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There can be only one tempo-free king (and he’s in Lawrence)


Mike Miller

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is occasionally hailed as the tempo-free king because the Badgers are consistently one of the nation’s best at offense and defense, regardless of pace.

But the real champ? Bill Self.

Over the last decade – including all nine seasons at Kansas and his last year at Illinois – Self’s teams boast the best efficiency margin among all D-I coaches. That includes John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Thad Matta, Roy Williams and, yes, Ryan.

The credit for all that number crunching goes to Dan Hanner, who in this post lists the 40 coaches with the top efficiency margins over the last five years and 12 who have the best from the last decade.

Self’s obviously an elite coach – 279 wins, eight seasons with a league or conference tournament title and a national title – so this might not come as a huge shock and certainly isn’t a surprise to astute Kansas fans.

But it is noteworthy to remind everyone just how hard it is – and random – to win the NCAA tournament. Self’s teams consistently perform at an elite level but they’ve only won the whole thing once. Then there’s Ryan, Rick Barnes and Bob Huggins, all of whom are in the top 10 for the last five years and have one Final Four among them.

Keep that in the mind the next time you’re bemoaning a March finish.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.