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College basketball’s blue-chip ratio and National Championship contenders

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Not many surprises here.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Butler Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Now that you’re familiar with the blue-chip ratio, let’s take a look at which teams make the cut for this season’s National Championship. To calculate this season’s blue-chip ratio I used 247’s Team Roster database (here is Villanova’s, for example) because it had easy access to the prospect ratings.

I then went ahead and expanded this dataset to include KenPom rank plus AdjO/AdjD. The most talented team doesn’t always win, or play well. I think including who’s both talented and who is playing well deserves some consideration.

The baseline for this study was being in the AP Top 25 (or receiving votes) this week. I know I’m missing some teams (Louisville and Florida immediately come to mind, and both could concievably turn it around), but I needed to make a cut-off for my own sanity.

Before we get to the contenders, here were some notable ommissions that I thought might be included based on how good they are this year, and how good the program has been recently:

  • Purdue (#3 KenPom) - Lost in the shuffle with the Big Ten being absolute garbage, but these guys are as good a pick as there is to break this blue-chip streak.
  • Virginia (#5 KenPom) - Close, but no cigar. Grad-transfer Nigel Johnson brought the team average to the wrong side of the 50% mark. The Hoos are operating under the radar this year, and I’m not sure why.
  • Gonzaga (#9 KenPom) - Not all that surprising given how much they lost from last year, and the recruiting style of the staff.
  • West Virginia (#10 KenPom) - Press Virginia is a gimmick and there are plenty of thoughts I have on that, but I was definitely shocked to see just one blue-chip recruit on the Mountaineers roster. Huggins is doing more with less.
  • Wichita State (#13 KenPom) - It remains to be seen if the AAC move can give their recruiting a boost.
  • Oklahoma (#15 KenPom) - For all the Trae Young hype (it’s real, btw), he’d be breaking the mold by putting a less-talented team on his back all the way to a National Championship.
  • Seton Hall (#23 KenPom) - I’m clearly suffering from memory loss - Angel Delgado was the only 4-star recruit in that Senior class. That was surprising.
  • Notre Dame (#28 KenPom) - Another shocker, for me. I thought the Irish were recruiting way better than this. It actually wasn’t close to breaking the mark (but probably will, next year). Mike Brey can develop talent with the best of them.
  • Creighton (#30 KenPom) - Recruiting is trending in the right direction, but not quite there yet. Blame Marcus Foster - how was he only a 3-star?

2017-18 College Basketball National Championship Contenders

Team 5-stars 4-stars 3-stars and below Blue-Chip Ratio KenPom Rank AdjO Rank AdjD Rank
Team 5-stars 4-stars 3-stars and below Blue-Chip Ratio KenPom Rank AdjO Rank AdjD Rank
Michigan State 2 5 3 70.00% 2 10 2
Duke 5 3 4 66.67% 4 1 81
Villanova 2 5 3 70.00% 1 2 25
Arizona State 0 6 6 50.00% 19 4 103
Xavier 0 7 3 70.00% 16 9 57
Kansas 2 8 1 90.91% 6 7 14
Texas A&M 0 7 6 53.85% 11 57 3
North Carolina 1 6 6 53.85% 12 22 12
Arizona 4 4 3 72.73% 14 6 54
Miami 3 3 5 54.55% 18 67 7
Kentucky 6 4 0 100.00% 17 28 15
Florida State 0 5 5 50.00% 27 38 20
UCLA 4 3 5 58.33% 49 44 65
Texas 2 8 1 90.91% 32 122 6
Syracuse 0 5 5 50.00% 45 96 17
Auburn 1 4 4 55.56% 36 26 56
Alabama 1 7 4 66.67% 44 69 28
Mississippi State 0 8 3 72.73% 68 132 34

My thoughts:

  • No surprise that the consensus Top 3 right now consists of Villanova, Michigan State and Duke. Talent + on-court results = success.
  • Keep an eye on Kansas. They don’t look great but they are loaded, and they could still get Sylvio de Sousa (likely) and Billy Preston (not so much) on the team. And KenPom continues to like the underlying numbers.
  • Kentucky with the perfect model! Which makes it even funnier that the team frankly just isn’t that good. Not all 5-stars are created equal.
  • Texas is sneaky-loaded. They’re going to lose some notable guys, but Shaka has a good pool of talent to work off of if he can keep the recruiting going (he will). Some questions remain about the havoc gimmick but I’d be willing to bet he does well there.
  • Losing a lot of talent if you aren’t Duke or Kentucky is really a killer. Looking at you North Carolina. I think this is a plausible scenario for Villanova next year. Just saying.
  • Anybody else think Miami was recruiting better than that?

Fun project - quick study for me that hammers home the point that recruiting actually does matter. But as always, you need a good coach and a good system to make that talent go. There’s a reason Bill Self, Coach K, Tom Izzo and John Calipari are legends in the sport.

Down the line, I expect we’ll be talking about Jay Wright in the same way.