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As of Right Now, There Are Only Nine Teams That Can Win the NCAA Championship


Act like you haven’t clicked on Bracketology already to figure out the path for your team to win the title. We’re in the trust tree and you can admit it. I’ve done it to see what the seeds are.

Everyone wants to look at a big name guy like Ben Simmons, who could get hot for six games. Or they could look at a certain coach like Tom Izzo, who always seems to find his way to the Final Four.

What if I told you there was a simple formula that will tell you who will the national championship? What if I told you it’s pretty simple and you can track it throughout the rest of the year so come March you’ll have a short list of true title contenders?

Since 2002 there’s a simple rule that tells you who truly can win six consecutive games in March. If you’re an advanced stat nerd – remember we’re in the trust tree so you can admit that  – you’ll love something like this.

So, here it is. In order to be a champion you can’t be ranked worse than 40th in either offensive or defensive ratings per KenPom. On top of that if you do have a ranking 22-39, you must be in the top 10 in the other category in order to listen to One Shining Moment (the greatest song ever and I’ll fucking fight you if you say otherwise).

It might sound a little confusing, but it’s really not. It also sounds easier said than done. Considering there are 351 teams in Division I college hoops, you need to finish in the top 11 percent on both sides of the ball.

So, what have previous champions looked like ratings wise?

Note: “Offensive Rating” is the estimated amount of points a teams scores per 100 possessions. “Defensive Rating” is the estimated amount of points a team allows per 100 possessions.”

YearTitleAdjO RankedAdjD Ranked


So, who is it this year? There are currently nine title contenders and some of the names will probably surprise you. It just shows how tough it is to maintain this type of play for a season at the amateur level. The second question of these nine are if they are true contenders.

TeamAdjO RankingAdjD Ranking
Michigan State811
West Virginia282


That’s it. Those nine right now are the only nine that can win the title based on advanced stats and a trend that is 14 years long. Sure, there are Cinderella’s like Butler that made back-to-back championship games, but there’s not a trophy in Indianapolis. That’s because they were too lopsided, ranked only high on the defensive side of the ball.

If you’re a betting man, throw some money on these nine teams right now. Looking at BetOnline, you can get odds at the following. Villanova (12/1), Kansas (12/1), Oklahoma (8/1), Michigan State (10/1), West Virginia (66/1), Virginia (16/1), Xavier (33/1), Miami (25/1) and Louisville (33/1). Those are some steals there.

The KenPom rankings fluctuate daily, so keep an eye on this stat as the season goes forward. But, the cliché statement is numbers never lie and this is 14 years in the making. Sure, anything can happen in a one-game situation like the NCAA Tournament, so a couple of these teams will get knocked out. But, one of those will win it all (cough, cough, Oklahoma, cough).

What are you surprised by with this list? What team of the nine do you think is the true contender? Let me know @barstoolreags

PS: If you missed it yesterday, I sat down with Rico Bosco to talk about the college hoops world and shared some ridiculous stories: