As January gets ready to wrap, here are the hottest and most impressive teams as of late in college basketball
If I told you that the Big Ten, right now, has two of its five greatest coaches in conference history strolling the sidelines, would you believe it? Statistically, it will be true in the few days — if not by the end of Thursday.
The Big Ten has existed for 126 years. Purdue’s next win — which could come Thursday night; check the Purdue capsule below for more — will put Matt Painter at 372 victories with the Boilermakers. That will be a significant victory; it will nudge him past Ward “Piggy” Lambert on the all-time men’s hoops ledger. Lambert coached at Purdue (and only Purdue) from 1916-1948.
Painter will soon sit fifth.
Tom Izzo is going to be first. Michigan State’s coach sits at 658 career wins. He’s just four victories away from tying Bob Knight for the most wins by a men’s basketball coach in Big Ten history. Twenty years ago, it was almost unthinkable that anyone could pass Knight in this regard, but Izzo’s going to do it.
Winningest coaches in Big Ten history
|Tom Izzo||658||Michigan State||1995-present|
|Piggy Lambert||371||Purdue||1917, 1919-46|
That’s quite the list. If Izzo goes for another five seasons and gets close to 750, he could put the number out of reach for decades. These are special times and a special season for the Big Ten, which has five teams capable of winning the conference title.
Let’s get to this week’s power rankings.
Hey Nineteen Power Rankings
Reminder: My rankings are not solely about whom I think is “best.” (Our Top 25 And 1 already does that daily.) The Hey Nineteen is a weekly encapsulation of the 19 hottest, most successful and/or most interesting teams in college basketball, combining team quality with win quality but also having no shame for recency bias and rewarding significant winning streaks.