FanPost

Defense the key to NCAA tournament success?


I have to admit that I'm frustrated with unsubstantiated statements such as that good defense is more important than good offense for tournament success. I admit that I tended to believe that defense was more critical to success as well, but I wanted to examine it. To explore this, I have looked at Kenpom's efficiency rankings for the past three NCAA tournaments. The bottom line: It is a statistical wash. It's helpful to be really good at one or the other, but even better to be good at both (shocking, I know). Here's what I came up with:

 

Data after the jump

 

Tournament Success of top offensive and defensive efficiency teams

 

2008

Top 20 Offense:           37 – 17 (69%)

Top 20 Defense:           35 – 16 (69%)

Top 10 Offense:           27 – 9 (75%)

Top 10 Defense:           23 – 8 (74%)

Both in Top 20:            22 – 5 (81%)

Top 20 O only: 15 – 12 (56%)

Top 20 D only: 13 – 11 (54%)

 

2009

Top 20 Offense:           37 – 17 (69%)

Top 20 Defense:           39 - 19 (67%)

Top 10 Offense:           24 – 9 (73%)

Top 10 Defense:           19 - 10 (65%)

Both in Top 20:            22 – 6 (79%)

Top 20 O only: 15 -11 (58%)

Top 20 D only: 17 – 13 (57%)

 

2010

Top 20 Offense:           35 – 18 (66%)

Top 20 Defense:           32 – 16 (67%)

Top 10 Offense:           17 – 9 (65%)

Top 10 Defense:           18 – 7 (74%)

Both in Top 20:            16 – 5 (76%)

Top 20 O only: 19 – 13 (59%)

Top 20 D only: 16 – 11 (59%)

Stay Casual, my friends.

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