National Champions by the Numbers

March 17th, 2010
This time of the year brings out all kinds of strategies in regards to how one will fill out their bracket. Opinions, uniform colors and mascots are just three of the dozens of ideas that people throughout the nation (and in some cases outside of the US) have in regards to turning in that winning bracket. But what about the statistics of recent champions? Those numbers can go a long way in showing which teams have the best shot at cutting down the nets on April 5th. Below are the numbers (and national rankings in that particular year) for each of the last six national champions. Does your favorite fit the “profile”?


2003-04 (Connecticut)

Points per game: 78.8 ppg (17th)                                

Field goal percentage: 48.0 (16th)                              

Three-point percentage: 40.2 (5th)                              

Efficiency: 112.0 (13th)                                              

Free throw percentage: 62.3 (312th)                           

Field goal percentage defense: 36.9 (1st)

Rebounding margin: 9.7 (1st)

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 1.3 (4th)                                  


2004-05 (North Carolina)

Points per game: 88.0 (1st)

Field goal percentage: 49.9 (5th)                                

Three-point percentage: 40.3 (7th)                              

Efficiency: 115.7 (6th)                                                

Free throw percentage: 72.5 (54th)                             

Field goal percentage defense: 40.1 (26th)                 

Rebounding margin: 7.5 (8th)                                     

Assist/Turnover ratio: 1.2 (18th)                                 


2005-06 (Florida)

Points per game: 78.3 (22nd)                                       

Field goal percentage: 50.0 (2nd)                                

Three-point percentage: 39.2 (15th)                            

Efficiency: 113.9 (2nd)                                               

Free throw percentage: 74.4 (34th)                             

Field goal percentage defense: 39.9% (21st)              

Rebounding margin: 3.6 (59th)                                   

Assist/Turnover ratio: 1.2 (17th)                                 


2006-07 (Florida)

Points per game: 79.8 (11th)                                       

Field goal percentage: 52.6 (1st)

Three-point percentage: 40.9 (9th)                              

Efficiency: 118.4 (1st)

Free throw percentage: 69.0 (168th)                           

Field goal percentage defense: 40.7 (38th)                 

Rebounding margin: 8.5 (4th)                                     

Assist/Turnover ratio: 1.1 (42nd)                                 


2007-08 (Kansas)

Points per game: 80.5 (13th)                                       

Field goal percentage: 50.8 (2nd)                                

Three-point percentage: 39.7 (14th)                            

Efficiency: 116.6 (2nd)                                               

Free throw percentage: 70.3 (131st)                           

Field goal percentage defense: 37.3 (3rd)                   

Rebounding margin: 7.9 (5th)                                     

Assist/Turnover ratio: 1.4 (2nd)                                   


2008-09 (North Carolina)

Points per game: 89.8 (2nd)                                         

Field goal percentage: 48.0 (15th)                              

Three-point percentage: 38.7 (21st)                            

Efficiency: 118.3 (1st)

Free throw percentage: 75.2 (19th)                             

Field goal percentage defense: 41.0 (60th)                 

Rebounding margin: 6.3 (17th)                                   

Assist/Turnover ratio: 1.45 (3rd)         



Average Champ

Points per game: 11th                        

Field goal percentage: 7th                  

Three-point percentage: 9th                           

Efficiency: 7th                                               

Free throw percentage: 102nd                       

Field goal percentage defense: 25th

Rebounding margin: 16th

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 14th                           



-          Each of the last six national champions ranked in the Top 25 in scoring offense and FG%. Focus on picking teams that have high-octane, fast-tempo offenses.


-          Only Florida’s second national title team and North Carolina last season finished outside of the Top 25 in field goal percentage defense. When looking at quality of defense, focus on FG% against as opposed to total points given up.


-          The Gators are also the only national champ out of the last six to not rank in the Top 20 in assist/turnover ratio.


-          With the exception of Florida’s first title team each of the last six national champs ranked in the Top 20 in rebounding margin.


-          North Carolina (2009) was the worst three-point shooting team of the last six champs and they ranked 21st nationally. This goes hand in hand with why the last four champions are ranked either the 1st or 2nd most efficient offensive teams.


-          Connecticut (2004) and North Carolina (2009) are the only titlists to rank outside of the Top 10 in field goal percentage.


This year’s field contenders in relation

-          Of the eight teams on the top two seed lines, four (West Virginia, Kansas, Ohio State and Syracuse) rank in the Top 25 in assist/turnover ratio. Duke comes in at 29th and Kentucky 119th to round out the top seeds while Kansas State is 113th and Villanova is 130th to complete the two line.


-          Kansas (3rd) and Kentucky (7th) both rank in the Top 10 in field goal percentage defense while Syracuse (33rd) and Duke (48th) are further down the totem pole. In regards to the two line, none rank in the Top 50 in this category; Villanova is the highest-ranked at 56th.


-          Three of the nation’s Top 10 scoring teams are on either the one or two seed line. Villanova (3rd), Kansas (5th) and Syracuse (6th) lead the way while Kansas State (13th), Kentucky (17th) and Duke (21st) reside within the Top 25.


-          Kansas (5th) is the only team out of these eight ranked in the Top 10 in three-point percentage. Ohio State (21st), Syracuse (25th) and Duke (28th) are all within the Top 30.


-          Kentucky (6th), West Virginia (9th) and Kansas (13th) are the best teams in the field in regards to rebounding margin. Duke (19th) and Kansas State (29th) aren’t far behind.


-          Kansas, Duke and Syracuse all rank in the Top 10 in offensive efficiency while Villanova, Ohio State, West Virginia and Kentucky are all in the Top 20. Kansas State goes into the Tournament ranked 36th.


Possible Interlopers: Baylor, New Mexico. If the numbers prove to be “honest” the pool of teams with the best shot of winning the national title may not be as deep as originally thought. But the numbers aren’t everything; expect this year’s national champ to have at least one statistical characteristic that doesn’t fall in line with the last six champions.