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Matt Painter and Tom Izzo Listed Among Game’s Toughest Coaches To Face

Who do the best coaches think are the best coaches?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Purdue vs Virginia Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports is releasing the results of its annual Candid Coaches series where they ask coaches questions about the college basketball nation and the coaches answer candidly in return for anonymity in their responses. The most recently released question is who the respondents think is the most difficult coach to prepare for and coach against.

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Purdue’s Matt Painter are the lone Big Ten coaches who received votes for this question, with Izzo being the leading vote getter in the nation.

One opposing coach was quoted saying, “Tom Izzo. Many sets and counters with their actions. And best coach there is in maximizing what he gets out of his guys.” Regarding Painter, “I wouldn’t want to play Beilein, but he’s gone now. I’ve had Painter’s scout. That was my hardest scout, even my wife would tell you I’d be like, ‘Don’t talk to me right now. I need to be locked in.’ I needed to be so focused and know what was next. They always had something, to me that, man, it was like they had me locked in more than any other team.” Both coaches had phenomenal seasons this past year with Painter reaching the Elite Eight and Izzo reaching the Final Four.

One coach that may come as somewhat of a surprise to some is Kermit Davis receiving the fourth most votes coaching at Ole Miss. Davis spent 2002-2018 at Middle Tennessee State where he actually upset Izzo in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Davis joined Ole Miss last offseason and led the Rebels to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. Be sure to check back in to see more results to CBS’s Candid Coaches series.