March Madness 2013: Ranking the 10 Most Complete Teams in NCAA Tournament

Chad LykinsFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

March Madness 2013: Ranking the 10 Most Complete Teams in NCAA Tournament

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    With yet another Selection Sunday in the books, the 2013 NCAA tournament bracket is set with a field of 68 teams all vying for the ultimate prize in college basketball. 

    While this season has been consumed with an inordinate amount of parity between the top teams in the country, throughout the next three weeks the best of the best will finally be determined. Which is why this year's event is being discussed as one of the most anticipated NCAA tournaments in recent memory. 

    Although, many will have their own opinion—which is the beauty of this entire topic—on who should be ranked higher or lower and included or excluded, these rankings will be based on teams ranked inside the Top 25 in either adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency according to the Ken Pomeroy Ratings, who also possess the greatest opportunity to make the most noise due to their balance and talent level.

    To give you an approximated idea of who those particular contenders could end up being with the best chance to reach the Final Four, working our way from 10 to one, these are the most complete teams in this year's tournament.

    All statistics via ESPN.com

10. Miami Hurricanes (East Region No. 2)

1 of 10

    Record: 27-6 (15-3, 1st in ACC)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 14th 

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 20th

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 22nd

    Points Per Game: 69.9

    Opponent Points Per Game: 60.6

    Scoring Margin: +9.3

    What Makes Them Complete: Despite checking in at No. 10, Miami is as dangerous as anyone in this tournament. Do-it-all point guard Shane Larkin has been sensational throughout the course of his sophomore season, as was seen during his Most Valuable Player performance at the ACC tournament. As good as he is offensively, Larkin is that much better on the defensive end. 

    However, this team isn't just about Larkin. His backcourt teammate Durand Scott is a dynamic player, who can put a lot of points on the scoreboard and who can also shut down guys defensively. Scott was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC. 

    Also, don't forget about the inside-out ability of Kenny Kadji, the three-point shooting of Trey McKinney Jones and the length on the defensive end from Julian Gamble. 

    How Far Can They Go: Final Four

    How Far Will They Go: Elite Eight

9. Syracuse Orange (East Region No. 4)

2 of 10

    Record: 27-9 (11-7, 5th in Big East)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 13th

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 16th 

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 23rd

    Points Per Game: 71.3

    Opponent Points Per Game: 60.0

    Scoring Margin: +11.3

    What Makes Them Complete: Jim Boeheim has in his possession one of the most talented teams in the NCAA tournament. Led by point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who is among the nation's elite in assists (7.7)  and steals (2.7), the Orange advanced all the way to the Big East tournament championship in impressive fashion before being downed by Louisville. 

    Nevertheless, Syracuse is fully capable of going on a run in this tournament. James Southerland's outside shooting has been on point, as seen in the Big East tournament (19-of-33, 57.5 percent). Brandon Triche provides senior leadership and C.J. Fair can score in a hurry. 

    And don't forget about the patented 2-3 zone.

    How Far Can They Go: Elite Eight

    How Far Will They Go: Third Round

8. Michigan State Spartans (Midwest Region No. 3)

3 of 10

    Record: 25-8 (13-5, 2nd in Big Ten)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 10th 

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 24th 

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 8th

    Points Per Game: 68.2

    Opponent Points Per Game: 59.2

    Scoring Margin: +9.0

    What Makes Them Complete: If there was ever a team that you would most definitely not want to play in March, it's the Michigan State Spartans. Tom Izzo has done a masterful job over the years of positioning his team to make a lengthy run in the NCAA tournament. This year has been no different. 

    Michigan State has tremendous balance, led by its backcourt scoring-tandem of Keith Appling (13.6 points) and Gary Harris (12.9 points). Upfront, though, is what makes them a difficult team to stop. Adreian Payne's length coupled with the wide frame of Derrick Nix can create matchup nightmares for opposing frontcourt players. 

    The Spartans will rely on strong rebounding and tenacious defense to contend for a national championship. 

    How Far Can They Go: Final Four

    How Far Will They Go: Sweet 16

7. Kansas Jayhawks (South Region No. 1)

4 of 10

    Record: 29-5 (14-4, 1st in Big 12)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 8th

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 25th

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 6th

    Points Per Game: 75.3

    Opponent Points Per Game: 61.4

    Scoring Margin: +13.9

    What Makes Them Complete: Judging by its Big 12 tournament championship romp, Kansas is clicking on all cylinders. Freshman Ben McLemore has been outstanding all season by averaging 16.4 points per game and seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey all have tournament experience, coming off a national championship game appearance a year ago.

    When speaking of Withey, though, he is one of the most complete big men in the country. He can score (13.6 points), rebound (8.4 rebounds) and block shots (3.8). He is also the leader of the No. 1 field-goal defense in the country, as Kansas holds opponents to only 36 percent shooting.

    Above all else, however, Bill Self is arguably one of the top two or three coaches in the game today. It's a going to be a challenge for Kansas to get back to the Final Four, but it has all the necessary pieces to get the job done.

    How Far Can They Go: Final Four

    How Far Will They Go: Sweet 16

6. Duke Blue Devils (Midwest Region No. 2)

5 of 10

    Record: 27-5 (14-4, 2nd in ACC)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 6th

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 4th 

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 25th 

    Points Per Game: 78.2

    Opponent Points Per Game: 65.4

    Scoring Margin: +12.8

    What Makes Them Complete: It was just one week ago that many considered Duke to be the favorite to claim the 2013 national championship. However, after a disappointing outing against Maryland in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, the Blue Devils exited from that role rather quickly. 

    In any case, there is still loads of potential for Duke to reach this year's Final Four. It possesses the highest-scoring starting lineup in the country, led by its senior triad of Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee. Joining them is the improved play of point guard Quinn Cook and one of the best freshmen in the country, Rasheed Sulaimon. 

    Offensively, is where Duke is at its best. With Kelly back into the mix after returning from an injured right foot, it has allowed the Duke offense to be more spread out, giving Plumlee more room to operate in the low-post. With an array of three-point shooters (40.6 percent as a team), the Blue Devils could be looking at returning to the Final Four for the second time in four years.

    How Far Can They Go: National Champions

    How Far Will They Go: Elite Eight

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (West Region No. 2)

6 of 10

    Record: 26-7 (13-5, 2nd in Big Ten)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 5th

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 14th 

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 6th

    Points Per Game: 69.3

    Opponent Points Per Game: 57.9

    Scoring Margin: +11.4

    What Makes Them Complete: After starting 8-5 in conference play, Ohio State turned its season around following a 22-point loss at the hands of Wisconsin by reeling off eight straight victories culminating into winning the Big Ten tournament championship in a rematch against the Badgers.

    Led by the best on-ball defender in the country in Aaron Craft (2.0 steals) and the high-scoring DeShaun Thomas (19.5 points), the Buckeyes are poised to make a solid run in this year's tournament. 

    Defensively is where Ohio State does most of its damage. The Buckeyes are 25-1 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points. And to win a championship, especially this year, having a strong defense is a must.

    How Far Can They Go: Final Four

    How Far Will They Go: Final Four

4. Indiana Hoosiers (East No. 1)

7 of 10

    Record: 27-6 (14-4, 1st in Big Ten)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 3rd

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 1st

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 19th

    Points Per Game: 80.0

    Opponent Points Per Game: 62.4

    Scoring Margin: +17.6

    What Makes Them Complete: Indiana has a great chance to finish the season by cutting down the nets in Atlanta, Ga. The preseason favorites have been stellar up to this point with a Big Ten regular season championship to their credit.

    Led by the Naismith Player of the Year finalists Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Indiana boasts the most efficient offense in the nation. It is 17-1 on the year when scoring 80 or more points. The Hoosiers are also one of the best rebounding teams in the country, ranked inside the Top 25. 

    Indiana possesses all of the necessary components in order to win a national championship. Its last title came back in 1987. An excruciatingly long drought, though, this year's team is more than able to put a stop to the waiting by winning a sixth championship in school history.

    How Far Can They Go: National Champions

    How Far Will They Go: National Champion Runner-Up

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (West Region No. 1)

8 of 10

    Record: 31-2 (16-0, 1st in West Coast)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 4th

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 3rd

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 14th

    Points Per Game: 77.6

    Opponent Points Per Game: 59.4

    Scoring Margin: +18.2

    What Makes Them Complete: Should Gonzaga be a No. 1 seed? Absolutely. Regardless of their schedule, the Bulldogs have taken care of business emphatically with terrific balance on either end of the floor. 

    Kelly Olynyk, the 7'0" big man, leads an extremely efficient offensive attack. Olynyk has been tremendous following a redshirt year last season. He is averaging 17.2 points while shooting 65 percent from the floor. 

    Elias Harris also provides consistent scoring with 14.9 points on nearly 52 percent shooting. Then there is Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Sam Dower who are all capable of leading this Gonzaga team to glory on any night. 

    As good as their offense is, the Bulldogs defense isn't that far behind. Despite their level of competition, Gonzaga's defense only allows 38 percent shooting from its opponents. With a balanced attack on both ends, a trip to the Final Four could be on the horizon for the West Coast champions.

    How Far Can They Go: Final Four

    How Far Will They Go: Elite Eight

2. Louisville Cardinals (Midwest Region No. 1)

9 of 10

    Record: 29-5 (14-4, 1st in Big East)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 2nd

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 15th

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 1st

    Points Per Game: 73.5

    Opponent Points Per Game: 57.9

    Scoring Margin: +15.6

    What Makes Them Complete: There isn't a team in the field of 68 that is playing any better than Louisville. Fresh off of its Big East tournament championship victory, the Cardinals were rewarded with the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. 

    At the defensive end is where Louisville shines. A terrific backcourt with Peyton Siva (2.2 steals) and Russ Smith (2.0 steals) is arguably the best in the nation. But, don't forget about the man in the middle. Gorgui Dieng has been superb this season by averaging 10.0 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

    While many just notice the defensive ability of Rick Pitino's squad, the offense is better than what most think. Smith, Dieng and Siva all average in double figures; however, the Cardinals also have four other players—Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell—who are all good enough to score at a respectable rate.

    Right now, Louisville is the best team in the country. And at the end of this tournament, the 27-year drought could end when the Cardinals claim the 2013 national championship.

    How Far Can They Go: National Champions

    How Far Will They Go: National Champions

1. Florida Gators (South Region No. 3)

10 of 10

    Record: 26-7 (14-4, 1st in SEC)

    Ken Pomeroy Rating: 1st

    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 5th

    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 2nd

    Points Per Game: 71.6

    Opponent Points Per Game: 53.6

    Scoring Margin: +18.0

    What Makes Them Complete: The biggest flaw for this Florida team is that they routinely play down to its competition. However, the Gators are without a doubt the most complete team, not only in this tournament but in the country. 

    The Gators are led by the senior trio of Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario. All three are big-time scorers, who can put away teams by themselves. Down low, not many players can hang with Patric Young, a physical specimen who averages over 10 points per game. 

    As accurate as they can be offensively, they're an even better defensive team. Ranked second in defensive efficiency, teams have only been able to score 53.6 points against a stifling defense. The Gators are also ranked in the top five in field-goal percentage defense allowing nearly 38 percent.

    At midseason, Florida was the best team in the country with an 18-2 record. However, it finished its final 13 games with an 8-5 record. It's also popular to point out that the Gators were 0-6 in games decided by single digits.

    Nevertheless, the Gators possess the appropriate tools and talent to end the season on a high note.

    And that's why you should expect to see Florida surging at the most opportune time of the season. 

    How Far Can They Go: National Champions

    How Far Will They Go: Final Four


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