Who the Most Likely NCAA Champion Is: By the Numbers

2018-ncaa-tournament-bracket

Nobody has any idea what will happen going into any NCAA tournament. That’s why Darren Rovell can genuinely enjoy March Madness without filling out a bracket. So, with that said, what does an NCAA championship team look like? And more importantly, which team this year most resembles a championship team? To answer this question we will look at the 10 most recent champions and begin to narrow down the field based on a certain set of qualities that each one of the champs had.

The past 10 champions:

2008 Kansas, 37-3, Adj. Offense Rank: #2, Adj. Defense Rank: #1, Seed: 1

2009 UNC, 34-4, Adj. Offense Rank: #1, Adj. Defense Rank: #18, Seed:1

2010 Duke, 35-5, Adj. Offense Rank: #1, Adj. Defense Rank: #5, Seed: 1

2011 UConn, 32-9, Adj. Offense Rank: #19, Adj. Defense Rank: #15, Seed: 3

2012 Kentucky, 38-2, Adj. Offense Rank: #2, Adj. Defense Rank: #7, Seed: 1

2013 Louisville, 35-5, Adj. Offense Rank: #7, Adj. Defense Rank: #1, Seed: 1

2014 UConn, 32-8, Adj. Offense Rank: #39, Adj. Defense Rank: #10, Seed: 7

2015 Duke, 35-4, Adj. Offense Rank: #3, Adj. Defense Rank: #11, Seed: 1

2016 Villanova, 35-5, Adj. Offense Rank: #3, Adj. Defense Rank: #5, Seed: 1

2017 UNC, 33-7, Adj. Offense Rank: #2, Adj. Defense Rank: #1, Seed: 1

Before I begin, fuck Shabazz Napier and the 2014 UConn team. You know how much easier this would have been if it weren’t for them? Anyway, lets begin eliminating teams.

Requirement #1: You must be a 7 seed or above.

Teams Eliminated: Everybody who is an 8 seed and below

Teams Left: Everybody who is a 7 seed and above

 

Requirement #2: You must have single digit losses

Teams Eliminated: West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas, TCU, Kentucky, Texas A&M

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Michigan, Tennessee, Duke, Clemson, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Houston, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas, URI, Auburn, Purdue, Miami, Nevada, Arizona, Wichita State

 

Requirement #3: You must be from a power conference (we’ll let you hang around AAC because of UConn)

Teams Eliminated: URI, Gonzaga, Wichita State, Nevada

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Michigan, Tennessee, Duke, Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State, Houston, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas, Auburn, Purdue, Miami, Arizona,

 

Requirement #4: You must have a Adjusted Defense Ken Pom rank of 18 or above:

Teams Eliminated: Villanova (!!), Xavier, Kansas, Auburn, Purdue, Miami, Arizona,

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Michigan, Tennessee, Duke, Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State, Houston

 

Requirement #5: You must have a Adjusted Offense Ken Pom rank of 39 or above:

Teams Eliminated: Tennessee, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Clemson

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State, Houston

 

Requirement #6: You must be in the top 15 in either Adj Def. or Adj Off.

Teams Eliminated: Ohio State, Houston

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Michigan State

 

Requirement #7: You must have a top 10 RPI

Teams Eliminated: Michigan State, Michigan

Teams Remaining: Virginia, Duke

 

Requirement #8: No major injury concerns heading into the tournament

Teams Eliminated: Virginia

Teams Remaining: Duke

Well there you have it folks, Duke is the most likely team to win the NCAA tournament. Going into this I was fully expecting this to come down to UVA and Villanova. It seems by most accounts they are two best teams in the country and would come out favorably in an analysis like this. Unfortunately for Villanova, it seems as though it is a requirement to have a top 20 defense (Nova is #21 so take it with a grain of salt) to win it all. But it really is interesting how much the numbers point to the importance of defense in the tournament. Furthermore, you think of March as this completely unpredictable event, yet, when I was doing my research, the teams that won it all seemed to be near or at the top of the major statistical ranking systems (expect UConn). This shows us that maybe predicting a winner isn’t quite as random as we once thought and these advanced metrics really do tell a compelling story. In conclusion, congratulations to the 2018 Duke Blue Devils on their NCAA Championship! (they are for sure losing to Iona)

 

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