I saw that Pat Forde lists five teams in his Forde Minutes as having a chance of winning the tournament. I do not know if it is a good sign or a bad sign that my three winners are among his five teams. I will not reveal my picks, but let us just say that they rhyme with canvas, pair of shoes, and best for win, yah.
What I thought was interesting on Forde’s blog was his mathematical evaluation of several coaches in terms of how much they overachieve or underachieve in the NCAA tournament (see the Mastering Your Medium section). I think there are some flaws in the process (obviously coaches with consistently highly rates teams have a very tough time overachieving, while those with lowly rated teams have a much better chance to overachieve), but for a ‘quick tool’, it’s fairly interesting.
Jim Boeheim has a 4.4% underachiever status, which means that 4.4% of the time, his team underachieves in the tournament. That is pretty much insignificant. Over a 35 year coaching career, that would mean you underachieved once. As those of us who have followed Syracuse for a long time realize, Boeheim’s NCAA teams have pretty much done everything. They have pulled off major upsets, they have been the victim of major upsets. They have gone to the Final Four three times when they were not expected, and they have failed to make the Elite Eight when they were considered NCAA contenders.
For those who want other coaches because they assume they would get better results, consider these numbers. Rick Barnes is an underachiever 14.7%. Mike Krzyzewski is an underachiever 8.6%. John Calipari is a 16.7% underachiever. Rick Pitino is only a 3.9% overachiever.
What it really points out is all the good coaches out there win games they were underdogs, lose games when they are favorites. We are always more sensitive to our ‘own guy’ losing the games, and we rarely want to give him credit for winning the upset because we consider our team underrated, and thus its not really an upset in our minds.