Commentary

Larranaga leads wild COY race

Updated: February 20, 2013, 2:27 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

This season, college basketball has been wacky. There have been so many surprises.

We should have an incredible March Madness. It is so wide open, and there are a number of teams that have a legitimate shot to cut down the nets in Atlanta.

There is also a crazy race for Coach of the Year. Right now, my favorite is Miami's Jim Larranaga, but there is still a lot of time left in the regular season.

Larranaga's Hurricanes were not expected to finish among the top three in the ACC. But the veteran-dominated club has been unblemished in league play. Miami has found a way to win close games, like Tuesday's victory over Virginia.

You can really make a case for a number of coaches. Think about the job done by these other top coaches, in no particular order.

Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
Before the season started, the Rams were not considered among the upper echelon teams in the Mountain West. Colorado State since broke into the AP top 25 rankings for the first time since 1954.

Tony Bennett, Virginia
His teams always play tenacious defense and the Cavaliers could shock ACC rivals by making the Big Dance. Virginia was picked seventh in the ACC preseason poll.

Dana Altman, Oregon
His Ducks have been a surprise in the Pac-12. He has a young backcourt and Oregon still has found a way to win. The Ducks were tabbed seventh in the Pac-12 preseason poll.

Bruce Weber, Kansas State
He was fired by Illinois last year. Now he has a team near the top 10 in the national rankings.

Travis Ford, Oklahoma State
His team sent an early message with a 20-point win over NC State. The Cowboys already won at Kansas.

Kevin Ollie, Connecticut
Look at the job he has done. The Huskies are not eligible for the Big East tournament or the Big Dance, and the team still plays hard.

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
The Badgers lost Josh Gasser before the start of the season. Ryan always gets the most out of his players.

Jim Crews, Saint Louis
He had the tough assignment of taking over following the passing of Rick Majerus. He also started the season without star Kwamain Mitchell. The Billikens just blasted VCU.

Brad Stevens, Butler
His Bulldogs have wins over Indiana, North Carolina and Gonzaga. Who had Butler in the top 20 before the season started?

Herb Sendek, Arizona State
The Sun Devils are pushing for a 20-win season. Sendek was on the hot seat and now he is trying to make the Big Dance. ASU was picked 11th in the Pac-12 preseason poll.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State
The Spartans are trying to win the Big Ten title. He always has his teams prepared for postseason play.

Mark Few, Gonzaga
Could the Zags end up at numero uno? The big win at St. Mary's was impressive.

John Thompson III, Georgetown
Not many people had the Hoyas ranked before the season started. The Hoyas, picked fifth in the Big East preseason poll, have been pretty consistent, challenging for the league title.

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
He led the Rebels back into the rankings and among the best of the SEC.

Michael White, Louisiana Tech
Look who is leading the WAC! How many people know the name of the Louisiana Tech coach?

Buzz Williams, Marquette
His teams always play so hard and with intensity. Williams is a winner.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
This is a different Duke team with Ryan Kelly on the sideline. He has done an incredible job.

Donnie Tyndall, Southern Mississippi
In his first season at the school, he has the Golden Eagles in contention in Conference USA.

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
Last season, the Panthers had an off season. Pittsburgh is back in the top 25 and playing well.

Steve Alford, New Mexico
The Lobos have been ranked through most of the season.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.