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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1)Fran Dunphy (444-228)

Best regular-season coach in the A-10 and one of the best in-season coaches in the country. His postseason record, however, leaves a lot to be desired, mainly because he is not a great recruiter. Temple goes out early, often, in postseason because of talent deficits.

2)Brad Stevens (139-40)

Excellent talent evaluator, terrific game-day coach, coaches both sides of the ball well. His Butler teams are smart, balanced, organized and sound defensively. Despite Dunphy's in-league success, Stevens is the guy I want to coach my team in the postseason. Nobody in college basketball has ever been on a bigger stage from a smaller league than Stevens.

3)Shaka Smart (84-28)

The best young coach in the country, IMO. He is the guy I would want if I were a big program looking for a guy who can recruit AND coach. I thought Smart was a bit mousy first time I saw him coach. Boy, was I wrong. He knows how to build a team, maximize each player’s potential, and gets them to excel in a system that is not easy to master.

4)Chris Mack (73-30)

Mack might be the best recruiter in the league and he is an above-average coach. He gives his players some freedom in a somewhat structured offense and his teams are tough defensively. His coaching acumen will get sorely tested this year with a thin, young roster and the league will learn a lot more about him.

5)Phil Martelli (313-216)

Mr. Phil has resurrected a career that seemed ready to come to a quick end. It’s no secret how, either. He’s recruited a lot more talent after half a dozen years settling for second-rate players. Now that he’s got a second act, we will see what he can do with it. SJU should get back to the NCAAs for the second time since Jameer Nelson left – if the Hawks play consistently on both sides of the ball.

6)Chris Mooney, Richmond. (146-115)

The Spiders coach might be better than where I rank him. He’s got a chance to show it by turning Richmond into an NCAA contender again after big graduation losses over the last few years. He has recruited well and upgraded the talent level. His teams are never an easy out for anyone and generally are disciplined on both sides of the ball, with a Princeton-style offense and zone matchup defense.

7)Archie Miller, Dayton (20-13)

Miller hit the ground running, though he had a solid roster with which to work. He’s also recruited very well in a season and a half. Another young coach from a family with a long pedigree, Miller showed good X and Os on both sides of the ball in his first year and maximized the talent on his roster – the first sign of any fine coach. One year is too little to judge, however.

8)Derrick Kellogg, Massachusetts (64-65)

Kellogg found a great point guard and probably saved his job last year. But Chaz Williams wasn’t the only reason UMass did well. Kellogg has recruited a very talented roster with lots of athletes with different skilsets.

More important, DK junked the dribble-drive offense and decided to coach in a style more conducive to his how own instincts and to the talent on his roster. He is not a great game-day adjuster, but Kellogg continues to learn and might just have what it takes to be an above-average college coach.

9)Mark Schmidt, Bonaventure (156-170)

Schmidt showed a lot of coaching acumen last season, changing his rotation constantly and working young players into the mix until he found a combination good enough to win – the A-10 tournament. I’ve been critical of Schmidt in the past, but he’s gotten better as a coach and has found a way to draw pretty good talent to Olean. It will be interesting to see how he transitions the Bonnies from an inside-oriented offense to a perimeter one. He succeeded with that style at Robert Morris.

10)John Giannini, LaSalle (244-239)

DrG was in hot water until the Explorers surged last season. Giannini is a good recruiter, but he’s had spotty success at LaSalle. He’s been better at getting individual parts than fashioning them into a cohesive whole. That’s now how it’s always been in his career, so he might have more chapters to write.

G has to get the Explorers to be more consistent, and play even better defense, if they want to be among the league’s crop. LaSalle has not been one of the better defensive teams in the A-10 during his tenure.

11)Mike Lonergan, GW (136-89)

Lonergan is probably too low, but he’s only been the Colonials coach for one year and the body of A-10 work is lacking. He’s quickly trying to reshape a roster built for an entirely different style of play. What we can see of Longergan so far is that he values skill players over raw athleticism and that he wants to build a more balanced attack. His Vermont teams could score pretty well, execute in the half court and were sound defensively.

12)Tom Pecora, Fordham (172-166)

Percora is not an X and Os genius, but he is a very good motivator whose best teams give a better effort than their opponents. He’s slowly building up the Rams’ talent and athleticism, but he hasn’t found a break-through player – yet.

Over the years Percora has had a knack for finding hidden gems, usually somewhere in boroughs of New York. One of these gems will have to emerge, and soon, to keep Fordham moving up in a league that’s getting better at an even faster rate.

13)Alan Major, Charlotte (23-36).

Jury is still out on Major. He seems to have had success recruiting to a program whose talent level was faltering. His teams are fairly well organized and show good defense at times, pulling a few home upsets each year. The offense has been spottier. By the time Major shows whether he is good enough to stay in his job, the Niners will no longer be in the A-10.

Not rated: Jim Ferry, Danny Hurley, Jim Crews

Jim Crews (353-349) had a great run at Evansville but the program eventually lost momentum. He took a job at Army and had a tough time. It been four years since his last head coaching job and a guy who gets fired twice clearly has some flaws.

Jim Ferry (150-149) has a fine track record working his way up the coaching ladder. He finds players and employs an aggressive fast-pace style. Seems like a nice hire for the Dukes but he won’t have an easy time of it his first year.

Danny Hurley (38-23), he of the fine coaching family, has had a great start to his (shorter) career. Squeezing 25 wins out of Wagner is damn impressive and he’s already scoring some big recruiting wins. Things look on the up and up at Rhody.
 

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I suspect missing #11 is a coach from Foggy Bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Big year for Major. He has to show a lot of progress by the end of the season retooling the team. How much the sophomores progress will be telling.
 

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Temple had just as much or more talent than Cornell and South Florida and lost both games. It's not that simple. He's a good coach, but his inability to win games in March is more than a "talent deficiency."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Temple had just as much or more talent than Cornell and South Florida and lost both games. It's not that simple. He's a good coach, but his inability to win games in March is more than a "talent deficiency."
True van, it's not simple, though i am not sure Temple had a more talented 'team' than that Cornell squad. At Penn Dunphy was usually outmatched at tourney time.
 

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Man, WH, first you leave GW out of your thoughts on the upcoming season, now this. I've been saying GW is being overlooked, but you are taking it to a whole new level!

The one I really don't know how to rate is Schmidt. He really got the young guards playing well by the last half of the season, something i didn't think he had in him. Nicolson was a once-a-career find, but it will be tough to get the Bonnies back to the tourney. The question is whether now that he taught his team how to win, can he teach them to sustain it at a reasonable level when the top-end talent is depleted, like Mooney proved he could do.


As for Pecora, you say he needs to find a diamond in the rough. Problem is he already has one in Gaston, who is gone after this year. He's going to need to find a couple to get Fordham to improve. I know you like them for 11th this year, but I'm not sure I see it yet.
 

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Recruiting by Mack is flawed in the sends that many guys of late haven't become eligible, but his skills as a D-coordinator will definitely be tested this year. Dee Davis appeared to show some signs late in the year as another defensive-stopper-in-waiting, but will he be able to do it for 30+ minutes a game this year?

If Xavier ever needed a favorable schedule, this is the year. Games like UMass, Fordham, La Salle and GW would all be possible to likely losses on the road; they all come to Cintas this year. Temple and VCU also have games at Cintas - those could go either way as well. We'll have to see just how good of a chemistry teacher Mack is for the upcoming season.
 

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I think Xavier will remain very tough to beat at home. They'll certainly have an "us against the world" mentality going, and if the freshman is as good as advertised by league play, they should hold serve at home in most games.

I think the road is where they will have a really hard time. They'll be coming to town with bullseyes on their backs, and don't seem to have the depth of talent they usually have to overcome it.
 

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Adding to Chris Mack's woes is the fact that his two top bench coaches are new this year. Like he didn't have enough problems already.
 

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At least they'll help with the VCU scout. Both Ashley Howard (Drexel) and Mike Pegues (Delaware) were both CAA assistants prior to coming to X. Mike Pegues actually started his career at VCU as the video/film co-ordinator before moving to Delaware.
 

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Majerus' track record stands up against anybody's. I can see why if you are going to stick with the long term A-10 schools wherever possible you can discount what the inexperienced Stevens and Smart have accomplished, but Majerus over Dunphy is pretty wild...you've got to give Majerus credit for what he's done in the tournament relative to Dunphy. Majerus has been to 4 sweet 16's, Dunphy has won 4 NCAA Tournament games. If it were even close...
 
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