Who is your Pac-12 coach of the year and why?
Jack Blanchat, Rule of Tree: Dana Altman. Taking the Ducks to a 23-8 overall record makes him the obvious choice, despite some upset losses.
Parker Baruh, Ralphie Report: Dana Altman deserves this award, but you could definitely make a case for Ben Howland as well. Prior to Dominic Artis' injury, the Ducks were playing the best basketball in the conference and still managed to finish with the second best record at 12-6 in the Pac-12 with the freshman out for most of the conference season.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Tough call between Dana Altman and Mike Montgomery, but I'll give it to Altman because he had to deal with the loss of his starting point guard for much of the season and the Ducks finished with a better overall record than Cal.
Andy Wooldridge, Building The Dam: I'll go with Dana Altman as well. Had the Ducks won either game on the Rocky Mt. trip at the end of the season, and therefore the Pac-12 regular season championship and the top seed in the conference tournament, there wouldn't be any question.
Since they didn't, Mike Montgomery comes into the conversation as a result of the strong run the Bears made in the latter portion of the Pac-12 season. But not many expected Oregon to be in the hunt, even if they hadn't had to adapt to the loss of point guard Dominic Artis for much of the conference campaign. If Oregon gets an NCAA bid, which seems almost assured unless they go out after their first game in Las Vegas, that should clinch it.
David Piper, Addicted to Quack: It's hard to go with Dana Altman after the massive egg that Oregon laid in the mountains last weekend. But he took a team that was expected to finish in the lower half of the conference, damn near won the league, and probably has them back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. In a league where nobody really wowed you, that's probably enough.
Adam Butler, PacHoops: I think the work Dana Altman has done in Eugene was tops in the conference this year. While they did let the title slip away, they did manage to weather the storm of Dominic Artis' injury and exceed the expectations of November. I think he runs a terrific program and has things buttoned up quite tight. I'll be interested to see how they fair in the post-season.
NorCalNick, California Golden Blogs: I agonized over this decision. Before the weekend, I was all set to hand the award to Altman, but my goodness. Getting swept on the road, including a loss to Utah, with the conference championship there for the taking? That's not something that's usually on a Coach of the Year resume.
UCLA fans will be irate at the suggestion, but why not Ben Howland? Bruins fans will rightly point out that Howland has at his disposal perhaps more raw talent than any other coach in the conference. But he's responsible for bringing in that talent, no? And, Wazzu loss aside, it's hard to argue with the progression of UCLA's play. I watched UCLA lose to Cal Poly, I watched UCLA struggle with UC Irvine, and I watched SDSU run them out of the gym. The current Bruins are vastly improved, particularly on defense, compared to those other Bruins.
Ben Howland for Coach of the Year! (Even I'm not sure what percentage of my answer is serious and what percentage is trolling!)