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Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Michigan's John Beilein aren’t just competing for a piece of the Big Ten regular-season title.
The two intrastate coaches are also among 15 finalists for the Naismith coach of the year award, which was released on Wednesday.
Izzo has guided the No. 6 Spartans to a 23-5 record and has the defending Big Ten regular-season champions in the driver’s seat of the conference race with a 14-3 mark.
Beilein and the No. 9 Wolverines are 24-4 and sit a game behind Michigan State in the standings at 13-4 with three conference games to go.
Neither Beilein or Izzo has won the award that has been given out annually since 1987.
Also among the finalists is Buffalo's Nate Oats, the former Romulus basketball coach.
The other finalists are Tennessee’s Rick Barnes, Texas Tech’s Chris Beard, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Louisville’s Chris Mack, Nevada’s Eric Musselman, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Marquette’s Steve Wojciechowski and Wofford’s Mike Young.