Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Suck up to Coach K of the week

This is just ridiculous: Andy Katz writing a column (and soliciting support from college coaches) that lauds Coach K's nine straight trips to the Sweet 16 as a modern day equivalent of UCLA's seven-straight NATIONAL TITLES. Some concepts are just too stupid for words.

What about UNC's 13-straight Sweet 16s from 1981-1993? Oh yeah, four of those came when UNC only had to win one game to get to the Regional Semis. Well, UNC still had nine-straight Sweet 16s where it had to win two games from 1985-93 and only twice (1991, 1993) had a #1 seed. In Duke's run of nine-straight Sweet 16s, Duke has had a #1 seed EIGHT times, and considering that no #16 has knocked off a #1 seed, Duke has basically needed to win just one real game to reach the Sweet 16 in eight of those nine seasons.

Of all teams that should make the Sweet 16, #1 seeds are the top of the list. In 21 years of the 64(+) team Tournament, only 12 #1 seeds have whiffed before the Sweet 16. In other words, Duke did not defy the odds. Much more impressive was Duke's run of five-straight Final Fours from 1988-92, especially considering that it received a #1 seed just ONCE in that span, had to knock off the #1 seed in its region three years in a row (1988-90), and nearly half of the Final Four entrants since 1985 have been #1 seeds (37 of 84). Indeed, Duke alone accounts for five of the 18 occasions that a #2 seed has reached the Final Four since 1985.

So let's not overrate the achievement. The #1 seeds should reach the Sweet 16, period. The success ratio for #1 seeds in that regard (76-12 since 1985 = 86.4% reach Sweet 16) far eclipses any other seeding, even #2s (55-29 since 1985 in second round games = 65.5%). The real success is Krzyzewski's teams' continued success during the regular season that enables them to pull down #1 seeds. Winning two games against what should be outmanned opponents doesn't come close to the Olympian heights Coach Wooden achieved.

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