I am going to write a multi-part blog breaking down the NCAA bracket heading into the tournament which starts March 13-14 with the First Four. With all the who’s in, who’s out talk come selection Sunday I thought looking inside some of the numbers that determine who makes the tournament could correlate with tournament success. Some of the categories I will be focusing on will be sos, non-conference sos, rpi including record vs. top 50 rpi, and how teams performed on neutral courts.
The first category of focus will be on neutral court performance. With some of the conference tournaments starting today it is a good time to evaluate how teams did on neutrals courts since most of the conference tournaments are held on them. The past two national champions had undefeated neutral court records both during the regular season and conference tournament. During the 2009-2010 season Duke finished with a combined 12-0 neutral court record and ACC tournament championship. Like Duke, last year’s national champion Connecticut finished with a combined 14-0 record and Big East tournament championship. I know the sample size is small but also interesting.
The following list of teams had success on neutral courts during the regular season (used only top 50 RPI teams, must have played at least 3 games, and remained unbeaten):
- Duke (5-0)
- Missouri (4-0)
- Florida (4-0)
- Kentucky (4-0)
- Marquette (4-0)
- Baylor (3-0)
- Alabama (3-0)
- St. Louis (3-0)
- Harvard (3-0)
- Northwestern (3-0)
I will do a follow up blog on neutral court records after the conference tournaments and track any teams who remain perfect. There were a number of teams who were 2-0 but I feel that sample is too small. If any of these teams win their respective conference tournaments they will be included in the update.
After the conference tournaments are complete I will also break down how teams with a high ranking in RPI, SOS, and non-conference SOS fared in past tournaments and let’s see how this year’s tournament shakes out.