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Chris Collins named Coach of the Year finalist

Collins is joined by some of the game’s best.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Salt Lake City Practice Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Collins has been named one of four finalists for Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday.

In his fourth season at Northwestern, Collins has led the Wildcats (23-11, 10-8 B1G) to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after a school-record 23 wins. The team’s 10 Big Ten wins is the most since 1932-33; the last time Northwestern achieved a winning season in Big Ten play was the 1967-68 campaign.

Joining Collins as finalists are Mark Few (Gonzaga), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Bill Self (Kansas). Wright won the award last year.

The four finalists were chosen from a list of 10 semifinalists. Scott Drew (Baylor), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Tim Jankovich (SMU), Sean Miller (Arizona), Rick Pitino (Louisville), and Mike White (Florida) were the other semifinalists for the award.

From March 20-31, fans can cast a ballot for one of the four candidates. Fan vote will account for 5 percent of the total vote.

The 2017 Naismith Coach of the Year will be announced April 2.

Eighth-seeded Northwestern will make its NCAA Tournament debut Thursday when it faces ninth-seeded Vanderbilt at approximately 3:30 p.m. CT in Salt Lake City, Utah.