It’s been 21 months since Tommy Lloyd was hired as the 18th coach in Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball history, and the decision is already paying dividends in Tucson.
The former longtime Gonzaga assistant has shattered one of the sport’s records, posting a gaudy .902 winning percentage through 51 games — the winningest coach in modern college basketball history through such a juncture.
Fresh off a 33-4 campaign in which the Wildcats won Pac-12 regular season and conference titles and claimed the school’s first Sweet 16 berth in five years, the team hasn’t missed a step — on the court or at sports betting sites in Arizona.
Oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona list Lloyd’s team at +1300 to win the school’s first NCAA title in 26 years.
The Wildcats rank fourth on the operator’s odds board behind Houston (+700), UConn (+1100) and Kansas (+1200), speaking to the juggernaut Lloyd has restored in the heart of the Sonoran Desert.
BetArizona.com wanted to contextualize the historic success the second-year coach has achieved in Tucson, stacking up Lloyd’s place in the sport’s record books.
Men’s College Basketball Win % Leaders
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How Lloyd Stacks Up Against the Competition
The only college basketball coach in the sport’s history to have a better winning percentage through two seasons was a man that coached Ohio State and Washington College at the turn of the 20th century.
Thomas Kibler, who was the head coach of the Buckeyes and Shoremen from 1908 to 1925, had a .917 winning percentage through his first two seasons in Columbus, going 22-2 over that span.
Lloyd, by comparison, has gone 46-5 in Tucson. The former Gonzaga assistant is even ahead of his mentor, Mark Few, who went 52-16 (.766) in Spokane in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
As far as Arizona head coaches are concerned, Lloyd’s .902 winning percentage through his first two seasons ranks well ahead of his predecessors, with Sean Miller posting a .653 winning percentage (46-23), and Lute Olson had a .542 winning percentage (32-27) during his first two seasons.
What Lloyd Can Accomplish in 2023
Lloyd still has a golden opportunity to add more hardware in 2023, as he looks to guide the Wildcats back to the sport’s promised land for the first time in two decades.
Arizona is looking to make the Final Four for the first time since 2001, when it eventually made it to the title game before losing to Duke, 82-72.
There’s also the possibility of bringing home a national championship trophy for the first time since 1997, which would elevate Lloyd to an echelon even Few himself hasn’t reached.
For now, Lloyd and company are looking to get past Washington. The teams meet at McKale Center tonight.
In college basketball betting, BetMGM lists the Wildcats as an 18.5-point favorite with a -2500 moneyline.
As for Pac-12 futures, Arizona sports betting apps have the Wildcats in the No. 2 position at +125, behind UCLA, which is listed at +105.