This year’s Big 12 Coach of the Year is sure to be a heated topic of discussion between Kansas State and Kansas Jayhawks fans. I’m sure even Missouri Tigers fans think they have a legitimate contender in Mike Anderson. However, with Bill Self and Frank Martin, I only see it as a two horse race.
So let’s make the case for Bill Self. As of now, the Kansas Jayhawks are undefeated in conference play with the record of 13-0 and hold the conference lead by three games. The Big 12 is considered one of the nation’s top basketball conferences this year and leading by three games is quite a feat in itself. Yes, the Kansas Jayhawks were expected to win the conference, and they were also expected to be ranked #1 in the nation. But did anyone think they could win the conference by three or four games? Bill Self and the Jayhawks have met every expectation, but there was no way for them to exceed them when they were expected to be the best.
Here’s the case for Frank Martin. It’s all about how him and the Kansas State Wildcats have exceeded everyone’s expectations. The Wildcats are ranked 6th in the nation. When the preseason polls came out, the Wildcats were not even in the top 25. They did receive some votes in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today polls and were 39th overall. Frank Martin has obviously been coaching the team beyond anyone’s expectation. And now here they are in the discussion for a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. There is definitely no one that has exceeded expectations more than the Wildcats.
Here is how I see it. If Bill Self and the Jayhawks can run the table in the Big 12 and finish the conference at 16-0, I think Bill will win the award. If Frank Martin can beat Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse, therefore ending the longest current home winning streak, I say Frank Martin is Coach of the Year. If one of these two scenarios does now play out (i.e. Kansas loses to Oklahoma State or Missouri), then it’s a toss up.
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So who do you think deserves to be Big 12 Coach of the Year?