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How Coaches Do Versus Their Seeding

One way to evaluate coaches' performance in March is to compare them to what their seeding implies.


One method I use to evaluate coaches' performance in March is to look at how they do versus what their seeding would imply.

Any seed 9 or worse implies a first round exit. A win as one of those seeds gets someone a "better" rating for outperforming the seed line, but I actually give them no rating for losing in the first round. It keeps the clutter down. For seeds 5-8, a first round win is a "match", a first round loss is "worse", and anything beyond the second round is "better". For 3 and 4-seeds, a Sweet 16 appearance is a match. For 2-seeds, an Elite Eight appearance is a match. For 1-seeds, a Final Four appearance is a match and a win there gets them a better rating.

Here are the track records of some notable coaches in this year's Big Dance:

Coach Better Match Worse
Steve Alford 1 2 2
Jim Boeheim 5 8 10
Mike Brey 1 3 4
Tom Crean 1 2 3
Jamie Dixon 0 3 4
Billy Donovan 5 1 5
Mark Few 4 4 4
Steve Fisher 3 0 4
Tom Izzo 7 3 3
Lon Kruger 4 3 4
Mike Krzyzewski 10 2 10
Thad Matta 4 1 5
Mike Montgomery 4 2 7
Rick Pitino 6 3 5
Bo Ryan 3 5 2
Bill Self 5 2 7
Tubby Smith 5 4 5
Brad Stevens 2 1 0
John Thompson III 2 0 4
Buzz Williams 1 2 1
Roy Williams 6 8 8
Jay Wright 3 0 2

The only coach among these who is able to get a better rating consistently more often than any other rating is Tom Izzo. He's the king of March. Also of note is that some coaches almost never match their seeding: Billy Donovan, Steve Fisher, Mike Krzyzewski, Thad Matta, John Thompson III, Jay Wright, and to a lesser extent Rick Pitino.