Monday, March 17, 2008

What?! What?!

I don't know if sportswriters can get away with staying stupid things more than other writers because, at the end of the day, it's just sports. But Dennis Dodd is sure making making that case today when he claims that Tim Floyd is the best coach in the Midwest region of this year's NCAA basketball tournament. What?

Nothing against Floyd. He is a fine coach and his Trojans may very well make a good run this year. For all I know, they'll run through my Badgers in the second round and go on to win the whole thing. Kudos to them and kudos to Floyd. But claims like Dodd's can't be based on predictions. So, in good philosophical style, let's compare Floyd to the other coaches in the region as a way to examine Dodd's claim.

Bill Self (Kansas): Self just won his fourth straight Big 12 conference title. Before that, his Illinois teams won two conference titles and at Tulsa, he won two WAC titles. Some might say that Self has had his troubles in the NCAA tournament, but in his defense, he has been to the Elite Eight four times with three different schools.

John Thompson III (Georgetown): Georgetown won its second straight Big East title this year and made the Final Four last year. While at Princeton, Thompson won three Ivy League titles.

Bo Ryan (Wisconsin): Ryan has won three Big Ten titles at UW, been to the NCAA tourney each of those years, and made the Elite Eight in 2005. While at UW-Platteville (Div. III), Ryan won eight conference titles and four national championships.

Now Floyd did win four conference championships while at the University of New Orleans back in the '90s. But other than that, he's won exactly nothing. No conference championships at Iowa State and never past the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney. Then he went to the NBA and was God awful--his career NBA record is 93-235. Since coming back to college, his USC teams have been competitive but haven't finished higher than third in the Pac-10.

Floyd has gotten some press because of his high-profile recruits over the last couple of years and the media seem to like him. But if I were hiring a coach for my school, I'd take Self, Thompson, or Ryan before I'd take Floyd--and it's not even close. I mean not even close.


cory said...

I am no longer interested in hiding my man-crush on Bo Ryan. He is just so good at what he does. My big gripe with many of the national sports press is their attitude toward the Badgers. I don't care if they don't like the our style of play or lack of flair. Those are fair criticisms. And, no, Wisconsin basketball does not make good TV. But stop expecting Badger fans to be ashamed of our patient and fundamentally sound team. Stop expecting us to be grateful for the 3 seed. And stop describing the Bo Ryan offense as some sort of clock-burning gimmick. We execute; we play defense; we make foul shots; we don't turn the ball over. Phew, I feel better now.

AJK said...

My take on Ryan, and why I think he's a better coach than Bennett, is that he seems to be able to develop talent better than Bennett. For Dick, the level of talent on a team was a fixed commodity and he was great at getting the most out of that talent by executing his scheme.

Ryan still has a scheme and their winning still depends on being able to execute that scheme. But I think there is more marked improvement in individual players from year to year. Bohannon, Hughes, Flowers, Landry--all of them have developed skills they didn't have last year and it's a big reason they were able to have the year they had.

cory said...

I also think the Badgers' tournament play (Big Ten & NCAA) is allowing people to see that our scheme is built around excellent situational decision-making. We don't live or die by any one element of the game (see Duke and the 3-point shot), and more importantly, weak teams may play us close early, but we will wear most teams out by the end of the game. Foul trouble, frustration, or just plain fatigue...we will wear you down.

BTW, thanks for blogging again; I've always enjoyed your writing.

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