There are fewer than three weeks remaining in the college basketball season, as Selection Sunday looms on March 12 and the NCAA tournament begins with the First Four two days later. The dwindling days mean that speculation season is in full bloom around the sport, as intriguing jobs like NC State and South Florida have already opened. This projects to be a busier than normal year on the coaching carousel, as at least 35 jobs are expected to open from firings alone. As one industry source succinctly put it this week: “It’s going to be bananas.”
Some of that has to do with the inevitable wave of high-profile firings, as vacancies at LSU, Missouri and Illinois have been considered forgone conclusions for months. A high volume of jobs also means reverberations from sitting head coaches leaving for other jobs, especially if projections are correct and multiple high-major coaches make later moves. Names like Indiana’s Tom Crean, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Cal’s Cuonzo Martin and Wichita’s Gregg Marshall have gained significant buzz. “There’s going to be a lot of trickle-down,” said another source. “It’s rare this early in February to know so many jobs open with reasonable certainty.”
Here’s our annual projection of potential job openings with information culled from interviews with coaches, athletic directors, agents and search firms.