COLUMBIA, MO - FEBRUARY 11: Head coach Frank Haith of the Missouri Tigers coaches from the bench during the game against the Baylor Bears on February 11, 2012 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The No. 3 Missouri Tigers (24-2, 11-2) are getting much-deserved national attention, and head coach Frank Haith should get a lot of credit too.
The No. 3-ranked Missouri Tigers have been been nothing short of spectacular this season, racking up a 24-2 record and an 11-2 mark in Big 12 conference play, and with less than a month before NCAA's March Madness kicks off, SB Nation's Mike Rutherford has taken a look at Coach of the Year candidates.
Although familiar names like Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and John Calipari of Kentucy make his list, the top name among his most deserving coaches is Frank Haith of the Missouri Tigers. Without a true star or a gaggle of blue chip prospects, Haith has led a young team to a surprisingly great season. Here is what Rutherford had to say:
1. Frank Haith, Missouri
Had Haith's hiring not been almost universally lambasted by the national media, I don't think there's any question that he would be the runaway favorite right now. Nobody likes being wrong.
Haith inherited a team that appeared to be a borderline Top 25 squad, and that was before its lone established post presence - senior forward Laurence Bowers - was lost for the season with an ACL tear in October. As it stands, the Tigers are 23-2 (10-2) and would be one of the four No. 1 seeds if the NCAA Tournament started today.
If the season ended today the Tigers would certainly be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but the final stretch of the season will be important in locking up a top seed, and perhaps a top honor for Haith as well.