Dom's CBB Top 25 (3/1/21)
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Dom's CBB Top 25 (3/1/21)

Greg Domsic
03-01-2021

Bracket Trend Talk

March is here so we have to talk brackets. Everyone wants to win their bracket, so I'm going to tell you how to fill out a winning one. There are several general trends that hold true every year, and if you keep them in mind it will help you fill out a winning bracket yet again.
 

Balanced Offense & Defense
Since 2000, every NCAA Tournament Champion had a top-40 efficiency rating (per KenPom) in both offense & defense. In fact, all but one champion team was actually in the top 20 in both offense & defense. The teams this season that fit those metrics are: Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor, Illinois, Houston. That's it - that's the list.  Knowing that, it should be no surprise that those just so happen to be my top 5 teams in this week's rankings. So if you had to fill out a bracket today, you better not have a team outside of these five winning it all.
 

Mid-Season Losing Streaks
Keeping the trends within this century, very few teams have won it all during a season in which they had a three game losing streak.  Some notable tournament teams with three game skids this season include: Ohio State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas, Virginia, Duke, Clemson, Missouri. To take it a step further, no team with a four game losing streak has even made the Final Four in the same season.  Interestingly, three potential tournament teams from the same conference have had four game rough patches: Rutgers, Minnesota, Michigan State. 
 

Star Players & Great Guard Play
Many surprise deep runs in March have been fueled by an excellent lead guard. Trey Burke led a talented but underseeded 4-seed Michigan squad to the finals in 2013. In 2015, Michigan State had no business in the Final Four, but they made it as an underwhelming 7-seed behind stellar point guard play in the tournament by Travis Trice. In 2016, Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije led a 10-seed Syracuse team to the Final Four. Clayton Custer ran the point on an 11-seed Loyola Chicago team in their 2018 Cindarella Final Four run.

Kemba Walker led a 3-seed UConn to a National Championship. Three years later, Shabazz Napier led a 7-seed UConn to his second championship. This year, UConn has another insanely talented guard in James Bouknight... can he lead a bubble team to a deep run this year? Keep an eye on these other alpha dogs who have the potential to lead their teams to a Cindarella-type run: Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Chris Duarte (Oregon), Cam Thomas (LSU), Marreon Jackson (Toledo), Bones Hyland (VCU), Derrick Alston (Boise St.), Chandler Vaudrin (Winthrop), Darius McGhee (Liberty).

 

Questions & comments - @Dom_MSU on Twitter

 

College Basketball Top 25

1. Gonzaga
2. Michigan
3. Baylor
4. Illinois
5. Houston
6. Alabama
7. West Virginia
8. Iowa
9. Ohio State
10. Villanova
11. Oklahoma State
12. Arkansas
13. Kansas
14. Loyola Chicago
15. Creighton
16. Texas Tech
17. Florida State
18. Purdue
19. Texas
20. Colorado
21. Oregon
22. UConn
23. USC
24. Clemson
25. Wichita State

 

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