Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Ranking all 18 head coaches for 2024-25 season

Apr 8, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter reacts against the
Apr 8, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter reacts against the / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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10. Fred Hoiberg (Nebraska)

An impressive shooter during his playing career, Hoiberg filled box scores at Iowa State before spending a decade in the NBA. After some time in NBA front offices, he took the Iowa State head coaching gig in 2010 and was fantastic for five seasons, taking the Cyclones to a Sweet Sixteen and a pair of Big 12 Tournament titles. He then spent four years helming the Chicago Bulls before returning to the college game at Nebraska.

Basketball success isn’t historical in Lincoln and Hoiberg would certainly be lower here based on his first four seasons, which resulted very little for the program. However, the Cornhuskers had quite the breakthrough this past year, tying for 3rd in the Big Ten and returning to the Big Dance for the first time in a decade. It’s uncertain if Nebraska can maintain this momentum with so many moving pieces, but it’s fair to say a lot of coaches in this game wouldn’t have accomplished what Hoiberg did this season.

9. Steve Pikiell (Rutgers)

Formerly a point guard at UConn, Pikiell has been in coaching for more than three decades but has done his best work here with the Scarlet Knights. Long before that, he bounced around at several different schools, including stints with Yale and George Washington before Stony Brook handed him his first full-time head coaching gig. Across eleven years he slowly built the Seawolves, leading them to the Big Dance in 2016, his final season.

Pikiell left for Rutgers, inheriting the cellar dweller of the Big Ten, though that wouldn’t last for long. After three mediocre seasons, Pikiell’s rebuild really took shape and he led Rutgers to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and a first round win back in 2021. The Scarlet Knights took a step back this past season but have the talent to make another run next season based on their recruiting class. Pikiell’s record doesn’t jump off the page, but consider that he’s doing this at Rutgers of all places.