Home > Current Updates > Bracket Bits: Coaching Power, History, highlight Elite 8

Bracket Bits: Coaching Power, History, highlight Elite 8

dave1And then there were eight.  Some quick thoughts about this weekend’s Elite 8 games:

Coaching Power – Sean Miller at Arizona is the young gun among a group of high-profile coaches in the Elite 8.  Think about this list … Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, John Calipari, Mark Few, Mike Brey, and Miller.  If you remove Few, Brey, and Miller, you have a who’s-who list of “elite” coaches – and that’s not to disparage Few’s dominant tenure at Gonzaga or the work that either Brey and Miller has done at Notre Dame or Arizona.  Consider these accomplishments:

  • Mike Krzyzewski – Four National Championships, 11 Final Four appearances, 31 NCAA tournament bids
  • Rick Pitino – Two National Championships, 7 Final Four appearances, 20 NCAA tournament bids
  • Tom Izzo – One National Championship, 6 Final Four appearances, 18 NCAA tournament bids (consecutive)
  • John Calipari – One National Championship, 5 Final Four appearances, 17 NCAA tournament bids
  • Bo Ryan – 1 Final Four appearance, 14 NCAA tournament bids … Note: Won 4 National Championships at Division III Wisconsin-Platteville

However you slice it, those are impressive resumes. We could see four of the five at the Final Four in Indianapolis; and Pitino and Izzo square off for the East Regional final.

Chasing History – Undefeated Kentucky (37-0) is trying to become the first NCAA team to complete an undefeated season since Indiana accomplished the feat in 1976.  And the Wildcats may have played their best all-around game against West Virginia (Sweet 16).  If UK plays at that level, the Wildcats will be tough to derail.

Luck of the Irish – In a twist of potential irony, Notre Dame gets a shot to end Kentucky’s perfect season.  In 1974, the Irish ended UCLA’s 88-game winning streak.  We’ll see if there’s any Pot of Gold awaiting ND in Cleveland.

Gonzaga’s “Final” step – Despite all the Bulldogs’ regular-season success, the program has never reached a Final Four.  For the first time since 1999 (when Gonzaga lost to UConn in the Regional Final – Elite 8), the Zags have an opportunity to reach college hoops’ ultimate stage.  Standing in their way?  Duke.  If the Bulldogs make it to Indianapolis, they will have knocked off a March Blue-Blood en-route.

Enjoy the weekend. The Road to the Final Four is almost complete.

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