Four active college basketball coaches — Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Roy Williams — already have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla on Wednesday identified three additional coaches as locks to be enshrined, sooner rather than later.
They are: Kansas University’s Bill Self, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Louisville’s Rick Pitino.
“Bill Self has won 75 percent of his games as a head coach and has the Jayhawks’ 2008 national championship as part of his résumé,” said Fraschilla, who worked as head coach at Manhattan College, St. John’s and University of New Mexico before joining the cable TV network.
“In addition, Self has taken 13 straight teams to the NCAA Tournament, a run that included six Elite Eight appearances. Although this year’s Kansas team is in transition, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the Jayhawks won’t be a perennial power,” Fraschilla added.
KU’s 2008 national title assuredly will draw the full attention of Hall of Fame committee members. Another key factor in Self’s likely induction is his team’s record in conference play.
In the past 14 years, Self’s teams at KU, Illinois and Tulsa have won 11 conference crowns, placed second twice and third once.
Self’s KU teams have won seven straight Big 12 titles after a second-place finish in 2003-04.
The Jayhawks and Texas A&M recently were picked to place first in the Big 12 coaches’ preseason poll.
“I’m not sure of that intelligence level of guys that I coach against in our league when it comes to that stuff,” Self joked, acknowledging that it’ll be difficult this year after losing seven players from a 35-3 team.
“I do think our guys were excited when they picked us one. I’ve been downplaying the whole thing with our guys. I think that was a little pick-me up: ‘Hey, people think we are going to be good.’ Our guys try hard. They care. Barring things uncontrollable, we could be a team that’s awfully hard to deal with before all is said and done.”
Perhaps the most important reason KU has dominated conference play in the Self era is the Jayhawks’ performance on the road.
KU has compiled a 47-17 record in league road games in Self’s eight seasons at KU. Texas (35-29) is the only other school in the conference with a winning record in the same span. Other teams and their road records in the past eight seasons: Texas A&M (27-37), Kansas State (26-38), Oklahoma (23-41), Missouri (19-45), Oklahoma State (19-45), Texas Tech (14-50), Baylor (12-52), Iowa State (10-54). Colorado, now of the Pac-12, went 10-54 and Nebraska of the Big Ten 15-49 in that span.
“We’ve got some great venues in the league. The ones we have make you be tougher,” Self said. “There have not been a lot of road wins in our league. During conference play, the home team has historically prevailed. That’s a compliment to the venues.”