Mountain Worst…and coaching performance musings

Leading up to the 2013 tourney, I kept saying in all my interviews that the Mountain West teams would have to prove it to me before I went with them too deep in my bracket. After all, if you look at the conference PASE performance in the Ratings+ section, you’ll see that the Mountain West owns the worst PASE of any conference, past or present, in the 64-team tourney era. And it isn’t even close. Before this year, the collective PASE of their teams was a woeful -.330–and only eight of their 34 teams had beaten seed expectations.

The numbers will likely get worse. The conference sent five teams to the dance. One of them, Boise State, never made it to the Real First Round. The two highest seeds, #3 New Mexico and #5 UNLV, both got upset. Colorado State overachieved slightly, winning one game as an eight seed before succumbing to Louisville in round two. And only San Diego State is still in the dance.

If SDSU gets upset by Florida Gulf Coast today, the “Mountain Worst” will wind up with an abyssmal -.748 PASE for the tourney. If they do win, it will be -.498…and if they win two more games, it will be -.248. Suffice it to say that the conference’s reputation depends on the fate of the Aztecs.

The other aspect of the dance that’s interesting to me is how the coaching performance rankings will change. As of now, there are a set of high-profile coaches whose PASE will definitely decline:

  • Mark Few
  • John Thompson III
  • Jamie Dixon
  • Bo Ryan
  • Bruce Weber
  • Steve Alford
  • Mike Brey
  • Mick Cronin
  • Shaka Smart
  • Brad Stevens
  • Ben Howland

And there are a few coaches whose PASE will definitely increase:

  • Sean Miller
  • Dana Altman
  • Greg Marshall
  • Fred Hoiberg
  • Tommy Amaker
  • John Beilein
  • Tubby Smith
  • Jim Boeheim
  • Buzz Williams

The jury is still out on some other coaches (Coach K, Izzo, Pitino, Matta, Self, Donovan, Crean and Larranaga). I’ll be watching this closely as the dance continues.

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9 Responses to Mountain Worst…and coaching performance musings

  1. Tom says:

    Do the play-in games affect PASE at all?

    Also… who is Jay Miller?

    • ptiernan says:

      He’s a friend of mine. :-). Honestly, no idea where that came from. PASE is not affected by play-in games. My official stance remains to ignore the Fake Four.

  2. PH says:

    … and bye bye SDSU. Congrats Gulf Coast you bring an exciting brand of ball and deserve what you have accomplished, I love how they understand passing lanes on both offense and defense which leads to some awesome dunks.

  3. Tom says:

    Here’s something to chew on watching the end of the Illinois-Miami game: if Illinois’s John Groce bows out in the Sweet 16 (as a 7 seed), his PASE will drop. Only slightly, but it would still go down.

  4. Gary Diny says:

    11 of 16 coaches in teh Sweet 16 have made the Elite 8 previously. That statistic certainly looks to be a solid metric to forcast success.

    • Tom says:

      6 of the 16 had won a national championship. One more (Matta) has been to the NCG; two (Larranaga and Crean) had previously been to the Final Four. It’s a very successful group.

  5. ptiernan says:

    The Marquette win re-taught me a lesson: high-seeded teams that didn’t go to the previous dance typically underachieve. I checked the models–and only Final Four/Champ liked Marquette. Strange…and unfortunate.

    • Gary Diny says:

      That 2011 UConn national championship was likely more of a fluke that anything. All American that got by SDSU in sweet 16 and Arizona in ELite 8. A young Kentucky team and a Butler team that had run out of gas and could not make a shot.

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