What Happened Last Night
The Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide had a damn rock fight in Tuscaloosa, which Georgia won 60-55 behind 28 points from JJ Frazier. Frazier is basically Georgia’s offense with Yante Maten sidelined, and the Bulldogs are now 16-12 overall and 7-8 in the SEC. They’re probably not getting an at-large bid, and probably won’t get the automatic bid either with Frazier being, well, their entire offense, but they can sure as hell put a cramp in Alabama’s own designs on the tournament. Alabama is now 16-11 overall and 9-6 in the SEC.
Who’s On the Hot Seat?
There are three games left in the regular season, and that means that the coaching carousel is coming soon. We can be sure that at least a couple of SEC schools will have new coaches in 2017-18. Anyone else?
Tier 1: Probably Finished
1. Johnny Jones
2. Kim Anderson
Johnny Jones and Kim Anderson are really 1a and 1b; I would be very surprised if either one is back next year. These are the coaches of the two worst teams in the SEC (by a significant margin). Jones is in his fifth year and did make the NCAA Tournament that one time, but he has a 41-46 SEC record (thanks in large part to a 1-14 record this year, but whatevs). Kim Anderson is in his third year and has somehow managed to go 8-43 in the SEC.
There is really no excuse for either LSU or Missouri to be this bad. Do I really need to rehash this any more?
Tier 2: This Would Make Sense
3. Mark Fox
4. Mike Anderson
There aren’t any easy answers in this tier. I will say that Mike Anderson is probably fine if Arkansas makes the NCAA Tournament; all bets are off if he doesn’t, though. That would give him one tournament appearance in six years, and that’s not really going to cut it at a program like Arkansas (Spoiler alert: Arkansas will probably make the tournament).
Fox is a different case: He has a big defender in John Calipari, but the natives are getting a bit restless with (I’m assuming) two tournament appearances in eight years and a 68-67 SEC record. I don’t know that I would actually pull the trigger if I were Georgia’s AD, but we are talking about the same AD that fired Mark Richt.
If I had to put a number on it, I’d say it’s 50-50 that Fox is back next year. Of course, I could also see Fox finding another landing spot instead. It’s hard to get a read on this situation.
Tier 3: Might Be On The Hot Seat Next Year
5. Billy Kennedy
6. Bruce Pearl
What is it with Texas A&M and silly buyout clauses, anyway? The Aggies might be having a bit of buyer’s remorse after Kennedy’s team just collapsed the year after winning the SEC. In six years at A&M, Kennedy has a 49-56 conference record (that includes one year in the Big 12) and one NCAA Tournament appearance; he also has a $7 million buyout if he’s terminated before May 14, at which point it goes down to ... $4.5 million.
So yeah, Kennedy will probably be here at least another year — but if it goes anything like this year, A&M might start thinking about eating that buyout.
As for Pearl, everybody knew this was a major rebuilding job; that much wasn’t in question. And it’s also not in question that the program has made progress in his first three years. Still — Pearl’s not making $2.2 million a year to get the team to the NIT. Auburn is starting four freshmen this year, though, and assuming all of them return (a big if) Auburn could be good next year. If they’re not, though, Pearl might start feeling some heat.
Tier 4: Andy Kennedy
7. Andy Kennedy
Who the hell knows? Kennedy is never bad enough to get fired, and rarely good enough to feel like the program’s going to turn a corner and become a consistent NCAA Tournament team. That said, well, this is Ole Miss, and Kennedy has spent most of his tenure getting relatively little support from the administration, and he’s also the most successful basketball coach in Ole Miss history.
In summation: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tier 5: Safe For Now
8. Frank Martin
9. Mike White
10. Ben Howland
11. Rick Barnes
12. Avery Johnson
13. Bryce Drew
With the exception of Martin, these guys are all in their first or second year at a new job; and all except Mike White (and maybe Bryce Drew) inherited a rebuilding job. Now, my assessment of Martin would probably change if South Carolina somehow misses the NCAA Tournament, but getting the Gamecocks back to the tournament for the first time since 2004 would do a ton for Martin’s job security.
As for the other five, none of their employers seem to be itching to make a move. Barring something weird happening, everyone in this year should probably be in their current job for at least another year or two.
Tier 6: No.
14. John Calipari
No. You might be able to find some Kentucky fans in some of the darker corners of the internet who think Calipari should be replaced; these people are also likely insane.