Commentary

Top tournament coaches since 2007

Tom Izzo and Brad Stevens aren't alone as repeated March success stories

Updated: May 11, 2011, 4:10 PM ET
By John Gasaway | Basketball Prospectus
Sean MillerJesse Beals/Icon SMISean Miller's tourney success may have been obscured by the surprising surge of Brad Stevens.

Last week I looked at which major-conference head coaches have attained the best per-possession results in conference play over the past five seasons. We saw that Kansas and Bill Self have dominated the rest of the Big 12 in a way that no other major-conference program has been able to match in recent years.

That's fine, but a strong regular-season performance isn't the only thing a fan wants to see from his or her team. Ask Connecticut fans. Jim Calhoun's team suffered through a mediocre 9-9 season in Big East play this year. Then again, I think it's fair to say the Huskies had a pretty good NCAA tournament. There's more to college basketball than just the regular season.

So today I want to salute the head coaches who have performed the best when the lights are brightest: in the NCAA tournament. Let's start with the performance against seed expectation (PASE) measure developed a few years ago by Pete Tiernan.

PASE compares how well a team does in the tournament with how well identically seeded teams have done in the past. For example, a No. 1 seed will, on average, win slightly more than three tournament games. So this year, when No. 1 seed Kansas won three games before losing to Virginia Commonwealth, the Jayhawks came up a fraction of a win short of their "expectation."

Now, let's see how well coaches have done in comparison to what would be expected based on the tournament seeds they've received. Bear in mind we're interested only in the past five tournaments. Additionally, I've placed an equally arbitrary limit on this list. I've restricted admission to coaches who have made more than one appearance in the NCAA tournament in the past five seasons. (Sorry, Shaka Smart -- but that plus-3.5 is a very impressive start.)

So without further ado, here are the coaches who have won more NCAA tournament games than they "should" have based on their seeds the past five years.