Bruce Pearl listed behind two championship coaches as best Kentucky option by analyst

Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl works the sideline against Florida during the SEC Men's
Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl works the sideline against Florida during the SEC Men's / Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA

Bruce Pearl is almost certainly not leaving Auburn this offseason, but that didn't stop ESPN's Seth Greenberg from listing him as the third-best option for the vacant Kentucky head coaching job that John Calipari's departure opened up.

Greenberg listed Pearl behind two championship-winning coaches: two-time champion coach at Florida, Billy Donovan, and two-time defending champion coach at UConn, Dan Hurley.

“If it’s not Coach Hurley and it’s not, the best fit for Kentucky in my opinion is Bruce Pearl,” Seth Greenberg said on Get Up (h/t On3). “Because he brings all the energy, the passion, the ownership. He’s a brilliant coach. He had success at Tennessee. He’s had incredible success at Auburn.”

Hurley is building a dynasty in Storrs, Connecticut, but if the Wildcats' boosters come calling with an offer he can't refuse, he makes sense as a Kentucky candidate. Leaving a school after leading them to two straight national titles would be uncharted territory, however, and could immediately backfire for Hurley in a hurry.

Donovan, meanwhile, has been leading a Chicago Bulls franchise that's going nowhere fast in the NBA's Eastern Conference. To be fair, the Bulls appeared to have momentum before Lonzo Ball became injured in early 2022 but since losing the former No. 2 overall pick, Chicago has been a perennial NBA Play-In team. Donovan returning to the college game makes the most sense of any scenario.

Bruce Pearl following up John Calipari at Kentucky would be a major risk

While some believe Pearl at UK could result in titles, there's a bigger chance that the NCAA -- for however long the non-profit monolith will exist -- will be trying to nab the current (and future) Auburn coach for recruiting violations if he ever took that job given his past.

Why try to follow up the legendary run of Calipari, all while stabbing your current school in the back, just to be under a bigger microscope than ever; with Wildcat fans likely never accepting him in the same way they did the previous coach?

Pearl to Kentucky isn't happening. There's nowhere near enough to gain from it, and so much to lose for Pearl.