Coaches on the Hot Seat

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The pressure is on Arkansas' John Pelphrey.

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Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
He inherited a tough situation, but the numbers aren’t good for Cronin, a UC alum and former Bearcat assistant in the Bob Huggins era. In four seasons, UC is 25–45 in the Big East without an NCAA Tournament appearance. His ’09-10 club, featuring Deonta Vaughn and Lance Stephenson in the backcourt, finished with a disappointing 7–11 mark in league play.

Ed DeChellis, Penn State 
Penn State is among the most difficult jobs in a Big Six conference, but at some point you have to break through and make the NCAA Tournament. Hasn’t happened yet for DeChellis, who is 32–86 in the Big Ten in seven seasons with the Nittany Lions. His ’08-09 team came painfully close (10–8 in the league), but last season Penn State finished last in the Big Ten with a 3–16 record.

Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech 
Despite having a front line with two 2010 NBA Draft picks (Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal), a former McDonald’s All-American starting at point guard (Iman Shumpert) and two freshman guards ranked among the top 50 recruits in the nation, Hewitt still failed to coax a winning ACC record from the ’09-10 Yellow Jackets. He now has had one winning league record (9–7 in ’03-04) in 10 seasons at Georgia Tech.

Karl Hobbs, George Washington
Hobbs guided the Colonials to three straight NCAA Tournaments (’05-07), but George Washington is 15–33 in the Atlantic 10 over the past three seasons. Hobbs survived an academic scandal at GW — he recruited several players from “diploma mills” — but will have a difficult time surviving another losing record in league play.

Pat Knight, Texas Tech 
Knight’s numbers aren’t good — the Raiders are 7–25 in the Big 12 in his two full seasons — but his ’10-11 club is well-positioned for more success. Five of Texas Tech’s top six scorers are back, including guard John Roberson (14.5 ppg) and swingman Mike Singletary (15.0 ppg). The pressure will be on Knight to make this team relevant in the Big 12.

Sidney Lowe, NC State
The struggles on the court continued — the Pack went 5–11 in ACC play to drop Lowe’s record to 20–44 in four seasons — but a highly regarded recruiting class played a key role in the school’s decision not to make a change. Lowe signed two top 25 national recruits (forward C.J. Leslie and guard Ryan Harrow) and re-signed ’09 recruit Lorenzo Brown, a guard who failed to meet academic requirements last season.

John Pelphrey, Arkansas 
Pelphrey reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season at Arkansas (‘07-08), but in the last two years the former Kentucky guard is 28–34 overall and 9–23 in the SEC at a school where it is difficult not to enjoy success. The program has also come under fire for several off-the-court issues, most notably an incident at a campus fraternity last August that led to the suspension of five players. Pelphrey is on the verge of signing a top-five recruiting class, which should be buy him some time, but the folks in Arkansas expect to win at a high level.

Doc Sadler, Nebraska 
Sadler is well-liked and highly respected, but the Cornhuskers are 23–41 in the Big 12 in his four seasons in Lincoln. Last year’s club slumped to 2–14 in the league, the worst at the school since the ’62-63 Huskers went 1–13 in the Big Eight.
 

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