Using the offensive, defensive, and overall efficiency numbers at kenpom.com, as well as the tempo data, I whipped up a little formula to try to find out which teams this year are similar to teams from recent history. We’ll start with the top 3 seeds, and maybe I’ll do some other interesting teams before tip-off tomorrow (time and free agency and Peyton Manning permitting).
To get my similarity scores, I used all teams seeded 12th or higher in the tournament since 2005 (basically, the at-large candidates) and for each category, took 100 points off for every standard deviation that team was away from the subject team. I then limited the “similar” teams to those seeded within one seed line of this year’s team (so that Kansas is only compared to 1, 2 , and 3 seeds, for example). Here is a weighted summary of the average tournament wins for all twelve teams seeded 3rd or higher.
- Kentucky Wildcats, #1 seed, South Region, 3.5 wins
- Ohio State Buckeyes, #2 seed, East Region, 3.4 wins
- Michigan State Spartans, #1 seed, West Region, 3.1 wins
- Kansas Jayhawks, #2 seed, Midwest Region, 3.0 wins
- Syracuse Orangemen, #1 seed, East Region, 2.8 wins
- North Carolina Tar Heels, #1 seed, Midwest Region, 2.7 wins
- Missouri Tigers, #2 seed, West Region, 2.6 wins
- Baylor Bears, #3 seed, South Region, 2.0 wins
- Duke Blue Devils, #2 seed, South Region, 1.9 wins
- Georgetown Hoyas, #3 seed, Midwest Region, 1.7 wins
- Florida State Seminoles, #3 seed, East Region, 1.7 wins
- Marquette Golden Eagles, #3 seed, West Region, 1.2 wins
These are average results based on the teams most similar, and don’t take into account this year’s matchups or draw, or for that case, that particular year’s draw and whether the teams got an easier path with some upsets. It also doesn’t account for Fab Melo’s suspension, so use that Syracuse number as a baseline and adjust downward (probably almost a full win on average).
Which teams had the most teams that reached the national championship game show up in their comps?
Kentucky, of course, with 4 of the 10 teams, followed by Kansas (2006 Florida and 2009 Michigan State) and Ohio State (2006 Florida and 2005 Illinois). Shockingly, none of the 10 North Carolina comps showed up in the Final Four (a bunch of Elite Eight losses). In fact, North Carolina joins Duke and Marquette as the only three that did not have a single team in their ten most comparable show up in a Final Four.
Here are the full list of comps, starting with Kentucky and Ohio State and going in order of the above list.
[photo via US Presswire]