After the second to final week of the regular season saw the top six teams in the AP Poll go down, many left wondering, who is the real favorite? best in college basketball?
I’m here to tell you not to overreact to this past weekend’s results and allow the enhanced stats to tell a season-long story, not just one week’s results.
There are a number of teams vying for places as we head into the NCAA Men’s Conference and Men’s Tournament game, we’ll split into specific tiers that have been historically accurate in predicting National Champion .
To review this exercise, I recommend you watch part one of this story from last week. Here’s an excerpt from there with an explanation of what I’m doing and what it all means (as well as last week’s data).
If you’ve read my college basketball work before, you know my reference KenPom in most articles. Ken Pomeroy created a way to use extremely predictive metrics to get to the bottom line of the game and the real difference between 358 college basketball teams. It’s incredibly insightful and has revolutionized the way we view games. You can search for more of him if you want and I recommend his website when disabling this, but suffice it to say KenPom, use his tools to make one. Champion.
I’ll be focusing on two of the many stats currently available, adjusted offensive and defensive effectiveness, to help narrow our Champion’s range.
Dating back to 2002, all but two teams are in the top 20 on both sides. Those two teams are the 2014 Connecticut Huskies, led by Shabazz Napier, and the 2021 Baylor Bears.
Nothing major has changed from last week, except that Kentucky joined the team after going missing last week. While Houston and UCLA look dangerous going to the Tournament despite their lower seeding, more intriguing discussion is swirling around Baylor.
The defending National Champion is currently 3rd in KenPom’s standings. The team is still waiting to bring LJ Cryer back from injury, but the team has overcome tons of illness for the likes of James Akinjo, Adam Flgler, among others, in the Big 12 but still participates in the game. a regular season of ministry.
Duke was the first team to be placed in the 20/20, but I have yet to be sold into the Blue Devils, the team playing in this season’s worst power conference, the ACC. The Blue Devils are large in size, but are rarely challenged in conference play, and have fallen victim to a number of second-half-related efforts.
Meanwhile, I was expecting to see Connecticut take a bigger leap and move up the ladder following their home win over Villanova, but this team is still just behind those teams at the moment.
Then there’s a group of four teams that are attractive for different reasons: Kansas, Villanova, Tennessee and Texas; the former two are attacking elites but have some defensive concerns while the latter are each excellent defensively but may not have enough offensive firepower to run in Tournaments.
Again, these are the teams that are in the top 20 on one side and outside the top 50 on the other. I’ll be hitting two teams in this week’s installment.
St. Mary’s had an epic win over Gonzaga, which sent the Gaels soaring up the KenPom board, which is now in the top 10 in the defensive side of the ball. The team was bound by tourney, but now a solid lock. I’m curious how to break the frame for St. Mary’s with their methodical pace and tight defence, they present a unique test for several clubs. If games go their way, this team that can run behind a solid defense and effective attack may be undervalued a bit more than their conference.
The other team I’ll be meeting is Arkansas, who I think will be in the ‘Almost Famous’ group sometime in the future. The Hogs family have won 13 of the 14 SEC games and feature one of the best defenders in the country in JD Notae, who scored 30 points against Kentucky in Saturday’s win. The team still struggled to shoot from three, but they weren’t too dependent on it, ranking 100 with a three-point margin.
Also, this team has all the momentum, inside Bart Torvik’s ranking top 10 power since the beginning of February. Continue buying shares in the Razorbacks as we enter the SEC Tournament. The team has dynamic defensive play, deep rotation and low troop to run.
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