March Madness: 16 Stats to Know for the Sweet 16
A lot has happened during the NCAA Tournament as the field of 68 whittled down to 16.
Each of these teams remaining has their individual strengths and their weaknesses. Some may rely on their eyes to identify what those are, but looks can be deceiving. For that reason, others would rather rely on the numbers to tell them where teams are elite and where they're lacking.
With regard to this year's members of the Sweet 16, which statistics should we keep in mind for each team?
1. Gonzaga has accrued an offensive rebounding rate of 35.9% through two games.
The Bulldogs have grabbed over 28 of 78 available rebounds while on the offensive end of the floor. They've tallied 14 offensive rebounds in each game and junior forward Jonathan Williams has led the way with eight of his own. This is nothing new for the Zags, though. They've averaged 9.6 offensive boards per game on an offensive rebounding rate of 34.0% this season.
2. Kansas is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 62.1%.
Through two games, the Kansas Jayhawks have been shooting absolutely lights out. After ranking 12th and 20th in effective field goal and true shooting percentage on the year, respectively, the Jayhawks have surpassed those marks. Their effective field goal percentage is an improvement of 5.8% from the year as a whole, while their true shooting is 7.3% higher. Shooting 19 for 45 from three (42.2%) will do that.
3. North Carolina has taken down 35 offensive rebounds.
Much like Gonzaga, the Tar Heels have been absolute beasts on the offensive glass. They've had at least 16 offensive rebounds in each of their contests, while Tony Bradley and Kennedy Meeks have combined for a total of 17. As a team, they have secured 42.2% of potential offensive rebounds -- the same rate that led the nation of the course of the year.
4. Arizona is averaging .381 free throws per field goal attempt.
This year, the Arizona Wildcats rank 12th among all teams with .315 made free throws per field goal attempt. Clearly, they've improved since the postseason has gotten underway. And in making 43 of 51 free throw attempts, the Wildcats' rate through two games would lead all NCAA basketball squads.
5. Kentucky has turned the ball over on a mere 11.5% of possessions.
Despite their youth, the Kentucky Wildcats rank 21st on the year in offensive turnover rate. They've averaged 11.9 turnovers per game, but that number has dropped to 9.0 through two rounds of tournament action. For reference, Notre Dame led the nation with a turnover percentage of 12.3%. So, if Kentucky's current rate was what they did throughout the year, they'd be the least turnover-prone team in the country.
6. Oregon has obtained 57.7% of all available rebounds.
The Oregon Ducks have been a top-50 rebounding team this season. They average 36.6 rebounds per game on a rebounding rate of 53.0%. With the injury to star forward Chris Boucher, that could've changed rather quickly, but it hasn't. Instead, Oregon has out-rebounded teams 71 to 52 in two games.
7. Baylor is converting on 88.2% of free throw attempts.
On the year, Baylor is shooting 72.5% from the charity stripe. In two games and 17 attempts per game in the tournament, they've built upon that success, thanks to Manu Lecomte and Ishmael Wainwright. The Bears' starting backcourt has shot a combined 13 for 13 from the free throw line.
8. UCLA is averaging 4.5 turnovers per game.
After two games, the UCLA Bruins' season average of 11.1 turnovers per game tells us they should have roughly 22 turnovers. Well, they have nine. In fact, Lonzo Ball and company have taken such good care of the ball that they've gone past slicing their season turnover percentage of 13.2% in half. To date, the Bruins have gone 93.8% of their possessions without a turnover.
9. West Virginia has blocked 15.4% of their opponents two-point attempts.
We mostly know West Virginia and their pressure defense for forcing turnovers and coming up with steals, but they've added another element to their elite defensive efforts. Against Bucknell and Notre Dame, the Mountaineers have a total of just 10 blocks. Since both teams were primarily dependent on the three, they've accumulated those on just 65 two-point field goal attempts against. Nathan Adrian leads the team with four swats in the last two games.
10. Purdue has surrendered just .124 free throws per field goal attempt.
The Purdue Boilermakers have allowed 146 points in two games so far, but have done a great job at defending without fouling -- they've limited their opponents' free throw opportunities to just 24 in two games. That's just a representation of Purdue's full season, which included a free throw per field goal attempt rate that positioned them third in the nation.
11. Butler is holding opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 47.5%.
Over the course of the season, the Butler Bulldogs ranked just 188th in effective field goal percentage against (50.4%). The intensity of the tournament seems to have sparked an increase in their defensive efforts, however, as they've limited their two opponents to no better than 47.6%. They've allowed only 13 total threes and kept Winthrop and Middle Tennessee to 64 and 65 points, respectively.
12. Florida has made 55.7% of their two-point field goals.
This might seem like an insignificant figure, but the Gators have made just 50.2% of their attempts from inside the arc this season. In the first two rounds, Devin Robinson and Kevarrius Hayes -- a combined 72.7% on 22 two-point attempts -- have made sure the inside game operates more efficiently.
13. Michigan is limiting teams to a three-point attempt rate of 28.8%.
There's no denying the Michigan Wolverines have elevated their level of play to a place where it has sustained a long tournament run. On the contrary, their three-point attempt rate allowed doesn't have a ton to do with that -- it's remained the same. For the year, Michigan's opponents have taken 28.8% of their field goal attempts from three -- a clip that rates them eighth in the country. And now, through two games, they've given up only 12 makes on 33.3% shooting.
14. South Carolina has forced a turnover on 21.5% of defensive possessions.
Through two rounds, the Gamecocks have eliminated Marquette and Duke with suffocating defense. They've come up with 19 total steals and have created 35 turnovers between their two opponents. They've merely added to the fifth-ranked turnover rate (21.2%) they've built over the course of the 2016-17 campaign.
15. Wisconsin possesses five players averaging at least 7.0 points per game.
Everything about Wisconsin has been consistent and well-balanced. That includes their production as a team. Bronson Koenig (22.5 points per game), Nigel Hayes (17.5) and Ethan Happ (11.0) are all averaging double figures through a pair of tournament wins. Meanwhile, Vitto Brown (7.5) and Khalil Iverson (7.0) are averaging 14.5 points between them. The five players make up 87.9% of the Badgers' 74.5 points per game in the tournament to this point.
16. Xavier has held opponents to 94.95 points per 100 possessions.
While keeping their opponents to a total of 131 points in two games, the Xavier Musketeers have given up just 11 threes on 22.9% shooting from long range. They've also kept the pace at a meager average of 68.7 possessions per 40 minutes, allowing them to create higher variance toward the outcome of the game. That, and their defensive effort, is why they're the only double-digit seed left standing.