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SEC Basketball Facing Major Coaching Turnover

Final Four Futures Odds

Southeastern Conference basketball is facing more coaching turnover than it has in years as the 2021-22 season hits NCAA Tournament time.

The SEC has already had five head coaching openings come open: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri and LSU. Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland has been on the hot-seat in the back half of the season, but the Bulldogs season is still going on after earning an invite to the NIT.

“I think you see this year where the transfer portal a year ago stripped some programs where they had some things going, and you build to a point where like you’re asking me right now where we are, it’s hard not for me to sit here and think in three weeks, four weeks, whatever the season with that next part is going to happen, and we don’t know,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said on coaching turnover. “I can’t tell you one thing about what I think would happen with our program.”

Georgia fired Tom Crean after four years at the head of the Bulldog program. Georgia was abysmal this season, going 6-26 (1-17 SEC) breaking the regular season record for most total losses in SEC play.

The Bulldogs already hired a new coach, creating another opening in the process. Georgia tabbed Florida head coach Mike White as its newest head coach.

White spent seven seasons as the head coach at Florida where he made four NCAA Tournament appearances. No. 15 seed Oral Roberts upset Florida in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament before the Gators struggled this season and missed the tournament.

The native’s in Gainesville were growing restless with the direction of the basketball program before White left for Georgia.

Missouri fired former Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin after his fifth season in Columbia. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament twice in Martin’s five years and as recently as 2021 before going 12-21 (5-13 SEC) this season.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes spoke out about Martin’s termination at the SEC Tournament.

“Disappointed. I think this year you’re going to see some — first of all, there’s not a finer person in the business than Coach Martin. If I had a son, I have said it before, I would love for him to play for him.

Knowing Coach Martin better, I can tell you this, I’ve got two adopted black grandchildren, and I called him one day and said, help me through this. Tell me what I need to know as a grandfather. My daughter was having some issues that she wanted an answer to, and Cuonzo’s wife talked with my daughter, and so I look at him in a whole different light.”

LSU was the opening no one expected. Over three-years after head coach Will Wade was caught on a FBI wire-tap discussing paying players, the NCAA finally gave LSU its notice of allegations.

The Tigers didn’t wait long to act, firing the fifth-year before their NCAA Tournament birth. Wade and LSU committed five level-one violations and the Tigers’ job is less attractive now.

South Carolina is the most recent job opening in the SEC. The Gamecocks fired head coach Frank Martin after 10 years in Columbia.

According to The Athletic, South Carolina is pursuing former Arizona coach Sean Miller and Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton.

It says a lot about the status of the SEC that two coaches who have made Final Fours struggle to the point in which their school fired them.

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