Seven B1G coaches land on's top 50 list

It was only a matter of time before’s countdown of the top 50 men’s basketball coaches reached Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. It did on Wednesday, with Izzo earning the No. 3 spot. Barring a huge surprise – don’t hold your breath – Izzo is the seventh and final Big Ten coach on the list. See all the Big Ten coaches who made the cut in this post.

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3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
7. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
9. John Beilein, Michigan
20. Thad Matta, Ohio State
32. Tim Miles, Nebraska
33. Fran McCaffery, Iowa
49. Richard Pitino, Minnesota

Not bad. Think of it this way: Half of the Big Ten coaches are included, and that’s counting Maryland and Rutgers, which have yet to play a Big Ten game. Perhaps more impressive, though, is the fact the conference accounted for three of the top nine coaches.

Biggest snub: Tom Crean, Indiana. No doubt, Indiana’s NCAA-less 2013-14 season played a big role in keeping Crean off this list. Fact is, Crean deserves to be on this list, what with the Final Four at Marquette and the rebuilding of Indiana, which he led to the 2013 Big Ten title and to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.

Too high: Richard Pitino, Minnesota. Not taking anything away from Pitino or the job he did in leading Minnesota to the NIT title, but inclusion on this prestigious list seems a bit premature. Does one so-so season in your first season in a major conference really merit top 50 billing? It’s a fair question. Down the road, yes, Pitino figures to be a shoe-in for these countdowns.

Too low: Thad Matta, Ohio State. Matta always seems to be underrated. All he does is recruit, compete for the Big Ten title on an annual basis, save his best for March and churn out quality NBA talent. Basically, it’s difficult to believe there are 19 coaches better.

About Brent Yarina senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (18 Comments)
BuckeyeFlig (@BuckeyeFlig) on 7/2/2014 @ 1:42pm EDT Said:

It’s ESPN — they hate tOSU. Matta should be top 5.

Jeff K on 7/2/2014 @ 2:03pm EDT Said:

Tom Crean was left off of this list probably because his average finish in the big ten is almost 8th and if you take out the obvious outlier, his average finish is 9th. Give credit where credit is due. Tom Crean deserves to be fired if his team finishes below 5th this year and that’s the truth.

Maybe try to be a little less biased in the next article? Tim Miles using your reasoning for Pitino is also too high.

Back to Crean, he was slightly above average at MU and his Final 4 was back when he was in C-USA. Stop giving credit based in pedigree; Tom Izzo earned his respect and Crean has to as well (meaning just because he was an assistant to some of the top coaches doesn’t mean he’s a great coach himself)

Mary Morgan on 7/2/2014 @ 2:07pm EDT Said:

Tom Izzo is an awesome coach and Michigan State is blessed to have him! Congratulations, Coach Izzo!

Justin R on 7/2/2014 @ 2:40pm EDT Said:

Who was number 2? (Assuming coach K is #1)

Dave on 7/2/2014 @ 2:49pm EDT Said:

No love for John Groce? Sad.

Nancy s on 7/2/2014 @ 3:10pm EDT Said:

Our family is proud of Tom Izzo. Congrats you are a man of your word. Thank you for what you do for the young men who come into your life.

mja1ajmMatt on 7/2/2014 @ 3:35pm EDT Said:

@Justin R
Coach K was #4

#2 and #1 will be revealed on 7/3.

No. 50: Tie — Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s; Scott Drew, Baylor
No. 49: Richard Pitino, Minnesota
No. 48: Stew Morrill, Utah State
No. 47: Bob Hoffman, Mercer
No. 46: John Thompson III, Georgetown
No. 45: Mike Brey, Notre Dame
No. 44: Rick Barnes, Texas
No. 43: Chris Mack, Xavier
No. 42: Josh Pastner, Memphis
No. 41: Ed Cooley, Providence
No. 40: Bruce Weber, Kansas State
No. 39: Tubby Smith, Texas Tech
No. 38: Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech
No. 37: Rick Byrd, Belmont
No. 36: Steve Alford, UCLA
No. 35: Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s
No. 34: Tad Boyle, Colorado
No. 33: Fran McCaffery, Iowa
No. 32: Tim Miles, Nebraska
No. 31: Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
No. 30: Bob Huggins, West Virginia
No. 29: Jim Crews, Saint Louis
No. 28: Jim Larranaga, Miami
No. 27: Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
No. 26: Archie Miller, Dayton
No. 25: Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
No. 24: Bob McKillop, Davidson
No. 23: Greg McDermott, Creighton
No. 22: Tommy Amaker, Harvard
No. 21: Larry Brown, SMU
No. 20: Thad Matta, Ohio State
No. 19: Jay Wright, Villanova
No. 18: Steve Fisher, San Diego State
No. 17: Mark Few, Gonzaga
No. 16: Roy Williams, North Carolina
No. 15: Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
No. 14: Tony Bennett, Virginia
No. 13: Shaka Smart, VCU
No. 12: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
No. 11: Sean Miller, Arizona
No. 10: Kevin Ollie, UConn
No. 9: John Beilein, Michigan
No. 8: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
No. 7: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
No. 6: Bill Self, Kansas
No. 5: Rick Pitino, Louisville
No. 4: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
No. 3: Tom Izzo, Michigan State

Tom Bennett on 7/2/2014 @ 3:38pm EDT Said:

Groce couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag. Collins at Northwestern can flat out coach! Izzo is the truth and Belien has what it takes too. Matta has been very good wherever he’s been at Tim Myles is on his way up, make no mistake about that. Pitino has the pedigree, but lacks a ton of experience. Ryan is amazing! Crean…better learn how to recruit good bigs and keep them beyond a year or two. His recruiting is very suspect at times! If Painter could consistently recruit too, he would be in the Top 5 of the Big Ten, because he can coach as well.

M. Kaplan on 7/2/2014 @ 4:19pm EDT Said:

No. 2 Billy Donovan, No. 1 John Calipari

limecricket on 7/2/2014 @ 4:20pm EDT Said:

Coach K, is just not an overall nice person…as to respect by other coaches. That’s why Izzo beats him.

Chaz on 7/2/2014 @ 4:35pm EDT Said:

I don’t know about ESPN’s rankings but as a network they are quite rank………..

Larry's lounge on 7/2/2014 @ 7:58pm EDT Said:

3 former Illini coaches on the list!

duperclay77 on 7/2/2014 @ 9:21pm EDT Said:

The fans here in Minnesota love Richard Pitino!

Mike Abbott on 7/3/2014 @ 9:39am EDT Said:

As a IU fan I will be the first to admit that last season was very disappointing and that the 2012/13 run in the NCAA tournament left us fans feeling we should have done more. However, to leave Crean out of the top fifty coaches is selling him short. A final four appearance, a Big Ten championship, three top ten draft picks in the last two years with the highest (Oladipo) one not being an All American coming out of high school and in just a few years turned around a program that was critical shatter is a healthy profile. Agree, he has yet to earn a top 20 spot on ESPN list, but compared to many of the coaches on their list in the 21-50 arrange, I think Crean has earned that.

John Smith on 7/3/2014 @ 12:37pm EDT Said:

Everyone hates OSU and for good reason!

Jason on 7/3/2014 @ 1:06pm EDT Said:

John Beilein is the best coach in the big ten right now. Izzo is great but John is better right now. Thad Motto is a hell of a recruiter but hes an average coach!!!

Chris houghtlin on 7/3/2014 @ 9:00pm EDT Said:

Congrats Coach Izzo! You are #1 in my book. Thanks for staying Green all these years!

Jack on 8/1/2014 @ 5:25am EDT Said:

@Jason – You are spot on. Beilein has sprinted past Izzo. While Izzo was talking about injuries, Beilein won the Big Ten easily without a top 10 player.

Izzo isn’t even the best coach in his own state, so #3 in the nation makes zero sense.