Sunday, March 16, 2014

Picking 2014 National Champion: Top 10 Stats - (Part 2)

Similar to the post I had last year, here's the quick rundown of how I narrow in on the right National Champion picks to consider:
  1. First, the champion has been a 1, 2, or 3 seed for 31 of the last 35 years (89%), so that narrows it down to 12 teams.  
  2. From there, the past 12 National Champions have finished in the top 10 in at least one of the stat categories listed below. I use ESPN's stats, and that's as far back they post stats. Overlap those two and you get the list of teams highlighted in green for who you should consider for your championship pick:
    • 1 Seeds: No top 10 stat categories 
    • 2 Seeds: Kansas: 1 of top 10 stat categories, Michigan (1)
    • 3 Seeds: Iowa St (2), Creighton (3)

This may be the year the strategy doesn't quite pan out, as I am hard pressed to put my faith into any of those four teams.  If Joel Embiid is actually healthier than the Jayhawks have been letting on, and he plays significantly, then I could buy on Kansas.  Additionally, like everyone else, I think Louisville was drastically underrated on a 4 seed, and they stand a solid chance of a repeat.

What I also like to use this list for is to help provide guidance on who not to pick. If you trust in the stats, then this rules out the likes of all 1 seeds, which could be very difficult to pick against given the number one overall seed has won the past two years in a row.

Other items of note:
  • Don't sleep on UCLA who has a solid all around game on paper, and came to play for the Pac 12 tourney.
  • With New Mexico State's high FG% and ability to get blocked shots, they could pose a serious threat to San DIego State in the first round.
  • A lot of people are already talking about it, but Kentucky's rebounding and shot blocking could very easily propel them into the Sweet 16 with an upset over the Shockers.

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