Pearl's a bargain

If you're willing to accept the premise that the best coaches in college basketball are also the best-paid coaches in college basketball, then Tennessee's Bruce Pearl qualifies as quite a bargain.

Consider:

Fresh from a national title, Florida coach Billy Donovan is on the verge of signing a new contract that reportedly will pay him $3 million per year. Pearl is 3-1 vs. Donovan, including a 10-point win last February in Knoxville.

Texas coach Rick Barnes makes $2 million per year. Pearl is 2-0 vs. Barnes, including a 17-point win at Austin in December of 2005.

Memphis coach John Calipari makes $1.816 million per year. Pearl is 1-1 vs. Calipari, with an 18-point win last December in Knoxville.

Minnesota's Tubby Smith walked away from an eight-year deal at Kentucky that reportedly averaged $2.5 million per annum to take a $1.7 million contract at Minnesota. Pearl is 2-2 vs. Smith, with all four meetings occurring while Tubby was based in Lexington.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams makes a reported $3 million per year. Pearl is 0-1 vs. Williams.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta, fresh from a loss in the NCAA title game, recently got a bump to $2.1 million per year. Pearl is 0-2 vs. Matta, with the losses coming by two points in Columbus last January and by one point in the Sweet 16.

All told, Bruce Pearl stands 8-7 against some of the NCAA's highest-paid coaches. That makes his 2007-08 salary of $1.2 million look like a pretty solid investment.

In case, you're wondering, Duke's Mike Krzezewski is paid an estimated $3 million per year. New Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie pulls down a reported $2.3 million and Louisville's Rick Pitino ($2.25 million per year) is handsomely compensated, as well.


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