Which coaches love analytics?

A look at coaches who embrace advanced metrics (and some who don't)

Updated: October 8, 2013, 9:37 AM ET
By Jeff Goodman | ESPN Insider

Jim Boeheim and Tim CreanAP PhotosJim Boeheim and Tom Crean have different views on using analytics in their coaching.

It's not all about the numbers, but advanced statistics have certainly become far more prevalent within college basketball these days. Some guys still opt to watch hours of tape as their primary manner of scouting and continue to coach more on "feel," while others arm themselves with as much information as possible, and that includes advanced metrics.

There are guys who check KenPom.com religiously, and some who utilize their own system. There are others who are basically immune to the new-age numbers craze.

Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon did his master's at UC Santa Barbara on statistical analysis, and has been a numbers guy ever since he can remember, but even he is amazed by the recent explosion of analytical data.

"I love it," Dixon said. "The numbers can be really helpful, but you've got to be able to understand them."

Dixon said he has someone on his staff checking KenPom.com daily, and he'll add different components each season. For 2013-14, he's focusing on breaking down the Panthers' efficiency after baskets, free throws, steals and offensive rebounds.

Indiana's Tom Crean is another coach who didn't quite crack the list you see below of analytics-friendly coaches, but he utilizes advanced metrics more and more each season. He said he relies on the plus-minus of opposing lineups to attack certain weaknesses.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan used to track numbers back in the day, shortly after graduating from college. He still supplements his system with advanced analytics.

"I was doing points per possession years ago," Ryan said. "But now there's so much more out there."

Let's have a look at a few head coaches who have really embraced analytics, as well as some others who choose to go in a different direction. This is by no means an official list, but it provides a pretty clear idea of where certain coaches fall on the spectrum, according to them and their peers.

(And yes, Brad Stevens would have been at the top of the list had he not gone to the NBA.)


Coaches who love advanced metrics

Thad Matta, Ohio State: "We really like to look at the percentages, especially as the season goes on and teams play common opponents," Matta said. "We don't live and die by them, but it's something we are always cognitive of throughout our preparation."