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Hot Seats Heating Up

In the ACC and around the country, there are likely to be some major openings

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 12: Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jeff Capel and North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts meet before the game during the college basketball game between Pittsburgh and North Carolina State on January 12, 2019, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.
Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is a lot of energy in college basketball that the pandemic dammed up that still has yet to resolve itself, including some probably delayed coaching changes.

Expect some major changes.

In the ACC, there has been grumbling about NC State’s Kevin Keatts and, unfortunately, Pitt’s Jeff Capel. The Louisville job has been open since Chris Mack stepped down in late January and interim coach Mike Pegues has not made a convincing argument to stay on. After last season, we’re sure Georgia Tech expected better out of Josh Pastner but his Yellow Jackets are just 13-15. Too soon? Probably. But he’s not likely to be at ease either.

We think Clemson would be nuts to get rid of Brad Brownell, but it could happen - or he might decide to move on on his own.

Then there are the older coaches. Jim Boeheim confirmed Friday that his sons, Jimmy and Buddy, won’t be back, nor will Cole Swider. It seems like a logical time to ride off into the sunset, but you never know. Whenever that job opens up, it’s going to be really interesting. We think it’ll draw a lot of interest. The program needs some updating, but it’s still a major brand.

Down in Florida, Jim Larranaga and Leonard Hamilton aren’t getting any younger: Larranaga is 72 while Hamilton is 73. Boeheim is 77. Even if they don’t retire after the season, the speculation will never be less than it is now. It won’t be long for any of them.

We certainly expect to see some change in the ACC, but what about beyond?

Here’s an interesting fact you may not be totally aware of: Georgetown has not won a game since December 18th. That’s 17 straight losses for a once-proud program. We know how much Patrick Ewing means to Hoya basketball but it’s very difficult to see how he stays after a year like this. His career record at Georgetown is 68-80. It’s just not going well.

The Georgetown situation is much more interesting in light of Maryland’s problems. Mark Turgeon stepped away early in the season and, good man though he may be, Danny Manning is clearly not cut out to be a head coach. Other than a solid win over Illinois, there is no argument whatsoever to keep him on.

To the best of our knowledge, we’ve never seen a situation in DC when both schools are looking for a coach at the same time. That’s going to be an interesting dynamic.

Former Duke players and assistants Chris Collins and Bobby Hurley may be in trouble at Northwestern and Arizona State. We’d hate to see that but it could happen.

In the SEC, Danny White and Tom Crean may be getting some heat. Neither has lived up to expectations although following Billy Donovan can’t be easy for White. He’s still a quality coach, just in a tough spot.

The question is who are the emerging stars that schools are going to compete for? We can think of a few.

  • Until someone hires him, our list is always going to start with Ben McCollum. He’s done a masterful job at D-II Northwest Missouri State and racked up Woodenesque numbers. It’s amazing no one has made a serious run at him.
  • San Francisco’s Todd Golden. He’s done a really nice job.
  • Cincinnati’s Wes Miller. Yes he just took a job. But you’d have to ask. You have to.
  • Xavier’sTravis Steele. It might be early but he’s very promising.
  • Loyola Chicago’s Drew Valentine is quite young and just in his first season but he’s doing very well. He’s also a top flight defensive mind.
  • With the tremendous success Tommy Lloyd has had at Arizona, this year’s trend is likely to be towards assistants. We’ll be curious to see who takes a chance there after Arizona’s gamble paid off so brilliantly.