Top 10 CBB Hot Seats in BCS Conferences
Now that we have arrived at the meat of college basketball’s conference season, let’s look at the coaches from BCS conference who sit squarely on the hot seat. And remember, just because some schools are rebuilding their programs or simply have low expectations, it doesn’t mean that coaches’ jobs are safe or that the fans and alumni are satisfied.
10. Jeff Bzdelik (Wake Forest)
Bzdelik’s squad isn’t akin to your Wake Forest teams of Tim Duncan or Chris Paul. Heck, Darius Songaila would be ashamed. The Demon Deacons went 8-25 in Bzdelik’s first season, including 1-15 in conference play. This season, Wake has started 10-6, including a split of its conference games. It’s only his second season on the job, so his future is to be determined. But Bzdelik - a former head coach of the Denver Nuggets - better hope that there is a stark turnaround.
9. Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech)
The gregarious Greenberg is a fast-talking New Yorker who made the Hokies respectable after they were nothing more than a laughingstock before his arrival. In 2007, he guided Virginia Tech to its first NCAA appearance since 1996. But Greenberg is going to be expected to produce postseason results after winning 47 games in the last two seasons but falling on the wrong side of the tourney bubble both times. Two straight losses to start ACC play this season has sparked whispers about Greenberg’s job.
8. Craig Robinson (Oregon State)
A presidential pardon won’t save Robinson’s job at Oregon State, but a winning season might. President Barack Obama’s brother-in-law has had two straight losing seasons after an 18-18 campaign and a CBI championship in his first campaign with Beavers. Oregon State looked ready for a turnaround this year after beating Texas but has lost four of its first five Pac-12 games. The league won’t exactly be a tough gauntlet this season, meaning that Robinson - with a full recruiting cycle behind him in his fourth season - will have to show some results. Or he might have to call Air Force One for a ride out of town.
7. Travis Ford (Oklahoma State)
Ford’s teams have been decent thus far in Stillwater. He has gone 65-36 in his first three seasons, making two tourney appearances. But it’s more about what will happen going forward. The Cowboys’ Fred Gulley and Reger Dowell decided to transfer last month and forward J.P. Olukemi tore his ACL. Oklahoma State has won two of its first three Big 12 games - over Texas Tech and Oklahoma, both winless in conference games - but it’s likely to be a struggle the rest of the way considering the Pokes are just 9-7 overall and barely beat UTSA and SMU.
6. Herb Sendek (Arizona State)
Sendek has been named coach of the year in the MAC, ACC and Pac-10 during his head-coaching career. He won the Pac-10 accolade with the Sun Devils in 2010. But things have taken a turn for the worse in Tempe, where Arizona State went 12-19 last season, including 4-14 in conference play. They haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2009, when James Harden was the team’s star. There isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel this season for the 5-11 Sun Devils, whose top recruit, Jahii Carson, has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and top scorer Keala King was just kicked off the team. We think that Sendek will have a bit of a leash - but it won’t be long.
5. Kevin O’Neill (USC)
A basketball lifer, O’Neill has made stops at many locales around college hoops and the NBA. Hired by USC, he had a disappointing 35-29 record in his first two seasons on the job. What has Year 3 brought thus far? A 5-12 overall record, including an 0-4 mark in the Pac-12, which is in its weakest state in years. He and his wife should also steer clear of boosters from conference foes - or from his own school, for that matter.
4. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss)
Kennedy has four 20-win seasons in his five in Oxford. However, the Rebels have yet to make an NCAA Tournament appearance under his watch - and patience could be growing thin. Kennedy also plead guilty to disorderly conduct for an incident with a cab driver in 2008. Though he was not implicated for anything more than a verbal confrontation, Kennedy will have to justify a contract that was extended through 2014. So far the 11-5 Rebels have lost by 30 to Marquette and fallen to Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee. And that was before leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson was dismissed from the team after getting the munchies. Yikes.
3. Darrin Horn (South Carolina)
Horn’s fourth season at South Carolina has seen the Gamecocks take steps in the wrong direction with consecutive losses to Elon and Tennessee State in November. Not a great start for Horn, whose teams have just one NIT appearance in the coach’s previous three seasons. It has been a precipitous fall for Horn, who arrived at South Carolina after leading Western Kentucky to the Sweet 16 in 2008. He also was an assistant at Marquette in 2003, when it went to the Final Four. Right about now with his team just 8-8, he wishes he had Dwyane Wade.
2. Stan Heath (South Florida)
It’s safe to say that one has arrived on a hot seat when there is a web site created to encourage your firing. Heath made his name at Kent State, where he guided the school to a shocking Elite Eight berth in 2002. He never made it out of the tournament’s first round at Arkansas, and now has three seasons of at least 19 losses in his first four at USF. If it weren’t for Dominique Jones and a 20-win season in 2009-10, he would already be gone. He is going to have to do better better than 9-8 overall that includes losses to Old Dominion, VCU, Auburn and Southern Miss. Good luck with the Big East schedule.
1. Doc Sadler (Nebraska)
Expectations aren’t high for Nebraska basketball considering the team hasn’t made the tournament since 1998 but, now in his sixth season, Sadler’s program appears to be moving backwards. At 9-7, Nebraska is already 1-4 in the Big Ten and wasn’t even competitive in three of the losses. With a new basketball arena on the way, Sadler will likely need at least 20 wins in one of the nation’s toughest conferences to keep his job. They have 13 regular season games left; you do the math.