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7 Days Until Kansas Basketball: Who Will Replace Bill Self?

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NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Media Day Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday friend of the site Jesse Newell posted a fun look at the program 10 years from now, which got me thinking that it’s time to update my Bill Self replacement power rankings. This is a bit tough obviously, because who knows when he will decide to hang em up. His contract runs through 2022, and if he stays that long, it’s entirely possible his replacement hasn’t really identified himself yet. So this ranking is a bit of a hybrid between what would happen if Self decided to retire (or take the Spurs job) in the next couple years and some big time speculation 6+ years into the future. To the tiers!

Tier 1 - They’ll Never Say Yes But You Have To Ask

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Stevens looks like an NBA lifer now, but the 40 year old took Butler (Butler!) to back to back title games, and was one of the best Xs and Os guys in the country when he was there.

Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder

I was a bit skeptical of Donovan in the NBA, but he’s clearly making it work. He could maybe be tempted to go back to college if Russell Westbrook leaves OKC, but probably would be at whichever school he went to for awhile. Donovan had a .715 win percentage at Florida and won back to back titles, and went to the Elite 8 in four of his final five seasons.

Tier 2 - The Top Realistic Choices

Tony Bennett, Virginia

Far and away the top choice for me right now. Bennett is 47, so he’d have to be a replacement if Self left somewhat soon, but he’s amassed a .696 win percentage and has won 30, 30, and 29 games the last three seasons. His Virginia teams have finished in the top 10 defensively in four of the last five seasons. And his offense has been steadily improving (and would figure to only get better with Kansas’s natural recruiting advantages). The lone drawback is his slow pace leads to higher variance and thus a higher chance of an upset in the NCAA tournament.

Sean Miller, Arizona

Miller is currently the coach criticized for not making it to the Final Four, which is as much BS for him as it was for Self. Miller is one of the best recruiters in the country (and maybe would be THE best recruiter in the country at Kansas), and has finished inside the Top 20 in KenPom each of the last four seasons. Like Bennett, he’s 47 so if Self sees out his contract he might not be realistic.

Tier 3 - Very Good Coaches We Would Be Happy With

Archie Miller, Dayton

Sean’s younger brother is just 38, but has already made an Elite 8 with Dayton. Oddly, the Flyers’ defensive efficiency has gotten better every year, but the offensive efficiency has gotten worse every year. I think the latter would get fixed with some recruiting help. Mainly, though, Miller has shown off how well he can adapt, finishing 2nd in the Atlantic 10 in 2015 despite injuries limiting his squad to just 6 scholarship players, and no one over 6-6.

Chris Mack, Xavier

Mack has improved Xavier each year since the program moved from the A10 to the Big East, and has made the NCAA tournament in 6 of his 7 years, culminating with a 2 seed last season.

Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

I think Krystkowiak might be the most underrated coach in America. He took Utah from 6 wins in his 1st year to 27 last year. He’s turned raw talent into first round picks, he’s finished 2nd in the Pac 12 in each of the last two years, and has finished in the top 50 in KenPom each of the last three years.

Kevin Ollie, Connecticut

There is probably a 0 percent chance he comes given that he went to UConn, but Ollie has a national title and has finished in the top 50 at KenPom in 3 of his first 4 years. He’s also recruiting well. Ideally you’d like to see him keep it up for awhile, though.

Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech

Buzz had some great years at Marquette before moving to Blacksburg, where his Hokies look like a tournament team this year. He’s only twice had an offense outside the top 100: his lone season at New Orleans and his first year at Virginia Tech. He had top 25 offenses in 4 of his 6 years at Marquette. I was terrified Texas would hire him instead of Shaka Smart.

Fred Hoiberg, Chicago Bulls

You have to doubt he’d come due to his time at Iowa State, and I think his Xs and Os prowess was always a bit overrated, but there’s something to be said for getting to see his offense with a higher caliber of recruit than you can get in Ames. The Cyclones finished top 20 in offense in each of his last three years, but it sure would be a culture shock to see a Kansas team as bad in defense as they’d be. He probably belongs a tier lower.

Jerod Haase, Stanford

Haase won 80 games in 4 years at UAB, upset Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2015, and then won Conference USA last year. He now takes over at Stanford and at just 42 if he can put together a few good seasons in Palo Alto, Kansas might come calling. The one hitch is Haase coached under Roy Williams at North Carolina, and the Heels might beat us to the punch when Roy retires.

Tier 3 - People From The ‘Kansas Family’ That Everyone Wants For Some Dumb Reason

I don’t know why you need to hire someone who went to KU or was previously a coach at KU or someone who grew up a KU fan (although that narrow pool does leave it wide open for me to replace Bill Self). It rarely works. It’s what gives you Matt Doherty replacing Bill Guthredge who replaced Dean Smith. It’s what is going to make Duke hire Wojo or Capel to replace Coach K (which will be hilarious).

Danny Manning, Wake Forest

Manning went to an NCAA tournament at Tulsa and is attempting to rescue a program that has lost its way lately. He’s won just 24 games in his first two seasons, and he’s already 50 years old, so it probably won’t work out age wise.

Mark Turgeon, Maryland

I have no personal hatred towards Turgeon, but 1. he’s already 51 and 2. he has only made the NCAA tournament in 2 of his 5 years at Maryland. He has recruited somewhat well, but that’s while being the only Under Armour school in a talent rich area (so of course he’s going to get a lot of the Under Armour kids), and anyone can recruit to Kansas. He also woefully underachieved with last year’s Maryland team (although I managed to peg them as overrated from the start).

Tad Boyle, Colorado

Of all the people in this section, I think Boyle might be the best pure coach. He’s made the tournament in 3 of his 6 seasons in Boulder despite that program not having much going for it in terms of fan and financial support. He’s also too old, though. (53).

Tier 4 - Speculating On The Future

All these guys will be people who probably only are realistic if Self sees out his entire contract and/or beyond.

Bryce Drew - Vanderbilt

Drew is just 42, and already has an impressive resume. He has just 2 NCAA tournament berths, but it’s tough to criticize NCAA tournament berths in a 1 bid league given that one bad night can derail a great year. Valpo finished 42nd and 65th the last two years in KenPom.

Mitch Henderson, Princeton

The 41 year old has never made the tournament as a coach either as a head coach at Princeton or as an assistant at Northwestern, but as a guy who went to Princeton he’s obviously smart enough to figure it out. The Tigers had a bit of a dip in 2014 and 2015, but look like the overwhelming Ivy favorites this year.

Gregg Marshall, Wichita State

It probably won’t happen due to his animosity towards Kansas, and he’s already 53 so he’s hardly an up and comer, but Marshall has won 30 games in three of the last four years. It’s fair to wonder, however, whether he can do it without having 2 NBA players in a traditionally 2ish bid league.

Kevin Keatts, UNC-Wilmington

Keatts has just 2 seasons under his belt and is in his mid 40s, so it probably won’t happen. Still, UNCW took a 90 spot leap from his first to his second season, and went from 18 wins to 25 wins.

Lavelle Moton, NC Central

Of all the longer shots, Moton might be my fave. He’s just 42 and has been at the school since 2010. Central lost just 2 conference games from 2013-2015, and he looks to be up for some bigger jobs soon. Certainly one to keep an eye on.

Jeff Boschee, Missouri Southern

You knew it was coming. The North Dakota native and former Jayhawk captain, Boschee is in his third year as the head coach of Missouri Southern State University. Boschee won 20 and 18 games in his first two seasons, making the MIAA tournament final in his first year and finishing third last season. As the head coach and assistant, Missouri Southern is 106-44. He was also 65-14 in three seasons at the Barstow School in Kansas City.

I am sure I forgot some, so if you made it this far feel free to suggest any in the comments.