Two of My Favorite Coaches Battle

As a fan of college basketball, you can’t help but be attracted to certain personalities and successes throughout the country. I am no different…which is why you will occassionally hear and see some entries about some personalties that may not feel directly related to NC State.

Two of my favorite (non-ACC) college basketball coaches are going head to head this afternoon on ESPN.

Billy Gillispie, who won the Big 12 Coach of the Year last season (See: “How’d He Do That?”) will lead Texas A&M against Rick Barnes and the University of Texas.

Most people in our area are obviously familiar with local boy done good, Rick Barnes; but most aren’t as familiar with Texas-centric Gillespie (see, who took over one of the traditionally worst basketball programs in the country last season and immediately generated their best start in 40 years.

In addition to Gillispie and Barnes, my other favorite non-ACC coaches to follow include Bruce Pearl, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Bill Self, Ben Howland, Thad Matta, and Tim Floyd. That’s just me. I’d love to hear who else in the country you like to follow.

General NCS Basketball

15 Responses to Two of My Favorite Coaches Battle

  1. BJD95 02/04/2006 at 2:41 PM #

    Mark Few and his ‘Zags. Tom Izzo at Michigan State.

  2. RickJ 02/04/2006 at 5:46 PM #

    I think Dennis Felton at Georgia is a very good coach. As much as I despise Jeff Lebo, I believe he is very good. He should have stayed at Chattanooga a little longer and taken a different job than Auburn. Hopefully, this will kill his career.

    I really think John Beilein, is at the very top as an X & O coach. Not so much as a recruiter. West Virginia is the very last team I want to see in an NC State bracket this year if we make the tourney.

  3. Jeff 02/04/2006 at 6:04 PM #

    Belien and Felton are great calls!

  4. J.R. 02/04/2006 at 8:45 PM #

    Didn’t we hammer W.Virginia last season. The teams are not all that different from last season, so we may match up well with them. Marshall beat them, I’m positive that we can do the same.

  5. VaWolf82 02/04/2006 at 10:27 PM #

    Sun Jan 2, 2005…….West Virginia 82, North Carolina St. 69

    That’s not a “hammer” in the usual sense.

  6. Jeff 02/05/2006 at 8:03 AM #

    Damn facts.

    We would have known how we would have done against them this year had we not backed out of our return game and pushed it off until next year. Coincidently when they lose their 2 best players and aren’t projected to be as good.

  7. RickJ 02/05/2006 at 8:51 AM #

    Jeff – WVU loses 5 of its top 6 players after this year.

    The other interesting angle is that Dan Werner & Dennis Horner were early WVU forward targets. Both are ideal players for the offenses run by State & WVU. Apparently, both wanted to come to State and we chose Werner over Horner, leaving him to WVU or Notre Dame. Horner proceeds to blow up in an AAU tourney (I’m pretty sure it was held on the WVU campus) and we decide to take him in addition to Werner. When you think about this from the WVU perspective, it is pretty galling – they just went to the Final 8, have tons more playing time available next year than we do and we still get both of them. This is actually a good example of the advantage we enjoy as a member of the ACC and being located in a wonderful place to live. It also reflects well on our staff’s recruiting.

  8. Jeff 02/05/2006 at 9:45 AM #

    ANY kid SHOULD want to come to NC State over West Virginia!! That has been a central focus of my points for YEARS.

    As it relates to results…how are we consistently behind teams like these?

  9. JSIMON 02/05/2006 at 11:37 AM #

    Definitely agree on Izzo, Belien, Few, Pearl and Matta. I’m not sold yet on Felton though I think he is certainly showing some success this year. Another that I really like is Jay Wright at Villanova. Man are they exciting to watch. And that guy has some nice suits.

    I think Jerry Wainwright at DePaul has proven himself too. And though he probably topped out @ Marquette when he went to the Final Four with Dwayne Wade, Tom Crean is a great coach. He’s from the Izzo “tree” and was long considered one of the best recruiters in the nation.

    In terms of some others to to keep an eye on:

    Top Tier
    > Gregg Marshall, Winthrop (Has led the Eagles to 5 NCAA appearances in 7 years. How is this guy still at Winthrop?)
    > Dana Altman, Creighton (Seven straight seasons with 20 wins.)
    > Bob McKillop, Davidson (Year-in and year-out one of the best coaches in the country that doesn’t get the respect or recognition he deserves.)

    > Jimmy Christian, Kent State (Former Sendek assistant has won 20 games for three straight years.)
    > Mark Turgeon, Wichita State (Played in three Final Four’s as a player and has earned back-to-back 20 win seasons.)
    > Mick Cronin, Murray State (Former Pitino and Huggins assistant went 28-6 and to the NCAA in his first season as a head coach. Racers are 16-5 this season.)
    > Mark Fox, Nevada (Inherited a pretty good team that went to the NCAA 2nd round from Trent Johnson — who went to Stanford — but there’s something I like about this young guy.)

  10. newswolf 02/05/2006 at 12:26 PM #

    As fun as it is to watch the class of coaches go up the ladder we can watch them come back down the ladder as well.

    Stan Heath (Ark from Kent State), and I think you have to add Bill Self to that list as well

  11. Sammy Kent 02/05/2006 at 5:57 PM #

    I like Pearl and Barnes, and that’s really all I follow outside the ACC…even then it’s not very passionately. I’m pretty much an ACC only follower. I have also begun rooting for anyone Kentucky plays. I have no real dislike of Kentucky, but the word is that some of the KY big guns like Herb Sendek. Trouble is, they’ll never fire Tubby unless he keeps losing and losing worse. I’d love to give Bruce Pearl a chance to coach at a REAL basketball school.

  12. class of '74 02/06/2006 at 6:21 AM #

    ^The Herb to UK angle is funny. Can not see that one happening. The rabid fanbase that UK has could very well send Tubby down the road though. Imagine the triangle with just one ACC team and that’s UK, all Wildcats all the time.

  13. Mr. O 02/06/2006 at 9:12 AM #

    Julius Hodge did not play against W. Va last year.

    I don’t follow coaches as much as I did in the past. Especially guys who are only in their first couple of seasons at a school.

  14. Mr. Duff 02/06/2006 at 3:47 PM #

    Tommy Amiker, at Michigan, has been doing a nice job digging the Wolverines out of some serious probation problems caused by Steve Fisher’s tenure, when boosters were paying players, like Chris Webber.

  15. Jeff 02/12/2006 at 12:03 PM #


    Your list rocks.

    Wainwright is significantly under-appreciated (almost like a Jim Grobe @ Wake). I wish he was a little younger.

    I really enjoyed Crean’s emergence to the Final Four a couple of years ago…I’m hoping that he continues to give us successess that gives us reason to pay attention to him.

    Your mention of Mick Cronnin is an interesting one as I have heard his name mentioned quite often by many throughout the country. Quite a few coaches that I respect have a lot of good things to say about him (like Thad Matta).

    You know a name that has fallen off the radar in past years? Bobby Gonzalez of Manhattan. He was hot a couple of years ago and I am not convinced that he is done yet. Everyone was convinced that he was getting the Miami job a couple of years ago before they pulled a stunner and hired Frank Haith.

    Another name that used to be hot and probably still is hot is John Pelphrey. Pelphrey is now succeeding at South Alabama after previously succeeding at South Florida.

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