NCAA Tournament Coaches Bettors Can Trust

Mar 19, 2024

NCAA Tournament head coaches, best NCAA Tournament head coaches, worst NCAA Tournament head coaches

Recent years have witnessed many prominent head coaches retire, giving way to new coaches like Matt Langel at Colgate who has made March Madness in each season he has led them.

Tom Otzelberger deserves praise for taking an Iowa State team with an overall record of 2-22 and returning them to the tournament during his first year there – that alone deserves some kind of acknowledgment.

1. Mike Krzyzewski  [retired]

Mike Krzyzewski is one of the most successful college basketball coaches ever seen on an NCAA court, having made 13 Final Four appearances and winning two national titles during his 13 years. Additionally, his 900 wins rank second all-time among NCAA coaches.

He has long been an anchor in the tournament, leading Duke to five consecutive Final Fours since 1996 and holding onto 24 No. 1 seeds since 1996.

Coach K is well known for his patriotic views, having amassed a vast network of military connections that help him find assistant coaches, recruits and players. He has also contributed generously to Make-A-Wish America over time by giving out numerous wishes.

2. Mike DeVries

Mike Devries didn’t need to look far to discover his passion for golf course design; it was right in his backyard growing up in western Michigan and working summers at Crystal Downs Country Club, one of Alister Mackenzie’s Northern Michigan masterpieces.

He apprenticed under Tom Doak before earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan. Since then he has completed six designs, including the highly-rated Kingsley Club in Traverse City.

He has had great success coaching both mid-major programs at Drake. Under his guidance, Drake went from perennial loser to regular contender in the Missouri Valley Conference.

3. John Becker

Becker took over Vermont in 2012 after 16 seasons without making the NCAA Tournament and quickly turned them into a mid-major powerhouse.

Becker was honored with two consecutive America East Coach of the Year honors during his inaugural season as head coach of Vermont Catamounts basketball, where they posted 24 wins and won both their league tournament title game as well as making six straight NIT appearances, leading them to another championship game win and winning an NIT bid record–all while making history by becoming NIT participants and earning Becker second America East Coach of the Year honors.

Becker led Vermont to an America East title and NCAA Tournament bid in 2022-23; unfortunately, their 13th-seeded Catamounts lost in their opening round matchup against Arkansas (No. 4 seed).

4. Tom Otzelberger

Tom Otzelberger is one of the premier college basketball head coaches from a point-spread perspective, having established an outstanding record at South Dakota State by winning both regular season and tournament championships while qualifying twice for NCAA Tournament play.

He served Iowa State Cyclones assistant coach Craig Brackins, Diante Garrett, Mike Taylor, and Scott Christopherson during two separate eight-year stints spanning both of their collegiate careers.

Otzelberger will face his alma mater, Penn State, in an intriguing first-round matchup on Thursday and the winner could go on to face Alabama, an experienced squad capable of making deep runs into the NCAA tournament.

5. Rodney Terry

Terry may not have one of the most impressive coaching resumes on this list, but he is capable of leading the Longhorns to a deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Terry served as an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington before being promoted to head coach at Texas.

He led the Bulldogs to two 20-win seasons and made two trips to the Postseason NIT tournament. The Bulldogs were led by first-team All-Mountain West guard Marvelle Harris and second-team All-Conference players Paul Watson and Deshon Taylor who all became All-Conference selections.

After working as an assistant coach at UTEP, Terry took over for Rick Barnes at Texas and led them to 22 wins this season.

6. John Keatts

People respond differently to pressure; some succumb to it while others thrive under it. Keatts is an example of someone who thrives under it: His impressive ACC tournament victory at Washington D.C. included victories over top seeds Duke and North Carolina for which he received both a contract extension and a substantial raise.

Keatts and Johnson worked together at Ferrum College and helped win one national title before teaming up at Cincinnati. Keatts is confident he can build this squad into a contender, which bodes well for the bonuses tied to NCAA Tournament success in his contract. Keatts was hired away by Cincinnati after playing alongside Johnson.

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