Originally Published: Jun 2, 2014
Calipari-era success -- the relentlessly upbeat Pastner seems to have settled into something of a groove. His best skill is still his recruiting, but he's a better overall coach than he often gets credit for.

No. 41: Ed Cooley, Providence


Providence senior Bryce Cotton just put together one of the most impressive individual seasons -- Cotton averaged 21.8 points, 5.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 39.9 minutes per game -- in 2013-14. To say he was instrumental to the Friars' success is a huge understatement, but Cooley has done a great job on the recruiting trail, and his bench is better stocked now than any Providence team in recent memory. Cooley's done a great job there.

No. 40: Bruce Weber, Kansas State

Kansas State

The conductor of one of the aughts' greatest teams (the 2004-05 Illini), Weber eventually wore out his welcome in Champaign, Illinois. He's since found a comfortable home at Kansas State, where rising sophomore Marcus Foster has a chance to make the 2014-15 Wildcats special.

No. 39: Tubby Smith, Texas Tech

Texas Tech

Last season Smith took a Texas Tech program ravaged by Hurricane Billy Clyde and almost immediately made it respectable; the Red Raiders jumped from 233rd to 83rd in adjusted efficiency in the matter of one season.

No. 38: Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech

Williams' streak of Sweet 16 appearances at Marquette finally ended in 2013-14, and so did his tenure: In March, Williams was lured to Virginia Tech to help new AD Whit Babcock salvage the now-disastrous decision to fire Seth Greenberg (who, full disclosure, now works at ESPN) and hire greenhorn James Johnson. Williams will have a football pocketbook and near total autonomy in Blacksburg, Virginia, and you better believe the Hokies will get better fast.

No. 37: Rick Byrd, Belmont


Belmont is the best indie act in college hoops, a consistent offensive (and efficiency margin) powerhouse whose lack of a Cinderella run has kept the Bruins, and Byrd, under the radar. But those of us who spend all year obsessing over college hoops know and respect Tennessee's best-kept secret.

No. 36: Steve Alford, UCLA


UCLA's introduction of Alford (and his utterly bonkers contract buyout clause) went about as poorly as it possibly could have, but Alford very quickly salvaged it by getting a great season out of the uniquely talented players (Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams) former coach Ben Howland left behind. Alford has also begun to shore up the tricky West Coast recruiting circuit that Howland totally alienated.

No. 35: Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's

Saint Joseph

Martelli's hard-line transfer policy lost him a fair bit of respect within the sport back in 2011, but just as disconcerting was what looked like consistent underachievement from a clearly talented group of players in the seasons that followed. In 2013-14, Martelli's team came on at the perfect time, winning the A-10 tournament en route to a second-round NCAA tournament loss (in OT) to eventual champion UConn. (Remember that?)

No. 34: Tad Boyle, Colorado


Boyle took over for former Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik (whose three sub-.500 seasons were so enticing Wake Forest just had to hire him), and that swap may go down as one of the best coaching upgrades in Colorado hoops history. Boyle has been comprehensively good in Boulder, Colorado, both on the court (where he's 92-50) and off it, where CU fans are now deeply engaged with a program that spent most of the past two decades awash in Chauncey Billups nostalgia.

No. 33: Fran McCaffery, Iowa


It's safe to say 2013-14 hurt McCaffery with the panel. He would almost certainly have ranked higher had the Hawkeyes maintained their top-10 early-season trajectory, when they were one of the best and most thrilling offensive teams in the country, and not, you know, totally collapsed down the stretch. That Iowa ended the regular season 20-11 (9-9) (the exact same record, with the exact same Big Ten tourney seeding and matchups, as 2012-13) was hilarious and sad at the same time. But McCaffery's overall success in Iowa City shouldn't be ignored: Next season he'll have just as much talent at his disposal.

No. 32: Tim Miles, Nebraska


A couple of years ago, Tim Miles was the funny coach with the funny Twitter feed, the guy most likely to be sitting alone at Big Ten media day while simultaneously making fun of himself for sitting alone at Big Ten media day. (Five years ago, at Big 12 media day, that coach was Fred Hoiberg. My how things change.) Now, after taking the Cornhuskers to their first NCAA tournament since 1998 in...

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