Friday, March 31, 2006

Not a good year to receive AP Coach of the Year votes (and why Bruce Weber still rocks the house)

I got a chuckle out of how this year's AP Coach of the Year vote recipients' teams performed in the NCAA tournament, with respect to their seed:

Roy Williams, North Carolina (29 votes, -1 round*)
Jay Wright, Villanova (15, -1)
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee (11, -2)
Bill Self, Kansas (7, -2)
Thad Matta, Ohio State (5, -2)
John Calipari, Memphis (2, -1)
Karl Hobbs, George Washington (1, 0)
Ben Howland, UCLA (1, +1 or more)
Al Skinner, Boston College (1, 0)

*[I'm defining this as the number of games a team wins in the tournament minus the number of games the team is originally (i.e., ignoring upsets) supposed to win within its region based on seeding. Anything in the Final Four is a bonus, even for 1-seeds, because in theory the Final Four should be all 1-seeds.]

So of the teams with the top six vote-getters, not one lived up to its seed in the tournament.

Last year, you ask?

Bruce Weber, Illinois (54 votes, +1 round)
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (6, -2)
Al Skinner, Boston College (5, -1)
Lorenzo Romar, Washington (4, -2)
others (3, unknown...because some AP writer decided these votes weren't worth mentioning, and now they've vanished into the mists of antiquity)

In 2004 the teams of the top two vote recipients, Phil Martelli (29, -1) and Eddie Sutton (13, +1), were cast as the 1-seed and 2-seed in the same region.

And as it's not quite 5:00pm, here is how the teams of each of the past winners performed in the tournament, back to 1985:

2006 Roy Williams, North Carolina 3 seed, -2 rounds
2005 Bruce Weber, Illinois 1, +1
2004 Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's 1, -1
2003 Tubby Smith, Kentucky 1, -1
2002 Ben Howland, Pittsburgh 3, 0 (although the loss was to 10-seed Kent State)
2001 Matt Doherty, North Carolina 2, -2
2000 Larry Eustachy, Iowa State 2, 0
1999 Cliff Ellis, Auburn 1, -2
1998 Tom Izzo, Michigan State 4, 0
1997 Clem Haskins, Minnesota 1, 0
1996 Gene Keady, Purdue 1, -3
1995 Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma 4, -2
1994 Norm Stewart, Missouri 1, -1
1993 Eddie Fogler, Vanderbilt 3, 0 (although the loss was to 7-seed Temple)
1992 Roy Williams, Kansas 1, -3
1991 Randy Ayers, Ohio State 1, -2
1990 Jim Calhoun, Connecticut 1, -1 (Laettner I)
1989 Bob Knight, Indiana 2, -1
1988 John Chaney, Temple 1, -1
1987 Tom Davis, Iowa 2, 0
1986 Eddie Sutton, Kentucky 1, -1 (11-seed LSU)
1985 Bill Frieder, Michigan 1, -3 (8-seed, and eventual champion, Villanova)

Sure, the higher a seed a team has, the more games they have to win to live up to their seed. Still, in the past 22 years, Bruce Weber is the only AP Coach of the Year to lead his team to additional victories beyond validating their seed. In fact, only two the past thirteen 1-seeds led by an AP Coach of the Year validated their seed with a trip to the Final Four.

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