Over the past 20 years, every national champion in college basketball except an outlying Connecticut team in 2014 has ranked in the Top 25 of KenPom's adjusted offensive AND defensive efficiency ratings. Thus if that trend holds, powerhouses like Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas Tech, Villanova, Duke, Iowa and Purdue are out of luck to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament. One more trend to keep in mind: No champion since 1985 has failed to reach at least the semifinals of its conference tournament. That eliminates a few more teams.
Of the schools listed above, East Region No. 2 seed Kentucky has the shortest title odds via Caesars Sportsbook at +800. The Cats did reach the SEC Tournament semifinal before losing to Tennessee and rank No. 4 in adjusted offensive efficiency (ADJO) but 27th on defense.
The Vols (+2000) won the SEC Tournament and are playing terrific basketball in winning 12 of 13. UT ranks No. 3 in adjusted defensive efficiency (ADJD) but 36th in ADJO. Another bad sign for Tennessee: Rick Barnes teams are 1-11-1 ATS in their last 13 NCAA Tournament games. Since Texas made the Elite 8 in 2008, Barnes' teams have made it past the first weekend once in nine trips.
Kansas (+900) was the Big 12 regular-season and tournament champion and ranks No. 6 in ADJO but 29th on defense. Texas Tech (+2200) is No. 1 on defense but 65th on offense. Baylor (+1000) ranks No. 9 offensively and No. 14 defensively but failed to reach the Big 12 semifinals.
Another way to word that: No team has ever lost its conference tournament opener and won the NCAA Tournament. Auburn (+1400) and Illinois (+1400) also fall into that category. The Tigers are Top 25 in both offense and defense, but Illinois is outside the Top 25 in defense.
Big East Tournament champion Villanova (+1600) is No. 8 on offense but No. 28 on defense. ACC regular-season champion Duke (+1400) is No. 7 on offense and No. 44 on defense – and stuck in the same West Region as No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga (+325), which ranks No. 1 on offense and No. 7 on defense. The Zags' overall adjusted efficiency margin of +32.97 is easily the nation's best.
The Big Ten hasn't had a national champion in men's basketball since Michigan State in 2000. Conference tournament champion Iowa (+2800) is No. 2 in offense but No. 77 defense. Purdue (+1800) is No. 3 in offense but an awful 100th defensively.
Other schools that rank Top 25 in both offense and defense if not listed above: Arizona (+600), Houston (+3000) and UCLA (+2000).
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