdue Boilermakers
Painter can really put together some solid teams (read: endless 7-footers). In most other leagues he’d be near the top in head coach rankings.
6. Greg Gard – Wisconsin Badgers
I get it. He was conference co-champion last season. You know what Wisconsin is going to be — a grinding team that doesn’t make much noise during March Madness.
5. Steve Pikiell – Rutgers Scarlet Knights
His win-loss record won’t match up to the others at the top of this list. But, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for turning Rutgers into a competitive squad.
4. Fran McCaffery – Iowa Hawkeyes
For about 10 game stretches each season, McCaffery and Iowa might be number 1. His teams seem to hit a wall at the end of the season.
3. Brad Underwood – Illinois Fighting Illini
Without a Sweet Sixteen appearance maybe Underwood shouldn’t be in the top 3 of Big Ten coaches. It seems his Illinois teams will be competing for league championships for the foreseeable future.
2. Chris Holtmann – Ohio State Buckeyes
The argument here is no deep tournament runs with Ohio State. And it’s a valid argument. His programs will always be in the contender conversation.
1. Tom Izzo – Michigan State Spartans
The undisputed king of Big Ten basketball. His last two squads have been below standards. Will the rapid changes in college athletics lead to an Izzo retirement?