KenPom Championship Contenders Update

Andy Lyons

In honor of this post, I'm going to do an update now that we're halfway through conference season. Criss Cross said he would post at the end of Jan but hopefully he doesn't mind me jumping in. Love talking about numbers.

The last 10 NCAA Champions have all been ranked top 20 in both KenPom's Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (AdjO) and Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (AdjD) scores, for every year that he has been running numbers. Those numbers are an estimate of points per 100 possessions a team would score/allow against the average D-1 offense. Explanation here. And now that this week's top 25 has been released, we can see who measures up at this point in early Feb.

Just for fun I'll use both AP and Coaches' Poll ranks for a few extra teams.

AP/Coach   Team		 KenPom
25/NR Notre Dame AdjO 9 AdjD 180
NR/25 San Diego St AdjO 75 AdjD 13
24/NR Marquette AdjO 22 AdjD 64
23/25 Pittsburgh AdjO 6 AdjD 17
NR/23 Ole Miss AdjO 37 AdjD 40
22/24 Oklahoma St AdjO 47 AdjD 10
NR/22 Wichita St AdjO 58 AdjD 28
21/20 Missouri AdjO 21 AdjD 98
20/21 Georgetown AdjO 126 AdjD 5
19/19 Oregon AdjO 108 AdjD 18
18/18 Minnesota AdjO 8 AdjD 30
17/17 Cincinnati AdjO 53 AdjD 15
16/13 Creighton AdjO 4 AdjD 81
15/16 New Mexico AdjO 96 AdjD 22
14/14 Butler AdjO 26 AdjD 70
13/15 Kansas St AdjO 52 AdjD 29
12/8 Michigan St AdjO 27 AdjD 20
11/12 Louisville AdjO 15 AdjD 2
10/10 Ohio St AdjO 17 AdjD 9
9/9 Syracuse AdjO 13 AdjD 8
8/11 Miami AdjO 35 AdjD 4
7/7 Arizona AdjO 19 AdjD 11
6/6/ Gonzaga AdjO 5 AdjD 45
5/5/ Kansas AdjO 16 AdjD 6
4/4 Duke AdjO 7 AdjD 14
3/3 Michigan AdjO 1 AdjD 31
2/2 Florida AdjO 2 AdjD 1
1/1 Indiana AdjO 3 AdjD 12

And just in case you're curious (I know some of you are), Kentucky is AdjO 23, AdjD 25.

So, likely champions at the halfway conference point: Indiana, Florida, Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio St., Louisville, and Pittsburgh.

That means only Minnesota has fallen out of contention since last month, and Arizona and Pittsburgh have played their way into contention. For reference, Minnesota fell from 19th to 30th in AdjD, while Arizona climbed from 29th to 11th in AdjD. Not sure about Pittsburgh's rating since I don't have a membership at KenPom and can't check Jan 8 ratings. But the point is you can make up, or lose, some ground (10-20 spots) in 9-10 games, which is what they have played since then and have left to play.

So another quick list of teams that could play their way into championship contention, needing less than 20 ranks improvement in one or both category:

Minnesota (AdjD), Michigan (AdjD), Miami (AdjO), Michigan St. (AdjO), and Kentucky (AdjO and AdjD).

And maybe with an outside chance, Gonzaga (+25 AdjD).

Everyone else needs to move up 30 or more spots in one or both categories at this point. Going to be tough to do down the stretch.

If Criss Cross doesn't, I'll definitely post these on Selection Sunday again. Will be important to pick your bracket champion from someone on this list.

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