Posted: Monday December 11, 2006 9:57AM; Updated: Monday December 11, 2006 10:31PM
Youth Movement In Full Swing
It's icons such as Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and Lute Olson that define the game, but youth is taking over the sidelines. While Florida's Billy Donovan, 41, has become the poster child for the youth infusion, he's an old man compared to IPFW's Dane Fife, who at 26 is currently the youngest coach in Division I. The MTV generation is making its presence felt in the coaching ranks, so here's a rundown of the nation's top coaches under 40:
1) Thad Matta, 39, Ohio State. The seventh-year coach (above), who was also the head man at Butler and Xavier, is 156-50 and has made it to the NCAA tournament in five of his six seasons (OSU was ineligible for the postseason in 2004-05), including an Elite Eight run with Xavier in '04. He also gets major props for a recruiting class that includes Greg Oden.
2) Mark Fox, 37, Nevada. He continues to be one of the hottest names in the game. Fox turned down the Nebraska job last summer and received a raise and extension from Nevada. In his third season with the Wolf Pack, Fox is 59-14 with a pair of NCAA tournament appearances under his belt and is widely considered one of the game's brightest minds.
3) Chris Lowery, 34, Southern Illinois. The man is literally an NCAA tourney magnet: in is nine seasons as a SIU player, assistant and head coach, the team has made the tourney in each. In his first two years he went 49-19 and is coming off Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors. Considering the mid-major giants depth, that's saying something. 4) Scott Sutton, 35, Oral Roberts. Often compared to Kansas coach Bill Self, who brought Sutton on as an assistant at ORU, Sutton has won 102 games since the start of the 2001-02 season and is coming off a the Golden Eagles' first NCAA appearance since 1984. It's just a matter of time before he joins his brother, Sean in the major-conference ranks.
5) Jeff Capel, 31, Oklahoma. The former Duke standout has emerged as a rising star, landing the Oklahoma job after a four-year stint at Virginia Commonwealth, during which he went 79-41 and made an NCAA tourney appearance. He stresses unity and hardwork (sound's a little Krzyzewski-esque) and should be the headman at OU for the long haul.
6) Mick Cronin, 35, Cincinnati. Regarded as one of the nation's up-and-coming coaches and a top-notch recruiter, he enters his first year in the Queen City after leading Murray State to two NCAA tournament appearances in three seasons. He went 69-24 with the Racers and his 28 first-year wins were the fifth-most in NCAA history for a rookie coach.
7) Sean Miller, 38, Xavier. Matta's former right-hand man at Xavier is 45-25 in his third season -- and has a resume that not many can touch. Besides being the first associate head coach in Xavier history under Matta, he was also Herb Sendek's lead assistant at NC State. Don't be surprised if he follows Xavier's trend and ends up at a major program soon.
8) Sean Sutton, 38, Oklahoma State. Here's what we know: Sutton is undefeated as Oklahoma State's coach (11-0), he learned from one of the greatest coaches of all-time, his father Eddie, participating in more than 500 games as an OSU player and a coach in 14 years. The verdict is still out on Sean, but he looks well-schooled to be an elite coach.
9) Dave Calloway, 38, Monmouth. Calloway's official Web site calls him one of the best young coaches on the East Coast. He is, and he's earned it. In his ninth season in West Long Branch, N.J., he won his 100th game last January and led the Hawks on their third trip to the Big Dance in six seasons, during which Monmouth has piled up 112 victories.
10) John Pelphrey, 36, South Alabama. He went 36-48 in his first three seasons, never going above .500, but last year he turned a 10-win team into 24-victory squad which went to the Tourney. That earned Pelphrey overtures from Ole Miss and Nebraska. He played under Rick Pitino at Kentucky and was once the hot assistant du jour under Donovan.
11) Will Brown, 35, Albany. In his sixth season with the Great Danes, Brown is 53-83, but he's coming off a 20-11 campaign that included the America East Conference regular season and tourney titles and the school's first NCAA berth. Before coming to Albany, he spent three years at Sullivan County CC (N.Y.), going 90-10. He also has a sweet Web site.
High On The 'Horns
In case you didn't catch it on Sunday night, Texas' young team is for real. The Longhorns knocked off No. 9 LSU 76-75 in overtime, but it was point guard D.J. Augustin who was the biggest revelation. The Parade All-American dropped a career-high 25 points on the Tigers and added four assists as Texas freshmen scored 65 percent of the Longhorns' points. Kevin Durant may be the crowned jewel of the 'Horns' freshmen class, but Augustine gives coach Rick Barnes another weapon at the point.
Ups & Downs
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish beat two ranked opponents last week, dropping Maryland and then-No. 4 Alabama. With a more than manageable schedule, they should easily be 12-1 heading into the Big East opener against Louisville.
Iowa State Cyclones
You can bet the Cyclones can't wait to get out of their home state. After starting 6-0 they lost to in-state schools Northern Iowa, Drake and Iowa, marking the first time they've fallen to all three in one year since '97-98.
West Virginia Mountaineers
WVU lost four starters, but is still 7-1. They have done it by spreading the wealth -- Joe Alexander, Darris Nichols and Frank Young are each scoring more than 11 ppg. Question: Can you still be Pittsnogled?
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies opened 7-0, but followed their first loss (at LSU) by falling to top-ranked UCLA. It was their first back-to-back losses since losing on the road against Oklahoma and Texas on Feb. 4 and 8 of last season.
Dartmouth Big Green
Coming off a 51-point loss to Kansas, its worst defeat since falling to New Mexico by 50 in 1972, Dartmouth responded by dropping James Madison 74-70 on Sunday to get its first win of the season.
Marquette Golden Eagles
The Eagles continued their struggles against in-state rival Wisconsin in coach Tom Crean's tenure, falling to 5-2 after Saturday's 70-66 loss in Milwaukee. Marquette hasen't beaten the Badgers since 2004-05.
They Said It
"The thing I remember about Adolph Rupp is that one time I scored seven points against the ornery son of a bitch to help beat him. That's a lot bigger in my memory than this."
--Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight on the former Kentucky coach, who he tied, and later passed on the all-time wins list. He is now two from tying Dean Smith's record of 879.
"One time [Saturday] I dunked and then I looked right in the camera and went, 'AGHHHH.' Then I went back on defense. It felt nice."
--Ohio State center Greg Oden, who didn't dunk in his collegiate debut on Dec. 2, had five dunks in Saturday's win over Cleveland State and was 8-of-8 from the field.
"He had a triple-double."
--Kentucky coach Tubby Smith on forward Bobby Perry, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 stitches after he left Saturday's win over Indiana with a gash about his eyebrow.
Big Men On Campus
Chris LoftonG - Tennessee
The sophomore went off against Memphis, scoring 21 first-half points, while the then 17th-ranked Tigers had 22 at halftime. He finished with a career-high 34 points, canning six three-pointers and hitting 12-of-18 shots from the field.
Morris AlmondG - Rice
The nation's co-leading scorer at 30.1 ppg with Jackson State's Trey Johnson, Almond dropped 36 points on Lamar (no, not the guy from Revenge of the Nerds). Almond was 11-of-17 from the field, including 7-of-9 three-pointers.
Marcus WilliamsF - Arizona
After one of his worst outings as a Wildcat against Louisville, the sophomore, responded with 21 points (16 inside the key) and a career-high 16 rebounds, including five offensive boards, in a 69-48 victory against San Diego State.
Air Force held Division III Colorado College to six first-half points in a 82-31 win on Saturday, setting an NCAA record. The Tigers didn't score until 9:30 remaining in the half.
With a 94-69 victory over High Point, North Carolina's Roy Williams became the fastest Division I coach to 500 wins, doing it in 19 seasons, one earlier than Jerry Tarkanian.
On Saturday Duke beat George Mason for its 48th straight non-conference home win, while Gonzaga dropped Washington to extend its home streak to 45. Both streaks lead the nation.