There are now 72 active BCS coaches for which we have tempo free data. (I exclude DePaul interim head coach Tracy Webster.) For many of these coaches we have seven years of data at one or more schools. Let’s look at the average pace over those years. (Note that I give full weight to this season even though the season is not complete. The 2010 numbers are through Friday, January 22nd.)
Keno Davis' teams really stand out as quick when you realize his first year at Drake was exceptionally slow. And Pat Knight is really trying to challenge for the crown as fastest coach in the nation. But that title belongs to Roy Williams. And when you have the better team in most games, more possessions is definitely a good thing.
On the other hand, when you are struggling with talent defections, slow is the only way to stay competitive. And Todd Lickliter’s teams play at an excruciatingly slow pace. In his case, this is more than just an Iowa effect. His teams were slow even before he took over at Iowa. And Georgetown and Northwestern, with their modified Princeton offenses aren’t much quicker.
When it comes to offensive and defensive efficiency, it is easy to say that this is the true measure of a coach’s ability. But that isn’t necessarily fair. Consider that many of these coaches spent time developing a mid-major or in the case of Tom Crean at Indiana, inheriting a team with no returning players.
But I do want to include every school where coaches have been. And in the case of John Calipari, it doesn’t matter that six of those years were at a CUSA school. His average efficiency margin over the last seven years is still fourth best in the nation. There’s a reason he got the job at Kentucky. He’s good.
And as you go down the list, you see a lot of the trends I constantly preach on this blog.
-Bill Self’s teams are off the charts defensively, Roy Williams' teams are off the charts offensively, and Mike Krzyzewski’s teams are off the charts on both ends of the floor.
-Never pick Bo Ryan or Jamie Dixon for a sub .500 finish. Even without elite recruits, they consistently have elite efficiency numbers.
-Bruce Weber has shown he can build an elite defense, but not an elite offense.
-Mike Brey has shown he can build an elite offense, but not an elite defense.
-The early signs suggest that Keno Davis has some issues coaching defense. (And after giving up 109 to South Florida, he would agree.)
-Norm Roberts teams have had strong defense (as you would expect from a former Bill Self assistant.) But his team's offenses have been nothing short of horrid.
-Buzz Williams numbers are hurt by a year at New Orleans, but it is clear his short teams do better on offense than defense.
-Craig Robinson’s numbers are hurt by a couple of years at Brown, but I’m still not sure why DePaul would really be interested in him. He’s made progress at Oregon St., but Oregon St. hasn’t quite had a really good team yet.
-Finally, Fred Hill’s Rutgers teams are the only teams not to average 1 point per possession in adjusted offense.