NCAA Tournament: Coaches Win Games, Not the Players

By Anthony Lenahan
Jamie Rhodes-USA Today Sports

The NCAA tournament is where players shine the brightest, but in large part, they do so because of their coach.  In the NCAA tournament, you are playing teams you haven’t seen all season long and that is when coaches show their true ability.

You can say all you want that a good coach is made because they have good players playing for them.  Yeah, every coach needs good players in order to win, but you don’t need to have good players to execute a game-plan.

There are six teams remaining in the field of 68, and four of the coaches left are arguably the four best in the country.  Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boehim, and Billy Donovan all know how to win games when it comes to post-season play.

Florida had been a good team all year and is every year, but no one ever looks to them as a Final 4 contender.  Yet every single year, they get their chance and make a run at the Final 4.  That is all coaching and Billy Donovan is the reason why.

This year, Syracuse struggled greatly towards the end of the year and their 2-3 zone got destroyed against Louisville.  Every good coach would just watch over and over how Pitino master-minded his offense and do it the same way.  So what does Boehim do, he goes out and teaches his team how to adjust and stop all the easy baskets inside.

Syracuse dominated Cody Zeller in the paint against Indiana.  They dominated Marquette entirely, no matter what they tried to do.  Jim Boehim just made all the right adjustments in the tournament to allow his defense to have success.

Yesterday, Thad Matta was completely out-coached by Gregg Marshall and that is why Wichita State is still playing and Ohio State isn’t.  Marshall came into the game wanting to force Ohio State to take poor outside shots early in the shot clock, and that is what they did every single possession for the first 30 minutes of the game.

Ohio State is clearly the better team, but Thad Matta was unable to make the adjustments needed on the offensive end to get his team going in time for them to come back and win.

Buzz Williams went into their sweet 16 game against Miami (FL) with a game plan that no one was beating.  Marquette just dominated the game, but it was all because of Williams’ game plan, all the players did was execute it.

Great coaches allow for teams to succeed in tournament play, and that has shown this season.

Coaches get very little time to prepare for the weekend games, and the ones who come up with the best game plan are usually the ones that win regardless of who has the better team.

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