One team from every Division I college basketball conference earns an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and four automatic bids have already been doled out including Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Wichita State (Missouri Valley) and Winthrop (Big South). While many basketball fans may be unfamiliar with all of the mid-majors battling for invitations to the tourney, these small conference tournaments often provide unique opportunities for bettors.
Some small conference tournaments tipped off last week with all of the major conferences getting underway over the next couple of days. The ACC Tournament begins on Tuesday with the other major conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) starting on Wednesday. These games mark the unofficial start of March Madness — perhaps the most exciting time on the sports calendar.
I have already examined the best values in the futures market and will be detailing several profitable postseason betting strategies over the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, many bettors have been asking about which coaches have fared best during March Madness. Players are constantly cycling in and out, but coaches are the one constant for the nation’s top programs.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has made 12 Final Four appearances and has won five national championships, which trails only UCLA’s John Wooden for the most all-time. Despite his impressive win-loss record, Coach K has not historically delivered for bettors. Since 2005, Krzyzewski 24-34 against the spread (ATS) in postseason games, which includes conference tournaments, the NCAA Tournament and smaller postseason tournaments like the NIT, CBI, and CIT. That makes him the fifth worst active postseason coach in our database.
The table below looks at the best and worst postseason coaches for both the spread and total.
Best ATS Coaches
|Mark Gottfried||North Carolina State||20-7||+12.2|
|Rod Barnes||Cal State Bakersfield||14-2||+11.3|
Worst ATS Coaches
|Scott Sutton||Oral Roberts||7-19||-12.4|
|Gary Waters||Cleveland State||10-21||-11.5|
Best Over Coaches
|Thad Matta||Ohio State||38-23||+12.6|
|Jeff Lebo||East Carolina||20-7||+11.7|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||41-29||+9.7|
Best Under Coaches
|Steve Fisher||San Diego State||32-20||+10.1|
|Barry Hinson||Southern Illinois||14-3||+10.0|
Several of the best ATS coaches in our database have moved onto brighter pastures with Billy Donovan (38-22) and Brad Stevens (23-10) taking NBA head coaching positions. Interestingly, all five of the worst ATS coaches in our database are still active.
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