First of all, I think the tournament is going to go according to seed, and it doesn't look like it is going to be close. I think it would have been interesting to let us vote on the seeds. I think virtually everyone would have Dixon, Smith, Vasquez, Walt Williams as the top Four in some order. Who is #5? Blake, Booth, Francis or Baxter? We didn't get a chance to vote on that, but everyone is going to vote than any of them are better than the #12 seed, for example.
Anyway, here is my other idea that would take some research. This is admittedly a pro-Gary methodology, but let's say we defined the core of his success as 1994 -- 2004. What other program in the country was more successful during those exact 11 years? What were the top ten programs during that period?
Gary was 114-62 in the ACC (65% winning percentage) with 2 ACC regular season championships, 1 ACC tournament championship, 11 straight tournament appearances, 7 sweet sixteens, 2 Final Fours, and 1 National Title. Who was better than Maryland during those 11 years?
Well, Kentucky won 2 National Titles, went to 3 Final Fours, and went to 8 Sweet Sixteens during the same period. Duke won 1 National Title, was 130-46 in the ACC, went to 8 Sweet Sixteens, 4 Final Fours, and won 7 Regular Season Titles and 5 ACC Tournaments. So, um, yea, they were both better.
UConn, unfortunately, has to considered better too, as they got two National titles, only 2 Final Fours, but 8 Sweet Sixteens and 5 Big East Conference Titles and 7 Regular Season Titles.
MIchigan State may have been better. They got a title, went to 3 Final Fours, but only 5 Sweet Sixteens. They did win the Big 10 tourney twice and the regular season 4 times. Sort of depends on how much weight you give the Big 10 track record vs. the ACC.
Who else could be considered? Arkansas, UCLA, Arizona, and Syracuse also won the National Title during this era.
Arizona had 3 Final Fours, and 7 Sweet Sixteens, but did have to vacate the 99 season. They didn't have a conference tournament for most of this time, but they did win 1 and 4 regular season titles. However, almost everyone would agree the Pac-10 was weaker than the ACC during these years.
Syracuse had 2 Final Fours, 6 Sweet Sixteens, 2 Regular Season Titles, and zero conference tourney titles, and missed the tournament in 97.
UCLA had 1 Final Four, 6 Sweet Sixteens, and 3 Regular Season Titles. But, missed the tournament in 03 and 04 and had to vacate 99 appearance.
Arkansas had 2 Final Fours, but only 1 other Sweet Sixteen.
So, I would rank them:
6. Michigan State
10. Someone who didn't win a title during this time (quick research would suggest Kansas, who had 7 Sweet Sixteens, and 2 Final Fours, or UNC who only had 4 Sweet Sixteens but went to the Final Four all four times. In fact, both are probably better than Arkansas for this period, depends on how much weight you give the title. OK State also had 2 Final Fours, but only 3 Sweet Sixteens)
So, thoughts? This suggests Gary, during his prime, ran the 4th best program in the country. And, yes, I know I am cherry-picking the years, and if you looked at Gary's entire career, Maryland is not close the 4th best program in the country.
But, still, for these 11 years, not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. We will all be very, very excited if Turgeon has even close to the same success 2012 -- 2022. How would you rank them?