Now that the season is well into conference play efficiency stats can help sort out some teams that are actually good and some that may be frauds. Basketball efficiency ratings are the best way to compare teams because they take the pace of the team out of the equation. Here are the current rankings.
1. Duke 1st offense, 9th defense.
2. Kansas 2nd offense, 3rd defense.
3. BYU 5th offense, 14th defense.
4. Syracuse 4th offense, 16th defense.
5. Texas 31st offense, 2nd defense.
6. Wisconsin 16th offense, 7th defense.
The Badgers currently sit in 6th place overall, 16th in offensive efficiency, 7th in defensive efficiency. People will always stick with the falsehood that defense wins championships, but in College Basketball the key in the last 15-20 years has been offensive efficiency. Actually, the key has really been be in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, and be a respectable defense ranked somewhere in the top 20. So to win the title a top contender will usually be hovering around the top 10 in offense, and top 30 at worst in defense.
Here is a look at the last few years:
1. North Carolina 1st offense, 16th defense
2. Memphis 25th offense, 1st defense
3. Connecticut 15th offense, 3rd defense
4. Louisville 31st in offense, 2nd defense
5. Pittsburgh 2nd offense, 35th defense
6. Missouri 8th offense, 13th defense
This year held close to the rankings, UNC won it all and had the most efficient offense. Pittsburgh was a popular pick to at least make it to the final four, if not win it all but their defense was not good enough at 35th.
1. Kansas 2nd offense, 1st defense
2. Memphis 4th offense, 4th defense
3. UCLA 7th offense, 3rd defense
4. North Carolina 1st offense, 19th defense
5. Wisconsin 28th offense, 2nd defense
This was a loaded year with the only time in history all four #1 seeds made the final four. It could be argued it was the best, and easiest, seeding ever. Kansas, Memphis and UCLA were in the top ten for both offense and defense while North Carolina was the top offense. Kansas won it all in a great game over Memphis, one of the best championship games ever. Wisconsin had a tough team that won the Big 10 regular season and tournament but did not have a good enough offense to stay with a hot Davidson.
1. North Carolina 3rd offense, 4th defense
2. Florida 1st offense, 12th defense
3. Kansas 17th offense, 1st defense
4. Ohio State 4th offense, 15th defense
5. Georgetown 2nd offense, 20th defense
6. UCLA 23rd offense, 2nd defense
Florida won it all this year, with Ohio State, Georgetown and UCLA joining them in the final four.
If Wisconsin can hold their current rankings, and possibly improve the offense, they could blossom into a title contender. With the rankings where they currently stand Wisconsin does look like a legit final four or elite eight team. Many times in the past the offense for Wisconsin has not been good enough, this year the offense is much more efficient than the past years as their finishes go 36th, 28th, 26th, 46th, 30th, and 13th.
The year Wisconsin finished 13th was the year the committee did an atrocious job with the seedings and placement as Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State were placed in the same sub-region guaranteeing only one of the three could advance past the sweet 16. According to efficiency stats that year those three teams overall(offense and defense) rankings were 3. Oklahoma St, 4. Pittsburgh, 5. Wisconsin. When the brackets came out people in Wisconsin were livid with the seeding and placement and they should have been, the committee did a horrendous job that year putting 3 of the top 5 teams in the same Sub-Region.
These ranking cannot guarantee anything, but there is a trend established that only a top 5 or top 10 offense has a real shot to win the title.