Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gauging Jamie Dixon's Postseason Success

By Chris Dokish

Much has been made about the apparent underachieving that Jamie Dixon is doing in the postseason tournament, though some of us see it as more of the fact that he is doing a great job of overachieving in the regular season. But however you want to see it, I decided to look at how Dixon stacked up in his seven years of postseasons.

In this study, I gave 2 points for making it to the NCAA tournament, 5 points for making it to the Sweet 16, 8 points for making it to the Elite 8, 10 points for making it to the Final Four, 12 points for making it to the championship game, and 15 points for winning it all. Here are the results, first in the Big East, then nationally.

Big East:

UConn 37

Louisville 32

Villanova 32

West Virginia 30

Pittsburgh 26

Syracuse 19

Georgetown 19

Marquette 8

Notre Dame 6

Cincinnati 6

Seton Hall 4

Providence 2

DePaul 2

St. John's 0

Rutgers 0



North Carolina 52

Duke 44

Michigan State 43

Kansas 42


UConn 37

Florida 36

Memphis 35

Louisville 32

Villanova 32

West Virginia 30

Xavier 30

Texas 29

Kentucky 26

Pittsburgh 26

Arizona 23

Wisconsin 23

Illinois 23

Tennessee 22

Ohio State 21

Butler 21

Gonzaga 20

Syracuse 19

Georgetown 19

Oklahoma State 19

Washington 19

In my opinion, there are primarily three reasons why Pitt fans think Dixon has underachieved in the postseason. One, because Pitt's record in the regular season is so extraordinary, it seems like a let down when they don't back it up with a huge run in the tournament. But the truth is, as I've stated before, the program overachieves in the regular season and can't do it in the postseason because they can no longer simply out hustle other teams, since those other teams are hustling just as much now. Talent rises to the top in the tournament, not hustle. Even Butler was very talented.

Two, with UConn, Louisville, Villanova, and now West Virginia as powers in the Big East, it seems like the Panthers are underachieving because Pitt has beaten those teams over the years, only to see them be more successful in the tournament. The familiarity of them to Pitt fans makes them seem so beatable, even though they are all amongst the ten best postseason teams in the country over the last seven seasons.

Thirdly, there is Xavier, a program that many fans no doubt look down as inferior, especially since the Panthers beat them last season. But the cold, hard fact is that this program from the Atlantic 10 has proven to be better than the Panthers over the last seven seasons. When you look at a program as inferior, and they do better than you, it's only natural for a person to think their own team is underachieving rather than simply being the inferior one themselves.

But the good news is that the Panthers are tied with Kentucky as the fourteenth most successful postseason program in the country during Dixon's tenure. When you consider that there are 347 Division 1 basketball teams, that puts Dixon in the 96.4 percentile. Not too shabby for an underachiever, especially when much more talent is on the way.


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