How active college coaches stack up in NCAA tournament during Bill Self's time at Kansas


Kansas coach Bill Self holds the net after the last clipping after the Jayhawks' 80-67 win over North Carolina in St. Louis Friday, March 25, 2012. With the win, KU advances to the Final Four next weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kansas coach Bill Self holds the net after the last clipping after the Jayhawks' 80-67 win over North Carolina in St. Louis Friday, March 25, 2012. With the win, KU advances to the Final Four next weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In sports, opinions that start with a snowflake can turn into an avalanche because so many hear a viewpoint, run with it as their own and don't ever stop to think whether it's fair.

In the case of Bill Self, who has led Kansas basketball to seven No. 1 NCAA tournament seeds in the past 11 seasons (seeded No. 2 three times in that span, No. 3 the other) and has had at least a share of the Big 12 title for 13 consecutive years and counting, the rap on him is that he's not the same coach in the tournament. Much of that stems from a 2-7 career record in Elite Eight games, including a 2-5 mark at Kansas, which he has taken to the Elite Eight in 50 percent of his seasons.

In an attempt to capture tournament success with a formula, I decided to award one point for every victory, two points for each Final Four appearance and 10 points for a national title to see where Self stacks up among active Div. I basketball coaches.

Based on my research, which does not include the work done by Jim Calhoun at UConn, Billy Donovan at Florida and Rick Pitino at Louisville because they are not active college coaches, Self placed fourth, which pokes holes in the theory that his teams routinely disappoint during March Madness. The Elite Eight remains his Achilles heel and he doesn't hide from that, talks about needing to burst through the door instead of just knocking on it, and each year holds himself up to that standard, but it's not accurate to term a coach who places fourth among active coaches in tourney success a disappoint.

A look at active college basketball coaches' NCAA tournament success since 2003-04, Self's first at Kansas, based on the aforementioned formula:

Coach NCAA record
Final Fours
National titles
Total points
1 - Roy Williams
42-10 5 3 82
2 - John Calipari
40-11 5 1 60
3 - Mike Krzyzewski
31-12 3 2 57
4 - Bill Self
33-13 2 1 47
5 - Tom Izzo
29-14 4 0 37
6 - Jay Wright
21-11 2 1 35
7t - Jim Boeheim
19-10 2 0 23
7t - Mark Few
21-14 1 0 23
9 - Ben Howland
15-6 3 0 21
10t - John Bielein
17-9 1 0 19
10t - Sean Miller
19-10 0 0 19
10t - Kevin Ollie
7-1 1 1 19
13 - Bob Huggins
13-10 1 0 15
14t - Dana Altman
11-7 1 0
14t - Gregg Marshall
11-9 1 0 13
16t - Rick Barnes
12-11 0 0 12
16t - Jamie Dixon
12-11 0 0 12
16t - Frank Martin
10-4 1 0 12
16t - Bruce Weber
10-9 1 0 12


Doug Longstaff 12 months ago

This is a nice piece. My only beef would be that the Calipari total includes the 2008 season, in which he later had 5 wins and a Final Four appearance vacated. I'd have excluded those or given him an asterisk.

But that's nit-picky. Self is probably the best regular season coach in history, and one of the best tournament coaches, too. So he has a bad record in Elite Eights. Big deal. There's still time to even that out a bit. And most programs would be happy to sniff an Elite Eight every now and then, when he's there about every other year.

Joe Joseph 12 months ago

I would trade resumes with only two active coaches: Roy and K.

That doesn't mean I'd trade coaches, however.

Tim Orel 12 months ago

I wouldn't trade with Roy, simply because his program is badly tainted. Coach K's resume is very impressive, but when he's been out for health reasons, his teams have not done well at all. I think part of the resume might also include how well they develop their coaching tree, and I think Bill is pretty good on that score too. Roy has Mark Turgeon at Maryland doing well, but who else has done well from his coaching tree?

Phil Leister 12 months ago

The real travesty is why Roy decided to start winning national championships only after he left KU.

Craig Carson 12 months ago

as a KU fan, as glad as I am seeing Self beat Roy 3 times in the NCAA and seeing Self winning a does sting knowing Roy has 3 while at NC..

Kent Fisher 12 months ago

This is a very basic analysis. Perhaps a more accurate study would focus on a team's performance with respect to their seeding, i.e., a #1 seed is projected to make it to the Final Four, a #2 seed to the Elite Eight, etc. Self has earned seven #1 seeds, and only advanced to the Final Four twice. But as Joe (above) said, I wouldn't trade coaches! #RockChalk!

Eric Bernauer 12 months ago

Of course you would have to ask if on the times the 'Hawks have not lived up to their seeding, is it because they didn't play to their seeding or were they seeded too high?

Dale Rogers 12 months ago

As an addition to this article, what is the Elite 8 reocrd for each coach shown in the chart?

Dirk Medema 12 months ago

I would have given greater value to an E8 W (5) but that wouldn't change the distribution.

A year ago someone (on here?) was floating some nonsense with horrendous attempt at statistics to show Coach as a March failure. I took the time to do an accurate analysis of how each coach performed based on seeding. Coach was a couple percentage points below normal but basically along the same lines as what is shown above.

Part of the perception problem he faces is the fact that we are always there and well seeded.

I also did a little extrapolation (FF/NC) which instantly vaults him way ahead of average even for elite.

Waylon Cook 12 months ago

This cannot be a true story. Kstate fans will tell you KU chokes always.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.