Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, John Beilein top Athlon's Big Ten coach ranking

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, John Beilein top Athlon's Big Ten coach ranking

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing deeper than the Big Ten in the 2015-16 basketball season might be the conference’s collection of coaches.

There’s no shortage of big-name, respected coaches, some of who are among the best of the best in the nation. And, there’s plenty of up-and-coming coaches, to boot.

Fact is, it doesn’t get better than Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, among others, anywhere across the nation.

How do these guys, all 14 of them, stack up with one another, though?

It’s a daunting task to try to rank them, but our friends at Athlon Sports gave it a try on Monday.

Here’s the site’s ranking, the top half at least:

1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
2. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
3. John Beilein, Michigan
4. Thad Matta, Ohio State
5. Mark Turgeon, Maryland
6. Fran McCaffery, Iowa
7. Tom Crean, Indiana

See Athlon Sports’ full ranking.

Note: I stopped at 7, the halfway point, for a couple reasons: 1.) To make sure you click the link to see the full ranking; and 2.) to really hammer home just how great the group is. For example, Matt Painter isn’t even among the top half of the coaches! That says a lot.

As for Athlon’s ranking, it’s tough to argue with much. The top four names have separated themselves from the rest of the group, and I’d have no problem with them in any order 1-4. The biggest surprise, if there is one, would be McCaffery at No. 6, ahead of Tom Crean and the aforementioned Painter, guys who have accomplished more in the Big Ten. Then again, McCaffery has turned around the Hawkeyes and the future looks bright in Iowa City.

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