The March Madness Stats You Will See Nowhere Else
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Over the next couple of days, you will be inundated by March Madness stats and you’ll see so much or the same data. That’s why in this annual pre-tournament column, we aim to give you something you will find nowhere else.
Red On Top: Two teams, who wear primarily red are the most likely to win the NCAA title, according to odds from bet365. The Houston Cougars are +550 and Alabama is +750.
But red teams are in quite a drought, having last won nine years ago (Louisville, 2013). You’d have to go back 11 years to find another champion (Maryland, 2002).
That’s a far cry from the 15-year run from 1980-1994 when eight red teams won (Louisville won in 1980 and 1986, Indiana won in 1981 and 1987). Single red team winners during that timespan included UNLV (1990), Arkansas (1994) and Arizona (1997).
Not the Pitts: Pitt was one of the last four in, but don’t count them out when betting against Mississippi State in the first play-in today. Pitt is 22-10-1 against the spread, best among tourney teams. They are also the second best at covering the over (21-12).
Texas Southern Turns It On: One of the more incredible runs in a conference tournament has been Texas Southern, which entered the SWAC tournament 11-20 and emerged with hardware and an NCAA bid.
The Tigers enter the tournament as the fifth-worst team by record to ever play in the NCAA Tournament behind 1995 FIU (11-18), 1996 UCF (11-18), 1997 Fairfield (11-18) and 1985 Lehigh (12-18). None of those teams won a tournament game, but they also didn’t have the benefit of a play-in-game.
Boilermissers: If Texas Southern can win, they will have No. 1 seed Purdue to face and will likely be 30+ point dogs, the largest spread of the tournament. But don’t blindly bet Zach Edey’s men. Purdue is 14-19 against the spread, the second-worst tournament team in that position.
Owls Represent: For the first time, there are two Owls in the NCAA Tournament. Without the help of Temple or Rice, Florida Atlantic and Kennesaw State accomplished the mascot feat.
$4,000: Minimum donation requirement for the right to buy a season ticket to for Duke basketball at Cameron Indoor this season. Does not include actual tickets. It comes with a three-year commitment.
$319: All-in price for the best seats in the house for Oral Roberts season tickets — Duke’s first round opponent.
A lot on the line: The Duke vs. Oral Roberts matchup has a good chance to hit the over if teams go to the line. Oral Roberts (78.4%) and Duke (77%) are the second- and fourth-best shooting teams from the charity stripe in the tournament, respectively.
$7.8 million: What the University of Texas reported its basketball program made in the last year it reported to the government (2019-20).
$0: What its opponent Colgate reported it made on its men’s basketball program that year.
The 10x Club: There are at least five matchups where one coach makes at least 10 times more than the opposing coach. Kent State’s Rob Senderoff makes $285,000, while Indiana’s Mike Woodson makes more than $3 million. Houston’s Kelvin Sampson makes more than $3 million while his counterpart, Northern Kentucky’s Darrin Horn, is paid less than $300,000. Then comes Kansas vs. Howard. Howard’s coach Kenny Blakeney’s salary isn’t public, but it’s safe to say he earns less than $600,000. Kansas’ Bill Self pulls in $6 million.
Apparel Wars: Kansas’ championship last year put to an end a seven-year streak for winners wearing the Nike logo and it appears like Kansas might be adidas’ only hope. It’s the only team among the top 13 most favored teams to win that doesn’t wear a Nike or Jordan logo.
It’s A Battle: There’s always some unintentional comedy somewhere in the brackets. If you look at the 7-10 game in the East, it’s the Trojans against the Spartans. Quite a battle for which I would love Homer (of Iliad fame, not The Simpsons) to give us the play-by-play.
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