The NCAA Tournament may now officially begin! FOX Sports Research made the decision to conduct a more in-depth study of the common traits shared by Final Four teams ever since the tournament’s expansion. The study focused on the criteria that could assist you in placing a bet on the champion of the tournament.
This year will be the 83rd time the traditional male NCAA Tournament has been played, and it will be the 36th time since the tournament expanded to 64 entrants in 1985.
Reviving The Historical Embellishments
Dominating during the regular season is a good indicator of success in tournament play, according to historical data. Since 1985, the mean seed of a team that has made it to the Final Four is slightly under 3, and they have won around 83 percent of their games leading up to the tournament.
This number, however, has decreased when examining at a relatively small sample size; since 2011, when looking at the teams that made it to the Final Four, it has dropped to roughly four.
The fact that a significant number of teams that were unranked inside the AP Poll were able to advance to the semifinals is particularly noteworthy. Since 1985, there have been 16 teams that have made it all the way to the championship game despite entering the competition with no ranking. Digging even further, eight among those 16 have been added since the year 2011, including the UCLA Bruins from the previous season. Who could ever forget their incredible journey?
Another noteworthy piece of information is the following: Since the beginning of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the mean preliminary odds of the eventual winner have been +1962, and these chances have not changed much since then. During this time period, the 2011 Connecticut Huskies have had the longest offseason odds to win the championship, with +4000 being their opening number. During the same time period, the 2009 North Carolina Tar Heels had the preseason chances of winning the entire tournament that were the lowest, at +450. This made them the favorite to do so.
The KenPom Analysis
Since it began tracking efficiency ratings in the 2000-01 season, KenPom has established itself as the gold standard for predicting the outcome of tournaments. Additionally, a variety of other indicators, such as tempo (also known as speed of play), luck factor, and strength of schedule, are analyzed on this page.
When viewing the statistics provided by KenPom, the average speed ranking of every team that made it to the Final Four throughout that time period is somewhat remarkable. Out of the more than 330 colleges that have participated in Division I throughout the course of that time span, those 76 teams consistently ranked around 175th in terms of their tempo.
This score falls to around 200 when the recent ten tournaments are considered, with a significant amount of weight being carried by Virginia’s performance in the 2019 national championship, in which they finished dead last in tempo.
What about coming out on top overall? Since 2002, just two teams that went on to win the NCAA Tournament did not finish the year ranked among the top 20 of both offensively and defensively efficiency on KenPom. These teams were the 2014 Connecticut Huskies and the 2021 Baylor Bears, who finished 22nd in defensive efficiency (39th in offensive efficacy).
The Gonzaga Bulldogs, Baylor Bears, UCLA Bruins, and Houston Cougars are all on the list. They were the four teams that made it to the Final Four the previous year. Following a fantastic season in which they finished with a record of 31-3 overall, Arizona also makes it onto this list.
The top seeds in the NCAA Tournament are Gonzaga, Arizona, and Baylor, whereas UCLA & Houston are ranked fourth and sixth, respectively.
FOX Sports Evaluation
FOX Sports Research additionally sought to investigate the impact that height and experience have on the teams that make it to the Final Four. Since 2007, teams that have made it to the Final Four have had an average elevation rank of roughly 86th in Division I, while their experience rank has been approximately 104th. Despite the fact that these stats aren’t particularly eye-catching, they do demonstrate that these successful teams are placed inside the upper third within Division I in both classifications.
Where did we get this particular number? However, there are presently 358 teams competing in Division I, whereas there were only 334 in 2007. After taking the average of these two figures, we arrived at the value 346. Now, if we divide each of these numbers by 346, we get results that are in the 25-30 percent range: 86 and 104 respectively.
The Kentucky Wildcats, who won the national title in 2012, stood out as a team that distinguished out in this set of data since they placed in the top four ncaa Division I in normal altitude in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015; in those same 4 seasons, their mean participation rank was 299.5.
This year, the Arizona Wildcats are in second place among Division I colleges and universities in terms of their average height, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are in tenth place. The Purdue Boilermakers are in nineteenth place (15th).
Wrapping It Up
The conclusion is as follows: Who are you predicting to make a serious run in the championship now that you know the history profiles of teams who have made it to the Final Four in the past and champions of those games?
You may put your bets on the Final Four and title futures at FOX Bet, so get on over there if you want to make a few money betting on the tournament.