Tourney face. [Fuller]
Beilein teams go further in the tournament than their seeds. This is known. We've repeated it so often that smart bracketeers even calculate it into their expectations. I've saved the "why" and "wherefore" of this effect for a roundtable question since that gets into the basketball strategy stuff that I'm weak in.
What I can do is build a pivot table out of multiple bits of data; in this case it was lots of schmearing and pasting, column breaks, and vlookups from sports-reference.com's bracket history and annual coaches records. The important lesson here is you're supposed to know it was hard.
UPDATE: Here's the raw data.
The first thing I tried was straight-up expectations by seed: top seeds are expected to get to the Final Four, 2-seeds to the Elite Eight; 3- and 4-seeds to the Sweet Sixteen; 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-seeds to the round of 32. The results had Beilein #5 after Brad Stevens of Butler, Sean Miller, and some Mizzou coaches who often had 9 seeds. That suggested there's a problem with my figuring:
I'm expecting 9 and 10 seeds to never advance so they're always in the positive; every time an 8 loses to a 9 it's a hit. The actual distribution is, unsurprisingly, progressive:
With over 1300 teams in my study there's very little deviation from the logarithm. It suggests, for all our complaining, that the committee does a pretty good job.
|Seed||Exp Wins||Seed||Exp Wins|
Since I'm a history major who had to re-teach himself exponential functions this morning (if predicting basketball games required encyclopedic knowledge of Plantagenets I'd have Ken Pomeroy's job) please go easy on me if I dispense with the other stuff and just use the values Excel returned as a base expectation of tournament victories for each seed (at right). The formula according to Excel:
y= 1.1634Ln(x) + 3.2127
With an expectation for victories now I can get a reasonable comparison versus that, for example a 2-seed that advances to the Sweet 16 has 2 victories minus 2.41 expected = 0.41 fewer wins than they should have. The last thing was to remove coaches who've been to fewer than five tournaments. We're ready to rename March after a coach. But which one?
[Don't act all surprised; you knew I'd make you jump for it.]
|Best Coaches at Advancing Past Seed Since '93|
|Rk||Coach||Schools (tourneys)||Avg Wins
|2||John Beilein||Canisius(1), Richmond (1),
WVU (2), Mich (4)
|3||Tom Izzo||MSU (16)||0.714|
|4||Sean Miller||Xavier (4), Zona (2)||0.699|
|5||Billy Donovan||Florida (13)||0.687|
|6||Nolan Richardson||Arkansas (8)||0.669|
|7||Rick Pitino||Kentucky (5), L'ville (10)||0.609|
|8||Dean Smith||UNC (5)||0.565|
|9||Jim Calhoun||UConn (15)||0.522|
|10||Jim Larranga||George Mason (5),
Translation: in eight tourney appearances, Beilein has been good for about 3/4 of a win beyond his seed.
One deep run for a low-seeded team can make big a difference. Stevens deserves the crown of the March King for taking his 5- and 8-seeded Butler teams to consecutive national championship games. But if remove George Mason's surprising trip to the Final Four in '06 and Larranga drops into the negatives (-0.162). Remove 2013 Michigan and Beilein is at 0.374.
|Rk||Coach||Schools (tourneys)||Avg Ws
|62||Mike Krzyzewski||Duke (20)||-0.168|
To correct for outliers I'll recalculate among the tourney regulars by removing their best and worst runs, and increasing the minimum number of appearances to seven (sorry Stevens/Miller/Smith):
Best Tourney Regulars at Advancing Past Seed Since '93
|Rk||Coach||Schools (tourneys)||Avg Wins
|2||John Beilein||Canisius, Richmond,
|3||Rick Pitino||Kentucky, L'ville||0.611|
|7||Roy Williams||Kansas, UNC||0.383|
|8||Steve Lavin||UCLA, St. John's||0.321|
|10||John Calipari||UMass, Memphis, Ky.||0.318|
Lol Teams from Indiana. Jim Boeheim just misses this list. Other coaches of interest out of the 90 who qualified: Mike Davis (16th, +0.331); Jim O'Brien (17th, +0.300); Thad Matta (31st, +0.162), Bruce Pearl (38th, 0.095); Bo Ryan (45th, 0.012); Gene Keady (52nd, –0.060), Tom Crean (70th, –0.280), Bob Knight (73rd, –0.327), Kelvin Sampson (80th, –0.407), and Mike Brey (83rd, –0.496).
Oliver Purnell, formerly of Dayton and Clemson, [EDIT: now at DePaul] had the worst performance, but that should not overshadow the regularity of Jamie Dixon's Pittsburgh teams, which have managed to consistently underperform their seed virtually every year since 2004.
When we look at this by team instead of coaches—still keeping it to seven minimum tourney runs and removing best and worst runs—Michigan ends up 20th at +0.140. The top tourney teams are West Virginia (+0.684), Tulsa (+0.666), Butler (who had a couple of Sweet 16 runs before Stevens), Kentucky, Florida, MSU, UNC, UConn, UCLA, and Louisville. The worst: Clemson (-0.802), Notre Dame (-0.632), New Mexico, UNLV, Wake, Vandy, Pitt, Cincy, Oklahoma and Charlotte.
Other things. I still have some work to do to attach the stats (since '03 at least) to Kenpom—I'd like to see if there are any correlations to offensive/defensive squads or other key stats. The one thing I learned so far is there is zero correlation to either the coach's tourney experience or how many years the coach has been with the team.