The 2015 NCAA Tournament is filled with talented teams, NBA prospects and, of course, elite coaches. Here are a few of the best coaches in this year’s field.
Say what you want about coach Cal, but he flat out gets results. From his time at UMass to his time at Memphis to his current stint with the Wildcats, Calipari has won everywhere he has been. Known as one of the nation’s best recruiters, his skills as a pure coach are underrated. On top of that, his ability to have elite talent put their egos aside to buy into a team concept has been remarkable.
Mike Brey – Notre Dame
Brey has been a really good coach for a long time, and gets the most out of his Irish squads year in and year out. This year, he finally has talent that's ideal for running his system. Notre Dame is always a tough matchup, can always shoot and has one of the better home court advantages in college basketball. Brey does not get the credit he deserves on a national scale.
Roy Williams – North Carolina
Williams ranks among the all-time greats in wins, tournament victories and Final Four appearances. His squads always have a lot of talent and his system works well in March. The size his team possesses this year will be difficult to handle, and his experience and savvy make the Tar Heels a dangerous team.
Rick Pitino - Louisville
From his time with Kentucky to his current stint with Louisville, Pitino is one of the best in the business year in and year out. His full cour pressure defensive system makes his teams a nightmare to prepare for, especially in tournament play. That's one of many reasons why his teams have had so much success in March. Multiple Final Fours and titles, Pitino always gets the most out of his talent. He is a master recruiter and skilled tactician.
Ryan finally got to his first Final Four last season, but he has been a great coach for many years. The Badgers always play tough defense, can shoot and play hard. His teams are never an easy out in the tournament. This year’s version may be his most talented.
Shaka Smart – Virginia Commonwealth
Smart has been seen as one of the best young coaches in college basketball for some time. It’s about time he is discussed as one of the best coaches regardless of age. Smart’s teams often have less talent than their opponents, yet give more accomplished teams fits. From an underdog to a team expected to make a run every year, VCU has a system under Smart that breeds success.
Sean Miller – Arizona
It did not take Miller long to turn Arizona from a solid program to a perennial powerhouse. Outside of Kentucky, no one recruits as well as the Wildcats from cycle to cycle. With his collection of talent and his ability to get everyone to buy in, Arizona will be a dangerous team as long as he is at the helm. It’s only a matter of time before he wins a championship.
Jay Wright – Villanova
The Wildcats are good every year and Jay Wright is a big reason why. He has turned Villanova into one of the better programs in the northeast. Wright only has one Final Four on his resume to date, but more should come. He is an underrated coach with a strong system who has built a healthy program in Philadelphia.
Izzo always has his team ready to play in March, regardless of the talent level on his team. Michigan State has been turned into an elite program under his watch. He is an all-time great coach with several Final Four appearances and a championship to his name. Never underestimate a Tom Izzo team.
Tony Bennett – Virginia
Bennett has quickly become one of the best coaches in America. His Virginia teams play tough defense, efficient offense and overwhelm opponents. He is building the Cavaliers back into one of the premier programs in college basketball.
Coach K is on the shortlist of the best coach in college basketball history. He has the most wins in history, 11 Final Fours and four titles. What else needs to be said?
Fred Hoiberg – Iowa State
Hoiberg is an up-and-coming but great coach with a system that attracts big-time recruits. Watch Iowa State for five minutes and you can tell what kind of offensive mind Hoiberg possesses. The Cyclones will be a program to be reckoned with with Hoiberg running the show.
Mark Few - Gonzaga
Few turned the Zags into a powerhouse program from a Cinderella mid-major. He has turned down offers to coach in major programs, and continues to keep the Gonzaga train chugging along. Twenty years ago the thought of Gonzaga as a one or two seed was laughable. Now it is the expectation because of Few’s efforts.