March is the most important month on the basketball calendar for many obvious reasons, one of them being: carousel season. We are on the precipice of at least four dozen coaching changes over the next five weeks. Last year, 12 jobs in the Big Six conferences flipped. Could 2024 exceed that? All it takes is one unexpected move to trigger three or four more. 

That in mind, I'm publishing a pithy carousel primer with a focus on high-major conferences. These are schools across the six big leagues that either have opened, are expected to open or have been subject to some increased speculation in recent weeks. 

Disclaimer: If a school you're curious about isn't here, that isn't to say a change won't happen; it's just not on the front burner as of now. A few schools not included below are up for some debate behind the scenes, but the information there is not solid and/or public enough as of today to include on my list. 


Florida State. Leonard Hamilton retirement watch has been a thing for the past couple of years and will remain so until he clarifies if he will return for a 23rd season. If Hamilton has privately made a decision, the list of people aware of that decision is likely under five. (At Miami, Jim Larrañaga went on record with me last year and declared he was years away from retiring.)

Louisville. I would expect Kenny Payne to be fired within a day's time of Louisville's final loss. It's a shame this didn't work out; it would've been a sweet story had Payne been able to restore some glory at his alma mater. With a vacancy looming, Louisville will be among the two or three most coveted jobs on the market and the candidate pool will be extensive.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 20 Saint Louis at NC State
Norlander believes Kevin Keatts gets one more season to improve at NC State. Getty Images

NC State. There has been loose speculation here, but I would lean that Kevin Keatts is making it to 2024-25. He's got four more years on his contract and the guaranteed payout is north of $10 million for the entire staff. The program is treading water; next year will be an NCAAs-or-else season. 

Big East

Creighton. Greg McDermott has been hoping for a new contract for months but it's been a stalemate with AD Marcus Blossom. Word has leaked out of Omaha, Nebraska, in recent weeks about McDermott potentially being a candidate at some other openings and soon-to-be openings. I don't see it. I expect the school gets this done. McDermott winds up with a new deal soon.

DePaul. Toughest job on the board. Word is the school has already struck out on some bigger targets. Bobby Hurley's name continues to have some connection here, but until I see him being introduced at DePaul and being willing to coach twice a year against his brother, I won't believe it. I previously gave names for the DePaul opening here.

Big Ten

Indiana. IU barely makes the cut, but since many Hoosiers fans are clamoring for change, I'll indulge them. I expect Mike Woodson to get a fourth season. He took IU to the NCAAs in his first two years, but it's been really rocky after Trayce Jackson-Davis. With FAU coach Dusty May being a buzzy candidate on this year's carousel, one source put it plainly: "They're scared they're missing on Brad Stevens Part Two."

Wisconsin v Indiana
Mike Woodson is 60-39 overall and 29-29 in the Big Ten after almost three years. Getty Images

Michigan. A job a lot of people in the industry believe should open, but one that seems more likely than not to remain Juwan Howard's. Wolverines AD Warde Manuel has vocalized support for Howard who, somehow, only has an eight-win team five days into March. Michigan's record since Howard became coach is 87-70 with a 49-46 Big Ten mark. I also wonder if chief assistant Phil Martelli, who turns 70 this year and has been an important presence, is looking to potentially retire. 

Ohio State. There's a decent chance the Buckeyes firing Chris Holtmann last month is the only coaching change in the Big Ten this cycle. If Ohio State somehow pulls off a miracle rally to make the NCAA Tournament, could interim coach Jake Diebler be this year's Rodney Terry? I doubt it. May's name has been heavily attached here, but sources told CBS Sports this week that Ohio State is taking its time and will be methodical. It may be May in less than a month, but don't assume any name yet.

Big 12

Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are 12-17 in Mike Boynton's seventh season. He's been to one NCAA Tournament and is owed more than $8 million if fired. OSU is also, somewhat surprisingly, in the lower tier of NIL support in the Big 12. If a change is coming, OSU needs to have north of $13 million to account for a firing, a hiring and an injection of NIL cash to avoid being in the cellar of a 16-team Big 12. My guess: Circumstances permit Boynton one more season.

UCF. Of all the high-major jobs (and UCF only just moved into that category this year) that feel vulnerable to an opening, this is the one the most people are in the dark on. Johnny Dawkins has been there since 2016 and with one NCAA tourney, but Dawkins is much respected and is pacing to average nearly 19 wins over eight seasons at what's now the least desirable job in the Big 12. A change seems 50/50.

West Virginia. The Mountaineers have gone 9-20 under interim coach Josh Eilert. WVU is a good job but probably falls outside of the top eight best gigs in the restructured/16-team Big 12. A fascinating search will soon be underway. Consider its two most recent full-time coaches: Bob Huggins and John Beilein. Some names I'd check in on include James Madison's Mark Byington, Colrado State's Niko Medved, UNC Wilmington's Takayo Siddle, Appalachian State's Dustin Kerns and Indiana State's Josh Schertz.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 04 Utah at Arizona State
Bobby Hurley is the rare 2024 carousel candidate who could stick with his school, be fired or jump to another job. Getty Images


Arizona State. The Sun Devils are likely to finish sub-.500 this season and Bobby Hurley has no full-time athletic director at the moment. He's done a solid job across nine years vs. what's historically been achieved at ASU: a 155-128 record. Hurley's three NCAA Tournaments are second-most in program history. One of a handful of jobs that seems 50/50 on a change.

Oregon. Increased noise in recent weeks over whether or not Dana Altman will opt to step away after this his 14th season at Oregon. He's 65, so it's not as though the rocking chair is calling his name. The Ducks aren't yet out of the NCAA Tournament picture, either. If this job came open, it would be coveted by many, even with an increased travel challenge awaiting in the Big Ten.

Oregon State. Wayne Tinkle parlayed the shocking 2021 Elite Eight run as a 12-seed into a lucrative long-term extension. Hmmm. The Beavers are bad again this season, but keep in mind OSU is about to morph into a WCC job for the next two years. I'll say Tinkle (139-175 in nearly 10 seasons) stays on.

Stanford. After much of the college basketball world anticipated a move here a year ago, Jerod Haase was given one more try by AD Bernard Muir. The Cardinal are 12-17 and Haase is going to go eight seasons without making the Big Dance. It's time. If change does come this month, Washington State's Kyle Smith and Princeton's Mitch Henderson are two no-brainer interview candidates. 

Washington. A fait accompli situation for Mike Hopkins, it seems. He's been there seven seasons (117-105) with one NCAA Tournament appearance (Year 2). Plus, the Big Ten move is around the corner. Some in the industry are operating as though this is unofficially official. UW is an interesting job in an evolving landscape. Some view it as a sleeping giant considering the talent that annually comes out of Seattle.


Vanderbilt. People tracking this one are more split than maybe any other potential opening re: if it will actually come open. Assumption amongst agents is Jerry Stackhouse quietly signed a contract extension in 2023 (after going 22-15) and the guaranteed money owed to him if he is fired is assumed close to $10 million. Vandy gonna pay that? My guess: Stackhouse returns, but nobody really knows. His team is 8-21 and 208 at KenPom.

Jerry Stackhouse is 68-87 nearing the end of his fifth season. USATSI

Carousel speculation and more: A Q&A with Trilly Donovan

If you're the type of online college basketball fan that doggedly follows the coaching carousel, the transfer portal and high-profile high school commitments, then you are almost certainly aware of an online persona that came to prominence in the past year: Trilly Donovan. The cloaked account — anonymously run by one person, per the alleged one person running the account — does not make a habit of doing interviews and frequently turns down podcast requests. 

Trilly made an exception for CBS Sports. (What better time, what with carousel season about to kick into another gear.)

Trilly's presence on Twitter/X has not come without controversy. He's appreciated by tens of thousands of college basketball fans, who anxiously await any kind of scoop or cryptic post that may or may not prove true, but he's also drawn ire privately from coaches, agents, athletic directors and others for putting information considered sensitive or off the record. (Readers, if you only realized how many people in basketball have devoted hours and hours and hours of their lives trying to uncover this guy's identity ... ) 

I asked him for an interview to address this, in addition to some conversation on the carousel, what to expect in the next month and, of course, why he just won't give up his identity. The person behind the alias agreed to give honest answers for all of my questions. This Q&A — conducted over digital messaging — has been slightly edited for clarity and brevity. 

CBS Sports: Thanks for doing this, Trilly. But seriously, what's with the nom de plume that sounds straight out of 2012?
Trilly Donovan: Trill Laimbeer was already taken, unfortunately.

There are some who have assumed I am you and you are me. At least this should quell that intrigue for 11 people. Give me the three funniest guesses you've come across.
TD: How do we know this isn't a Fight Club situation? Everyone always assumes I'm Jeff Goodman or Andrew Slater, but I've also gotten Dane Fife, Joe Tipton and Billy Donovan's son. 

Approximately how old are you and how would you describe your day job?
TD: Approximately mid-30s. Can't really describe my day job without giving it away, but Trilly Donovan is slowly becoming my day job, too.

You said we've never spoken on the phone or texted, which is interesting, because someone today gave me a pretty sneaky-good guess for you, but alas, I have spoken/texted with that person multiple times, though not often. Have we ever been in the same room/vicinity?
TD: We have not. Can I ask who the guess was?

TD: 😂 I should've started a running list of guesses a long time ago.

Even though you've never given it up publicly, has anyone in any way correctly guessed who you are? 
TD: Honestly, no. 

Why do you think that's the case? What's your explanation for someone trafficking in college basketball intel remaining completely untraceable? This account is just one person, yes?
TD: I've kept a pretty tight circle. Only a handful of people in the sport know who I am and fortunately for me, those people are great friends and extremely trustworthy. And yes, the account is only one person. 

Fewer than five? More than five but fewer than 10? Are we talking search firm folks and/or agents, or people actually IN the sport, such as coaches, athletic directors, support staff and the like?
TD: More than five, but fewer than 10. Both in and out of the sport. 

You've been a cult figure on College Hoops Twitter for about a year now. A few doggedly try to uncover who you are. Why remain behind the curtain, and what's the benefit for you in all of this?
TD: I think the curtain is what makes the account so polarizing. It wouldn't be as fun if I was "John Smith" breaking news or talking about games. The biggest benefit for me is it's something I enjoy doing. I love college hoops and to be able to share that passion with so many people has been very rewarding for me. The hoops community has embraced the account and I'm very grateful for that.

Are you a coach at any level of college basketball? Are you in a support staff role at any school?
TD: No and no.

Have you ever, at any point, been a member of a college basketball staff?
TD: Yes.

Let's loop back to the "fewer than 10" number. I can't help but wonder: Is there at least one active head coach out of the 362 who knows who you are?
TD: Head coach, no. Though Rick Pitino knows I'm in his meetings.

Speaking of Pitino's name-drop, your pseudonym has become well-known and increasingly referenced in coaching circles in the past year. So let's have it: How many staffs are now feeding you information and/or looking for information?
TD: I don't have a concrete number, but it's ... a lot. Both feeding and looking.

The transfer portal isn't open, yet in addition to being a speculative voice on coaching searches, you're just as well known for scooping portal decisions. Right now you've got a growing list of players believed to be potentially leaving their programs (for reasons numerous), even though the portal isn't open. Some might consider this a level of tampering, or at least assistance in tampering. How do you handle the ethics of everything that comes with that?
TD: Good question. Tampering has been going on for years, even before the transfer portal/NIL era. A majority of the time, it's the player's camp that initiates contact or puts out feelers. If that information happens to come across my desk, that person gets added to the list. I have nothing to do with the process on either side and all teams are treated equally, so it's fair across the board.

Your presence has become polarizing for some in media and agent circles, particularly because, though sometimes information you share turns out to be correct, other times it has not. What you share on social media can have real-life ripples on coaching searches or transfer recruitments. You also sometimes straddle the line between "reporting" something vs. cryptically sharing info that could be fairly described as early-stage reporting intel. Given the sensitivities tied to the information involved, shouldn't you be held to the same standards of others in more traditional media roles?
TD: Fair question! I think there are some important distinctions to make. First, I'm never going to be right 100% of the time — it's impossible. What's accurate one second can be wrong the next and there's never any intention to share false information. When I'm wrong, I admit it with no shame. Second, I've never claimed to be traditional media. I have great relationships with both agents and people in traditional media. We share information constantly and I think they feel comfortable doing that because they trust I'll protect them as a source. I can think of maybe two instances in the totality of the account where I wasn't as careful with something as I should have been. In neither scenario did it cause any harm to anyone. Everyone who interacts with the account understands what it's about. If they want something kept private, I respect their wishes. I sit on more information than I share these days.

What about the people who don't interact with the account, the ones who are the subjects of a Trilly scoop and often hoping for information to be kept private — but it winds up being leaked by you? This has happened before; I know because I've heard people curse your name on the phone for tweeting something they didn't want out, or believe was misrepresenting their situation at the point you tweeted it. How do you reconcile that end of it?
TD: There have been situations where I've tweeted something out and the subject of the tweet messaged me asking to delete it. I comply with no questions asked. Ultimately, things will get out that people don't want out. That happens in every industry.

Your account joined Twitter in February 2022. What led you to pursue this time-consuming hobby as a married man in his mid-30s? Wait a second. Does your wife have any idea about this? What are you more worried about: someone in college basketball exposing your identity or your wife discovering you're obsessively tracking the transfer and commitment decisions of 18-to-22 year olds?
TD: Like I said before, I genuinely enjoy this. The palace intrigue, the community I've built, all of it. God bless my wife. She knows about it and supports it fully.

In terms of coaching scuttlebutt, what ratio of sit vs. share would you say you're at these days?
TD: 60/40 sit/share. Luckily there's still plenty of information to share even with that ratio.

Are you sitting on at least one piece of coaching carousel intel right now that you believe is greater than 95% to materialize in the next month?
TD: Yes

Let's reveal the corner of that blind item: the conference it's related to.

Do you believe there is a job or two this year at the high-major level that is truly wired for any one specific candidate and we just don't know it yet, or is every search going to be a valid competition?
TD: At least one is wired. There's a second-wave job that is also wired if it opens.

If you have a magnum opus, it's this:

Every one of those hypotheticals came true. One year later, what's the story on how much of that was intel, how much was guesswork and why you opted to put it out there? Given that your profile is bigger now, would you hesitate on ever going public with a "semi-realistic hypothetical" like that again?
TD [after a delay]: Sorry, Pepperdine just opened and I got a flood of messages about that.

By the time I sent that tweet, I had pretty actionable intel that Cooley and Pitino were happening. I also had reliable people telling me about English. Rick Barnes had that one wired from the jump. Iona, I wasn't 100% sure on because they passed on Tobin the previous time (for Rick, ironically), and at the time Kimani Young's name was all over it. Couldn't decide between the two so I left both on there. Then Tony was a pretty easy guess. That was when I could throw stuff out there without much consequence. I'd 100% do it again if there are a handful of jobs that are intertwined like that and the intel is solid.

Last year there were 12 Big Six jobs that flipped. Over, under or push on that number in 2024?
TD: Over 12 P6 jobs. Might fly over it.

Of the schools I have listed above in my carousel primer, which potential opening intrigues you the most?
TD: It's easily Louisville. The best job out there and the one with the most domino potential. If the right guy gets that job, the carousel floodgates would open.

What's the biggest misconception you think fans have when it comes to coaching searches?
TD: The loyalty these guys have to the schools they're at. At the end of the day it's a business. And a rapidly evolving business at that. If you don't have NIL, guys will look to leave. If you're not in a stable conference, guys will look to leave. As with most professions, the best way to elevate your status is to apply for other jobs. Very rarely is loyalty rewarded anymore, so why stay? It sounds bleak and jaded, but that's the world we created.

What's the most funniest/most ridiculous/outlandish DM you've gotten from a coach recently?
TD: I had a coach DM me a video of him running to the Rocky steps the other day. In the rain.

Has a coach in the past year ever DM'd to ask you if he/his staff was getting fired?
TD: Just happened today.

Conference, please.
TD: Sun Belt.

Would you give up your identity to Billy Donovan?
TD: Wouldn't give it up to anyone.

Should the time ever come to reveal your identity, can I have the scoop?
TD: Brother, you don't even follow me!

Why would I follow myself?

@ me

The Court Report's weekly mailbag! Find me on X/Twitter or Bluesky and drop a Q anytime. Since last week's edition didn't include a mailbag, this week's will be extra big and will wrap the Report. 

Bonus coverage from Trilly: I let him handle the response for this question. Here's what he said: "Texas Tech, Washington. Illinois isn't a blue blood, but they're top two in the Big Ten. Mids out-kicking their coverage: Youngstown State, Grand Canyon, High Point. Charleston."

Thanks, Mr. EyeTest. (He's referring to this.) I don't have Texas A&M or Mississippi making the field of 68 this year. A&M is on my list of top five most disappointing teams of '23-24. I kinda wonder what's on the horizon for Buzz Williams.

I think Grand Canyon should and will be a member of the WCC by 2026.

A valid curiosity about Kentucky's future. UK's shooting 40.8% from 3-point range this season, easily the best rate of John Calipari's career (and No. 1 in college hoops). My guess is this is an aberration. In three decades of coaching Calipari's only had one other team (2011 that made the Final Four) finish in the top 10 in 3-point accuracy.

Fun question, Brett! My fourth Final Four Cinderella pick that would join '90 Loyola Marymount, '13 Florida Gulf Coast and '22 Saint Peter's is an EASY pick: 2008 Davidson with Stephen Curry. That team already carries a pretty big March legacy. Imagine if Curry had actually taken DAVIDSON to the Final Four? It would've been a 10-seed and three No. 1s.

The Orange have darted on the outskirts of my radar in the past week: 20-10, winners of five of their past six. Close out with a Quad 1 win at Clemson and I'd put Syracuse on the very edge bubble. Realistically needs at least three more wins to even enter the at-large discussion, though. What's most important to the committee? Frankly, almost everything on the résumé. The most important thing to remember about "what's most important to the committee" is that the selection committee is 12 people that have different value systems and so it's a tabulation of voting from all of those people that leads to collective decisions. They do not all think, or vote, alike. 

I mean, 7%? It sure seems like he's played his way into the lottery, and despite his love for Kentucky and the millions of dollars he could make in NIL, I don't know how any projected lottery pick returns to college in 2024. First round, maybe. Lottery? You gotta go, I think. This is also an invitation for me to point ya to my Reed Sheppard feature that ran last Friday here at CBS Sports. 

I mean, 7%? Torvik says South Florida is at 0%!

Count on it. The Thursday schedule will be more populated moving forward due to the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and ACC all having between 16-18 teams. I wonder if we're stuck with Monday nights being slim pickings (two solid games, nothing more) indefinitely.

In my experience talking to those who've been in the room, it's résume metrics that win this race. KenPom, BPI and Sagarin (in the past) do get referenced, but ultimately a bubble team's case is coming down to its best wins, its loss volume, its non-con schedule. Those are all in the résumé column. 

The First Four is a thing because in 2009/10, a trial balloon was floated over the concept of potentially expanding the NCAA Tournament to 96 teams. This idea went over like a fart in bed and was roundly mocked, just as it is today. (The NCAA Tournament will not be expanding to 96 teams.) I've argued in the past it should be all at-large teams, but one reason you have No. 16s involved is because the winning teams receive money for their schools/conferences, so it financially benefits some of the worst schools. It makes the First Four a worse TV product than all at-larges, but it helps schools that desperately need those checks.

Dark horse = a team currently projected as a 4-seed or worse. I think Illinois has the strongest case of them all.

No caffeine required, Jared. I am running on a mystical concoction of adrenaline, dopamine, anxiousness, carbohydrate overload and the sound of Greg Gumbel's voice.

The 1985-2000 format: A clean, congruent six rounds for 64 teams. (It was 65 from 2001-10.) Sports perfection. Our country can't agree on almost anything, but almost everyone agrees that a 64-team college basketball tournament is immaculately designed. The bittersweet thing about it is we'll never get it again — but we also get it every year, if by a cheat: for nearly 15 hours from when the Final Four finishes and the first Thursday game is played. I call it College Basketball's Goldilocks Zone.