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Part One: Is Matt Painter one of the top coaches in the B1G? A collective analysis.

The Purdue Boilermakers, while currently struggling, have experienced success under the tutelage of Matt Painter. Does his success as a head coach justify ranking him as one of the best, current coaches in the B1G?

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Before I start, I would like to commend Travis Miller from Hammer and Rails. I'm not sure you will find a better site in the blogosphere dedicated to a single school than BoilerTMill's paean to all things Boiler. Travis' love for his alma mater is clearly evident in the way he provides passionate and in depth coverage for all Purdue athletics and not just the revenue sports of Football and Basketball like so many SB Nation bloggers do.

Due to my history, Boiler fans may expect this post to devolve into a hatchet piece. Instead, what I propose is an objective look at whether Matt Painter should be considered a top coach in the B1G.

I thought of this article after reading a post by Travis at H&R: Fire Matt Painter? Don't be absurd. For a bit of history, there has been a small but very vocal minority at Hammer and Rails who have called for firing Coach Matt Painter (CMP) due to the tumultuous results this season.

Matt18Jones posted the following comment in that article:

Painter has put his hat in the conversation

As one of the top 3 or 4 coaches in the conference. It would be ridiculous to consider firing him. Purdue is lucky to have him!

by Matt18Jones on Feb 7, 2013 11:24 AM PST reply actions

It's sometimes difficult, if one is a fan or alum, to objectively analyze one's favorite. So let us let the facts and statistics speak for themselves to determine if Painter is, in fact, one of our conference's best.

I want to evaluate seven coaches (Painter, Izzo, Matta, Smith, Crean, Ryan, Beilein) collectively on those factors that can be objectively measured: Overall winning percentage, conference winning percentage, conference titles, NCAA tournament appearances, performance in the tournament, and recruiting classes.

Let us start with a table outlining the accomplishments of these seven B1G basketball coaches for the 2007-08 through 2001-12 seasons.


click to make larger

You'll quickly note that Painter and Ryan have the best winning percentage (and the most wins) in the B1G over these five seasons. However, Izzo and Matta are exactly one game behind. Matta and Izzo seem to be doing the best on the recruiting trail which in turn led them to the most success in terms of B1G titles, BTT wins, and NCAA success. Matta has the top overall winning percentage, followed by Painter (with Izzo and Ryan nipping at his heels),

I included only these coaches as five of the seven (Beilein, Izzo, Matta, Painter, and Ryan) are the only coaches in the B1G over this span to win or share a B1G title. I have included Smith and Crean for the success they had at other major colleges (Kentucky and Georgia for Smith, Marquette for Crean). While I have not conducted an analysis of their tenures in two other major college leagues (SEC and Big East respectively) both of these hires were good "gets" for their respective programs. Crean and Smith had winning records, both in conference and overall, at their former programs and both had led their schools to NCAA appearances in the season before their hire. In addition, each had led that former program to a Final Four appearance, while Smith did win a National Championship with the Wildcats.

I have not included Matt Painter's first two years as a league coach and started with the 2007-08 season since that was the first year that the Baby Boilers played in the conference. This seems a little unfair to Beilein, Crean and Smith, as 2007-08 was Beilein and Smith's first year in the conference while Crean didn't come into the league until the 2008-09 season. All three of these coaches took over programs at or near the bottom of the conference (just like Painter did in 2005-06).

I did not include this season's results as they are incomplete. I also did not include next year's incoming recruits as they have not yet played a game for any of the programs. Although the merits and value of the star system have been discussed ad nauseam in other places, it is a useful starting point for discussing the relative prowess of each coach on the recruiting trail. For this article, I have only included recruits who received at least one star (as unstarred recruits seem to be either juco transfers or "team fillers") or for whom basketball was/is their primary sport (for example: Terrelle Pryor, Fred Smith, and Kelvin Grady were listed as "basketball recruits" even though their primary sport was football and I can't find proof that any of these players ever suited up in a hoops game for their schools). Basically, I only included those athletes that received a star and actually played in a game for their respective team.

In Summation

If we only consider accomplishment over these five seasons, then clearly Matt Painter is one of the best coaches in the B1G.

Tomorrow we will look at the coaches records individually for each of the five seasons from 2007-08 through 2011-12.