Under-the-Radar College Basketball Coaches on the Brink of Being Elite

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Under-the-Radar College Basketball Coaches on the Brink of Being Elite
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Derek Kellogg has Massachusetts in line for its first NCAA tournament bid since 1998.

Take a quick scan of the latest Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll, and there's one thing most of those teams have in common besides great records: Elite coaches.

While the skills and talents of the players are a huge part of the success of these teams, no school can manage to have sustained success without a top-level coach. It's why the likes of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Syracuse are consistently winning, and why other schools are constantly striving to find that elite leader to transform the program into a powerhouse.

Each year a handful of power conference schools will dip down into the lower ranks in search of the next big thing, whether it be a coach with a long history of success or a hot coach riding a brief wave of notoriety.

Examples from the crop of coaches in their first season at their respective schools: UCLA's Steve Alford was hired after seven seasons at New Mexico, while USC plucked Andy Enfield from Florida Gulf Coast mostly on the merits of the Eagles' Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 last March.

More such upward moves are likely to happen this offseason. And when they do, hiring athletic directors would be keen to vet this list of under-the-radar coaches that appear ready for a shot at the big time.

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