There are thousands of different metrics you could use when filling out your bracket. Speaking from experience, no matter how much basketball you watch you will always lose your pool to someone who picked the teams based on jersey colors or how cool their mascot is. There are a number of advanced statistics websites designed to give you a leg up on the rest of your office pool come March Madness.

One of the most important factors to consider when filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket is coaching ability. In a tournament where so many games come down to the wire, a coaching advantage can be the difference between moving on and going home. Quantifying what makes a “good tournament coach” versus a bad one is tricky. Some people will point to overall tournament records, but that can often be misleading. The coach of a 15-seed who knocks off a 2-seed deserves more credit for that win that the coach of a 1 seed who beats a 16-seed. If you want to truly measure a coaches prowess in the tournament, you have to look at how the perform compared to how they were supposed to perform.

I decided to research which coaches consistently outperform their seed expectation and how many fail to live up to expectations. When I say “seed expectations” I am referring to how far a team should make it based on their seed number if the entire tournament goes chalk.

Seed expectation means:

  • 1 seeds should make the Final Four
  • 2 seeds should make the Elite Eight
  • 3 and 4 seeds should make the Sweet Sixteen
  • 5-8 seeds should make the second round
  • 9-16 seeds should lose in the first round.

If a team exceeds these expectations, then they overachieved, if they lost before they were supposed to, they underachieved and if they lost exactly when they were supposed to then the properly achieved. I divided the prominent coaches in this years tournament into three groups, based on their tournament history at their current schools compared to their seed expectations. When you look at past results, it is clear that three coaches stand above the rest when it comes to NCAA Tournament Performance.

This list is obviously not perfect as it is hard to compare someone like Coach K who has been to 33 NCAA Tournaments at Duke to a coach like Tony Bennett who has only been to the Big Dance five times since taking the reigns at Virginia. Nevertheless, this list is definitely worth considering if you want to get a leg up on the the rest of your bracket pool. Without further ado, here is the list.

The Bad

Bill Self (Kansas)

Overachieved (3) – 2004, 2008*, 2012

Underachieved (9) – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Properly achieved (1) – 2009

Tony Bennett (Virginia)

Overachieved – None

Underachieved (3) – 2014, 2015, 2016

Properly achieved (1) – 2012

The Good

Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)

Overachieved (13) –  1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991*, 1992*, 1994, 1999, 2001*, 2004, 2010*, 2015*

Underachieved (16) – 1984, 1985, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014

Properly achieved (3) – 2003, 2013, 2016

Roy Williams (North Carolina)

Overachieved (3) – 2005, 2009*, 2016

Underachieved (3) – 2006, 2007, 2012

Properly achieved (6) – 2004, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015

Mark Few (Gonzaga)

Overachieved (5) – 2000, 2001, 2003, 2011, 2016

Underachieved (6) – 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015

Properly achieved (6) – 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014

Jay Wright (Villanova)

Overachieved (4) – 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016*

Underachieved (3) – 2006, 2010, 2014

Properly achieved (3) – 2007, 2011, 2013

John Calipari (Kentucky)

Overachieved (3) – 2011, 2012*, 2014

Underachieved (2) – 2010, 2016

Properly achieved (1) – 2015

Mike Brey (Notre Dame)

Overachieved (3) – 2003, 2015, 2016

Underachieved (4) – 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013

Properly achieved (4) – 2001, 2002, 2008, 2012

Bob Huggins (West Virginia)

Overachieved (3) – 2008, 2010, 2015

Underachieved (2) – 2009, 2016

Properly achieved (2) – 2011, 2012

John Beilein (Michigan)

Overachieved (2) – 2009, 2013

Underachieved (2) – 2012

Properly achieved (3) – 2011, 2014, 2016

Mick Cronin (Cincinnati)

Overachieved (1) – 2012

Underachieved (1) – 2014

Properly achieved (4) – 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016

Chris Mack (Xavier)

Overachieved (3) – 2010, 2012, 2015

Underachieved (3) – 2011, 2014, 2016

Properly achieved – None

Sean Miller (Arizona)

Overachieved (2) – 2011, 2013

Underachieved (2) – 2014, 2016

Properly achieved (2) – 2015

Matt Painter (Purdue)

Overachieved (3) – 2007, 2009, 2012

Underachieved (2) – 2011, 2016

Properly achieved (3) – 2008, 2010, 2015

Scott Drew (Baylor)

Overachieved (3) – 2010, 2012, 2014

Underachieved (2) – 2015, 2016

Properly achieved (1) – 2008

The Great

Tom Izzo (Michigan State)

Overachieved (9) – 2000*, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015

Underachieved (4) – 2004, 2006, 2012, 2016

Properly achieved (6) – 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2011, 2013

Rick Pitino (Louisville)

Overachieved (5) – 2005, 2008, 2012, 2013*, 2015

Underachieved (3) – 2004, 2009, 2011

Properly achieved (3) – 2007, 2010, 2014

Gregg Marshall (Wichita State)

Overachieved (5) – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Underachieved (1) – 2012

Properly achieved – None

 

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