Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Repeat Trips to the Final Four

This piece is cross-posted on TNR's site, Posting Up:

If you are finalizing your Bracket, are down to picking a winner, and don't want to rely exclusively on Richard's system, you might take note of the fact that since 2000, no coach has won the Final Four without having taken a team there previously.(In 2000, champion Michigan State's coach Tom Izzo had taken a team the previous season; in 2001, Duke's Coach K had been multiple times, most recently in 1999; in 2002, Maryland's Gary Williams had been the year before; in 2003, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim had been in 1987 and 1996; in 2004, UConn's Jim Calhoun had been in 1999 (where he won in his first trip); in 2005, UNC's Roy Williams had been (with Kansas) most recently in 2003; and in 2006, Florida's Billy Donovan had been in 2000.)

When you think about it, it's not that surprising. With all of the hype and hoopla surrounding a Final Four, a coach who has been there before might be expected to be able to keep his team focused through Monday night.

So as you review your selections, keep in mind that among this year's #1 seeds, Thad Matta of Ohio State and Bill Self of Kansas have never coached a team to the Final Four.

On the other hand, while #2-seed Georgetown's John Thompson III has never been himself, his father (with whom JTIII remains close) went to three Final Fours in the early 1980s, including a victory on "Big John's" second trip in 1984.

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