Three College Basketball Coaches Under Most Pressure Next Season

After a whirlwind of March and April in college basketball, the offseason has arrived. As is usually the case, the NCAA Tournament magnified the schools that had the best teams this season, and highlighted programs who still have some work to do in order to reach the mountaintop. Because players can leave for the NBA, graduate in less than four years, and transfer schools at a higher clip than they ever have before, the onus has fallen on the coaches to maintain stability.

It’s a difficult juggling act for current head coaches, who are responsible for more things than their predecessors. It may be more appealing for them to go to the casino live to play blackjack and other casino games available online, rather than deal with the stress that comes along with running a college basketball program. After all, the idea of playing an immersive live dealer game from the comfort of your own home sounds more enjoyable than drafting players for the next championship.

With that said, there are certain coaches who have more pressure on them heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season. The below three men will need to have strong campaigns next year for various reasons.

Matt Painter: Purdue University

The Purdue Boilermakers had a sensational regular season in 2022-23, as they ran circles around their competition nationally and in the Big Ten. This was due in large part (pun intended) to center Zach Edey, who completely dominated the paint and forced opponents to alter their game plans. Heading into the 2023 NCAA Tournament, they were given a one seed, and expected to play deep into the tournament.

Instead, Purdue suffered an embarrassingly historic defeat at the hands of 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson. To make matters worse for the Boilermakers, Farleigh Dickinson had the shortest average player height of any team in the tournament. It was stunning that the 7’4” Edey and the Boilermakers’ formidable frontline could not take advantage.

While the players on the court deserve some blame for not playing their best when it mattered most, many are going to look in the direction of Matt Painter. It can reasonably be said that Painter was out-coached in the NCAA Tournament, which is hard to argue given the results. Whether it’s from a strategic standpoint or a motivational one, Painter will need to have his team ready to play in the postseason next year.

Jon Scheyer: Duke University

One of the toughest things to do in sports is follow a legend. That’s exactly what head coach Jon Scheyer is trying to do with the Duke Blue Devils basketball program. The team was led by one of the most iconic coaches of all time in Mike Krzyzewski, who retired before the start of last season.

Given his ties to the program as a player and his devotion to the school as an assistant coach, Scheyer is as motivated as anyone to bring Duke back to the heights that they’re used to. By all accounts, they had a pretty good season, as they won the ACC Tournament, and made it to the NCAA Tournament. However, the school’s standard for excellence is much higher than almost any other university in the country, so Scheyer will need to have his team competing for national titles sooner rather than later.

While many programs deal with departures to the NBA and transfers, Scheyer is going to have a pillar of his rotation come back for another season. Center Kyle Filipowski will return to the program for another season, which is good news since he averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as a freshman. This means that Scheyer will have one less excuse if things go south next year.

Tommy Lloyd: University of Arizona

The Arizona Wildcats have navigated the post-Sean Miller era pretty effectively, as current head coach Tommy Lloyd is well-regarded by those in the college basketball community. He spent two decades serving as an assistant coach under Gonzaga head man Mark Few, and was as prepared for the job as anyone out there. After the transition, some expected Arizona basketball to take a couple of years to get back to its standard of national prominence.

However, the Wildcats have been a popular pick to advance deep into the last two NCAA Tournaments. This has not materialized though, thanks to defeats at the hands of the Houston in 2022 and Princeton in 2023. Even though Lloyd should receive a few years of runway to build the program in his vision, these losses were unexpected and crushing to the fan base.

Obviously, there can only be one NCAA Tournament champion at the end of each season, and teams need to find a level of unique chemistry in order to win it all. The Wildcats don’t need to win a national title in 2023 to validate their program, but if the team gets off to another strong start next season, they will be expected to make it to the Final Four. Lloyd will need to have his team prepared when it matters most.