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Betting On Coaches During March Madness
by Bovada Sportsbook

Names like Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Bo Ryan, Bill Self, Ben Howland and John Calipari are synonymous with winning teams and championships. With each of these coaches and their respective teams advancing to the Sweet 16, Bodog Sportsbook is taking a look at their coaching pedigrees and how that might factor into making your March Madness selections for the upcoming rounds.

Coaching Pedigrees

Rick Pitino, head coach for Louisville, has the third-highest winning percentage among active coaches in NCAA tournament games at 75.6 percent. Pitino has taken teams from four different schools to the NCAA tournament and has reached the Final Four on at least five occasions. Pitino is also the only coach in history to take three different teams to the Final Four.

North Carolina Tar Heels coach Roy Williams also brings an impressive resume to the table. In fact, all Roy Williams knows how to do is win in the tournament. In the last 10 years, Williams has advanced past the Sweet 16 four times. During that time span, he has taken two different teams to the Final Four, reached the championship game twice and won the national championship once.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo is also in this year's hunt for the national crown and is no stranger to the Final Four. If you like ridiculous facts, here's one: Every player who has ever played for Tom Izzo for a full four years has reached the Final Four. So it's not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when" for the Spartans.

Check out the NCAA basketball betting lines in the Bodog Sportsbook.

John Calipari has his Memphis Tigers two wins away from his second Final Four with as many teams. Calipari has reached the Elite Eight three times in his career, with back-to-back appearances in 2006 and 2007; the Tigers are looking to make it three straight years with one more win.

UCLA will also be fighting to reach the Final Four as they try to advance out of the West region. Coach Ben Howland is also no stranger to the Final Four. In his short five year tenure with UCLA he has reached the Final Four twice.

On The Come-Up

A couple of other coaches will also be trying to make their mark in NCAA tournament history. Kansas' Bill Self will be trying to reach the fifth Elite Eight of his coaching career and his first Final Four. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan will be trying to make his second Elite Eight appearance and first Final Four as he will attempt to make the clock strike 12 on the glass-slipper-wearing Davidson Wildcats.

Betting on College Basketball and the Coaching Factor

While coaching is not the sole determining factor of whether a team will advance, it is something that, from a betting standpoint, should not be overlooked. It's no secret that the above coaches have coached some of the top athletes and best teams over the years, but their success in the NCAA tournament can't be understated. Preparation time is a key factor in many instances. It is not as surprising to see upsets in the second round of tournament play as teams and coaches have less time to prepare for their opponents. The transition from the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight allows coaches at least three or four days to prepare for their next game. Great coaches are often able to dissect their opponent's strengths and weaknesses and game plan accordingly. From a betting standpoint, this can affect teams with only one or two main scoring options, which subsequently will put pressure on other less talented players to carry the load offensively, thus lowering the offensive output.

Coaching style is important to consider when deciding how to place your wagers. Strong defenses and great rebounding teams usually prevail in pressure-packed tournament games, because those attributes allow a team to stay in any game even if they are shooting a low percentage. Coaches with great defensive minds
are often able to neutralize a primarily offensive team, as was the case last year when UCLA beat Kansas to advance to the Final Four. Kansas was simply unable to put their high-octane offense in gear due to the defensive strategies Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins had employed.

Before placing your bets, checking the injury reports is a must. But keep in mind that good coaches find ways to rest their best players. So expect the top players, even some with some nagging injuries, to be rested and back to full strength by the start of the Sweet 16. As an example, Bruins utility man Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been nursing a sore ankle and his play was noticeably affected in UCLA's second-round game against the Aggies. Look for him to be healthier as the Bruins will now have a lineup at full strength. Also look for North Carolina's Ty Lawson to have a little more bounce in his step for their Sweet 16 matchup.

Perhaps most importantly, great coaches do an excellent job of preparing their teams for big games. They have been there before and they know the types of distractions to screen their players away from. They know the types of pressures, the ups and the downs and the kind of adversity their teams can expect to face. Aside from the Super Bowl, the NCAA tournament is the biggest sports spectacle in North America. Great coaches have an uncanny ability to take the pressure off their players and place it on themselves. It is for this reason that good teams with great coaches seem to play loose in big games. So when making your bets, don't expect well-coached teams like Louisville, North Carolina and UCLA to be lost in the moment. Teams will have to flat-out beat them, because they are coached to not beat themselves.

5Dimes Sportsbook