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Adam Schein, Bill Self, and Legacies

Dear Adam Schein: Just shut up already.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Dear Adam Schein,

I understand it's your schtick to be a blowhard, say outrageous things, and get clicks.  That's how you make your living, and I don't begrudge anyone for doing what they have to do to put food on the table.  But when it comes to the topic of Bill Self, I need to ask you to do one thing.

Shut up.

Stop embarrassing yourself and shut up.

Back in January, you had these things to say about Bill Self:

I'm not a believer in Bill Self.  At all.

I can't buy into this team.  I won't buy ino this team.  I refuse to buy into this team.

Do you trust him?  Do you trust him?

You've got to find a coach that you can trust.  A coach who has been successful consistently against inferior teams, don't have blips against inferior teams, coaches to believe in during March Madness.

Look at the coaches in the Top 10.  You know, I keep talking about Roy Williams and North Carolina.  Love Jay Wright.  Lon Kruger is an unbelievable coach.  I mean, look at the teams and the coaches that you trust.  Look at Huggins.  Take a look at Maryland.

And look at the NCAA Tournament in the past.  Kansas has struggled against inferior teams.

I trust Roy Williams.  And I think he is a much better coach when it's all said and done.

After the 2016 NCAA Tournament field was announced, you followed up with this:

I'm standing by my take that Bill Self does need to prove himself this March.

You were the number one, number one.

Now do something.  No excuses.  You're the best, Bill.  You're the best.  Now go win a national championship.

We know what you meant by these comments, Adam.  Just say it next time.  Here, I'll help you.

Bill Self is overrated.

Bill Self's legacy depends on national championships.

Bill Self is the best coach in the regular season, but he can't win in March.

Let's take a look at some facts.  I know talking heads are allergic to research, but bear with me.  Let's take a look at Self's performance in the NCAA Tournament compared to five currently active Hall-of-Famers.  I'll also include the other guys you mentioned: Jay Wright, Lon Kruger, and Bob Huggins.  Just for fun, I'll also include Jim Boeheim, of your alma mater.

Information drawn from this link:


Age Games W L Pct
Mike Krzyzewski 69 114 88 26 0.772
John Calipari 57 62 47 15 0.758
Rick Pitino 63 71 53 18 0.746
Roy Williams 65 88 65 23 0.739
Tom Izzo 61 63 46 17 0.730
Bill Self 53 53 37 16 0.698
Jim Boeheim 71 83 53 30 0.639
Bob Huggins 62 50 29 21 0.580
Jay Wright 54 26 14 12 0.538
Lon Kruger 63 32 16 16 0.500

*Does not include 2016 NCAA Tournament.

So you trust Huggins, Wright, and Kruger more than Bill Self?  Umm.  Ok.

I'll give you Roy Williams, but it's notable that Self is 12 years younger than Williams and has coached in 35 fewer NCAA Tournament games.

Let's look a little deeper.

SINCE 2000-01*

Games W L Pct
John Calipari 46 36 10 0.783
Roy Williams 54 42 12 0.778
Mike Krzyzewski 52 40 12 0.769
Rick Pitino 38 27 11 0.711
Bill Self 46 32 14 0.696
Tom Izzo 49 34 15 0.694
Jim Boeheim 32 22 10 0.688
Bob Huggins 27 16 11 0.593
Jay Wright 25 14 11 0.560
Lon Kruger 12 5 7 0.417

*Does not include 2016 NCAA Tournament.

That's weird.  Huggins, Wright, and Kruger haven't coached very many NCAA Tournament games in the last 15 years.  In fact, Kruger has only lost seven times.  Is that because he's won eight titles?

Now let's break down those losses:

SINCE 2000-01* Losses by Round
Losses 1st 2nd S16 E8 FF Title Game Titles
John Calipari 10 1 1 1 3 2 2 1
Roy Williams 12 0 4 2 3 2 1 2
Mike Krzyzewski 12 3 1 6 1 1 0 3
Rick Pitino 11 3 2 1 3 2 0 1
Bill Self 14 2 4 3 4 0 1 1
Tom Izzo 15 4 1 3 2 4 1 0
Jim Boeheim 10 2 3 3 1 1 0 1
Bob Huggins 11 3 4 3 0 1 0 0
Jay Wright 11 4 3 2 1 1 0 0
Lon Kruger 7 1 4 2 0 0 0 0

*Does not include 2016 NCAA Tournament.

So you trust Roy?  Granted, he's the only one to not suffer a first-round upset (in the last 15 years), but he has as many first weekend exits as Coach K.  He also missed the Tournament one year (2010).  I'm not saying Roy is a bad choice, but it seems odd to me to "trust" Huggins, Wright, and Kruger over Self.

Fortunately for Izzo and Huggins, this data doesn't include this year's Tournament.

Yes, Roy is a good choice - for the next five years.  I feel pretty confident in predicting that should Bill Self stay at Kansas, he'll coach in more than 35 NCAA Tournament games over the next 15 years, giving him the chance to match or even pass ole Roy in Final Fours and National Titles.

We don't know what's going to happen this year.  Kansas was pretty clearly the best team over the course of the 2015-16 season.  Yeah, they're the odds on favorite.  Maybe they'll win it all.  Maybe they won't.  Does one off-night or one bad matchup in a random game in March mean that Bill Self can't be trusted?  I dare say the coaches on these lists - excluding Boeheim, Huggins, Kruger, and Wright - are all pretty comparable.  Calipari is the only one who really stands out to me, and he doesn't even make the Tournament every year.

One more chart.  This one breaks down losses by Power-5/High-Major programs versus Mid-Major or lower:

SINCE 2000-01
P5 MM Total
Tom Izzo 11 4 15
Bill Self 9 5 14
Roy Williams 11 1 12
Mike Krzyzewski 9 3 12
Rick Pitino 8 3 11
Jay Wright 9 2 11
Bob Huggins 7 4 11
John Calipari 10 0 10
Jim Boeheim 6 4 10
Lon Kruger 4 3 7

For the purpose of this last chart, Memphis and Butler are considered "mid-major."  Louisville, UConn, Villanova, and Georgetown are not considered "mid-major."

It looks to me like you're judging Bill Self's legacy by Bucknell and Bradley.  And I suppose that's a fair criticism - if this were 2007.  If Wayne Simien's 15-footer falls (10:01 mark), are we even having this conversation?

But forget about Self's numbers being limited by small sample size when compared to the Hall of Famers.  Consider, the Jayhawks have received a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament since 2001; that is the longest active streak of receiving a top-4 seed at 16 years and counting.  Bill Self is responsible for all but three of those.  That means every first or second round loss is an upset.

Just FYI, the next active longest top-4 seed streak is Duke with nine seasons in a row.  Nobody else has more than three in a row.  Consistently being seeded so high makes one much more prone to upsets, especially to grossly underseeded mid-majors (UNI, WSU), something Coach K only just recently  began to realize.

I just don't get why you would mention Kruger, Huggins, and Wright.  They clearly don't belong on a chart with Bill Self.  None of them is the regular-season coach Self is, and none of them is the post-season coach Bill Self is.

So, does Bill Self need to win another title?

Obviously, how a team performs in a three-week stretch is more impressive than how they did over a four-month stretch.  I mean, everyone knows that.  It's logic.  Right?  The best team and the best coach always win the NCAA Tournament.  Right?

Am I a Bill Self apologist?  Is there such a thing?  What do I have to apologize for?  Two first-round exits 10 years ago?

Perhaps a better question is, if Self does win another title, will you shut up?


For those who don't know, Adam Schein is a talking head who has a SiriusXM radio show and hosts "Time to Schein" weeknights on CBS Sports Network.  He graduated from Syracuse in 1999.