Monday, October 1, 2007

Basketball FYI

At some point I’ll probably start writing about college basketball again. I’ll either have my own season preview or a reaction to some of the previews written elsewhere. Topics I expect to discuss:

Which Duke team will show up this year? The team that limped to the finish and lost in the first round, or the team that now has eight McDonald’s All-Americans and one of the best coaches of all time?

Is Greg Marshall a great mid-major hire? Or has the MVC peaked?

Which preseason tournaments are worth watching?

Will the Big East – SEC challenge be more competitive than the Big Ten – ACC challenge?

In the meantime, one thing I decided to start working on was updating my coach rankings. My biggest concern is that while you can get a pretty good sense of regular season coaching ability with only a few years worth of data, the tournament is much more random. It only takes one bad game to ruin a season, while a single championship run can forever change a coaches’ tournament reputation. Basically, my concern was that under my old formulation, I labeled Coach K as one of the worst tournament coaches in the country, and I didn’t think that was defensible. In fact, if you look at the last 10 years of data instead of the last 5 years, Coach K looks a lot better. I’ll share my updated coach rankings in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with the raw numbers:

Tournament Wins Last 10 Years
28 Mike Krzyzewski
25 Roy Williams
25 Jim Calhoun
24 Tom Izzo
23 Tubby Smith
22 Billy Donovan
19 Gary Williams
18 Lute Olson
16 Bill Self
13 Rick Barnes
13 Jim Boeheim
13 Ben Howland
12 Kelvin Sampson
12 Thad Matta
10 Bruce Webber
9 Mark Few
8 Bob Huggins
8 Bo Ryan
8 Rick Majerus
7 John Calipari
7 Mike Davis
6 Al Skinner
6 Ernie Kent
6 John Brady
6 Rick Pitino
6 Paul Hewitt
6 John Thompson III
6 John Beilein
5 Bob Knight
5 Mark Gottfried
5 Jay Wright
5 Jamie Dixon
5 Cliff Ellis
5 Herb Sendek
5 Bruce Pearl
5 Kevin Stallings

I could go back further, but I also figure there is somewhat of a statute of limitations on judging a coaches’ current ability based on past tournament wins. Bog Knight is still a good coach, but he certainly isn’t considered in the same league he was when he won a championship at Indiana.

More in a few weeks!