This week I learned that when I write about the upcoming 2017-18 college basketball season at ESPN.com, I’ll no longer be doing so alongside my friends Andy Katz, Dana O’Neil, Eamonn Brennan, and C.L. Brown. Continue reading
This was a big year for previously unsuccessful NCAA tournament teams. Northwestern and South Carolina both won tournament games, marking 2017 as the ultimate in upward programmatic mobility.
The list of major-conference programs that have not won a game this century is now down to just four members: Nebraska, Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU. That being said, we’ll give the Horned Frogs an asterisk on this one. Unlike the Cornhuskers, Beavers, and Scarlet Knights, the fightin’ toads weren’t members of a “power” conference for the entire time period in question.
Every national championship this century has been won by a team at No. 17 or higher on this list. The majority of Division I — 199 teams — is yet to win an NCAA tournament game this century. Continue reading
After a thorough statistical review I have determined that the 2017 NCAA tournament stood out most dramatically in terms of turned ankles. Speaking in an actuarial sense, we should be turned-ankle-free now through at least the 2023 brackets. We’re due.
Other conclusions to be drawn….
Hideous title games have to happen
An unsightly mess on the biggest evening of the college basketball year is unfortunate, but it will, unavoidably, occur. The 2011 game between Connecticut and Butler was even worse than what we saw last night. And, while this definitely falls under the heading of “How did you like the play otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln?” praise, North Carolina’s full six-game title run was if nothing else the fastest-paced such campaign by far that we’ve seen since this same program cruised to a much easier title in 2009. The Tar Heels averaged 74 possessions per 40 minutes in the tournament. (Villanova last year: 64.) UNC’s tournament run was a sprint that ended with fouls and missed shots exploding in every direction. Continue reading
In each of the last 13 national championship games, the team with the better per-possession scoring margin in the five previous tournament games has won:
Tournament games only, through national semifinal EM: efficiency margin EM 2016 Villanova +0.38 North Carolina +0.25 2015 Duke +0.28 Wisconsin +0.12 2014 Connecticut +0.12 Kentucky +0.06 2013 Louisville +0.27 Michigan +0.20 2012 Kentucky +0.17 Kansas +0.11 2011 Connecticut +0.17 Butler +0.07 2010 Duke +0.28 Butler +0.11 2009 North Carolina +0.28 Michigan State +0.11 2008 Kansas +0.24 Memphis +0.23 2007 Florida +0.22 Ohio State +0.16 2006 Florida +0.25 UCLA +0.19 2005 North Carolina +0.21 Illinois +0.17 2004 Connecticut +0.21 Georgia Tech +0.07
There are three things you should know about this streak. Continue reading