I’ve been pre-occupied getting the Pulse Check out, so I’m going to do a super-abbreviated evaluation of potential champs based on our traditional eight stats and KenPom metrics. First, the standard champ check. You know the drill—the last dozen champions have owned these eight stats:
- A one, two or three seed (the AP Top 20 make the grade)
- Member of a Power conference: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC (CF in the list below)
- Either went to the previous year’s dance or have an All-American (*/12)
- Led by a coach with more than five tourney trips and at least one Elite Eight run (CO)
- Averaging more than 73 points per game (PF>73)
- Allowing fewer than 73 points per game (PA<73)
- An average scoring margin of at least seven points per game. (SM>=7)
- A schedule among the 75 strongest in the country (S<75)
Only five teams make the grade this week: Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan and Kansas. Syracuse dropped off the list when their seasonal scoring average fell below 73 points a game.
As far as KenPom numbers go, nine of the last champions have scored at least 115.2 points per 100 possessions and allowed no more than 92.2 points per possession. Only five teams meet these criteria—but they aren’t the same five as our standard test yielded. Indiana and Duke are repeat stats champs. But Gonzaga, Florida and Pittsburgh are new. We’ll see how these numbers hold up through the course of the conference tourneys.