Peter Tiernan of CBS' Bracket Science series has an interesting post up in which he talks about a forumla he's created to figure out college basketball's most overachieving and underachieving NCAA Tournament coaches and teams.
Thanks in large part to a limited sample size, Butler's Brad Stevens is the runaway winner in the race for biggest overachieving coach. A pair of runs to the national title game when seeded eighth and fifth should make this no surprise. Tom Izzo, Sean Miller, Billy Donovan and our own Rick Pitino are the more veteran coaches who round out the top five.
The gulf between Stevens and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is staggering. Much of it, however, has to do with the difference in overall appearances. Stevens has only been to four dances, but two of them have been historic runs. As a five seed in 2010 and an eight seed in 2011, Butler was projected to win only two games -- it won 10, reaching the final both years. Call me crazy, but I don't think Stevens can sustain that sort of mind-boggling overachievement. All it would take is one or two underperforming runs, and that lofty PASE would plummet in a hurry. Look no further than Coach K for an object lesson. After his first eight dances, Krzyzewski owned a +1.765 PASE. And look where he is now. Years of March Madness tend to leave scars.
That's why Izzo's performance shouldn't be overlooked. In 15 tourney trips, he has beaten expectations at more than a three-quarters-per-game clip. Just as importantly, Izzo has been a reliable overachiever, exceeding seed-projected win totals 10 times in 15 tries. That's what the SOAR statistic at the far right of the table reflects. If PASE measures the degree of tourney overperformance, SOAR, or "seed overachievement rate," measures the frequency. No coach with 10 or more trips has beaten expectations with greater regularity than Izzo's 66.7 percent.
So who is the most underachieving head coach in college basketball? Well that would be (and I kid you not) DePaul's Oliver Purnell.