Resources and past success have a tendency to breed continued excellence in college athletics. That statement isn't exactly groundbreaking.
"You mean there's actually a reason top-tier recruits gravitate toward the Power 6 conferences and not the Sun Belt?"
Shocking revelations -- we know.
Still, over time, it can become tougher to judge which coaches are really doing a "good job" and which are riding off their particular institutional advantages.
Over the summer, CBS Sports published separate lists -- based on a poll of nearly 100 anonymous coaches -- of the most underrated and overrated coaches in the country. Speaking, at least in part, to the paragraph (sentence) above, Temple's Fran Dunphy was named the nation's most underrated coach while Villanova's Jay Wright was named the fifth-most overrated. (All of which gave me an excuse to harp on how badly Bill Self showed up Roy Williams in last year's Final Four when it came to the difference between recruiting talent and coaching talent.)
Well, Forbes has now broken the argument into monetary terms and compiled a list of the best coaches in the country "for the money."
In compiling this list, we concluded that the best way to rank a coach relative to his peers is not to do so based on the number of wins and loses alone, but instead on how much a coach wins and losses as compared to the resources he has. Thus, the list we created is a ranking of the top college basketball coaches in the country based off the coaches “cost-per-win”, calculated by dividing the total number of wins against Division I opponents during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons by their respective schools basketball budget for each year. In essence, this creates an equation in which the variable numerator among coaches, resources, is divided over a constant denominator, wins and losses against the same pool of competition.
The study was split between high-major and mid-major institutions to account for the gross disparities between some of Division I's 340 basketball-playing schools.
And, in the high-major list, Forbes' study found Dunphy the second-most cost-effective coach in the nation. The numbers:
D-I Wins: 50
Under Dunphy, the Temple Owls have gone to five straight NCAA tournaments and won a total of five A-10 Conference Regular Season and Tournament Titles.
If you were
curious as to who topped the list, St. Bonaventure's Mark Schmidt is your
winner with 36 wins for the low, low price of $88,467 per. Very nice to
see some praise for a guy who often goes under-appreciated even
in Atlantic-10 circles given the job he's done rebuilding an SBU program
that won last year's A-10 tournament. (Two words: welding certificate.)
Anyhow, before anybody gets too bent out of shape about Fran's national accolades one way or the other, it's worth mention that despite the due honors for his success -- Temple is the only program to beat a Top-10 team as an unranked opponent in each of the last five seasons -- the 2012-13 Owls have lost four of their last seven games (Kansas, Xavier, Bonaventure, Butler) and generally underwhelmed to date. They shoot too many threes relative to their percentage (31.8 percent on 21 attempts per game) and have largely failed defensively. Dunphy, in specific, has had difficulties figuring out his rotation. In two of the three games they have won since the New Year, they've barely gotten by against far lesser opponents (George Washington, Penn). Temple has made a habit of playing up and down to competition all season.
To tie all this back to where we started, as Dunphy's team has perhaps underachieved, Wright's Wildcats, from whom little was expected, knocked off two Top-5 teams (Lousiville, Syracuse) in the last week despite turning the ball over an average 16 times per game this season. All of which either proves or disproves everything or nothing everyone has ever said about the latter (as a coach).
So, while we're here, if you're so inclined, leave your list of the City 6 coaches from best to worst in the comments below based on whatever justifications you see fit. There's a ton of room for variation.