College Basketball National Championship Contenders: Michigan Sneaks Back Into the Party
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Isaiah Livers
- Ryan Collinsworth identifies 10 college basketball national championship contenders based on a specific statistic profile.
- After a few weeks outside the mold, Michigan's recent play has it back in contention.
Seven weeks ago, I introduced a way to identify college basketball teams that fit the statistical profile of a national champion. After another intense week of conference play, we have enough new information to warrant another followup.
Let’s begin with a brief recap of our methods and qualifications, then review the teams shuffling up and down our rankings.
I initially analyzed all college basketball teams based on three metrics — each sourced from Ken Pomeroy — to determine which could win the national title this season:
Adjusted offensive efficiency (AdjO): Points scored per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponents
Adjusted defensive efficiency (AdjD): Points allowed per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponents
Adjusted efficiency margin (AdjEM): The difference between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency
I correlated each of these metrics with NCAA tournament performance. Adjusted efficiency margin has the highest correlation, which suggests that well-balanced teams are more successful in the postseason.
We established that national champion-caliber teams generally boast an AdjEM score of 23.81 or higher. This threshold serves as the primary qualifying factor in our analysis.
In another article on our Final Four dark horse candidates, we also established statistical thresholds for AdjO and AdjD. Generally, Final Four teams boast an AdjO score of 114.0 or higher and an AdjD score of 96.2 or less.
Teams must fulfill all three of the above criteria in order to qualify as a national championship contender.