So the Big 12 Hoops scene has gone through some re-alignment, plus there are some new coaches in the conference. That brought us to the thought of evaluating and rankings what we feel are the best coaching jobs in Big 12 Hoops:
1. Kansas Jayhawks – Bill Self came into the job with a lot of pressure to fill Larry Brown and Roy Williams’ shoes. He has done just that, getting to the national title game twice. Bill Self makes $3 million, and top recruits inquire about playing at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have made the NCAA tournament 22 straight seasons, and have won the Big 12 – 8 years in a row. Kansas is far and away the top coaching job in Big 12 Hoops.
2. Texas Longhorns – Rick Barnes is in the second best job within the conference, but he is not as close to Bill Self, as Scott Drew is to him. The Longhorns have to battle the football crazy fans that Austin and surrounding areas bring. Texas has been to the tournament 14 straight seasons, and no matter where you go – you see the Longhorn symbol, which in itself attracts hoopsters from around the country.
3. Baylor Bears – This is amazing to us, because a few years ago – this would have been the worst job in the conference. Waco Texas is in a great location, because of it’s proximity to both Dallas and Houston. That allows Scott Drew to draw from both major cities. Baylor is continuing to work on drawing fans to their arena, which is one of the best in the conference. All sports programs at Baylor continue to improve.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys – Oklahoma State has not been to the
Final Four since 2004, but the facilities make this a step ahead of their new comer West Virginia. Oklahoma State is in a prime location; not too far from Texas, where they can do some recruiting. Head coaches at Oklahoma State get paid well, due in large part to T. Boone Pickens, a huge booster.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers – A newcomer to the conference brings some tradition. The Mountaineers reached the NCAA Final Four two years ago. The Mountaineers have seen some good coaches come into the program, and Bob Huggins is immediately a huge name in his new conference. The Mountaineers are also aided by Jerry West, who is the NBA Logo. West Virginia also benefits from their location; near Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C and Baltimore.
6. Kansas State Wildcats – The Wildcats actually were fortunate to grab a solid coaching name, after Frank Martin bolted. Bruce Weber had some mild success in his time at the University of Illinois. Kansas State boasts a tough home court advantage, but their major problem is they share the state with one of the top programs in all of the nation.
7. Oklahoma Sooners – Since the time of Billy Tubbs and Kelvin Sampson – the Sooners have not had a lot of basketball success. Lon Kruger is looking to change that, but it appears it may take some time. Oklahoma, like Texas, will always be known for their football prowess. One major benefit for Oklahoma Hoops is Blake Griffin, as he continues to dominate the NBA.
8. Iowa State Cyclones – Fred Hoiberg seems to be taking the program in the right direction. Much of the problem for the Cyclones is there are not a lot of recruits in the local area that can perform at a Big 12 level. Hoiberg is going to have to do some creative recruiting to take his program to where he and the folks in Ames want it.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders – The Red Raiders have went to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last ten seasons. Since Pat Knight left, the have seemed to have fallen off a bit. Fan support at the United Spirit Arena has not been up to the level they have wanted. They are opposite of Baylor – where Dallas, Houston and San Antonio seem to be too far away to grab the “local kids”.
10. Texas Christian University Horned Frogs – It will be interested to see how the hoops program at TCU does. We feel football – they will be able to hold their own. The Hoops program may have a tough time recruiting any kids that can compete at the Big 12 level. The recruiting will have to come from out of the state for the Horned Frogs. Trent Johnson has his hands full in 2012.