Thursday, January 28, 2010

NCAA Basketball Weekly: Kansas Still NCAA Championship Favorites, Potential Final 4 Teams, Kentucky, Marquette, Marcus Morris, Jimmy Butler, & More

1. Kansas .986 (315)
2. Duke .983 (76)
3. Syracuse .973 (239)
4. BYU .966 (308)
5. West Virginia .961 (162)
6. Wisconsin .960 (162)
7. Texas .960 (222)
8. Maryland .956 (178)
9. Purdue .954 (308)
10. Kansas St .949 (10)

Comments: Right now there's two teams based on historical efficiency ratings that have a far greater chance of winning a National Championship then any other teams: Kansas(1) and Duke(2). I'm not really sold on Duke being able to win it all, so I have to say Kansas is the favorite to win it all. Syracuse (3) can put themselves in the discussion by increasing their efficiency rating, but for now I'd have to say they are a long shot.

By the way, the key to a potential Kansas title run is the man pictured above: Marcus Morris. He is the 17th most efficient offensive player in the nation and has been picking his game up big time lately. Over the last 5 games, he's averaging 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds a game while shooting 65.0% from the field and 80.0% from the line. Put that type of play next to Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich and it's no wonder why Kansas is sitting head and shoulders above most of the other teams in the Top 10.

The rest of the Top 10 is not looking too good. There's been years when the .966 rating BYU has wouldn't even finish in the Top 10 let alone the Top 5, so I have to assume that this year will be similar to last season in that at least one team and most likely two or more teams ranked outside the Top 10 in overall efficiency will make the Final 4.

Because of the lower ratings for the top rated teams, I think we have to lower the criteria for offensive and defensive efficiency of potential Final 4 teams. I normally wouldn't look at any teams ranked outside of the top 25 in each, but this year I may expand it to the top 50 with the thought that some of these teams will improve and move into the Top 30.

Here's a list of teams who rank within the Top 50 in Offensive (OE) & Defensive (DE) Efficiency along with their Overall Efficiency (OVR) rating as well:

Kansas: OE (2), DE (2), OVR (1)

Duke: OE (1), DE (12), OVR (2)

Syracuse: OE (5), DE (8), OVR (3)

BYU: OE (11), DE (16), OVR (4)

West Virginia: OE (8), DE (22), OVR (5)

Wisconsin: OE (28), DE (7), OVR (6)

Texas: OE (23), DE (11), OVR (7)

Maryland: OE (9), DE (30), OVR (8)

Purdue: OE (21), DE (18), OVR (9)

Kansas State: OE (19), DE (20), OVR (10)

Kentucky: OE (14), DE (29), OVR (11)

Missouri: OE (48), DE (6), OVR (12)

Ohio State: OE (16), DE (32), OVR (14)

Michigan State: OE (30), DE (21), OVR (15)

Georgetown: OE (18), DE (33), OVR (16)

Marquette: OE (10), DE (48), OVR (17)

Baylor: OE (15), DE (43), OVR (19)

Arizona State: OE (46), DE (24), OVR (26)

Utah State: OE (29), DE (37), OVR (28)

Butler: OE (26), DE (50), OVR (31)

Xavier: OE (35), DE (40), OVR (33)

Memphis: OE (36), DE (49), OVR (39)

That leaves us with 22 possible Final 4 options as of right now and honestly any team ranked outside the Top 20 in overall efficiency is a long shot. That leaves us with 17 possible candidates as of right now, which will surely change once the tournament begins. I would probably eliminate Missouri too (as of right now), because they are ranked just 48th in offensive efficiency, unless they get in a favorable bracket. Only two teams in the past 6 years have made the Final 4 with an offensive efficiency that low: George Mason (49th in 2006) and LSU (50th in 2006). No other team was worse than 30th.

I would put good money on Kentucky (11) making the Final 4 if they finish in the Top 20 in overall efficiency. Since they have the NBA talent, they are the one team that sticks out the most of all the teams outside the Top 10. Chances are they will finish in the Top 10 though, so that point is probably moot. However, in a year with not so strong teams, their overall talent may be enough to carry them to the Final 4. In any other year, I would most likely say no chance. They could probably do a better job of involving Patrick Patterson though, who happens to be the 7th most efficient offensive player in the nation.

Marquette (17) is going to be a hell of a higher seed if they make the tournament. They are just 12-8 right now but 6 of those losses are to teams ranked in the Top 25 in efficiency. If they really are the 17th best team then I think they will get enough wins to get in and then wreak havoc as a 6 seed or higher. I would not want to be a 1, 2, or 3 seed that draws them in the 2nd Round. Part of the reason Marquette ranks so high is the ridiculous efficiency of Jimmy Butler. The man ranks as the 3rd most efficient player in the nation and is averaging an insane 1.92 points per shot partly because of his great ability to get to the free throw line.

That's all I got for now. Expect more analysis like this once tournament time comes around.


  1. Jay Wright, Scottie Reynolds and the city of Philadelphia do not approve of this message.

  2. Jay Wright & Scottie Reynolds need to clean up that # 70 rating overall in defensive efficiency or else they will find their butts at home sooner than expected. No team has made the Final 4 in the past 6 years with a defensive efficiency higher than 30th.

    They do have the 3rd best offense though, so there's always a chance they can break the trend.