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The SEC Coaches Hot Seat Rankings: Who's Getting Fired?

The early-season schedule is nearly over, and conference play looms for SEC coaches. So who are the most likely leaders to be spending their last winter on the sidelines in the south? We break it down inside.

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Some coaches in the SEC just aren't getting the job done.  We know this, and everyone knows this, and it's part of the reason why the SEC has managed just three tournament bids in each of the last two years.  But which coaches are really on their last legs at their current gig?  Keep in mind that this is a best guess -- and doesn't account for coaches who could leave their current job on their own (which accounted for two of the three coaching changes last offseason -- though two of those, it could be argued, were leaving a step ahead of the ax.)

1. Andy KennedyIn his ninth year at Ole Miss, and while his overall record (179-104) isn't bad, he also has only one tournament appearance to his credit.  What's more, he has current Louisiana Tech coach and Ole Miss alum Michael White breathing down his neck.  I expect Ole Miss to make a move if Kennedy doesn't get the team to the tournament.

2. Anthony Grant: In his sixth year at Alabama.  Like Kennedy, his record (107-74) isn't terrible, but also like Kennedy he only has one tournament appearance to his credit.  He ranks second because I view Alabama as a slightly better bet to make the tournament (and save Grant's job in the process), but that's still a bit of a longshot, and I expect Alabama to likewise be looking for a new coach.

3. Rick Ray: Ray's 29-46 record in his third year at Mississippi State, by itself, could constitute a fireable offense; but then everybody knows that Rick Stansbury left him with nothing and he gets a mulligan for the first year as a result.  Working against Ray is the fact that in his third year, the team doesn't really seem to be improving.  Ray was a bit of a shot in the dark when hired, and while I think he'll get a fourth year, Mississippi State might make a move if SEC play goes particularly badly (like, say, 2-16) for the Bulldogs.

4. Billy Kennedy: To be blunt, Kennedy's record (57-52 in his fourth year) would not be an issue if he had followed Tony Barone or Melvin Watkins, but Billy Gillispie and Mark Turgeon raised the bar to the point that it's unacceptable.  Kennedy's saving grace is his incoming recruiting class (currently #3 in the country per 247sports.com) and that probably is enough to get Kennedy at least one more year.

5. Mike Anderson: Anderson (68-41 in his fourth year, zero tournament appearances) probably entered this season with the most pressure of the next few coaches, but looks to have the team to get Arkansas to the tournament for the first time under his watch.  Will enter next year with a target on his back if the Razorbacks manage to miss, though.

6. Mark Fox: Georgia doesn't really expect a whole lot from its basketball team, and so in that light, Fox's record (92-80, one tournament appearance in his sixth year) doesn't look too bad.  Aside from which, Fox may take the Bulldogs to the tournament again this year and buy himself some job security.

7. Frank Martin: Like Rick Ray, Martin's first two years (28-38) were nothing to write home about; unlike Ray, though, his team is vastly improved this year and Martin will get a fourth year.

8. Kim Anderson: While pretty much everybody knew Missouri was going to be rebuilding this year, I don't think anyone thought Missouri would be this bad.  So that's definitely going to put some pressure on Anderson, but he should at least get a second (and probably a third) year to turn things around.

9. Johnny Jones: Signed an extension before the start of the season and has LSU in good shape to make the tournament for the first time since 2009.  Also has the #1 recruit in the country coming in next year.  Yeah, he's safe.

10. Donnie Tyndall: Tyndall's trouble with the NCAA could potentially be his undoing, but remember that we're talking about the same fan base that wanted to bring back Bruce Pearl.  Has the Vols performing better than most people thought they would in his first year.

11. Kevin Stallings: Before anyone argues with this placement, this is intended more as a realistic assessment of where Stallings stands with the Vanderbilt administration and not as a comment on whether said standing is deserved.  There's almost no indication that Vanderbilt intends to make a coaching change any time soon, and unless things really go south (which they aren't right now) Stallings will probably retire at Vanderbilt.

12. Bruce Pearl: Is a brand-name coach at an institution that hasn't seen much success on the basketball court in some time.  He will get plenty of time to turn things around.

13. John Calipari: Has one national championship in his sixth year, or as Big Blue Nation calls it, "only" one national championship.  While he's been successful enough to make even the most rabid members of BBN happy, I suspect he could start feeling some heat if he manages not to win the championship this year -- because in fairness, when Big Blue Nation asks how he couldn't win a championship with this team, they will have a point.

14. Billy Donovan: Will almost certainly leave on his own terms, and will probably have the court named for him when he does.  If not before that.

What about candidates to leave on their own?  Well, out of the 14 coaches in the league, I would guess that the two Andersons (Mike and Kim), Johnny Jones, and Kevin Stallings are where they want to be and aren't going anywhere -- those four will either retire at their current schools or will have to be forced out.  Billy Donovan and John Calipari won't be going to another college gig, though the NBA is a possibility for both.  Pearl and Tyndall might ultimately go elsewhere but aren't going anywhere else for the time being.

In my opinion, the guy to really keep an eye on this offseason is Mark Fox.  Should Georgia get to the NCAA Tournament, Fox could be a hot name, and since he's not a Southern guy (Fox grew up in Kansas, went to college in New Mexico, and was an assistant at Washington and Kansas State before moving to Nevada) he could be a viable candidate for any Pac-12 or maybe Big 12 jobs that open up -- and he might just jump.  Georgia is a pretty tough place to win, after all.