It is often easier to eliminate Final Four candidates than to identify them.
For instance, if you look back through the history of all Final Four participants for the last 35 years or so, there doesn’t seem to be a common thread in the data that can be pointed to as a sure fire indicator that a particular team is going to win it all come March. (At least not yet, finding that is our goal…)
What we can identify are teams that lack characteristics germane to all Final Four teams. One of the best indicators is how well a team does on the road.
More specifically, has your team maintained a .500 or greater win percentage on away and neutral courts throughout the season.
The NCAA Tournament, in almost every case, host’s neutral games for every participant. Sometimes they may feel like home games because a team gets a favorable region but very rarely will they put a team on their home court. So if you are in the tournament, those that are most accomplished at winning away games throughout the season hold an advantage come crunch time.
Since 2003, there have not been any final four teams with a losing away/neutral record. Noting this observation, have a look at the records of the top 25, as they stand now:
This doesn’t bode well for Tennessee or Baylor. And twice in two weeks Creighton has been identified on the wrong end of the data. Here’s to hoping they finish out their seasons well.
Houston, Purdue and Gonzaga, however, look like they should be driving a tricked out overland vehicle while hanging out the side in real bad bdsm costumes and shaking a pointy spear.
Bottom line, if teams struggle away from home, they are not going to suddenly be great when they are playing tough tournament games night after night in Dallas or Indy or Salt Lake or Vegas. When picking your bracket, focus your attention on those that are proven road warriors.