Bracket Bits: Coaching Power, History, highlight Elite 8
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.