Wake Forest – Danny Manning : B+
Wake Forest finished with flourish, and that pushed head coach Danny Manning from a C+\B- to a B+. The Deacs had good computer numbers all year, but weren’t a NCAA team until later wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech. Picked to finish 13th in the ACC, Wake Forest made the NCAA tournament, and big man John Collins became one the most improved players in the country. Danny Manning has the Deacs moving in the right direction.
Notre Dame – Mike Brey : B+
Notre Dame came oh so close to having a great season. Mike Brey led Notre Dame to 26 wins, and a 2nd place regular season ACC finish. The Irish also got to the finals of the ACC tournament. Notre Dame showed their usual efficiency on offense and came very close to reaching the Sweet 16. That would have lifted Brey into an A territory.
Duke – Mike Krzyzewski : B
You just won 28 games, the ACC Tournament Title, and were a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. For most programs that’s an easy A season. That is not the case when you are Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils. Duke was a pre-season top 5 team, and the pre-season ACC favorite. There were stretches where Duke looked like the best team in the country, and others where they looked like a team could end up on the bubble. Even if the season didn’t meet quite meet expectations, it’s hard to say it was a bad season or that Coach K deserved less than a B. It just wasn’t an A.
Miami – Jim Larranaga : B
Miami was exactly the team we’d thought they’d be. They came into the season a fringe NCAA team. They got into the Big Dance, but not with a lot of room to spare. The Canes got blown out in their final 2 games to put a damper on an otherwise decent season. It wasn’t Larranaga’s best coaching season, but nothing to be ashamed of.
Virginia – Tony Bennett : B
Tony Bennett has the raised the bar so high at Virginia, that a 23 win season with a win in the NCAA tournament still feels a little disappointing. Even after losing Malcolm Brogdon, the Cavaliers were a solid team, but never a great one. The Hoos got trounced in the NCAA tournament by Florida, and questions started up again if the Hoos style has enough offense to succeed in March.