March Madness is all about stats, right? Here’s one to remember for each team when filling out your bracket.
For the third year in a row, the Crimson Tide lead the field in rim & three Rate. They take 91% of their field goal attempts either beyond the arc or around the hoop.
According to HoopMath, which defines transition as any shot taken within the first 10 seconds of a possession, the Wildcats lead shoot initial field goal attempts in transition at the 32nd highest rate in the country, and are still the 14th most efficient transition team. They are the only school in Division 1 who can say this.
The Bears are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country (18th) and one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the country (300th).
Cavaliers’ guard Reece Beekman leads all NCAA Tournament players in non-garbage time assist to turnover rate at 3.5.
5. San Diego State
March Madness is all about having offensive stars that can create their own looks. San Diego State has a plan to stop that. The Aztecs are the best team in the field in terms of defense against off-the-dribble three point shots, allowing just 0.97 points per possession, per Shot Quality.
This Blue Jays do not foul. The only team with a lower free throw rate defense is Purdue.
Expect lots of points in games involving the Tigers. They are the 10th best offensive team in the country according to Torvik…and the 176th best defensive team.
According to Haslametrics, Maryland is the most inconsistent team in the country.
9. West Virginia
How do you safely get an at-large bid as a team with 14 losses? How about having the most best strength of schedule in the entire country, outside of Kansas.
10. Utah State
Aggies’ guard Steven Ashworth is a lights out shooter. He is shooting 43.9% from three-point range, 50.5% from two-point range, and 87.6% from the foul line. Not quite 40-50-90 but he’s the only player in this tournament to have those marks.
11. NC State
Ball security is key for the Wolfpack. Casey Morsell, Jarkel Joiner, and Terquavion Smith all finished within the top 10 among ACC guards in turnover rate.
The Cougars are the first team to enter March Madness since at least 2010 with 30+ wins (31-3) and obtain a double-digit seed (12).
Tempo can be deceiving. In the case of the Paladins, they take advantage of transition on offense at the 39th highest rate in the country, yet allow transition opportunities at the 21st lowest rate in the country.
14. UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos have the fewest number of assisted three-point field goals among NCAA Tournament teams.
Coaching is key. After time outs, the Tigers’ offense ranks first in Shot Quality’s points per possession, at 1.10.
16. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
The Islanders have a team free throw percentage of 79.9%, only trailing Villanova among D1 teams.
When we think about the Boilermakers, we think one thing: Zach Edey. Purdue posts up on 15% of possessions, which leads the country by a landslide.
Golden Eagles’ guard Tyler Kolek is averaging 13.3 points, 7.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, the only player in the country to have each of those marks.
3. Kansas State
Markquis Nowell can match Tyler Kolek’s 7.6 assists per game, but happens to average 16.8 points.
The Volunteers have the best three point percentage against in the country, 26.2%.
69.3% of Dereck Lively’s field goals are dunks. This is the most in Division 1.
Oscar Tshiebwe trails only Zach Edey in practically every rebounding stat, including offensive rebound rate and defensive rebound rate.
7. Michigan State
The Spartans do not get to the foul line very much. In fact, they have the fewest attempted free throws among teams in the field.
Tigers’ guard Kendric Davis averages 22.1 points and 5.6 assists per game. He is the only Division 1 player with these marks.
9. Florida Atlantic
The Owls are Conference USA’s first single digit seed since Memphis (8) and Southern Miss (9), back in 2012.
Defense gets frustrating at times for the Trojans. While they have the 2nd best 2PT% against in the NCAA, at 42.4%, they also allow offensive rebounds at the 24th highest rate in the country.
The Friars are the only team entering March Madness as victims of their last three games and four of their last five.
12. Oral Roberts
Max Abmas, averaging 22.2 points per game, is the highest scoring guard in this tournament.
The Ragin’ Cajuns get to the line at the 36th best rate in the country…yet shoot just 67.2%, good for 321st.
14. Montana State
The Bobcats have the formula down a little better. They have the most points from the charity stripe in the country.
An America East power, the Catamounts enter as winners of seven consecutive regular season titles , and five conference tournament tiles over that span.
16. Texas Southern
At 14-20, the Tigers are the worst team in the NCAA Tournament since at least 2000, surpassing 2005 Oakland who was 13-18.
16. Fairleigh Dickinson
According to effective height, which places emphasis on players based on their minute share, the Knights are the shortest team in Division 1.
Defense travels when it comes with the Cougars. They allow 43.1% from two-point range and 27.8% from three-point range, both placing top five in the country.
Longhorns’ guard Sir’Jabari Rice epitomizes Sixth Man of the Year. He averages 12.6 points, yet has started just three out of 34 games.
Every Musketeer that has taken at least one three point attempt per game is shooting over 38%. Overall, Xavier ranks third in the country in three point percentage.
At 6-9, Hoosiers’ forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is the tallest player in this tournament to average over 4 assists per game. Oh, he is also averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hurricanes have four players averaging over 13 points per game. That’s more than 10% of ACC players who fit that mold.
6. Iowa State
The Cyclones have Shot Quality’s number one ranked defense in the entire country.
7. Texas A&M
After a late December loss to Wofford to fall to 6-5, the Aggies fell as low as 90th in Torvik’s rankings. They are currently the site’s 17th ranked team.
The Hawkeyes are Shot Quality’s unluckiest team in the tournament. They have an expected record of 22-10, yet are just 19-13 overall.
The Tigers are 4-9 since starting the year 16-3. They are 98th in Torvik’s strength of record since January 25th.
10. Penn State
When watching a Nittany Lions game, expect both teams to be clean. They turn teams over at the second lowest rate in the country but turn it over themselves at the sixth lowest rate in the country.
Panthers’ forward Blake Hinson seems to be most likely to hit the shots when they are most difficult. His contested catch and shoot three point efficiency is 1.01 points per possession, which is slightly higher than when he is open.
If the month of January did not exist, the Bulldogs would have just one loss on the season. They enter the tournament as winners of 13 of their previous 14.
13. Kent State
There have been eight D1 games this year in which both teams scored under 50 points and Kent State is responsible for two of them: a 49-44 loss to Houston and a 47-46 win over UTEP.
14. Kennesaw State
Only Kansas (11-2) has had more success in “close games” than the Owls (10-3).
The Red Raiders are the best team in the country when it comes to effective field goal percentage, at 58.6%.
16. Northern Kentucky
When it comes to tournament teams, only Virginia plays at a slower tempo than the Norse.
The Jayhawks had 17 quadrant one wins this season. Nobody else had more than 14.
For such a high powered offense, UCLA is quite the opposite in Alabama, ranking 356th in rim and three rate.
The Bulldogs are the hottest team right now according to Haslametrics’ momentum metric, which measures a team’s recent performances compared to their full body of work.
The best offensive rebounding team is…not Zach Edey’s Purdue…and not Oscar Tshiebwe’s Kentucky…but actually the Connecticut Huskies.
5. Saint Mary’s
The Gaels are a strange analytical darling this year. In Torvik, they are ranked higher than Baylor, Kansas, Marquette, Arizona, and more.
The Horned Frogs have the most made “close twos” in the country at 571.
The Wildcats’ defense made quite a leap this year, averaging 70.6 points allowed in 2021-22 to 62.5 in 2022-23. They are the only team to jump from the bottom half of the country to the top 15 in this metric.
The Razorbacks lead teams among the field of 68 in dunks with 156.
The Illini are undergoing their worst year in terms of offensive efficiency in the Brad Underwood era.
10. Boise State
Every starter for the Broncos is averaging in double figures. They are led by Tyson Degenhart’s 14.3 points per game.
11. Arizona State
Defense wins championships? The Sun Devils better hope so, as they have shot 30.3% from three-point land and 46.6% from two-point range since their 11-1 start to the season. Both place outside the top 300 nationally.
As we always say, free throws are critical in March. That’s good for Wolfpack center Will Baker who leads all 7-footers in free throw percentage at 83.6%.
The sign of a well-coached team? Taking smart shots. Mike Rhoads’ squad leads the NCAA in the shot selection metric.
The Gaels were too big and athletic for the MAAC. Of the 68 teams in this field, only Houston has a higher regular season block rate than Iona.
14. Grand Canyon
Only Purdue’s Zach Edey and Memphis’ Kendrick Davis have higher usage rates than the Lopes’ Rayshon Harrison.
15. UNC Asheville
Taijon Jones is the nation’s three-point king. Of all players that have attempted at least 200 perimeter shots, Jones leads the way with an efficiency of 45.8%.
The Bison turn the ball over an awful lot. In fact, they do so more than anybody in the previous three NCAA tournaments.