Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst 271d

Dickie V's final six coach of the year candidates

Men's College Basketball, UCLA Bruins, Northwestern Wildcats, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Arizona Wildcats, Villanova Wildcats, Florida Gators

There is a great debate in college basketball this season. Who should be the national coach of the year?

There have been many times when a coach was expected to have a great season, did it, and then was left off this list. I believe that several of this year's contenders have done what was expected of them.

My friends, there are a number of viable candidates. I think about Scott Drew at Baylor. The Bears were not ranked in the preseason polls and were projected in the middle of the Big 12 pack. Josh Pastner has taken Georgia Tech to respectability in the toughest conference in America, the ACC. Beating the likes of North Carolina and Notre Dame is special.

As well as Drew and Pastner have done, they did not make my final list.

In alphabetical order, here are my super six for the honor:

Steve Alford, UCLA Bruins
The Bruins had a losing record last season. Now UCLA is a title contender. It helps to have Lonzo Ball and T. J. Leaf. Alford has done a good job with them, as well as his son, Bryce. The Bruins had a big win at Arizona last weekend.

Chris Collins, Northwestern Wildcats
The Wildcats are on the verge of making its first NCAA tournament appearance. Recently, Northwestern won its ninth Big Ten game of the season. It's the first time the Wildcats have won nine league games since going 10-2 in 1932-33, when it won the Big Ten championship.

Mark Few, Gonzaga Bulldogs
To the winner goes the spoils. He has meshed transfers Nigel Williams-Goss, Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Williams together. Yes the undefeated season was ended by BYU last weekend, but he is deserving of a number one seed.

Sean Miller, Arizona Wildcats
He went most of the season without Allonzo Trier. The Wildcats have been bothered by injuries, yet they have been right near the top of the Pac-12 standings,

Jay Wright, Villanova Wildcats
I know the Wildcats were favored in the Big East, and the team lost to Butler last week, but Wright has done a super job. He lost Ryan Archidocono and Daniel Ochefu, while Phil Booth has been injured. The Wildcats won their fourth straight Big East crown.

Mike White, Florida Gators
This was supposed to be a Kentucky cakewalk in the SEC, but it has been a close race. The Gators have been very impressive, even without a home court early in the season while O'Connell Center was being renovated. White's team lost John Egbunu to injury but has stayed tough.

Those are my top five. You can certainly argue about 5-10 other coaches deserving consideration.

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