Two weeks ago, Wisconsin dropped off the champ list. This week, they’re back on. Now eight teams meet the criteria that the last 13 champs have possessed:
- A one, two or three seed
- Member of a Power conference: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC
- Either went to the previous year’s dance or have an All-American
- Led by a coach with more than five tourney trips and at least one Elite Eight run
- Averaging more than 73 points per game
- Allowing fewer than 73 points per game
- An average scoring margin of at least seven points per game
- A schedule among the 75 strongest in the country
The teams that meet all these criteria include: Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Villanova, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Michigan. Louisville fell short again of making the grade because of an increasingly weak SOS (104). Here’s the legend…and then the breakdown:
- Light red boxes show where teams missed the criteria
- Orange boxes show teams meeting all criteria
- The light blue box shows the team that just missed because of SOS
- Dark blue tabs on the right show teams meeting KenPom ranking criteria
- The dark red box indicates the team meeting KenPom raw efficiency criteria
- The light purple boxes in the second column show teams whose KenPom ranking suggest that they don’t deserve their AP top 20 rating
Of the eight teams meeting the basic champ criteria, two are in serious danger of falling off due to low scoring output. Surprisingly, Arizona’s scoring average is just 73.1 points per game and trending down. And Wisconsin is at 73.3 points a game, with a handful of meat-grinder Big Ten matches to go. Heck, if Michigan continues playing like they did on Sunday, their 75-point average could dip below the 73-point barrier.
The two possession-based champ checks saw changes this week as well. Last week only four squads had champion-quality KenPom efficiency rankings. Since Pomeroy started posting efficiency stats 10 years ago, every champion has ranked at least 17th and 25th in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively. The only teams that meet these parameters are Syracuse, Florida, Kansas, Villanova and Louisville. The Gators are the newcomers.
Florida also owns the distinction of being the only team whose raw efficiency numbers are championship grade. Every champion for the last decade has scored at least 115.1 and given up no more than 92.2 points per 100 possessions. Twenty teams met the offensive efficiency threshold, but only eight were strong enough defensively—and just Florida was among the offensive juggernauts. The next closest team was Louisville. The Cardinals missed out on the defensive end by 0.1 points.