The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, and Virginia’s Tony Bennett, who has coached the Cavaliers from unranked in the AP Preseason Poll to the No. 1 team in the country and the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
The Hoos were picked in the preseason to finish sixth in the ACC standings, but have cruised to a 14-1 conference record and at 25-2, are the only two-loss team left in the nation.
Joining Bennett is Clemson’s Brad Brownell as the only other ACC coach. The Tigers were picked to finish 13th in conference, but have climbed to No. 15 in the AP poll and are 9-6 overall in conference, though they’ve lost the last three straight.
Here’s the full list of national semifinalists:
- Rick Barnes, Tennessee Volunteers
- Chris Beard, Texas Tech Red Raiders
- Tony Bennett, THE MIGHTY VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
- Brad Brownell, Clemson Tigers
- Mick Cronin, Cincinnati Bearcats
- Chris Holtmann, Ohio State Buckeyes
- Chris Mack, Xavier Musketeers
- Matt Painter, Purdue Boilermakers
- Bruce Pearl, Auburn Tigers
- Jay Wright, Villanova Wildcats
The list will be narrowed down to four finalists in March, a list we’d fully expect Bennett to still be on if the Hoos stay the course. Virginia is back in action on Saturday at Pitt. Tipoff is at 4:00 p.m.