The No. 1 job description of a college basketball coach is “crisis management coordinator,” no matter what their record is. They are paid big money at this time of the season to handle the adversity that inevitably comes with the territory.
Every coach in the Sweet 16 has had great success this season, but in almost every case, has still dealt with challenges throughout the season and in the NCAA tournament. So it’s time to point out some of the individual coaching jobs well done in overcoming adversity to get their teams where they are this weekend.
Best adjustment to critical injury(s): Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State Cyclones
Stretch forward Georges Niang's foot injury in Iowa State’s win over North Carolina Central seemed to spell doom for the Cyclones against North Carolina on Sunday. Niang, arguably one of the tournament’s most difficult matchups, would typically be hard to replace. However, Hoiberg’s strength has always been in adjusting his offense to his players’ strengths.
More pressure was put on production from DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim, two prolific scorers, and they delivered. The pair of seniors combined for 43 points in the win against the Tar Heels. Hoiberg also turned sophomore guard Naz Long loose at the end of the season, and the coach’s confidence has been rewarded with timely shot-making. This includes Long making a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game against the Tar Heels in the final minute.
Hoiberg has had the magical touch all season, but it was never more evident than it was this past weekend.