Coaching fortunes will change after the 2014 tourney

When the dust settles on the 2014 dance, we’re likely to see dramatic changes in the performance rankings of the active coaches. Some coaches, like perennial overachiever Tom Izzo and newcomers Archie Miller and Kevin Ollie, will post big PASE numbers. Others, like Coach K, Bill Self and Jay Wright, will suffer significant declines in their performance against seed expectations. Here’s a quick list of where the coaches stand heading into the Elite Eight.

Changing Jobs?

The tourney has always served as a kind of interview for young coaches to jump to more prominent programs. Look back no farther than last year, when Andy Enfield parlayed his 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast squad’s surprise Sweet 16 run into a new job at USC. So who’s in line for a raise after this year’s dance? Here are the most likely advancers, in order of age:

  • Archie Miller (Dayton), 35 years old
  • Saul Phillips (ND State), 41 years old
  • Tommy Amaker (Harvard), 48 years old
  • Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), 50 years old
  • Brad Underwood (Stephen F Austin), 50 years old
  • Bob Hoffman (Mercer), 57 years old

Dayton’s Archie Miller is the hottest commodity. Not only have his 11 seed Flyers made it to the Elite Eight, but he’s also the youngest coach on this list. Saul Phillips helped his stock as well, with both a 5v12 upset and a stirring tear-filled post-game interview. (“I love these guys. Love them. Absolutely Love them.”). Coach K disciples Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins could also get looks from bigger programs. Brad Underwood and Bob Hoffman might also change jobs, but their age may be limiting factors.

Big Increase

  • Tom Izzo
  • John Calipari
  • Kevin Ollie
  • Cuonzo Martin
  • Scott Drew
  • Steve Alford

Depending on the fates of Michigan and Michigan State, Tom Izzo could leapfrog John Beilein for the PASE lead among veteran active coaches. Izzo probably has the inside track. His Spartans are favored over UConn—and as a four seed, he’s got a higher ceiling for seed overachievement.

John Calipari will also see a sizable jump in his +.336 PASE value. Even if he didn’t win another game, Calipari is about 2.3 games above the projected wins for an eight seed. (Whether Kentucky should’ve gotten an eight seed is another question.)

Kevin Ollie and Cuonzo Martin will start their tourney careers with big, fat overachieving PASE numbers. Ollie’s will be at least +2.200 and Martin’s will be around +1.500.

Scott Drew should see a modest bump in his already-impressive +.580 PASE, since the average six seed wins only 1.16 games per appearance. And Steve Alford should climb several rungs out of the PASE basement with his Bruins’ Sweet 16 run. He’s currently a -.531 PASE underachiever…but should wind up around -.400 when the final numbers are calculated.

Slight Increase

  • Steve Fisher
  • Mark Few
  • Josh Pastner
  • Jamie Dixon
  • Jim Crews

Steve Fisher’s solid +442 PASE is due for a slight uptick since he beat expectations by about .475 games. Mark Few, Josh Pastner and Jamie Dixon will see modest improvements with their opening round wins as eight/nine seeds. And Jim Crews will yank up his sagging -.290 PASE, despite underachieving as a five seed. He fell only about .129 games short of expectations.

Slight Drop

  • Doug McDermott
  • Roy Williams
  • Fred Hoiberg
  • Rick Pitino

Off these four coaches, McDermott fell furthest away from seed expectations in the 2014 tourney. However, his PASE is already a weak -.171, so missing the projected wins for a three seed by .862 has less of an impact. Roy Williams came just .164 games from meeting expectations, so his PASE will drop, but not by much. Hoiberg and Pitino actually overachieved slightly for three and fours. But since their PASE values were already lofty (Hoiberg +.336, Pitino +.733), they’ll suffer small decreases.

Given the obstacles Hoiberg’s Cyclones faced with the Niang injury, his coaching performance is pretty darned impressive. That won’t go unnoticed by bigger schools. In fact, Hoiberg is probably the most likely candidate to get an offer from a prominent program—or even a pro team like the Timberwolves. Whether the Mayor leaves his town, however, is a matter of debate.

Big Drop

  • Gregg Marshall
  • Tony Bennett
  • Mike Krzyzewski
  • Jay Wright
  • Bill Self
  • Thad Matta
  • Mick Cronin
  • Shaka Smart
  • Lon Kruger
  • Jim Boeheim

Plenty of coaches are going to take big tumbles down the PASE rankings. Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall missed seed-projected win totals by the most of any coach in the 2014. Sure, it’s a little unfair that Kentucky was a four seed in disguise. But other top seeds have had to face the same adversity.

Tony Bennett also fell short of expectations for a one seed, but his two wins mitigated the damage. Coach K’s failure as a three seed was actually a more dramatic underachievement than Bennett’s. We’ve already estimated that Coach K’s PASE will drop to about +.300. That’s solid—but nothing like the invincible +.920 PASE he owned at the turn of the century.

The one-win runs of Jay Wright (+.053) and Bill Self (+.082) as two seeds will likely drop their treading-water PASE values into the depths of underachievement. Thad Matta and Mick Cronin will also pay for their -1.164 game deficits as six seeds. And Kruger and Boeheim will experience modest tumbles as well.

The coach that will surely see his PASE fall the hardest is Shaka Smart. With that golden run to the 2011 Final Four and a follow-up overachieving dance in 2012, Smart owned a sterling +1.267 PASE heading into this dance. But his 5v12 upset at the hands of Stephen F. Austin will knock his PASE down to about +.670. That would still be seventh best among active coaches with at least three tourney appearances…but a big slide from his current position atop that list. He’s in danger of becoming a one-dance wonder like Jim Larranaga, the former George Mason coach. Yo Shaka: better grab that better coaching offer now.

Jury Still Out

  • Billy Donovan
  • Sean Miller
  • John Beilein
  • Bo Ryan

Given the high win expectations for one and two seeds, it’s too early to tell where these four coaches will wind up. Both Donovan and Miller would have to get to the finals to improve their PASE values. Due to his #1-ranked +.775 PASE among veteran coaches, Beilein needs one more win to improve on his numbers. Bo Ryan is a different story. Because his career PASE is just +.063 and he’s already +.594 games above expectations, his numbers will surely increase. Whether it’s a big or small increase hinges on winning at least one more game.

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One Response to Coaching fortunes will change after the 2014 tourney

  1. Mike L. says:

    Hi Pete,

    I’ve tried to figure these calculations out on my own, and for the life of me, I’m still coming up short. For example, you said, “McDermott [.....] missing the projected wins for a three seed by .862 has less of an impact. Roy Williams came just .164 games from meeting expectations,” how are you getting fractions of wins?

    Before reading the article, I always assumed that Seed Expectations were whole numbers:
    9-16 seeds = 0 Expected Wins (EW)
    5-8 seeds = 1 EW
    3-4 seeds = 2 EW
    2 seeds = 3 EW
    1 seeds = 4-6 EW
    Intuitively, it’s hard to say that 8’s should be expected to get 1 win and 9’s expected to get 0 wins since those games are toss-ups. 0.5 EW for each seems more reasonable.

    When I saw from reading that coaches could get fractions of wins, I then assumed it came from Bayesian techniques: using past outcomes to modify current predictions. For example, if previous NCAA tournaments (1985-present) show on average that one 6-seed makes it to the S16, then we can expect 6-seeds to have 5 wins, or 1.25 EW per team. Therefore, Roy Williams falls short of seed expectations by 0.25 wins, or -0.25 PASE. Again, this was just an example, but when I did the counts, I still kept getting the wrong calculation. If you have the time or anyone else that also knows how to calculate PASE, would you mind educating me? Thanks.

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