Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Picking each league’s Coach of the Year for 2023-24 season

South Carolina v Auburn
South Carolina v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages
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SEC: Lamont Paris (South Carolina)

The SEC is absolutely packed with impressive coaching talent. Chris Beard has had a nice first season at Ole Miss, Rick Barnes is thriving at Tennessee, and many others are standing out. The answer to this question becomes quite obvious: what Paris has done at South Carolina this season is incomparable. Remember that the Gamecocks have been largely unsuccessful in basketball in recent years, minus that insane run to the Final Four seven years ago.

In fact, South Carolina was picked to finish dead last in the 14-team SEC. The Gamecocks would instead race out to a 13-1 start, have since beaten Kentucky and Tennessee (on the road), and still sit in 3rd place at 9-4 despite consecutive losses. South Carolina winning 21 games is an achievement, but accomplishing that less than halfway into February is otherworldly: a testament to Paris’s hard work since getting the job less than two seasons ago.

Southern: Bucky McMillan (Samford)

The SoCon seems to be a revolving door of impressive mid-major programs asserting themselves and this would be Samford’s year in the spotlight. McMillan accepted the job back in 2020 and had never been a collegiate coach at any level beforehand. Suffice to say things are really coming into fruition in his fourth season with the Bulldogs.

After dropping their first two games this season, Samford has been on quite the roll, currently sitting 24-4. The Bulldogs have a two-game lead in the SoCon after being picked to finish 4th in the conference and certainly look like the class of this league. McMillan’s hard work has finally paid off as Samford looks to have their own special moment, if they can survive a ruthless SoCon Tournament.