Whoa. OK, I'll do one hypo with you.
Posted on: April 21, 2012 at 12:19:26 CT
1994. Norm's team was a #1 seed. That's as close, I guess, as you can come to being able to reasonably argue he "should" have made the Final Four then. Never mind that every year at least some and in some cases many or all #1 seeds don't make the Final Four due to all the upsets that always happen in the Big Dance.
Bottom line, Norm had a #1 seed but was shipped west. His team had a 25-3 record in the regular season. Given that the other #1 seeds as I recall were Arkansas (the overall #1), Duke and Purdue, I really doubt that Norm winning one more regular season game to get to 26-2 vs 25-3 would have changed things much, in terms of gettin us the Midwest #1 rather than West or something. And even still, either way he's a #1 seed.
So we get shipped West as the #1 and wind up losing handily to #2 seed Arizona in the Elite Eight. If you are gonna be a purist and look at it from a seeding standpoint, you would say that Norm flubbed that game because he was the #1 seed and Arizona was not. If you are a realistic person or if you were there and saw the heavily pro-Arizona crowd that made it a home game for them, or if you realize that Arizona had future NBA regulars in its backcourt whereas Mizzou did not, you might be more inclined to say Norm did an overachieving, great coaching job just to get his team that high seed that year, rather than that he "choked away a Final Four" because his high seeded team didn't get there.
Bottom line, to me, is the question you posed in your post above is a *perfect* example of why people put too much emphasis on the Big Dance in judging programs and coaches and why looking at it alone is not always the best barometer.