Every year people come up with different ways to fill out their brackets, making cute upset picks, or following blue blood programs, or finding any sort of a gimmick, like teams who excel in a certain statistical category.
However, history has proven that the best indicator of success is the coach. Before you make your picks, remember the guys who consistently win, and those who tend to go home early.
Coaches to ride/fade in the NCAA Tournament
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
In the argument for the best of all time, Coach K is the active leader in total wins and win percentage at 90-27 in his NCAA Tournament career. Duke surged in the final week of the year winning the ACC tournament by winning four games in four days, including beating Louisville, North Carolina, and Notre Dame in a three-day span. Coach K has his Blue Devils, who score over 80 points a game, and hold opponents to 30-percent on three pointers, coming together at just the right time.
John Calipari (Kentucky)
For a guy who has won three-quarters of his tournament games (48-16 career, even if the NCAA doesn’t recognize all of those victories), Calipari sure does get a lot of grief. Kentucky dominated the SEC for the second half of the season. When Malik Monk is on (which is more often than not) this team scores a boatload of points. They also guard the three-point line effectively. The lingering question is a simple one: how good (or bad) is the SEC?
Rick Pitino (Louisville)
Like Calipari, Pitino takes his fair share of heat, but he gets it done on the court, particularly in the NCAA Tournament. Pitino is 53-18 all-time in tournament games, and Louisville will be ready to go after being ineligible last season. The Cardinals are tremendous on defense; their myriad shot blockers and tenacious perimeter players create tough looks for opponents on almost every possession.
Mike Brey (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame has been in the Elite Eight in back-to-back years. But in the prior 11 seasons, Notre Dame won a total of two tourney games under Brey, who is just 12-13 in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish are very good on offense, but consistently get outrebounded and don’t have a elite talent on their roster. This team has overachieved to get where it is.
Dana Altman (Oregon)
This is one of those examples where numbers may lie. Altman has won at least two games in the dance in three consecutive seasons with Oregon, but he had trouble winning in the bracket during his time at Creighton. Altman stands at 9-12 in the big dance. While Oregon loses some of its elite shot blocking with the injury to Chris Boucher, Dillon Brooks might be the most clutch player in the country and the Ducks are very strong on both ends of the court.
Photo Credit: Ahodges7 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0].