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Tom Jones' Two Cents

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Five best coaches in college hoops



John Calipari just became the highest-paid coach in the history of college basketball when he signed an eight-year deal with Kentucky worth $31.65-million. Quite the coin for someone who has never won a national championship.

Is he the best coach in college basketball? Not at the moment. Here are my picks for the top five coaches in college basketball today:

Pitino 1. Rick Pitino, Louisville
He has only one one national championship, but he also has a laundry list of other titles. He won two SEC regular-season and five conference tournament titles while at Kentucky. He is the only coach to take three programs to the Final Four. And this season, his team won the regular-season and conference tournament in the Big East, which some argue was the best single-season conference in the history of the game.

Roy 2. Roy Williams, North Carolina
Between Kansas and North Carolina, Williams has taken seven teams to the Final Four. And if his Tar Heels win the whole shebang this weekend -- and they are the favorite -- he will have as many national titles (two) at Carolina as his mentor Dean Smith. Everyone talks about how good the ACC is and Williams' Heels have won the regular-season championship five of the past six years.

Mike 3. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Coach K's spot on this list is due more to history than what his teams have done lately. Duke seems to have slipped just a tad over the past few seasons, primarily because Krzyzewski has stopped recruiter big bruisers inside. Still, the guy has been to 10 Final Fours, he has won 10 ACC regular-season titles to go along with 11 ACC conference championships. And, in the numbers that really matter, his Duke teams have won 71 NCAA Tournament games and three national championships. You could argue that, after UCLA legend John Wooden, he is the best college coach ever.

Calhoun 4. Jim Calhoun, UConn
If Calhoun's Huskies can pull out this weekend's Final Four, Calhoun will have as many national titles (three) as Krzyzewski and Bob Knight. His teams have won six Big East regular-season titles to go along with three Big East tournament titles. He has coached at UConn for 23 years and the only season he had a losing record was his first one.

Izzo 5. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Here's a number that kind of sneaks up on you: Izzo is in his fifth Final Four this weekend. You could make the argument that Izzo's Michigan State program is the best in the country over the past decade. Since 1999, Izzo's Spartans have made the Sweet 16 eight times, the Elite Eight six times, the Final Four five times and won the 2000 national title.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:42pm]


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