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Sweet 16 Open Thread

[ 97 ] March 23, 2017 |

I am sure you are all rooting for Oregon against Michigan and its Trump voters. Regardless, we can all agree that it’s great that Duke and its seemingly endless supply of privileged white players lost.

To start the conversation, here’s a question generated out of a conversation with a friend recently. Who is the best college hoops coach since John Wooden? This conversation started as the 2nd best coach of all time, but then I imagine it’s probably Adolph Rupp. And it’s hard to know based on a distant era of all-white teams and the like. So since Wooden. Coach K? Dean Smith? Boeheim? Knight? Pitino?


Comments (97)

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  1. tsam says:

    “do i LOOK like i ordered the tilapia?”

    No, you don’t look that crazy to me. Who eats that disgusting shit anyway?


    That is all.

  2. Other people will probably load their comments up with issues like program sustainability and character building and graduation rates, but for my money the most entertaining teams (and by that standard, the best teams) in the last 40 years have been Tark’s Running Rebels and Westphal’s Loyola Marymount teams.

    There, I’ve said it. Tear me apart.

    • Bill Murray says:

      Loyola Marymount were great to watch. They played at Utah in the NCAAs when I was at Utah and one of my friends was the urine sample gatherer for post-game drug testing. It took one LMU forward about 45 minutes after the game to get back enough fluid to make a sample despite more or less constant drinking of water. This was after LMU beat Wyoming 119-115 in 1988

    • Ithaqua says:

      Coming into this thread, I was going to say “Tark the Shark”, but you’ve basically beaten me to it.

  3. JKTH says:

    Jim Calhoun? K had more success but he was building off a more historically successful program.

    • efgoldman says:

      Jim Calhoun?

      If you’re going there, it has to be Gino Auriemma, doesn’t it?

      • Brien Jackson says:

        I think that’s a tough comparison because the talent pool in high school girls basketball is much thinner. Geno built essentially a self-sustaining dynasty that gets pick of the litter every single year with no real competition yet.

        • randy khan says:

          Well, he doesn’t always get all the best players. But more to the point, college coaching consists of recruiting and coaching the team you recruit. So discounting Auriemma because he’s really good at recruiting seems peculiar.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            The issue isn’t that he’s “really good at recruiting”; it’s that the women’s league is at a very noncompetitive stage. It would be impossible for him to dominate the contemporary men’s league in anything like that way because nobody could. When you’re evaluating coaches and players, the competitive balance of the league matters a lot.

            • randy khan says:

              So on one level you’re right – the women’s talent pool is somewhat diluted for a variety of reasons, including that a lot more girls play soccer than basketball and somewhat fewer (although it’s getting closer) girls play sports than boys.

              On another level, though, this analysis makes a lot of assumptions. Even if, for argument’s sake, there are 5 A++ players each year in WCBB versus 20 in MCBB, 10 A+ players versus 30, and 15 A players versus 50, there’s still a fair amount of talent to go around, the competition is stiff for that talent, and you have to figure out which players are A++ and which are merely A (or, worse, look like A+ or better but actually are B). And if the pool is shallow, the premium on getting a top player is much higher – literally a Brittany Griner or an Elena Delle Donne can change your team and if another team gets her you may not have a replacement.

              Also, in actual practice, he’s not that dominant a recruiter. Here’s how Auriemma has done, according to the ESPN recruiting rankings, in the last four classes:

              2016 – 1 top 20 player (#3). 5 other teams had 2 or more
              2015 – 2 top 20 players (#1 and #6). 4 other teams had 2 each
              2014 – 2 top 20 players (#14 and #17). 4 other teams had 2 each
              2013 – 0 top 20 players. 2 teams had 3 each; 2 others had 2 each

              Based on eyeballing the lists, several teams ended up with as many or more top 20 and top 10 players in that time frame as Connecticut.

              By the way, the player who just set the NCAA scoring record was ranked 26th in the class of 2013, and while she plays for the Huskies, it’s not the ones in Connecticut.

          • Phil Perspective says:

            Auriemma certainly does get the best players, especially since Summitt is no longer coaching at Tennessee. Do you ever look at the scores of their games? Even in the NCAA Tournament they’re boatracing 3 and 4 seeds by 40, constantly.

      • JKTH says:

        Since all the coaches Loomis named are men’s coaches, I figured it was limited to the men’s game.

  4. MyNameIsZweig says:

    On the one hand, both my parents are Michigan alums.

    On the other hand, the University of Michigan (spread across multiple campuses) has failed to hire me for various jobs on no fewer than six separate occasions.

    On yet another hand, most of the Oregon fans I know here in San Francisco are insufferable about their Oregon-ness.

    Can I just root for the asteroid?

  5. tsam says:

    So since Wooden. Coach K? Dean Smith? Boeheim? Knight? Pitino?

    K makes sense. So do the others. Needs Roy Williams and maybe Tom Izzo.

    Need metrics. Otherwise it’s Mark Few.

    • Bill Murray says:

      I’d say it needs a definition of greatest coach. Metrics would end up with most wins or most championships etc.

      One I would put out there who was great in the sense of being able to devise a way to get the in-game match-ups to favor his team was Rick Majerus. He wasn’t a great recruiter as most of his talent weren’t top recruits and he was quite verbally abusive at practice but man could he figure out how to set the game up to put his players in the best positions to do what they did best and capitalize on their skills.

      I would put Dean Smith light years of any of the other named, post-Wooden, coaches as a human being, but that probably is not a big criterion for being a top coach

    • nemdam says:

      As much as everyone hates them, I don’t see how you can’t pick Coach K. His success in March dwarfs almost every other coach. Not even close in my book.

    • AlanInSF says:

      Does need metrics, but, just eyeballing it, hard not to choose Coach K. His record would be astounding even if he always had top level talent across several positions, but he seldom did. I’m not a Duke fan, but I saw so many great UNC teams and Maryland teams not do what Duke has done.

      • Bill Murray says:

        what years after about 1988 did Duke not have top level talent at multiple positions?

        • AlanInSF says:

          “Seldom” was the wrong word, but I don’t think Duke consistently has had the level of talent or the depth of programs like Kansas, UNC, or Kentucky. The 2010 team was talented, but Seth Curry, the Plumlees, and Tyus Jones doesn’t scream “national championship.” Far better Kentucky teams have gone out in the second round.

        • Thlayli says:

          How many NBA superstars have come out of Duke? Grant Hill, who else…? Laettner was a journeyman, Battier was a role-player, etc.

          • Karate Bearfighter says:

            Kyrie Irving, Elton Brand, Luol Deng, Jabari Parker, Carlos Boozer … I mean, you can argue about what constitutes a superstar, but except for Parker, all of those guys have been to multiple all-star games — and Parker’s on his way.

    • vic rattlehead says:

      No circle jerk is complete without Boeheim. I think he’s the only one who gets his knob schlobbed more than K.

    • AdamPShort says:

      A bit surprised given that “more with less” seems to be the prevailing standard that Izzo isn’t getting more of a look here. Michigan State has had some great players but their results have been consistently better than their talent level throughout Izzo’s tenure. I vote for him. Secondarily i vote for anybody except Coach Jesusezwski

  6. MaureenDowdsLudes says:

    Best? Or most successful? Because the best is obviously Nolan Richardson.

  7. Scott P. says:

    Pitino has taken four different college teams to the NCAA tournament, including inheriting an 11-20 Providence team and taking them to the Final Four two years after he started there.

  8. wjts says:

    Who is the best college hoops coach since John Wooden?

    I don’t know a whole lot about college ball, but I suspect it’s Peter C. Basketball, who I believe led Toulouse University’s Fighting Albigensians to a record six BasketBowl wins.

  9. GHorn says:

    Calipari……..because I live in Louisville KY.

  10. HenryW says:

    Geno Auriemma.

    As for Duke, I propose we just refer to them from this point forward as “The Ferrets.” Certainly fits Krzyzewski and Allen and Hurley.

  11. vic rattlehead says:

    Rooting for Press Virginia in solidarity (a good friend went to WVU). I’m sure to be disappointed. I always am.

  12. MAJeff says:

    Geno Auriemma? Pat Summit?

  13. Docrailgun says:

    There’s no Duke, no Oklahoma, no OK State, no Minnesota… the only reason to watch would be for UNC.

    The best coach of all time is Coach K.

  14. Marek says:

    I’m hoping for an all-Husky game (UConn v. UDub).

    Are the men playing, too?

  15. Colin Day says:

    In one weekend, South Carolina men’s team won more NCAA tournament games (2) than they won over the previous 43 years (0).

  16. elm says:

    Honorable mention for Jim Valvano?

  17. Linnaeus says:

    Great game, tough loss for my Wolverines.

  18. Jordan says:

    Close enough:

    Who you got for NBA MVP?

    I think Harden, but Westbrook, Kawhi and Lebron all got serious cases

  19. revrick says:

    Jim Calhoun. He took a team that had been a joke of the Yankee Conference (a joke conference ), and raised it to powerhouse status in the Big East, and he did it without stocking the team with McDonald’s All Americans, like a certain overrated ACC coach has done, not to mention that coach’s reputation for working the refs and getting more favorable rankings.

  20. JKTH says:

    Carter’s singlehandedly keeping West Virginia in the game. Their offense is really ugly.

  21. FlaMark says:

    Billy Donovan is 20x the coach Roy W is for what he did at UF a football school. Roy W? GTFO

    I’d say Coach K then Dean then Al McGuire

  22. CrunchyFrog says:

    I tell you, minor league baseball is really missing a HUGE marketing opportunity. I mean, it’s minor league, right? No one pays attention. Did you ever see a minor league game on a sports cable channel? Ever see a minor league score on a national sports ticker listing? NEVER. You see little league, but not minor league.

    So, understand this, sports fans are human, therefore, like humans most are stupid and gullible. So they should rename it to College Baseball, not minor league. Oh, I know, there are actual college teams. (And they get on TV, unlike minor league, even though they play lower quality ball. Which proves the point I’m about to make). So get a few colleges to sponsor the teams or whatever. The key is to slap the world “COLLEGE” on your product. Suddenly people will pay attention.

    Then pick a slow sports month. August, for example. Create a big tournament of your “College” teams. (Ok, it’s minor league, but they can attend classes exactly as often as Div 1 football full ride players do.) GIve it some marketing pizazz – like “March Madness” but for August. Steal names like “Sweet Sixteen” or “Elite Eight”. Now, no one will give a crap about they players – they don’t for NCAA basketball. Or anything else about the sport – but they will spend huge amounts of time and energy following the events because it has the word “COLLEGE” in it.

  23. petemack says:

    Geno Ariemma. No on else is even close.

  24. Brad Nailer says:

    I was going to say Tay Baker, but then I realized I meant Ed Jucker.

  25. dplunk says:

    Wait, so the implication is that Coach K shouldn’t get good players if they’re privileged and white because white men are too privileged by society? This argument would have merit if that’s all he was doing, fielding a team full of mediocre white players because his team only serves to continue to further white male privilege. But the notion that this is even remotely what is happening is preposterous.

    I get the Duke hate in the sense that they’re the Yankees of CBB. They win all the time (who would care if they weren’t good) and because they win they’re on tv all the time, which is annoying if they aren’t your team.

    But the angle of the Duke hate that draws on the white players is a bit puzzling to me. The only way I get it is if you think fans latch onto them because of the white players. That’s certainly possible, and maybe why they were put on tv a lot. I tend to think it’s not a big portion of it. I think more casual fans are like me and got attached because they were on tv a lot and were winning a lot (bandwagoning, basically). Maybe I’m being naive but I don’t get the sense Duke is some kind of Pepe thing where there’s a bunch of white dudes who love the team because they’re “white” in some sense.

    Of course, now that I’ve put that on the internet I’m sure some shitbag will see it and make it a thing on reddit or something. And in short order I’ll have to become a UNC fan or something.

    • dplunk says:

      Talked about this with my gf and there’s certainly a racial aspect of who K recruits. He seems to recruit from a higher socioeconomic background than most, presumably because he wants more well adjusted kids he can handle/coach better. The racial part of that is obvious, in that racism has kept black people out of that higher socioeconomic tier. So even though K may not be actively racist, his criteria has the effect of pulling in more white guys than average.

      And it’s not like there aren’t quality players that don’t meat K’s criteria. Many teams have good players and many teams other than Duke win. So he’s not constrained when trying to find quality players. He’s making an active choice. The issue is whether he’s willing to risk losing a few more games while not taking advantage of the effect of society’s racial constructs in order to provide more equality of opportunity. Or to just keep doing what’s made him wildly successful, even if it doesn’t do anything to try to change racism.

  26. liberalrob says:

    Knight has to be in the conversation. Doesn’t matter that he’s hated, he was successful everywhere he went and had a significant impact on the game itself as the innovator of the motion offense. Love him or hate him, he’s a towering figure in NCAA history.

    Lute Olson had a terrific run at Arizona, turning the Pac-10 doormat into a perennial powerhouse. 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

    Since I haven’t seen him mentioned I have to put in a word for John Thompson, who made Georgetown a force to be reckoned with in the 80’s and 90’s.

    John Chaney made the match-up zone a reason to fear seeing Temple on the schedule. Plus he threatened to kill John Calipari at a post-game press conference for working the refs, which gets him an extra vote from me.

    Boeheim was already mentioned but he deserves a nod.

    And he’s still a work in progress but I have to throw out Bill Self’s name too. Yeah, he’s at Kansas so he has a recruiting advantage, but he was successful at Illinois, Tulsa, and Oral Roberts before that. He’s been a terrific coach.

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