2016-17 Season Analytical Writings

Which Teams Should Be Favored To Win the 2017 NCAA Tournament?

The regular season is in the books, and the conferences are conducting their post-season tournaments to identify their automatic representative in the 2017 March Madness. Of course, the major conferences will send multiple teams to the Big Dance to fill out the 68-team field. As the tournament approaches, which teams are best positioned to navigate the tournament's six rounds of competition to emerge as the 2017 champion on April 3?

Considerable data exists, thanks to for the past 15 seasons, 2002-2016. During this 15 year history,
UConn has won 3 championships, UNC, Duke and Florida have won 2 each, and Villanova, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse and Maryland have each won 1. Based on current conference alignments, 4 members of the ACC have claimed 6 championships, 2 members of the BE have claimed 4 championships, 2 members of the SEC have claimed 3 championships, and the Big 12 and Big 10 conferences have each claimed 1 championship.

Of the 15 Champions, 8 have ended the season with the #1 efficiency, and 2 have ended with the #2 efficiency. That is 10 of the 15 champions with either the highest or second highest efficiency. Only 2 champions ended outside the top 8 efficiency ranking, UConn in 2011 (#10) and UConn in 2014 (#15). While outliers clearly exist in the record, the probability of any team outside the top 4 winning a championship is 60:1.

Finally, 12 of the 15 Champions ended the season with net efficiency of 0.275 ppp or higher, and 9 of those exceeded the 0.300 ppp threshold.

Since 2002, the NCAA Tournament Champion has met three efficiency-based criteria:

1. A top 8 overall efficiency,
2. An offensive and a defensive efficiency each the top 20, and
3. An ANE > 0.300 (0.275 Pomeroy) points per possession

The following tables show the ranking of efficiency, offensive, defensive, and net, as of March 5, 2017.

These tables show ANE values, and differ from the Pomeroy ratings. In the comparisons that follow, ANE status are presented with Pomeroy corresponding values in parentheses

CRITERIA 1. and 2.

Five (Four) Top 8 Teams Appear in both the top 20 offensive and top 20 defensive ratings as of 3/5/17
#1 Gonzaga, #2 West Virginia, #4 Villanova, #6 Louisville, and #7 Kentucky
(#1 Gonzaga, #2 Villanova, #3 West Virginia, and #7 Kentucky)


Three of these 5 Teams Have an ANE > 0.300 ppp (0.275 ppp)
#1 Gonzaga, #2 West Virginia, and #4 Villanova
(#1 Gonzaga, #2 Villanova, and #3 West Virginia)


Based on the history, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Villanova, Louisville, and Kentucky are best positioned in early March to win the 2017 championship.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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