Welcome back to the College Basketball Tournament! Before finalizing your picks, make sure you check out the Evolytics Hoop-a-Nator to help you build your perfect bracket. If you are unfamiliar with the teams, we are here to provide insight into teams that excel in a specific area on the basketball court.
If you are curious why some of your favorite schools did not make this list, it is because they are highly ranked schools that do not excel in a specific area. They are great all-around teams with no major weaknesses that can be easily exploited in the tournament.
We looked at teams with an average elo rating this season above 805, chosen because this provides 68 teams. This season a number of teams underperformed relative to historical expectations, such as Duke and Kentucky, and the average elo calculation includes them in the sample. Even if they did not make the tournament, they still serve as a good benchmark of college talent that schools can measure against.
Since teams play a different number of games each season, we analyzed teams on a per-100-possession basis. Offensive efficiency defined as points scored per 100 possessions, while defensive efficiency is defined as points allowed per 100 possessions.
Best of the Best Basketball Team Analysis
If you want to root for teams that are best positioned to make a deep run in the tournament, then Gonzaga, Baylor, and Houston are your best bets. These three teams are highly rated by elo and are in the 90th Percentile for both offensive and defensive efficiency.
- Boasts the best offense in the country, ranking 1st in offensive efficiency
- Shooting 64% on two-point fields goals, the most accurate in the country
- The reliance on two-pointers makes them a safe bet because they are less reliant on higher variance three-point attempts than other teams
- Gonzaga plays fast, ranking in the 97th percentile in pace, averaging over 74 possessions per game
- Defensively they do not foul frequently, averaging only 22 fouls per 100 possessions. They elect to get back on defense rather than prioritizing offensive rebounds
- Best three-point shooting team in the country, ranking first in three-pointers made, making 15 per 100 possessions, and three-point field goal percentage (43%)
- Strong team basketball play, 96th percentile in assists, averaging 25 assists per 100 possessions
- Defensively, Baylor focuses on creating turnovers, ranking in the 99th percentile in steals, averaging 13 steals per 100 possessions
- Play slow pace, ranking only in the 10th percentile of pace, using 65 possessions per game
- Houston focuses on grabbing offensive rebounds, ranking in the 99th percentile, averaging 22 per 100 possessions
- Their offensive rebounding prowess covers up their below average shot-making ability, ranking only in the 39th percentile for points per shot, averaging 1.09 points per shot attempt
Best Offensive Basketball Team Analysis
If you like high scoring offenses and a team philosophy built on out-scoring the opposition, Iowa and Florida State are the teams for you. These teams score points by the bunches, and their success this season is reliant on their offensive output.
- Iowa focuses on shooting the three-pointer well, scoring in the 98th percentile for three-pointers made and three point percentage
- They do not turn over the ball, ranking as the #1 team in limiting turnovers
- The problem with Iowa is that they foul and give up offensive rebounds at a high rate, leading to their opponents shooting a large amount of free throws. If you are watching an Iowa game, expect both teams to score a ton of points
- Florida State is interesting. For an elite offense, they turn the ball over a lot, ranking in the 22nd percentile for turnover rate
- However, when they do not turn over the ball and manage to attempt a field goal, shots go in very frequently. They are in the 85th percentile of points per shot attempt
- Florida State has an average defense which makes for entertaining games from a neutral fan perspective. As good as Florida State is at shooting three-pointers, they are equally as bad about surrendering three-pointers to opponents, ranking in the 16th percentile for opponent three-pointers made
Best Defensive Basketball Team Analysis
Some viewers appreciate the finer points of the game. Yes, scoring is cool, but defense wins championships. If you want to see a defensive battle take a look at Memphis or Kansas. When these teams play, points are difficult to come by.
- Memphis is a defensive juggernaut ranking #1 in defensive efficiency
- They rank in the 94th percentile in steals and 88th percentile in blocks, playing an aggressive style, not afraid to foul opponents, and using physicality to create turnovers
- Offensively, they are adept at giving the ball right back to their opponent, ranking dead last in turnover percentage and only in the 6th percentile for offensive efficiency.
- Memphis also has trouble with the act of actually putting the ball in the basket, ranking in the 19th percentile in points per shot attempt
- Surprisingly, Memphis did not make the big tournament. They are still definitely a favorite in the smaller NIT Tournament. It’s unusual to play defense this well and not make the big tournament
- In terms of rebounds, assists, and turnovers, Kansas is a typical offense-heavy team. However they struggle with three-point accuracy leading to a below average offense
- On the defensive end, Kansas avoids fouling and limits three-point attempts
- If you tune into a Kansas game expect a solid game where shots seem to fall less frequently than other matchups
I hope you enjoyed the analytics insights. This will be an exciting tournament with teams employing a variety of playing styles and strategies. Some teams dominate both ends of the floor, some teams specialize in offense, while other teams specialize in defense. Whatever your fan preference, there is a school that suits your style.
Best of luck on building your bracket! If you need help deciding on a matchup, use the Evolytics Hoop-a-Nator as a guide to drive your decisions. Enjoy the college basketball fun!