2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament logo2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari: 25 Coaches Wanted on Our Bench for the Big Dance

Matt DavidCorrespondent IIFebruary 21, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari: 25 Coaches Wanted on Our Bench for the Big Dance

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    John CalipariAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ranking the top coaches in NCAA basketball is no easy task. No coach wins without talent so recruiting is important. The Xs and Os are important, too.

    This list takes into account what each coach has done in the past and how he projects into the future. Don't get caught up in the order. A coach can't win it all alone. He needs great players, team chemistry, favorable matchups, and some luck to get it done.

    Here are the top 25 coaches in NCAA basketball today.

25. Steve Fisher, San Diego State

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    Steve Fisher, San Diego StateEthan Miller/Getty Images

    Steve Fisher led the Michigan Wolverines to a surprising NCAA championship in 1989. He took over at San Diego State back in 1999. He has slowly built up the program. Last year they made it in and lost in the first round. This year, he should get a number two seed and could be an Elite Eight team.

24. Mike Brey, Notre Dame

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    Mike Brey, Notre DameChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Mike Brey has Notre Dame ready to make a deep run this year. He should be all set with a number two seed.

    Brey hasn't made it to the Elite Eight in his career but this year could be his year.

23. Tubby Smith, Minnesota

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    Tubby Smith, MinnesotaJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Tubby Smith won it all back in 1998 with Kentucky. He hasn't been able to find success any where near that since he moved to Minnesota.

    Smith has an uphill battle and likely won't win it all again in Minnesota. However, he is a solid coach.

22. Brad Stevens, Butler

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    Brad Stevens, ButlerAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    After getting to the finals last year, Butler is a team on the bubble.

    Stevens' Bulldogs are making a late season charge. He may not get in this year but he will be back.

21. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin

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    Bo Ryan, WisconsinEthan Miller/Getty Images

    Aside from one Elite Eight, Bo Ryan has yet to do serious damage in the tournament.

    Wisconsin should have a chance to win a couple games in the tournament this year with a three or four seed.

20. Anthony Grant, Alabama

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    Anthony Grant, AlabamaAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    In only his second year, Anthony Grant has established himself as an up and coming coach at Alabama.

    This may not be his year but if Grant can keep making progress in a tough conference, he could move up this list.

19. Matt Painter, Purdue

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    Matt Painter, PurdueAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Matt Painter has been to two straight Sweet 16s and should be back this year.

    Painter has built the Boilermakers from chump to a legitimate threat to win it all. This year, they should get a three seed and will make a deep run.

18. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt

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    Kevin Stallings, VanderbiltGrant Halverson/Getty Images

    Kevin Stallings has a tough way to go in the SEC so he hasn't had multiple runs at a title like others on this list. He has made it to one Sweet 16, though.

    This year, Vanderbilt will be a tough matchup for anyone.

17. John Thompson, Georgetown

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    John Thompson, GeorgetownMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    John Thompson III has been at Georgetown since 2004 and made it to a Final Four and a Sweet 16.

    He is poised to make a run this year with a high seed.

16. Jay Wright, Villanova

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    Jay Wright, VillanovaElsa/Getty Images

    Jay Wright had taken the Wildcats to four Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight, and a Final Four. 

    Wright's team should be in line for a four seed this year.

15. Bob Huggins, West Virginia

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    Bob Huggins, West VirginiaAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Bob Huggins pretty much owned Cincinnati when he was there in the 90s. His teams were always a threat to win it all. He has always been known for getting a lot of out marginal players.

    Now at West Virginia, Huggins hasn't changed much. He is a firecracker on the sidelines. After a Final Four berth last year, his Mountaineers will make it to the Sweet 16 and, with some luck, they may sneak into the Elite Eight.

14. Rick Barnes, Texas

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    Rick Barnes, TexasJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Rick Barnes is back as a number one seed this year.

    His only deep run in the tournament was way back in 2003 when the Longhorns made it to the Final Four. This year could be his year.

13. Ben Howland, UCLA

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    Ben Howland, UCLAJamie Squire/Getty Images

    After finding success at Pittsburgh, Ben Howland had three straight Final Four appearances for the Bruins but was unable to win it all.

    His Bruins should get a seven or eight seed this year.

12. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

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    Jamie Dixon, PittsburghDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Dixon has not had much tournament success but he is tied for for most wins in the first seven seasons of a head coaching career.

    Pittsburgh is looking at a number one seed. This could be the year Dixon gets the Panthers over the hump.

11. Sean Miller, Arizona

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    Sean Miller, ArizonaEthan Miller/Getty Images

    Sean Miller was great in his five seasons at Xavier. He made it to the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite Eight once.

    He has since moved to rebuild Arizona. The Wildcats should get a nice seed and make another run.

10. Rick Pitino, Louisville

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    Rick Pitino, LouisvilleAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Pitino had a spectacular run back in the 90s with Kentucky. He bailed for the NBA but returned the the college ranks with Louisville where he has a Final Four and two Elite Eights in the past six years.

    The Cardinals will be a four or five seed this year. Don't count a Pitino team out.

9. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

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    Jim Boeheim, SyracuseAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Jim Boeheim has made three Final Fours and won one title.

    Boeheim will go down as an all-time great coach. He reloads year after year. This year, a five seed should suit him fine for a deep run into the tourney.

8. Thad Matta, Ohio State

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    Thad Matta, Ohio StateGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Matta is known for his recruiting. He was able to get to the finals in his third season at Ohio State.

    Matta never puts up a bad season. This year is no different. His Buckeyes should get a number one seed. Another trip to the title game is possible.

7. Billy Donovan, Florida

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    Billy Donovan, FloridaRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    It seems like people forget that Billy Donovan guided the Florida Gators to two straight titles. This guy can get it done.

    This year, Florida is looking at a four or five seed and could do some damage.

6. Roy Williams, North Carolina

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    Roy Williams, North CarolinaStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Roy Williams has won two NCAA championships and made it to seven Final Fours. The Tar Heels had a bad season last year, finishing at 16–15. They are back on track this year, though.

    Recruiting is a strong point for Williams who usually benefits from having superior talent on the court. The Tar Heels will get a good seed and should get to the Sweet 16 or beyond this year.

5. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut

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    Jim Calhoun, ConnecticutJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Jim Calhoun has won two NCAA championships and made it to three Final Fours.

    Calhoun has had some health issues but has a few more good runs left in him. This year he'll have a good seed and a super player in Kemba Walker.

4. John Calipari, Kentucky

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    John CalipariAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Coach Cal has three Elite Eights and one tournament runner up in the last five years but a lot of people don't like him. He is the best recruiter in the nation but his methods are questioned. His 2009 recruiting class is legendary. Four of Calipari’s recruits were drafted in the first round. They are John Wall (first overall), DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton.

    Well, Coach Cal doesn’t apologize for recruiting elite players destined for the NBA and he is working on that elusive first title. He did make it to the finals with a loaded Memphis team back in 1998.

    Currently, Kentucky is projected to be a number five seed and may win it all.

3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State

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    Tom Izzo, Michigan StateStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Tom Izzo's Michigan State team won the 2000 NCAA Championship and have made it to the Final Four six times.

    Michigan State is currently on the bubble but Izzo has a way of getting the most out of his team. If they sneak in, don't be surprised if they win a couple games. His teams seem to be a sleeper every year.

2. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

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    Mike KrzyzewskiJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Mike Krzyzewski has done it all at Duke.

    This year, Coach K's Blue Devils will receive an NCAA Tournament berth for the 16th consecutive year. His Duke teams have been to 11 Final Fours and won four titles including the 2010 championship.

    Krzyzewski will likely retire as the coach with the most wins in men's NCAA basketball history.

    Duke will have a number one seed and is a lock for the Elite Eight.

1. Bill Self, Kansas

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    Bill SelfJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Bill Self was able to do what Roy Williams couldn't at Kansas when his Jayhawks won the 2008 title.

    He has coached three different schools (Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas) to the Elite Eight. He was the AP Coach of the Year in 2009.

    Kansas should be a number one seed this year and will contend for more titles in the future.

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