Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd made a tsunami-like splash on the league last season, leading the Wildcats to a 33-win campaign in his first season at the helm.

Yet Arizona’s postseason failures served as a reminder of just how far the league has fallen as it nurses a title drought that stretches a quarter century.

Long the home of some of the most accomplished coaches to ever grace the hardwood, the Pac-12’s extended championship famine has changed the perceptions of its top coaches.

There is a feeling of not-quite-good-enough that will permeate until someone breaks through. Dana Altman (2017) and Mick Cronin (2021) have come the closest, and there is a reason they are at the top of the conference coaching hierarchy. Lloyd was contending for national coach of the year honors until the Wildcats lost in the Sweet 16. Aside from surprise Elite Eight runs in 2021 by Oregon State and USC, no other Pac-12 coach can boast much tournament success.

That, among other things, plays a factor in our Pac-12 coaches ranking.

So how do they stack up?

12. Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State

I love Tinkle. I think he’s a very good coach, and the Beavers’ 2021 Elite Eight run was going to be proof to move him into the Top 6 this season. Oregon State was on the rise, surprise winners of the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament, winners of six straight in the postseason, culminating in one of the great NCAA Tournament runs by a 12 seed.

But then the Beavers absolutely imploded last year, and Tinkle’s leadership showed real reasons for concern. It’s not as if Oregon State lost five starters and was running a team of freshmen out on the floor last year. The Beavers were a senior- and junior-led team. They just didn’t show up. Players lacked discipline, coaches couldn’t find the right messaging. It was a mess.

“It’s funny how life goes and the feeling we had just over a year ago to now,” Tinkle said after Pac-12 Tournament loss to Oregon. “There’s some valuable lessons in there that we got to continue to learn and grow from as a group and as individuals.”

That kind of naked positivity is one of the problems, though. There was nothing good to come of last season, and the sooner Tinkle admits it, the better.

11. Craig Smith, Utah

Smith had some big success at Utah State, leading the Aggies to back-to-back big years in 2018-19 (28-7) and 2019-20 (26-8). The program regressed a bit in a 20-9 campaign in 2020-21, but that was enough to get Smith plucked by his in-state competition.

Taking over for Larry Krystkowiak’s ailing Utah program last year, Smith led the Utes to a forgivable 11-20 record, but that 4-16 conference mark is damning. The leap from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 is a big one, and Smith isn’t too far removed from leading the likes of the NAIA’s Mayville State (North Dakota) and South Dakota.

Smith is definitely ascending, but I need to see some Pac-12 results to move him higher on this list.

10. Mark Fox, Cal

The same can be said for Fox, who has not been able to replicate the magic he brought to Nevada in the mid-aughts. Fox is far removed from the days of 25, 27, and 29 wins, as he accomplished from 2004-2007.

Fox’s Wolf Pack success led him to the Georgia head gig, and 21-win campaigns in 2010-11 and 2014-15 kept him there, but he could never get over the hump with the Bulldogs, winning between 18 and 21 games for five straight seasons.

What the Bears wouldn’t give for that kind of success in Berkeley at this point. In three years at the helm, Fox has won 14, nine, and 12 games, finishing in a tie for eighth, 12th, and 10th in his three seasons.

Cal fans long for the stability of Mike Montgomery at this point.

9. Jerod Haase, Stanford

Entering Year 7 at the helm of the Cardinal, Haase is stuck in the Pac-12 muck of mediocrity. Stanford hasn’t finished outside of the 6-9 range but once in Haase’s tenure — his second year, when the Cardinal finished tied for third in a weak conference. Floating around .500, which Stanford has done in three of Haase’s six seasons, doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Neither does the Cardinal’s ninth-place finish in conference play last year, the program’s worst since Haase’s first season in 2016-17.

Stanford has some nice pieces, but Harrison Ingram really needs to take the leap for Haase to feel confident in his job security this year.

T-7. Bobby Hurley, Arizona State

With five conference finishes of eighth place or worse, the leash is tightening for Hurley in Tempe. The Sun Devils seemed to have taken a step forward in 2018, going 23-11 en route to a second-place finish with a 12-6 mark in conference play.

Arizona State has struggled mightily in non-conference play since upending No. 1 Kansas on Dec. 22, 2018. No, literally — the Sun Devils’ very next game was a 67-66 loss to Princeton. Since then, they’ve gone 0-4 against ranked teams in non-conference play.

ASU battled chemistry issues early last year, though they did gain some momentum late in the season, going 7-1 down the stretch. But it was too late to make a difference in their postseason hopes.

An NCAA Tournament run would be very important for Hurley’s long-term prospects.

T-7. Mike Hopkins, Washington

After eight seasons at Arizona State, Hurley is 118-100 (.541) overall and 60-67 (.472) in conference play. After five seasons at Washington, Hopkins has gone 85-75 (.531) overall and 45-49 (.479) in Pac-12 play.

There’s a reason the two coaches are tied for seventh.

Hopkins gets a nudge higher based on the Huskies’ 27-9 campaign in 2018-19, but he gets dinged by a 5-21 record in 2020-21.

Coming off a 17-15 finish in 2022, Washington is pegged to regress this season by conference media — who ranked the Huskies ninth in the preseason poll.

6. Kyle Smith, Washington State

The stat nerd has brought analytics up to the Palouse, and the results are impressive. In just a few short years, Smith has orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in college basketball. Smith took over a program in 2019-20 that went 11-21 the year prior and finished 16-16 overall and 127th in KenPom (up from 207th the year prior).

The following season, Wazzu went 14-13 and rose to 78th in KenPom. Last year, Smith got the Cougs to 22-15 on the year (44th in KenPom) and to the semifinals of the NIT.

Utilizing a Moneyball-type reliance on advanced analytics — dubbed NerdBall in hoops circles — Smith has made a quick splash in Pullman.

Another 20-win season and he’ll become mighty attractive to a better-resourced program.

5. Tad Boyle, Colorado

Boyle and the Buffaloes have been the very definition of steady, if not spectacular, with four straight 20-win seasons… but nothing better than a third-place finish in the Pac-12 in 2021. It was Colorado’s best finish since 2014, Boyle’s fourth season leading the Buffaloes.

Now one of the longest-tenured coaches in the Pac-12, Boyle is looking to take Colorado to new heights. The Buffaloes have two appearances in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 — one in 2021 and one a decade prior.

Boyle is in no danger of losing his gig with his consistent performance, but it’d be nice to see Colorado make a sustained run one of these years.

4. Andy Enfield, USC

And speaking of sustained runs, almost quietly, Enfield has built USC into one of the top programs on the West Coast — no small feat, considering the Trojans’ limited basketball history.

In fact, USC’s run of six 22-win seasons in seven years is the best in program history and the Trojans’ Elite Eight run in 2021 tied for the best NCAA Tournament run ever.

That USC barely skipped a beat last season despite the loss of No. 3 pick Evan Mobley speaks volumes about what Enfield has been able to do in Heritage Hall. USC basketball does not have anywhere near the institutional support that Trojan football has — and probably rightfully so — but Enfield’s success has boosters bought into his vision.

A strong recruiting class that includes 5-star center Vincent Iwuchukwu is proof that recruits are paying attention, as well.

3. Dana Altman, Oregon

The Ducks took a step back last season after back-to-back Pac-12 regular season championships, the program’s third and fourth in the last seven seasons. Was Oregon’s 2021-22 campaign, which included the Ducks’ fewest wins under Altman in his 12-year run, a sign of things to come?

Oregon lost plenty of talent from its 2020-21 squad, including star Chris Duarte, and a 6-6 start in non-conference play left the Ducks behind the 8-ball, but then they suffered an uncharacteristic 2-7 finish down the stretch.

Can Altman rediscover his mojo this season? The answer should be yes — the Ducks return a senior-laden lineup and add a talented transfer in former South Carolina guard Jermaine Couisnard and a 5-star recruit in center Kel’el Ware.

2. Tommy Lloyd, Arizona

Arizona’s fairytale first season under Lloyd ended in disappointment, but that did little to erase the success of the previous 36 games.

The Wildcats went a phenomenal 33-4 and 18-2 in conference play under Lloyd, the former Gonzaga coach-in-waiting. Lloyd established his bona fides in a two-decade run with the Zags, particularly his international recruiting credentials and relatability.

Last year, he brought in Sweden-born Pelle Larsson and Mali-born Oumar Ballo from Utah and Gonzaga, respectively, as well as freshman Adama Bal, and this year, he added Serbian guard Filip Borovićanin and Estonian forward Henri Veesaar.

Still seeking its first Final Four since 2001, anything short of that will be a disappointment.

1. Mick Cronin, UCLA

For as much as UCLA has accomplished in three short years under Cronin — coming one shot short of the championship game in 2021 — the Bruins still have major goals they’re hoping to check off.

UCLA still hasn’t won a Pac-12 regular-season title or a Pac-12 Tournament title under Cronin. He’s not letting his team forget it.

It’s that kind of push-and-pull under Cronin that his players love. Cronin has burnished a reputation as a tough but fair coach, and the returns of Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. justify that.

If the Bruins can weather the loss of Johnny Juzang, Cody Riley, Myles Johnson, and Peyton Watson by integrating Amari Bailey and Adem Bona into the fold, Cronin has a chance to check off some of those boxes this season.