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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6. Dusty May (Michigan)

Nearly 25 years ago, May was a student manager at Indiana for Bob Knight, but now he’s back in the Big Ten at last. May bounced around in the early years of his coaching career before catching on under Mike White, assisting him at Louisiana Tech and Florida. His own head coaching career started at Florida Atlantic in 2018 and most people know exactly how fruitfully that went.

After four decent seasons, May led the Owls on a surprise run to the Final Four in 2023, winning the CUSA and establishing themselves as quite the power. With most of his lineup back, the Owls ran it back in the AAC last season but fell short of expectations in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Just a few weeks ago, May accepted the head coaching job at Michigan and has a new challenge on the horizon, especially with how inconsistent the Wolverines played last season.

5. Brad Underwood (Illinois)

Fresh off the best season of his coaching career, Underwood’s stock is certainly on the rise. A former Kansas State guard, Underwood was a successful junior college coach, and later assisted Frank Martin at his alma mater. His real breakthrough success came as head coach at Stephen F. Austin, winning a boatload of games with the Lumberjacks including a pair of NCAA Tournament upsets. Underwood left for Oklahoma State in 2016 but bolted from the Cowboys after just one season for the greener pastures of Illinois.

After a few seasons rebuilding the program, Underwood has turned Illinois into a legitimate contender in recent seasons. The Illini now have a pair of Big Ten Tournament titles after this past season’s success. He led Illinois to the Elite Eight this past season, making their first trip to the second weekend of the Big Dance in nearly two decades. While the roster will look much different next season, Illinois is certainly trending upwards based on Underwood’s last half-decade in Champaign.