In my recent blogs, I’ve posted a series of articles evaluating the coaching performance in the tourney. I’ve looked at everything from raw winning percentage and hardware acquisition to performance against seed expectations. As you’ve seen, conclusions about the top coaches depend on the method of analysis. While Coach K is undoubtedly the most successful tourney coach, John Beilein is the best performer against seed expectations.
For the last five years, I’ve attempted to contemplate all the various measures for coaching performance into a single rating to arrive at a more balanced view of who the best coaches are come March Madness. There are 20 active coaches with at least eight tournament appearances and one Final Four. As in past years, I’m applying a scoring system that ranks these coaches on five factors:
1. How many times they’ve gone to the dance
2. What they’ve accomplished in their appearances
3. What their win/loss record has been
4. The degree to which they’ve overachieved
5. What they’ve done recently
Here’s my logic for choosing these factors. First of all, as Woody Allen puts it, 80 percent of success is being there. The fact that Mike Krzyzewski has gone to 28 out of 29 64-team tourneys is, in itself, an accomplishment. Secondly, when it comes to the dance, success is the bottom line: how many championships have you won, Final Fours have you reached, and Elite Eights have you made. Third, apart from accomplishments, a coach’s overall record is a key gauge to tourney success. Fourth, win/loss records need to be evaluated in the context of whether they constitute over- or underachievement. And, finally, recent history does matter: if all your success happened 15 years ago (hell-lo Steve Fisher), that says something about your staying power. (The way I calculated recent performance was by taking the last ten years and ranking the coaches on the four preceding factors.)