Brackets are fun - not just filling them out and losing the office pool - but following the actual brackets as they play out. Some teams get lucky. Some teams get screwed. But in the end, four teams are selected because they went a combined 16-0.
Still, these things are guided by those same brackets which can settle a team's fate seemingly at random. Double digit seeds don't make the Final Four, and in the event they do it's huge news. The last four standing are overwhelmingly the teams with good offenses and defenses. All the 1s and 2s might not survive and advance four times, but a good number of them do. Even the low seeds which make the Final Four can often be described as poorly seeded, at least in the eyes of Vegas.
There is a pattern to the teams which survive the randomness, and that pattern is described by efficiency numbers. How efficient is their offense? How efficient is the defense? The better teams do in those two questions, the better chance they have of surviving, especially once they cut down the Regional Final nets and move on.
So how do these four teams match up with the teams from the past? What can we glean from the numbers?
To get at some semblance of an answer I looked at every Final Four team since advanced efficiency numbers became available (2003). Starting with the offense, here is how those teams shake out.
The teams in light blue are the four who survived this year. The teams in orange are past winners of the National Title. One thing which jumps out is that 7 of the past 10 winners have had an offense ranked 1st or 2nd in the nation. Another one (2004 UConn) had the No. 4 offense. That only leaves two outliers, and by outliers I mean the No. 11 and No. 16 offenses in the nation.
For the 2013 teams, Michigan has the No. 1 offense in the nation, while Louisville slides in with the 5th. If Syracuse or Wichita State win, they'll do it with the lowest rated offense in at least 11 years.
Defensively, things have been slightly more forgiving. Here is the same chart.
Whereas eight of the past ten winners have had top-5 offenses, only four teams have had a top-5 defense (and three of those were No. 5). But every team has had a top-20 defense, something 2013 Michigan and Wichita State do not have. Michigan looked really good on the offensive end of things, but now they're the outlier.
Syracuse (No. 5) and Louisville (No. 1) are both right in the sweet spot.
Looking at how these four fit into both charts, the only team that can win this thing without setting a new low for offense or defense is Louisville. Plan your
couch burnings party accordingly.
@RunTheFloor FYI - The color coding is off in your charts.
@DBBilby Thanks, but in what way, looks right on my end
@RunTheFloor "teams in light blue are the four who survived this year"... 2010 Duke in 1st chart, all but Louisville wrong in second chart.
@DBBilby ahh got ya. Got messed up when I sorted the column. Will fix, thanks!