Where Michigan State's Tom Izzo Stands Among Top Coaches in Men's College Basketball

With Dan Hurley returning to UConn, is Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo still a top-five coach in college basketball?
March 23, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels  in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
March 23, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo has been a coach for a very long time in college basketball and is considered one of the greats. Let's look at where he lands as a top coach in the game.

10. Tony Bennett, Virginia

Win-Loss Record: 433-169 

Final Four Appearances: One

National Championships: One

Bennett is one of the last few Xs and Os guys left in college basketball, and it's hard to argue that his pack line defense, though grating to watch, has been wildly successful over his 14 seasons at Virginia. The Cavaliers have reached the top 10 in the AP Poll nine times in the last 11 years and have won six ACC regular-season championships during that span. Bennett's Virginia squads have laid a couple of eggs in the NCAA Tournament, but he still has two Elite Eight appearances and a national championship on his resume.

9. John Calipari, Arkansas

Win-Loss Record: 855-263 

Final Four Appearances: Six

National Championships: One 

Calipari is arguably the greatest recruiter in college basketball history and led Kentucky to No. 1 in the AP Poll in seven of his first 11 seasons on campus. Calipari is a three-time Naismith Coach of the Year and has led his teams to six Final Fours and a national championship. However, he's led the Wildcats to just one NCAA Tournament win since 2018-19 and suffered first-round losses to double-digit seeds in two of the last three postseasons.

Calipari joined Arkansas this offseason, where he looks for a new challenge.

8. Rick Barnes, Tennessee

Win-Loss Record: 806-415 

Final Four Appearances: One

National Championships: None 

Barnes is one of the greatest coaches who has never won a national championship. He has been coaching his best ball 36 years into his career and just led Tennessee to its second SEC regular-season championship since 2018 and second Elite Eight appearance in program history. Barnes' NCAA Tournament record (30-28) is often used to discredit him, but skeptics of his postseason success have less ammo after his back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. 

7. Mark Few, Gonzaga

Win-Loss Record: 716-143 

Final Four Appearances: Two

National Championships: None 

Few took the helm at Gonzaga in 1999 and has led the Bulldogs from mid-major obscurity to one of the nation's most consistent winners. He earned an NCAA Tournament bid in all 25 of his seasons as a head coach and helped the Bulldogs win 22 WCC regular-season championships and 19 conference tournament championships. Few has led Gonzaga to six seasons of 30-plus wins in the last eight years and two national championship berths.

6. Tom Izzo, Michigan State

Win-Loss Record: 707-295 

Final Four Appearances: Eight

National Championships: One

Izzo has spent his entire head coaching career at Michigan State and rewarded the Spartans with eight Final Fours since arriving in East Lansing in 1995. His teams have won 10 Big Ten regular-season titles and six Big Ten tournament titles and have appeared in 26 consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Izzo's teams have lost 10-plus games in four-straight seasons, the longest stretch in his career, which knocks him a few spots down this list.

5. Scott Drew, Baylor

Win-Loss Record: 466-255 

Final Four Appearances: One

National Championships: One 

Drew took over a Baylor program rocked by public scandal and NCAA sanctions in 2003 and has turned it into one of college basketball's premier programs over the last two decades. The Bears had been to just four NCAA Tournaments in program history before Drew's arrival and have made 12 appearances since, including five Elite Eight runs and a national championship in 2021. The Bears have climbed into the top 10 of the AP Poll each of the last five seasons and are poised for continued success under Drew.

4. Matt Painter, Purdue

Win-Loss Record: 472-208 

Final Four Appearances: One

National Championships: None

Painter has been the best coach in the Big Ten for the past multiple seasons. Being back-to-back regular season champions and winning the conference tournament two seasons ago. As well as developing great talent like Issac Haas, Trevion Williams, Jaden Ivey and, of course, the back-to-back Naismith Basketball Player of the Year Zach Edey. 

3. Kelvin Sampson, Houston

Win-Loss Record: 689-306 

Final Four Appearances: Two

National Championships: None

Sampson’s Cougars have won either their conference regular season or tournament championship each of the last six years. He led the program to its first Final Four appearance since 1984 in 2021 and was among the favorites to go back this season until first-team All-American Jamal Shead got knocked out of the Sweet 16 against Duke with an ankle injury.

2. Bill Self, Kansas

Win-Loss Record: 810-246 

Final Four Appearances: Four

National Championships: Two 

Self has led the Jayhawks to 17 Big 12 regular-season championships during his 21 seasons at the helm and is the only coach in Kansas history to lead the program to multiple NCAA national championships. He hasn't missed an NCAA Tournament during his entire stint at Kansas and has led the Jayhawks to 30-plus wins 11 times.

Self's tenure has been highlighted by dominance at Allen Fieldhouse. He's led the Jayhawks to three home-winning streaks of 30-plus wins.

1. Dan Hurley, UConn

Win-Loss Record: 290-163 

Final Four Appearances: Two

National Championships: One 

No coach in college basketball is hotter right now than UConn's Dan Hurley. The Huskies hammered their way through the NCAA Tournament last season and clinched their first championship under Hurley and fifth overall.

Hurley reloaded the roster during the offseason and has an even better team this year. The Huskies are 66-11 over the last two seasons and are currently college basketball's king of the hill.

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Luke Joseph

LUKE JOSEPH