We’re one day away from finding out the answer to that question. The last weekend of College Basketball stands before us, and the Buckeyes are one of the last four teams remaining. They’ve got a tough road ahead, but they’ve certainly got the talent and coaching to make a go of it.
You may recall another Buckeye Basketball Breakdown I wrote about a month ago. In it, I looked at the various traits of College Basketball champions and looked at OSU’s stats to see how the Buckeyes measured up. The answer was mostly satisfactory, but not completely. Also, considering we hadn’t finished the regular season, the data was incomplete.
I want to go back and reanalyze the Buckeyes now that we’re two (very difficult) games away from the Championship. Have the Buckeyes improved statistically, or met any other conditions we couldn’t check yet, to make them look more like a championship contender? That’s what we want to find out.
Allow me to reiterate a thought I had in that previous article. No one champion has ever possessed all of the following traits, but every single champion has owned a majority of them. These are simply traits common to the champions in the last 30 years or so.
As one last gift, I thought that we could include the data for Kentucky, Louisville, and Kansas as well. It should serve as an overall great preview of the weekend!
1. At least two returning starters.
Ohio State: Jared Sullinger, William Buford (technically Aaron Craft as well)
Kansas: Tyshawn Taylor
Kentucky: Terrance Jones, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller
Louisville: Kyle Kuric, Peyton Siva, Chris Smith
2. Since 1985, every national champion has won at least 19 games the season before winning the title.
Ohio State: 34-3
3. Rank in the top 25 in scoring and/or field-goal percentage.
We’ll list the Ranking in Points Per Game, Effective Field Goal Percentage (EFG), and True Shooting Percentage (TSP)
Ohio State: PPG: 33, EFG: 56, TSP: 53
Kansas: PPG: 39, EFG: 42, TSP: 44
Kentucky: PPG: 13, EFG: 19, TSP: 15
Louisville: PPG: 162, EFG: 242, TSP: 232 (!!!)
Louisville is very clearly here on the strength of their incredible defense. And you thought the OSU offense was bad.
4. Rank in the top 20 in scoring margin.
Here are the ranks in Scoring margin, as well as each team’s current value in parenthesis.
Ohio State: 2nd (+15.3)
Kansas: 8th (+12.6)
Kentucky: 1st (+17.3)
Louisville: 45th (+7.6)
5. Rank in the top 50 in field-goal percentage, while forcing opponents to shoot less than 42 percent.
You can find the Effective and True Shooting percentages for each team in point three. What follows is the opponent’s shooting percentage.
Ohio State: EFG: 46.4, TSP: 49.7
Kansas: EFG: 43.4, TSP: 47.7
Kentucky: EFG: 42.2, TSP: 45.6
Louisville: EFG: 42.9, TSP: 46.7
It’s worth pointing out that Kentucky has the best defense in these catagories, ranking first in both Opponents EFG and Opponents TSP. Neither value is below 42%. This might be a statistically strong offense year, but either way this category will not be satisfied this season.
6. Allow fewer than 71 points per game.
Ohio State: 59.7 (17th)
Kansas: 61.6 (42nd)
Kentucky: 60.6 (25th)
Louisville: 60.8 (31st)
Kentucky may have the best defense in the shooting percentage category, but the Buckeyes are allowing a full point fewer per game scored. OSU is better at keeping their opponents from taking baskets in the first place.
7. Shoot at least 34.4 percent from 3-point range.
Ohio State: 33.3 (217th)
Kansas: 34.5 (157th)
Kentucky: 37.8 (36th)
Louisville: 31.7 (274th)
I can’t actually believe that there’s another team in the final four that shoots three pointers worse than the Buckeyes do.
8. Shoot at least 62.3 percent from the free-throw line.
Ohio State: 70.5 (115th)
Kansas: 69.1 (171st)
Kentucky: 72.7 (55th)
Louisville: 68.8 (190th)
9. Have a post player who stands at least 6-8 and averages double figures in scoring.
Ohio State: Jared Sullinger (6-9, 17.6)
Kansas: Thomas Robinson (6-9, 17.7)
Kentucky: Anthony Davis (6-10, 14.3)
Louisville: Gorgui Dieng (6-11, 9.1)
10. Seven or Fewer losses.
Ohio State: 31-7
If the Buckeyes succeed, they’ve passed this category by the skin of their teeth.
11. Finish first or second in conference or division.
We’ll check Regular Season (RS) and Conference Tournaments (CT)
Ohio State: RS: Tied First, CT: Second
Kansas: RS: First, CT: Semifinals
Kentucky: RS: First, CT: Second
Louisville: RS: Seventh, CT: First
We’ll give this one to Louisville since they did manage to win the Big East Tournament. Doing it by the skin of their teeth and all.
12. Reach semifinals of conference tournament.
Ohio State: Finals
13. RPI no worse than 15.
Ohio State: 5
Breaking that down by the number of successful categories met by the various final four teams, the final tally is:
Ohio State: 10-3
It’s interesting to break the teams down this way, but obviously don’t put too much stock into what’s been included here. There is a reason, after all, why they play the games.
This should be an incredibly fun weekend of basketball! All four of the teams play parts of the game very well, and it should make for a great triplet of games!