How Teams With Top 30 Offenses and Sub 100 Defenses Have Fared NCAA Tournament

Submitted by Soulfire21 on March 17th, 2014 at 9:50 PM

/u/LOLmodel on Reddit compiled a list of how teams with top 30 offenses and sub-100 defenses have performed in the tournament (using Kenpom's adjO and adjD numbers).  This year, Michigan enters the tournament with the 3rd best offense and 104th best defense.

The results were not incredibly encouraging, but I found it a highly interesting examination.  Click the image below to open a full-sized (i.e. legible) version in a new window.

Sorry I couldn't fit more words in the title...

The reverse (top 30 adjD and sub-100 adjO is also available here).



March 17th, 2014 at 11:24 PM ^

Agreed. ASU is a great matchup. The Longhorns would need to play their best to give us a 50/50 game. I definitely think we see the 2nd weekend. Its the E8 and F4 that give me pause.

I like the article, but was hoping it was the Mathlete. I just trust him. Plus top-3 O is way different than top-30.


March 18th, 2014 at 9:25 AM ^

Creighton, Duke and Michigan are heads and shoulders above everybody else in terms of offense. They really make up a lot for their defensive deficiencies which is why they were so successful in their conference with all three of them falling in the conference championship.  When their offense is playing their usual game, there's no one who can match them shot for shot which is why they're a very difficult play for anybody to deal with even with a bad defense like they are fielding right now.


March 17th, 2014 at 9:56 PM ^

Though I wish whoever compiled the data would've shown how these kinds of teams perform relative to their seed and how that compares to teams with an equal offense/defense balance and those with subpar offenses and superb defences.


March 17th, 2014 at 10:25 PM ^

If you just look at the overall numbers, they don't look terrible though probably a little below average. Since half of teams lose in each round, if this were a random sample you'd expect to see half lose in each round. Except they seem to be losing at about a 60% rate each round. That said, the sample size is pretty small, especially in later rounds. When you look at the seeds there are some weird things going on, but can't really draw any conclusions with such small sample sizes. Just eyeballing them, they look reasonably appropriately distributed (though, again, losing a little more than average), with weird things sticking out like great success of 12-seeds and ineptitude of 5- and 6-seeds).


March 18th, 2014 at 9:52 AM ^

There is a column that shows team seed, I had to do a doubletake but its there.  So you can evaluate based on seed and where each team lost how they performed relative to expectations*.  It would be really interesting to see what type of teams most of these teams lost to.  Whether there is a theme that Top 30/100+ teams lose to teams that are fast-paced, post-oriented, experienced, etc.

*expectations on seed only, not based on opponents or public opinion.


March 17th, 2014 at 11:53 PM ^

was ousted by Louisville. That was a great game. I think WVU set or tied the record for 3 pointers made in a tournament game but lost in overtime. If Beilein returns to the Elite 8 this year, the likely matchup is Louisville again; who as we know will probably have to beat Wichita State to get there. Their path to the final 4 would include last year's final four for them. 

This is a weird bracket.


March 17th, 2014 at 10:22 PM ^

This is really misleading for the reasons Brian talked about it. The difference between the 1st and 2nd best offense vs. the 9th and 10th best offenses aren't the same. Michigan is ELITE on offense, not just a top-30 decent offensive team. Also, we are borderline sub-100. Just tooking a quick look, it seems the really elite offenses often made it to the sweet 16, and a lot of those teams have defenses at a far worse rank than Michigan's.


March 17th, 2014 at 10:36 PM ^

I really thought we defended better than we have all year against Ohio State and Michigan State. We just couldn't rebound against MSU. We forced misses, but they just rebounded them and got more opportunities.


March 17th, 2014 at 10:50 PM ^

Even so, I do like our chances of getting to the Sweet Sixteen bracket - currently estimated at about 62%. While Wofford and the other two potential opponents in the way (Texas and Arizona State) all have better defensive efficiency numbers than us, our offensive efficiency is far above all of them. We defenitely have this going for us, and that being said, there is not a lot of separation between teams even dozens of spots apart. At least to the point where we might very well meet Duke should we survive, we match up well enough all the same with those who might be in our way. 


March 17th, 2014 at 10:55 PM ^

When this happens, I think it means that either teams bomb from 3 or have a King James type player who scores a ton, but doesn't play much D.Over the course of the year, making a bunch of 3s is obviously high variation, but averages out.

Just curious, where was last year's Michigan ranked in this?


March 17th, 2014 at 11:03 PM ^

There are 9 such teams in 2014, compared to 5 in 2013?  Seems like 2014 is already breaking some trends.

For whatever reason, this team can consistently light up any kind of defense on even an average night.  We only have to play average defense (i.e. 100ish ranking) to win a game by double digits.  I think a Final Four appearance would be a surprise, but its all about matchups.  We are unlikely to play a top 75 offense in the first two rounds, and our third round game is likely against a team with a 104 defensive efficiency and nearly identical offensive efficiency rating.  These stats don't matter until we get to Wichita State/Louisville... which will require a lights out game from 3 for us to advance.

Mr. Yost

March 17th, 2014 at 11:15 PM ^

We are not built for a deep tourney run in most years...this year the draw sets up nice for us, but usually teams like Kentucky or Oklahoma St. end up in the 7/10 game rather than the 8/9 game because they want to reward the #1 seed.

IMO, we lucked out and got a favorable draw...most agree that we should be in the Sweet 16 and I think we're an Elite 8 team because I think we play Duke similar to how MSU just played us...I think we just have an extra gear because of the redemption/revenge factor. After that, who knows who we draw and at that point you're going to play a very good team regardless of your draw or region. At that point it's just about who plays the better game because usually both teams are damn good.

That said, I think this team would've been a PRIME upset candidate if we had a tougher draw. We don't play defense, we're not a tough team and we struggle rebounding. If we shoot the ball well, we can literally beat any team in the country (including every 1-seed) by double figures. If we don't...we can lose to 90% of the teams in the tournament field.

And some of you may say "well isn't that every team?" No. And look no further than last year. We struggled shooting the ball in the first 3 games and found ways to win them all. It wasn't until the Florida game when we got hot and started hitting from everywhere. If I'm not mistaken, we shot better in the last 3 games than we did in the first 3. Obviously the last 3 had much tougher competition.

So you can win games when you don't shoot well. Especially when you're a solid defensive team.

One advantage that I think helps us more than most is we finally get out of conference and we're tough to prepare for. Teams aren't familiar with us or our style and they don't have anything to compare to in their league. Meanwhile, we face a million different styles so we can go from a VCU pressure to KU's height to UF's bulk to Syracuse's zone and still be okay.

One more thing...I also like us in the Duke game because Beilein has a week to prepare. We'll be ready.

So in short. In most years...I think this metric is accurate and it wouldn't shock me if this Michigan team wouldn't make it out of the 2nd round. THIS year, I think we lucked into a favorable draw and we make it to at least the Elite 8.


March 17th, 2014 at 11:21 PM ^

Of the 9 teams seeded 4th or higher, 4 of them were able to make the sweet 15. 

The teams seeded 5th or lower performed really bad.

I like UM's draw.  I think making the FF is a bit of a stretch, not that it's impossible, but I think they have a good chance to make the second weekend. 


March 18th, 2014 at 8:26 AM ^

I think it is more interesting that in the entire group 8 made it to the sweet sixteen. To me this means that the group performed about as expected (9 teams should have made the sweet sixteen based on seeding) but the seeding was off in some cases.

It would also be interesting to look at how much better the top 100 offenses and defenses were than the mean. If the difference between the #30D and the #100D is 3ppp while the number 30O and number 100O are separated by 20ppp (i dont expect this to ever be the case), it would be more important to have a top 100 offense in that year.


March 17th, 2014 at 11:39 PM ^

If our shooting gets hot enough we could ride it all the way to the finals. If it doesn't, Texas could beat us with an extraordinary game of their own. I think we'll do well enough to get Duke and I'll take us in that rematch. After that, who knows?

Shakey Jake

March 18th, 2014 at 6:41 AM ^

the lack of a strong and consistent D and inside/back to the basket game will be hard to get this team to the finals, imho let alone advance to the final four. And hoping for consistent shooting is a tough one. The team will really have to fire on all cylinders for three weeks and that's going to be tough. I have the team stumbling to Texas in the 2nd round. Hope I am wrong. 


March 18th, 2014 at 9:20 AM ^

Teams can get into the paint on this team seemingly at will and they are not particulary big or physical. They have an incredible amount of talent but physical, pesky teams give them trouble.