There’s a lot going on with this week’s champ checks, so much so that I’m dividing the basic and advanced tests into two post. Check out the post right below this for the efficiency champ check.
As for the basic test, Kentucky and Michigan State, both recent victims of bewildering losses, have dropped out of the AP top 20 and thus are unlikely to garner a top three seed. Remember the criteria; the last 13 champs have possessed their characteristics:
- 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, Villanova, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina. Here’s the legend…and then the breakdown:
- Orange boxes show teams meeting all criteria
- Light red boxes show where teams missed the criteria
- Purple boxes show teams who don’t deserve their AP top 20 ranking according to KenPom efficiency statistics.
Of the seven teams that possess all eight basic champ credentials, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina seem to be in the greatest jeopardy of losing their stats champ status. The Badgers are just a couple of Big Ten low-scoring grinders away from falling below the 73-point threshold. And the Wolverines and Tar Heels may slide lower than a three seed by Selection Sunday.
I’ll show the new results of an in-depth efficiency champ test in a minute, but I did want to point out the undeserving and disrespected teams according to KenPom numbers. Amazingly, these are the most teams we’ve had in the AP top 20 who shouldn’t be there according to efficiency numbers. Six squads—San Diego State, North Carolina, Iowa State, St. Louis, Connecticut and Memphis—don’t have KenPom Pythag values among the top 20 teams in the country. Advanced stats suggest that Iowa (12 in KenPom), Ohio State (14), Pittsburgh (15), UCLA (16), VCU (17) and Michigan State (20) are the better teams.
I think it’s a mark of how uncertain this season is that the AP rankings and efficiency stats are diverging, even at this late stage, in their rating of the country’s best teams. As you’re about to see, my basic and advanced champ tests are also diverging in who they think will cut down the nets. Between the raw efficiency numbers and the efficiency rankings, there are another six squads that qualify as potential champs.