Who is the National Coach of the Year in college basketball?
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Bruce Pearl led Auburn to the SEC regular-season title and their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003, all despite a gutted roster. His SEC colleague, Rick Barnes, had a breakthrough in his third season at Tennessee, delivering the first 25-win season in eight years.
Should Pearl or Barnes win Coach of the Year? Or another coach?
Here is the HERO Sports D1 Men's Basketball Coach of the Year. Scroll down to see coaches who were considered for the honor.
Note: This honor is taking into account the regular season performance of each coach. Win totals do not include the NCAA Tournament.
HERO Sports College Basketball Coach of the Year:
Rick Barnes – Tennessee
After 31 wins over his first two seasons, Rick Barnes — Tennessee's ninth head coach since 1993-94 — led the Vols to their fourth 25-win season in program history.
They were picked 13th in the preseason poll but finished second in the conference and earned a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
These coaches all deserved consideration for this honor:
Chris Beard – Texas Tech
Chris Beard was coaching a semi-pro team in a rec center six years ago. Now he's leading an unbelievable — literally — resurgence for Texas Tech basketball.
Had it not been for Keenan Evans' toe injury, the Red Raiders may have ended Kansas' title streak. They won 11 games in the Big 12 for the first time ever and earned a 3-seed in the tournament for just the second time ever.
Tony Bennett – Virginia
Tony Bennett deserves a Nobel Prize what he's done at Virginia in less than a decade. And because he's been so good doesn't exclude him from Coach of the Year awards.
The Cavaliers rolled through a loaded ACC (17-1) and earned another top tourney seed.
Chris Holtmann – Ohio State
Ohio State was supposed to labor through one of their worst seasons in decades after dismissing Thad Matta last summer and entering the season with personnel issues.
Chris Holtmann opted for 24 wins, including 15 in the Big Ten, and a 5-seed in the tournament.
Chris Jans – New Mexico State
First-year New Mexico State coach Chris Jans took over a program coming off their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in six seasons but one that was gutted by departures.
They had three scholarship players when he arrived but he somehow equaled last year's win total (28) and has the Aggies back in the tournament.
Porter Moser – Loyola Chicago
Porter Moser did the unthinkable at Loyola Chicago: He made the Ramblers relevant in the national conversation.
They entered the NCAA Tournament one win shy of tying the single-season program record, largely thanks to Moser's suffocating defensive schemes.
T.J. Otzelberger – South Dakota State
Junior forward Mike Daum gets credit for South Dakota State's recent run, as he should, but second-year head coach T.J. Otzelberger deserves way more credit than he gets.
He engineered a flawless transition after Scott Nagy left for Wright State in 2016. The Jackrabbits — still one of the youngest Division-I programs — went 28-6 this year, including 13-1 in the Summit League.
Bruce Pearl – Auburn
We'll see how potential NCAA issues shake out, but for now, Bruce Pearl has worked magic at Auburn, slowly rebuilding a decrepit program into an SEC champion.
He led the Tigers to 25 wins despite catastrophic roster issues.