Rick Barnes

Rick Barnes named a Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalist

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the 10 semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year today, and Tennessee’s Rick Barnes is one of the 10.

Every Vols fan already knows the talking points here, namely that Barnes’ team was picked to finish 13th of 14 teams in the preseason SEC poll and has instead led his team to a 20-7 record and second place in the SEC standings at this point. The Vols are currently 11th in RPI and 15th in KenPom and have been in the Top 25 for 12 straight weeks. Along the way, they’ve beaten Purdue (10th in RPI) and swept Kentucky (16th), and all but one of their losses have come to teams in the Top 40 of the RPI. The other loss came to Georgia on the road, and the Bulldogs are currently 70th in RPI.

Other semifinalists include the following:

  • Texas Tech’s Chris Beard;
  • Virginia’s Tony Bennett;
  • Clemson’s Brad Brownell;
  • Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin;
  • Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann;
  • Xavier’s Chris Mack;
  • Purdue’s Matt Painter;
  • Auburn’s Bruce Pearl; and
  • Villanova’s Jay Wright.

That list will be whittled down to four finalists on March 15, and the winner will be announced on April 1st.

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Boggles my tiny little mind that there are somehow still Tennessee fans who aren’t sold on Barnes.

Meanwhile I still can’t believe our luck to basically have this guy fall into our lap.