In the midst of the utter madness taking place on the basketball court in various cities across America on Thursday afternoon, the finalists were announced for the 2014 Naismith Coach of the Year award in college hoops. Here is the official release from the Atlanta Tipoff Club, who hands out the award every year:
"Gregg Marshall, head coach of the undefeated Wichita State Shockers, is among five finalists for the 2014 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. He is joined by Michigan coach John Beilein, Virginia coach Tony Bennett, SMU coach Larry Brown and Florida Coach Billy Donovan. Bennett (Washington State, 2007) and Brown (Kansas, 1988) are former winners of this award.The finalists were determined by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, which based its criteria on the coaches’ performances to this point in the 2013-14 men’s college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced and honored on April 6, 2014 in Dallas."
There aren’t any significant “shocks” from the pool of five finalists, but it does stick out that SMU head coach (and NBA legend) Larry Brown is the only coach on the list without an NCAA Tournament team. Still, SMU had a big turnaround this season and was the nation’s leading “snub”, so his inclusion isn’t terribly out of line.
With regard to the winner, it would be a small surprise of Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall didn’t take home the hardware, simply because of the magnitude of his undefeated regular season. With that said, though, each of the candidates has done a tremendous job, and it’ll be interesting to see who takes home the award in early April.