From up-and-coming figureheads who have built something out of nothing to stalwarts who have had their programs dancing in March for decades, this NCAA men’s basketball tournament will feature the cream of the crop when it comes to coaching talent.
So who is best of the coaching best in this field of 68?
Similar to what we’ve done with the “worst” coaches, looking at the “best” coaches is also subjective exercise. We’ve looked at tournament resumes, performance relative to expectations and resources applied, and the advantages/disadvantages of the job itself. Here are the coaches who tend to deliver the most in Mach.
Scott Drew, Baylor
Drew was a punchline among college basketball fans for a long time but the March Madness resume is hard to fault. The Bears have two Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights and one national title in Drew’s long tenure. He’s built this program up from nothing and turned it into a powerhouse in a conference known for basketball. The Bears are a No. 1 seed in their title defense, and they’re expected to go far once again with Drew at the helm. When you look at the expectations, resources applied and job profile it’s hard to argue with Drew’s results.
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Much like Drew, Few has done a remarkable job with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are essentially a Power 5 team in a mid-major conference and have become a blue blood in college basketball. Few has never missed the tournament in his time at Spokane and has finally made the climb into consistent Sweet 16, Elite Eight and national title appearances. Will this be the year Gonzaga finally wins it all?
Jay Wright, Villanova
Wright was billed as an underachiever until a few years ago, when Villanova started putting together consistent 30-win seasons and ended up grabbing a pair of national titles. The Wildcats do still have some disappointments with round of 32 exits, but Wright tends to have his teams ready for the tournament. Look for Villanova to make another decent run in 2022.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Yes, Izzo hasn’t won a national title in a long time. That’s a fair question for a coach who is considered among the best ever. However, Izzo’s teams have managed to consistently make noise in March even if they fall short of the ultimate goal. Michigan State has eight Final Four appearances under Izzo, with two appearances as a No. 5 seed and one appearance as a No. 7 seed. The recruiting has fallen off a bit of late but Izzo remains a threat in March.