1. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
Record at School: (61-68)
Cronin, a Cincinnati native and UC grad, has been on the hot seat for some time. Last year when it seemed like Cronin would lead the Bearcats to a NCAA berth, the Bearcats folded down the stretch, garnering a berth in the NIT, where they would lose in the second round to Dayton.
With an already grumbling fan base longing for the days of Huggins, this season could be a make-or-break year for Cronin.
2. Sidney Lowe, North Carolina State
Record at school: 71-62
After chasing off Herb Sendek, the Wolfpack, like the Bearcats, haven’t found a way to return to the Big Dance. The only reason that Lowe has a job still is because he finds a way to win in the ACC Tournament, something that Dino Gaudio couldn’t do while he was head coach at Wake Forest.
3. Jim Les, Bradley
A long time ago, Bradley was relegated to playing in the play-in game at the MVC tournament, calling Les “Mr. Friday Night” because of the Braves’ frequent appearances in that game. However, all was forgiven when Bradley reached the Sweet 16 in 2006 and four straight 20-win seasons were recorded in Peoria.
But the downside of those 20-win seasons are the fact that their postseason destination was neither NIT or NCAA, but the CBI and the CIT after 2007.
4. Matt Doherty, SMU
Record at School: 47-75
SMU hasn’t been relevant at all in basketball in my lifetime. Actually, because I was born around the time of the death penalty for SMU football, the Mustangs in basketball have yet to fully recover from the effects of the penalty.
Doherty, regardless of the fact that he has pumped new life into the program, has yet to produce a winning season in Dallas. Even after beating Memphis, Doherty led the Mustangs to another sub-.500 season and a 7-9 record in 2009-2010.
And at the rate it’s going, it’s quite unlikely a winning season will materialize in the Big D.
5. Bruce Weber, Illinois
Record at School: 173-72
For a person who has ties to the Land of Lincoln, I’ve heard from friends there in Illinois that people are not generally happy with Weber these days. Although the Illini reached the Final Four in 2005, that was done with the majority of players recruited by Bill Self.
Weber missed out on Eric Gordon and Evan Turner and since then, the Illini have garnered only one tournament win, coming in 2007.
6. John Pelphrey, Arkansas
Record at School: 51-47
I like Pelphrey as a person, but honestly, he’s way in over his head at Arkansas, which has one tournament win since Nolan left in a messy divorce in 2002. The last two seasons have not met the standard that has always been at Arkansas, including last season when Kentucky demolished Arkansas at Rupp.