15 teams pass at least one champ test, five pass two, one passes all three

In our final champ check before the tourney tips off, six teams meet the eight basic characteristics of the last 13 champions:

  • 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 squads are: Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan and Duke.

Another nine teams meet at least one of the possession-based champ tests. Since 2003, the worst a champion has performed on offense in terms of points per 100 possessions is 112.2. That number belongs to last year’s champ Louisville. And the worst a champ has been ranked on offense is 18th (both Louisville and UConn in 2013). On defense, the most points a champ has allowed per 100 possessions is 95.4; that would be North Carolina in 2009—and they were ranked 49th in the country (of course, there offensive efficiency was through the roof).

Here are the eight team an OE above 112.2 and a DE below 95.4:

  • Arizona
  • Villanova
  • Virginia
  • Florida
  • Louisville
  • Wichita State
  • Tennessee
  • Syracuse

When it comes to efficiency test #2, the rankings comparison, there are eight teams that own top-18 offensive and top-49 defensive rankings. They are:

  • Villanova
  • Kansas
  • Florida
  • Louisville
  • Wichita State
  • Michigan State
  • UCLA
  • Pittsburgh

Villanova is the only team to meet all three champ criteria. Five teams pass two tests: Arizona, Kansas, Florida, Louisville and Wichita State.

There are nine teams that pass one of the three tests: Wisconsin, Michigan, Duke, Tennessee, Syracuse, Michigan State, UCLA and Pittsburgh.

Feeling any better about your odds of picking the champ?

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8 Responses to 15 teams pass at least one champ test, five pass two, one passes all three

  1. BUCats says:

    Ugh Villanova feels so wrong. My personal pick is Florida, however their lack of serious offensive punch worries me a bit.

    • Andy says:

      Who was it who said that those who lose their first game in their conference tournament have never won the championship? Haven’t looked at a history of that, but I can believe it. More concerning is that Villanova has lost two games by more than 20 points. I could maybe understand one, but two? Add in another loss by 16 points, and you have a team that just doesn’t have all the stones to win the title, in my opinion.

      I know their Pythag offensive ranking is 35, that they lost to UCLA yesterday, and that they have won just seven games in their last team (not good for a 1 seed, all put together), but I am still high on Arizona. The Pac-12 actually turned out to be a pretty tough conference, with six teams making the dance, and this team beat three of the other five teams on the road (one in a blowout). They have lost by no more than 7 points all year, showing toughness in all their games. Further, remember that they won at San Diego State (who later beat Creighton on a neutral court, won at Big 12 regular season champ Kansas, and won the Mountain West regular season), in New York against Duke (which no one ever does, plus they are top ten in Pythag), and at Michigan (who won the Big Ten regular season title). Jeff Sagarin also still likes Arizona a lot, although not as much as before compared to Louisville. They are also #1 in BPI, even if barely over Florida. Finally, Sean Miller has never lost as a higher seed than his opponent….and has won as the lower seed three times out of nine, and rarely gets blown out when he loses. In fact, he has only lost by double digits one time in his career in the dance, in 2008 to UCLA.

      The Midwest winner could present a tough matchup, as could Florida. But I like Arizona’s style of play, combined with a winning coach and an incredibly impressive array of wins, to lead them to the championship.

      • Bullets-and-Blazers!! says:

        Watch out for Weber State (despite their low pythag). They have front and back court and I do not understand why they are 16 seed and not 15 seed (where Eastern Kentucky or Wofford should be seeded). This should be a fun 1 vs. 16 seed to watch. Somehow, the second #1 seed get the worse luck.

  2. Paul says:

    where does Louisville come up short in the basic champ test?

  3. matteo ferro says:

    Hey Peter Tiernan, you have been so helpful in making my decisions easier for this very unpredictable year. I was wondering when your where going to present the statistical final four and champ picks. Thank you very much.

  4. Alex says:

    You should do the same OE and DE rankings list after taking out the biggest outliers… 49 DE from UNC was such a fluke and now it potentially gives you a bunch of false positives on the list.

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