The 2024 NCAA Tournament Champ Will Be One of These Four Teams

To win your pool, picking the Champ is key, so this is the most important post of the week. I’ve identified traits common to the past 20 NCAA Tournament champions that all together comprise Champ DNA. The criteria has evolved a bit since 2018, but not drastically. Here’s a quick, but very important, look at which teams in the 2024 NCAA Tournament have Champ DNA and which “contenders” are actually pretenders.

Champ DNA Criteria

There are a few attributes common to the past 20 NCAA Tournament Champions. Each champ met an established threshold for each of the following metrics/ratings:

  • Away (road + neutral site) Win%
  • Q1 Win%
  • Rebounding
  • FG%
  • Def FG%
  • Scoring
  • Overall rating
  • Conference rating

The Contenders

The only teams that check all the Champ DNA boxes this year are:

  • 1-Houston
  • 1-Connecticut
  • 1-Purdue
  • 2-Tennessee

All solid contenders. Tennessee did fail to reach the semis in the SEC Tournament, though…

Three Teams are so so Close

1-North Carolina, 2-Iowa State, and 4-Duke each have one red flag, but they’re barely below the threshold.

After two uncharacteristically weak years, the ACC is actually strong enough this year. Where North Carolina and Duke fall just short is their combo (off+def) scoring power rating.

Iowa State’s Away Win% is just below the threshold.

Tier 2 – One Red Flag

Teams with just one significant red flag are:

  • 2-Arizona (conference strength rating)
  • 4-Auburn (Q1 win%)
  • 3-Illinois (scoring)

Tier 3 – Two Red Flags

Teams with two red flags are:

  • 2-Marquette (rebounding, scoring)
  • 3-Creighton (away win%, scoring)
  • 3-Kentucky (rebounding, scoring)
  • 4-Kansas (away win%, scoring)

Only pick one of these teams if you want to take a massive risk.

Ain’t No Way

What about 3-Baylor and 4-Alabama? The have three red flags each.

  • Baylor: away win%, def FG%, and scoring
  • Bama: away win%, Q1 record, and scoring

2 responses to “The 2024 NCAA Tournament Champ Will Be One of These Four Teams”

  1. joe church Avatar
    joe church

    I thought based on the quarterfinal rule Tennessee would be eliminated?

    1. BracketNinja Avatar

      Great question. Thanks, Joe! I’ve simplified the Champ DNA to consist purely of statistical metrics/ratings. I have a high enough level of mathematical confidence there. The QF Rule feels less mathy and more like an interesting factoid or, at best, an observable trend – not as explainable. My current Champ DNA version is more purely mathematical, so I just have more faith in it. Does that make sense? But if the Quarterfinal Rule holds, then Tennessee’s not going to make it.