There are currently 3 teams with KenPom top 10 offenses and defenses. They are Duke, Virginia and Michigan State. I firmly believe Virginia or Duke can win it all. My biggest concern with Virginia is the pace they play at. Though they kept up offensively against Duke, what we saw against UMBC is what scares you. If they encounter a large deficit, can they overcome? That’s the fear in a single elimination tournament.
Duke’s defense was a concern the last 3 seasons but has been an obvious plus this year. They shot well from deep on Saturday. It was probably a mirage but I think that’s at least partly covered up by how well they attack the offensive glass.
I’m not sold on Sparty at the moment. Bad losses to Indiana and Illinois will do that.
Teams in the top 10 offensively with lesser defenses are Gonzaga, Tennessee, Purdue, UNC, Iowa, Auburn and Villanova. Tennnessee is well on its way to its best regular season ever but a defense at 40th is a reason to wonder come March. Gonzaga has one of the best offense of the KenPom era and 20th defensively. They’re a Final 4 team. I know Killian Tillie is out but I think they can overcome that.
Purdue and Villanova are 68th and 78th respectively on defense. They’d be a stretch to get to a Final 4. Auburn is 49th and Iowa is 113th. Neither profiles as making a deep run, either.
North Carolina is 19th in KenPom and 7th in offense. I’ll be curious where they end up in regards to seeding. My hunch is as the 2 in the South with Tennessee. They could still snag a 1-seed but I’d be all over them against Tennessee in March.
Texas Tech, Michigan, VCU, Kansas State, Kentucky and Florida round out the top 10 defensive teams. Michigan is 37th in offense and play a slower pace. I think Brian and I are in agreement they will be fool’s gold in March.
Texas Tech is 108th, Kansas State is 143rd and VCU is 220th in offensive efficiency. None of them profile as Final 4 teams. Kansas State has had some injury issues so I’d keep an eye on if they improve that offensive number. If they can get around 50, they might be worth a flier. VCU is probably a team you don’t want to see in the first round but beyond that, they are seriously offensively challenged.
Kentucky is the defensive inverse of UNC. They’re Final 4 good. Florida is not a tourney team at the moment. But they play good defense, so that’s nice.