As the search for a new man to lead the Razorback basketball program heats up, the rumors about potential candidates continue to swirl.
We’re big fans of Oaklawn around here. And being that we have a penchant to be closet handicappers anyway, here’s the RBN take on the contenders to be the next basketball coach at the University of Arkansas. Pick your horse and make your wager. They are nearing the starting gate.
Mike Anderson, Missouri (Age 51, Career Record 200-96) — Current Odds: 2-1. The heavy, early line favorite. Mike has tremendous support from the fan base and could be one of two candidates (Self) to truly unite the fan base. His up-tempo style is what Hog fans crave. The only reason he’s not going off at lower odds is that we don’t trust AD Jeff Long completely to give him his due consideration.
Buzz Williams, Marquette (Age 38, Career Record 79-49) — Current Odds: 4-1. Fourth year with the Golden Eagles, after taking over for Tom Crean who jumped to Indiana. Williams is a native Texan and word is he would like to get back closer to home. Not flashy, but organized to the gills, good floor coach and an excellent recruiter.
Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M (Age 46, Career Record 248-156) — Current Odds: 5-1. The former Kansas point guard, Turgeon has developed into one of the best “X’s and O’s” coaches in America. Worked for Larry Brown and Roy Williams before taking Wichita State and Texas A&M to the NCAA Tourney five times.
Tubby Smith, Minnesota (Age 59, Career Record 467-198, 1 NC) — Current Odds: 6-1. Tubby is the oldest coach on this list. And while we’re sure he would like to be back ‘down south,’ he’s probably not a long-term solution for anybody looking for a coach. Might be a plausible, short-term guy if the ‘home run candidates’ fall through.
Gregg Marshall, Wichita St. (Age 48, Career Record 271-137) — Current Odds: 8-1. Marshall has had tremendous success at two stops (Winthrop and Wichita St.), winning 13 regular season or conference tournament championships. His teams have reached the NCAA tourney seven times. He is widely regarded as a solid floor coach and seems ready to jump to a larger opportunity. Defensive-minded, and his teams play hard.
Tim Floyd, UTEP (Age 57, Career Record 345-153) — Current Odds: 12-1. Surprisingly, Floyd has a lot of supporters even after his tumultuous departure from USC (he was not implicated in any NCAA rules violations). His nomadic nature (7 stops in 21 years) hurts him, as does his failed stint (49-190 in 4 seasons) with the Chicago Bulls.
Billy Gillispie, Unemployed (Age 51, Career Record 140-85) — Current Odds 15-1. Would have landed at Arkansas four years ago had the Kentucky job not come open. A complete misfit at Lexington, Billy Clyde’s departure was epic. Three previous DUI arrests might get him in the “Otis Campbell Hall of Fame,” but make him almost un-hirable to most.
Cuonzo Martin, Missouri State (Age 39, Career Record 60-40) — Current Odds: 18-1. Cuonzo has things rolling up in Springfield as the Bears won the Missouri Valley in 2011, and Martin was named MVC Coach of the Year. Playing and coaching for Gene Keady at Purdue, Martin’s teams are very solid on the defensive end.
Frank Martin, Kansas State (Age 45, Career Record 94-42) — Current Odds: 20-1. Martin’s resume should land him higher on this list, but his temperament both on and off the court makes him a risky investment for a lot of schools. He knows what he’s doing as evidenced by last year’s run to the Elite Eight. Solid recruiter.
Bill Self, Kansas (Age 48, Career Record 438-150, 1 NC) — Current Odds: 25-1. Don’t laugh. While Self seems untouchable at Kansas, the shockwaves when Texas nearly bolted the Big 12 last year still linger. Would Kansas be the same job if the school was in a mid-major conference? Could have had him a few years back, but if they want him now, it will cost the Hogs ($$$) dearly.
Scott Drew, Baylor (Age 40, Career Record 147-126) — Current Odds: 25-1. Drew is the “shiny object” in this list that could easily distract an AD that is not on his toes. Several exposes on the Bears “shady recruiting practices” are a huge red flag. Has surrounded himself with AAU characters. Buyer beware.
Matt Painter, Purdue (Age 40, Career Record 155-65) — Current Odds: 30-1. Why would Painter, a Purdue alum, leave his alma mater? Money. His current contract of $1.3 million puts him eighth in the Big 10. EIGHTH !!!
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa (Age 40, Career Record 108-55) — Current Odds: 35-1. One of the best ‘up and comers’ out there, Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa for five seasons, leading the Panthers to the Sweet 16 in 2010. Incredibly loyal to UNI, though, and despite his low salary (450K), will probably stay put.
Doc Sadler, Nebraska (Age 50, Career Record 136-84) — Current Odds: 50-1. The Greenwood, Arkansas native is a local favorite. Doc has had a nice career at UTEP and Nebraska, but has only made the NCAA Tourney once in seven seasons as a head coach.
The Field — Current Odds 30-1. We think the next coach is coming out of this list, but if Long shoots and misses at Anderson, then it’s a wide open race — anything could happen then. Here’s hoping he (or the Board of Trustees) make the right move, and Razorback Basketball returns to an elite level where it belongs.