Mar 26, 2012, 9:14 PM EDT
It’ s the Final Four. It’s gut-check time. So far these teams have answered the bell, and they’re not going to pull any punches. They’ve got to rise to the occasion, leave it all on the court, and give 110% for 40-minutes. This is the time that…
…OK , I’ll stop.
Defense wins championships!
(really stopping now)
Isn’t there a cliché that within every cliché is a kernel of truth? If you examine past winners of this tournament, then that’s certainly the case with “defense wins championships.”
There’s no shortage of elite defenses in this year’s Final Four. The best defense in the nation is here (Louisville). As is the 2nd best (Ohio State). No. 3 didn’t make it, but No. 4 did (
Wait, Kentucky has the worst defense in New Orleans?
That’s right, the Wildcats have allowed 0.89 points per possession, which leaves them No. 11 nationally. Of course, they have the best offense of the teams remaining, and it’s not really close.
So with four teams ranked in the top-11 defensively, what does that mean for their chances?
There have been 10 NCAA tournaments (including this one) since tempo-free statistics became widely available. In those ten tournaments only two teams with defenses ranked outside the top-50 have even made it to the Final Four. And no team with a defense ranked worse than 20th has cut down the nets. In fact, five of the winners had defenses ranked in the top-5. If anyone besides Kentucky wins, that number jumps to six.
What about offenses? Three teams have made the Final Four with offenses ranked exactly 50th, though none worse until this year’s Louisville (101) team became the clear outlier. Four of the winners had the best offense in the nation. Two had the 2nd best, and another was top-5. The worst offense to win the title was last year’s UConn Huskies (16th).
Maybe the more accurate saying would be “elite defense combined with an elite offense wins championships.”
The ranks of this year’s offenses: Kentucky (2), Ohio State (7), Kansas (16) and Louisville (101).
Apr 18, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT
Wood returning would ensure that this young but talented front line wouldn’t lack for experience.
Apr 18, 2015, 8:56 PM EDT
Missouri is hopeful that these two junior college products can help them rebound from a tough 2014-15.
Apr 18, 2015, 7:44 PM EDT
Josh Speidel hadn’t spoken since the crash February 1. His first word: “Mom.”
Apr 18, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT
Hammons’ decision to return makes the Boilermakers a Top 25 team.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT
Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan has been taking classes at the school in order to complete his degree.
Apr 18, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT
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Apr 18, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT
Illinois landed a huge graduate transfer on Saturday.
Apr 18, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
Coppin State junior guard Sterling Smith is looking like a prime graduate transfer.
Apr 18, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT
Kentucky five-star big man Skal Labissiere believes that the NCAA will allow him to play this season.
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Cheick Diallo won named MVP for both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
Apr 17, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
Hoiberg just completed his fifth season at Iowa State.
Apr 17, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT
The Aztecs now have no commits for 2016.
Apr 17, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT
Domantas Sabonis previously announced he would return.
Apr 17, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT
The Jordan Brand Classic is Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Apr 17, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
The former Villanova guard cut his list to eight.
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