Ranking the Top 15 Head Coaches in the 2013 NCAA Tournament
Ranking the 2013 NCAA Tournament’s Top 15 Head Coaches
A coach can make or break a team. The coach can take a good team and make it great or take a great team and make it good.
The 2013 NCAA Tournament has its share of great coaches who have won multiple conference and national titles. These are the coaches we all know and respect whether we love or hate their program. There are some programs that will survive no matter who’s coaching them and some that are dependent on their coaches.
To rank 15 coaches from this elite group would be unfair because there is not correct order. At least 10 coaches could stake claim to No. 1 and one can make a good argument for about 25 coaches to make this list. Alas, only 15 coaches made this list and the process of making my decision was difficult.
I looked at a lot of factors when deciding who the best coaches in this year’s tournament were. The main one I looked at is consistency and how consistent their programs are competing for championships. I also looked at the talent to record discrepancy to see if talent was winning games or if it was the coach played a part.
Any way you rank these coaches, it will be fun to watch them try to outwit each other on the court. While the players may get all the credit, the coaches may be the most important part of these teams. So have a great time embracing March Madness because I can tell you these 15 coaches are sweating out each and every second until tip-off.
Tweet at me (@JoshWalfish) with you think is the best coach.
14. Bruce Weber
Weber has only been at Kansas State for a year, so it is hard to judge him. He was unable to maintain his success at his last stop, but the future is bright at the moment for the Wildcats.
13. Mark Few
What Few has accomplished at Gonzaga is absolutely remarkable. He has taken the Zags to the NCAA Tournament on a consistent basis and he has found a way to elevate the program to a No. 1 seed. Unfortunately, Gonzaga still needs to win more in the Tournament for Few to move up on this list.
12. Shaka Smart
It is clear Smart is an excellent coach, but his success two years ago may not be matched. VCU is a strong team and Smart has them competing at a high level, but I question if the Rams will make noise in March.
11. Tom Crean
The first ranking which will earn me some critics. I witnessed first-hand the strength of the Big Ten and Indiana was the best team in the conference, but I don't know how much of that was Crean's doing. The Hoosiers have a lot of talent and should have won more games than they did. Crean was not the best in late-game situations as a couple of teams made late runs against the Hoosiers.
10. Jim Larranaga
If this list was based solely on this season, Larranaga would top the list hands-down. However, the question remains if Miami can win in March Madness and make a deep run or if the Hurricanes' luck will run out.
9. Jim Boeheim
Boeheim is a Hall-of-Fame coach and Syracuse is always near the top of the Big East. However, he will admit this year's team underachieved. The Orange are always dangerous in March, but this year was not the greatest coaching job by Boeheim.
8. Thad Matta
Matta took a team most experts thought would struggle and led them to a Big Ten Tournament title. Ohio State is a great team that has benefitted from Matta's coaching. He could be higher on this list, but it is not like the Buckeyes were without some talent.
7. Roy Williams
Williams did a great job at getting North Carolina to play its best basketball at the end of the season. There is a lot of talent on the Tar Heels, but I think Williams has improved more teams on a consistent basis than Matta.
6. Brad Stevens
Stevens is an excellent coach, but Butler was not at its best this season. The Bulldogs are always a danger in March and no one can argue how well Butler has performed under Stevens given the amount of talent it has.
5. Bo Ryan
Ryan should be a close second to Larranaga in the coach of the year ballot. Ryan did arguably his best coaching job this year at Wisconsin, taking the Badgers to the fourth seed in the Big Ten and the Big Ten Tournament final. Ryan is able to make the Badgers a perennial contender despite not grabbing the big name talent like some of the other schools in the conference.
4. Bill Self
Self knows how to push his team's buttons to get them to perform. He did a masterful job at getting Kansas back on track after a tough stretch in the middle of the season. The Jayhawks are a No. 1 seed and poised to do some more damage in March.
3. Tom Izzo
Izzo's track record is remarkable at Michigan State and his ability to keep the Spartans in the top-10 in the country every year is extraordinary. He recruits the right kids to East Lansing and is able to constantly retool his team. Best of all, Izzo's teams are always difficult in March, making him one of the three best coaches in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Rick Pitino
Can someone give Pitino some respect please? What he has been able to do at Louisville is remarkable and leading them to the top overall seed despite not being the most talented team in the country is nothing short of incredible given where they were just a month ago.
1. Mike Krzyzewski
Is there a more perfect pattern of consistency than Duke basketball? What Krzyzewski has done with the Blue Devils is awe-inspiring. Yes, he is able to recruit the best players in the country, but the fact Duke always seems to be a top-10 team and contending for a No. 1 seed is mind boggling.
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