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Economy Could Stunt Coaching Raises

Every year around this time, we start talking about who the big winners are in the college basketball coaching ranks.

What team made it to the Sweet 16 that wasn't supposed to?

What coach is all of a sudden a hot commodity and will get a huge raise to stay or bolt to greener pastures?

Well, you're not going to hear much of that talk this year.

With the favorites winning 38 of the first 48 games (79 percent) and Arizona being the only "Cinderella," you can argue that the coaches pretty much did what they were expected to do. Secondly, with the economy as bad as it is, there aren't many openings being created. And that means fewer coaches will have leverage.

As the New York Timesrecently noted, 56 coaching jobs, on average, turned over in each of the last three years.

And while jobs are open at places like Georgia, Virginia and Alabama, there isn't much movement elsewhere as the economy has done its part to cool the hot seat. Uncomfortable buyouts have made it too hard to fire a coach.

The ultimate coaching winner this offseason could be Arizona's coach Russ Pennell. Even though Arizona barely made it to the dance, getting into the Sweet 16 could make the interim coach as the program's next hire. On his side? The fact that UA athletic director Jim Livengood apparently isn't too keen on spending boatloads of cash to hire a "hot" coach.

"Whether it's capital fundraising or fundraising based on our day-to-day operating expenses, most of that comes from people that could have investments in the stock market," Livengood told the the Arizona Daily Wildcat. "I look at the stock market more times a day than I'd like to share...We're not going to go out and buy a coach. That doesn't make any sense."

All this means that coaches that have success in this year's tournament are cursing the economy, while those who didn't quite live up to expectations are raising a glass to the Great Recession.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com