Alright, it’s time to really take this NCAA graphic to a new level. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m most interested in winning the NCAA tournament pool at work. I came in third last year and it came down to the championship game for me. And while you could have zoomed in on the teams you’d like to see, that took a bit of work. Frankly, with 353 teams on one plot it’s just a bit of a mess (thanks for pointing that out Peter).
So, I’ve added some filtering buttons to the plot to automatically zoom in on a couple of groups. The image below doesn’t look pretty right now (thanks WordPress), but if you visit the interactive version it’s much better.
I’ve added a selection for the top 80 teams ranked in KenPom efficiency margin. Most of the NCAA tournament-bound teams are currently ranked in the top 80. Only a handful of teams that win their conference tournaments despite a poor record will come from outside this group.
Next I added a selector to hone in on the top 20. Here we find the teams that likely will contend for the Final Four. And with the past champions still included it’s easy to see those that have a profile very similar to past winners of the trophy.
Just eyeballing the map it’s easy to see that current #2 UVa. has a similar profile to 2008 Kansas, Gonzaga has a similar profile to 2018 Villanova, and Michigan State has similar profile 2002 Maryland. Then there is Duke, which appears to be in a class by itself. Duke has a higher efficiency margin than any past national champion.
And there are other teams that you could consider “in the mix” – Kansas, Kentucky, UNC, Michigan (those names sound familiar), Virginia Tech, Tennessee, and maybe even Wisconsin.
Of course, it’s only Feb. 12 as I write this. The past champions data is after they had cut down the nets. So I’ll keep updating this roughly weekly and check in with the contenders. UVa has most of it’s toughest games out of the way, UNC and Duke still play each other twice, Gonzaga has no tough games left – so it’s still anyone’s title to win.
Besides, we see great teams go down in the first weekend every year – hi there Duke, UVa and Michigan State. 🙂 Enjoy playing around with the plot until next week. And feel free to make suggestions for improvement; I’m learning more with each step I take.