2023-24 NCAA College Basketball Hot Seat: Odds of First Head Coach Fired

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

As teams across the country begin their final push towards postseason play, another power conference college basketball coach finds himself in need of a new gig. Ohio State fired seventh-year boss Chris Holtmann on Wednesday, one day after the Buckeyes lost by eight at Wisconsin to fall to 4-10 in the Big Ten. Holtmann becomes the second high major head coach to lose his job midseason this year, following Tony Stubblefield’s dismissal from DePaul in January.  

With another position open, BetKentucky.com - home to all things Kentucky sports betting - has once again updated its odds on the next power conference coach to be let go of this cycle.  These are the latest developments from the hot seat.

Odds Of Next NCAAM Coach Fired

Coach Odds Pct. Chance
Kenny Payne, Louisville +150 40%
Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt +600 14.3%
Juwan Howard, Michigan +75011.8%
Mike Boynton , Oklahoma State +1200 7.7%
Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State +1200 7.7%
Josh Eilert (interim), West Virginia +25003.8%
Johnny Dawkins, UCF +2500 3.8%
Jerod Haase, Stanford +3000 3.2%
Mike Hopkins, Washington +35002.8%
Andy Enfield, USC +50002.0%
Other/The Field +33002.9%

*Odds provided by BetKentucky.com and not available on Kentucky betting apps.

Kenny Payne Still An Easy Front-Runner

Kenny Payne remains at the top of the list with Louisville still tied for last place in the ACC. The Cardinals won their eighth game of the season on Saturday, taking down fellow league basement dweller Georgia Tech at home by 12 to double their win total from last year, but with just 12 wins under Payne (only one of which came away from home) Louisville is still staring at its worst two-year run since the early 1940s.  

If the 8-17 Cardinals lose three more games,, it will be the first time in school history the team has lost 20 games in consecutive seasons, as 1997-98 was Louisville’s only 20 loss season prior to Payne’s arrival. A divorce by mid-March still looks inevitable here, but with a second coach fired before Payne his odds have been adjusted slightly from +125 to +150.

Vanderbilt scored a stunning last-second upset over Texas A&M Tuesday night, but Jerry Stackhouse’s squad continues to perform at an unacceptable level for a power conference program. The 7-17 Commodores sit 214th in the NET rankings, below every other high major team in the country except DePaul, and rank 306th nationally in scoring margin at -6.8 points per game.  Boosting those numbers before season’s end could prove difficult as Vanderbilt faces a challenging schedule down the stretch, with KenPom.com projecting them as at least a 5-point underdog in all seven games left on the docket. After five NCAA Tournament-less years under Stackhouse, a change seems given for the Commodores with how far the program has fallen from a 22-win season last year.

It has been an eventful ten days for Juwan Howard and Michigan since these odds were last updated. Last Wednesday, the Wolverines nabbed their biggest win of the season by defeating Wisconsin at home by four, but in their two subsequent road games at Nebraska and Illinois they were blown out by a combined 49 points.  

Michigan is down to 8-17 on the year, four fewer overall wins than any other team in the Big Ten, and now sits outside the top 100 of the NET as it faces the potential of a last place conference finish for the first time since 1966-67. Athletic director Warde Manuel said he has not put much thought into a coaching change as of now in a statement on Wednesday, a day after the Illinois loss, but that seems difficult to believe considering Howard’s results and the typical expectations of the program, which is why he sticks at third in the rankings.  

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Tinkle Still In Trouble?

Mike Boynton and Oklahoma State’s challenges within the Big 12 persist as the Cowboys grind their way through the gauntlet of the toughest conference in the country. The 10-14 Cowboys are in last place in the league at 2-9 and have yet to score a quadrant one or two win this season. Six of their seven remaining games will come against top 40 teams in the NET, a brutal end to a schedule that has seen Oklahoma State lose its conference games by an average of 11 points per game.  

Multiple reports indicate the Cowboys possess the league’s smallest NIL fund, which could hamper the search for another coach unless resolved, but even with that handicap it is hard to justify bringing Boynton back after reaching only one NCAA Tournament in seven seasons, especially since the team has slipped over 90 spots in the NET from last year. 

Moving back to +1200 from +1500, Wayne Tinkle’s odds have been shortened again as Oregon State has faltered into sole possession of last place in the Pac-12. The Beavers are on a five-game losing streak that has dropped them to 11-14 overall and 3-11 in the conference. The rest of the schedule does not appear to offer much respite as KenPom pegs them as an underdog in every game until the end of the season, with their best chance of victory forecasted at 30% for Saturday night’s contest with in-state rival Oregon.  

The Beavers are an extremely young team and Tinkle has guided the university to its only two tournament berths this century, but with the program 25-63 over the last three seasons, a move feels necessary here after ten years.

Much like Oklahoma State, West Virginia and interim coach Josh Eilert continue to get chewed up and spit out by the difficulty of the Big 12. The 8-16 Mountaineers have grabbed three solid conference wins at home, but with eight other losses in league play they sit in thirteenth place, one win ahead of the Cowboys.  

West Virginia is on a three-game losing streak and its stretch run does not let up as the Mountaineers are another team that KenPom projects to not be favored at all again this season. Eilert has had to navigate arduous circumstances this year between being thrust into the head role in late June and dealing with numerous roster issues, but he simply has not won enough to land the job permanently after unexpectedly taking over for Bob Huggins.

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Johnny Dawkins Faces Mounting Pressure

Jumping from +4000 to +2500, Johnny Dawkins faces mounting pressure as UCF’s slim NCAA Tournament hopes start to slip further away. The Knights have lost their last two games to fall to 13-10 overall and 4-7 in the Big 12, dropping their odds of making the field of 68 from 10.5% to 3.2% per BartTorvik.com’s TourneyCast feature. UCF still has a few more opportunities to score some signature wins, but the odds will be stacked against them and a final regular season record just above .500 appears to be the most likely outcome for the Knights. That probably will not be enough for Dawkins to earn another year in Orlando, as his lone tournament appearance in eight seasons with the program came back in 2019.

Also moving up the board, Jerod Haase has gone from +5000 to +3000 as Stanford has failed to find the consistency it needed to stabilize the season The Cardinal have dropped three of its last four games and sit at exactly .500 both overall and in conference play. Stanford’s 7-7 Pac-12 record ties them for fourth in the conference, but the league is having a down year and may only send two teams to the tournament, so it feels a bit hollow plus the Cardinal’s non-conference slate went disastrously with Stanford losing to four sub-100 teams outside of Pac-12 play.  This will likely end Haase’s tenure in Palo Alto as Stanford has yet to make an NCAA Tournament in eight years under him, a drought almost no one at the high major level can survive.

Flipping behind Haase after Washington defeated Stanford by 20 last night, Mike Hopkins still needs to secure some more wins to feel safe, but he has an easier path to those victories than most other coaches on the list. The 14-11 Huskies are on a two-game winning streak and their next two games come against Cal and Arizona State, who both rank outside the top 120 of the NET.  Washington’s final four games are more difficult, with matchups against the top three teams in the Pac-12 standings (Arizona, Washington St, UCLA) looming, but a hot stretch could push them into at least the fringes of the postseason picture. At minimum, an NIT berth should be the goal here, but that still might not be enough for Hopkins after only taking the Huskies to one tournament so far in his seventh season on the job.

Entering the odds with Holtmann gone, USC’s Andy Enfield comes in at +5000 as the Trojans have been one of the most disappointing teams in America. Picked 2nd in the Pac-12 Preseason Poll and 21st in the AP Preseason Poll, USC instead has gone just 10-15 and sits in eleventh place in the conference, despite likely having multiple future NBA players on the roster. The Trojans held on to beat Utah this week, but it was only their second victory of the last month and five of their final six games are against teams in the top half of the conference standings. Enfield took USC to the last three tournaments, but with such a sharp deviation from preseason expectations, the Trojans could look to cut ties after eleven years, especially considering their impending move to the tougher Big Ten.

With one less candidate out there, the field moved up from +2750 to +3300, but the potential for another surprise remains. Expect the coaching market to move fast as the season ends with teams trying to prepare themselves for the opening of the transfer portal. 

Keep visiting BetKentucky.com for more updates before the end of the season as well as the latest Kentucky sportsbook promos

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Josh Markowitz is a freelance writer for BetKentucky.com. He is a lifelong sports fan with an emphasis on basketball, football, baseball and the scouting/evaluation process. A graduate of Elon University's School of Communications, Josh also has experience in television production.

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