An impressive won-lost record is a prerequisite for a college basketball Coach of the Year candidate, but it’s not the only factor that decides which coach takes home the hardware. Coaxing unexpected success out of a less heralded team—as Jim Larranaga did at Miami a season ago—can go a lot further than “merely” helping a preseason favorite live up to its potential.
Rick Barnes’ Texas squad, for instance, was picked to finish eighth in its own conference by the Big 12’s coaches. Instead, his Longhorns are No. 23 in the country heading into March, having scored the league's biggest upset by handing front-running Kansas its first Big 12 loss of the year.
Barnes has certainly made an impression, but will it be enough to earn him national acclaim? Read on to see where he ranks among the 20 most deserving contenders for Coach of the Year this season.