It’s never to early to pick your tourney champ



Selection Sunday might be weeks away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a leg up on your fellow bracketeers and start narrowing in on your choice for the tourney’s ultimate champ. By monitoring just a few key statistical factors throughout the course of the regular season, you can reduce your list of champion candidates to a handful of teams—and be reasonably sure that the ultimate victor will be among them. Heck, last year on my blog at, I pegged three of the Final Four contenders (only missing Georgetown) and landed on Florida as the champ—as early as January 25.


Over the 23 years of the 64/65-team era, all but two of the champions have been seeded No. 4 or higher, scored at least 76 points per game and had a victory margin of 10 or more points. The two exceptions occurred in 1985 when No. 8 seed Villanova upset Georgetown and in 1988 when No. 6 seed Kansas beat top-seeded Oklahoma. Since 1989—a period of 19 straight tourneys—the champion has fulfilled …


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