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Analytics say Michigan State basketball is one of 9 teams that can win it all

What analytics favor MSU?



Michigan State basketball
© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball is one of nine teams that can win it all according to analytics. What are the numbers saying?

The ultimate Michigan State basketball goal every season is to win a national championship. Every program says that, but not every program necessarily means it. That just goes to show the greatness that MSU has risen to on a national stage that this is their ultimate goal every season.

How realistic are Michigan State’s chances of winning it all, though? Considering the start to the Spartans’ season, you might think their chances are pretty low. That, however, isn’t the case. In fact, looking at the data, MSU is one of nine teams that could win it all in the NCAA Tournament.

Why is MSU one of nine teams who can win it all?

There’s one specific set of data that tells us that only nine teams can win the NCAA tournament as of today. I’m sure most of you have heard of KenPom, but this is an analytics tool that uses a large amount of data to rank college basketball teams and predict outcomes of games. Using this data source, there is one specific data set that tells us that MSU can win a national title.

As of today, Michigan State is ranked as a top 40 KenPom offense and a top 22 KenPom defense. Why is this significant? Every national championship team since 2002 has met this criteria. That makes 21 straight NCAA champions that have met the above statistical criteria. Now I’m not usually big on data suggesting outcomes like this, but it’s hard to deny how reliable this is.

As I’ve mentioned, Michigan State is one of nine teams who currently meet this criteria. So, spoiler alert, if you don’t want to know what few teams have a chance at winning it all then stop reading now.

Houston, Tennessee, North Carolina, Arizona, Marquette, Auburn, Purdue, and BYU are the other eight teams that also meet this criteria.

So if the NCAA Tournament began today, you should pick one of these nine teams to win it all.

It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues this season. But it will be even more interesting to see if Michigan State continues to meet this criteria throughout the season. For something that’s been true for 21 straight tournaments, I really hope the Spartans stay on this list all season.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.


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