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Best Final Four Fields (1980-2010)

30th March 2010

With Baylor and Tennessee in contention for a pair of Final Four slots on Sunday, we had the possibility of a Butler-West Virginia-Baylor-Tennessee group emerging from the regional finals, which would have been perhaps the least storied Final Four in recent history. Alas, Michigan State and Duke, two of the more successful schools of all time, crashed the Final Four party — but they also left us with an eclectic 4-team group that will provide ample storylines over the coming week. How does this year’s crop compare to past Final Fours in terms of the talent of the teams involved? Let’s take a look:

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Posted in History, NCAA Tournament, Statgeekery | 1 Comment »

Changing the Culture II

11th March 2010

On Tuesday, I kicked off our CBB/BBR cross-posting series by looking at coaches who “changed the culture” of a program, guys whose winning percentages at a school far exceeded its mark before they arrived. The usual suspects were at the top of the list (John Wooden, Jim Calhoun, etc.), and so was John Calipari for his performance at UMass during the 90s. Trouble is, did Coach Cal really change the Minutemen forever? Or, as BBR reader “Downpuppy” put it:

“UMass is on the list twice, but both times the culture snapped back to mediocrity pretty quick.”

OK, so maybe a “culture change” has to extend beyond the coach’s actual tenure with the school, and also into the tenures of later coaches, who build on their successor’s changes to take the school to new heights. After all, it’s not really a true culture change if the program only loses the stench of mediocrity for 5 years while a coach uses the school as a stepping stone to his next gig.

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Changing the Culture

9th March 2010

In the media, you often hear about certain players or coaches “changing the culture” of a program, ostensibly meaning they fostered a new atmosphere in the locker room, installed a new playing style, or gave their players newfound confidence in themselves. But has anyone measured which coaches “changed the culture” of a school’s hoops program the most?

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Posted in History, Statgeekery | 5 Comments »