2013 NCAA Men's National Championship Game

2013 NCAA Basketball: National Championship Power Rankings

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  The Louisville Cardinals celebrate after they won 82-76 against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at the Georgia Dome on April 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Jake WestrichSenior Writer IApril 10, 2013
2013 Louisville vs. Every Champion Since 1985
Rank Team Win % Avg. PPG Simulate vs. Louisville
1 2000-01 Duke Blue Devils 90.2 96.3 SimMatchup >
2 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats 85.8 94.8 SimMatchup >
3 2004-05 North Carolina Tar Heels 80.3 93.8 SimMatchup >
4 1989-90 UNLV Runnin' Rebels 75.1 95.1 SimMatchup >
5 2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks 62.9 84.2 SimMatchup >
6 1997-98 Kentucky Wildcats 61.7 83.9 SimMatchup >
7 1991-92 Duke Blue Devils 61.3 93.0 SimMatchup >
8 2003-04 Connecticut Huskies 59.6 82.0 SimMatchup >
9 2001-02 Maryland Terrapins 57.5 88.6 SimMatchup >
10 2006-07 Florida Gators 57.2 84.9 SimMatchup >
11 2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels 56.9 91.2 SimMatchup >
12 1994-95 UCLA Bruins 56.2 91.0 SimMatchup >
13 1993-94 Arkansas Razorbacks 54.2 92.7 SimMatchup >
14 1992-93 North Carolina Tar Heels 53.3 89.0 SimMatchup >
15 2005-06 Florida Gators 50.4 83.7 SimMatchup >
16 2012-13 Louisville Cardinals 48.7 78.4 National Champs!
17 1988-89 Michigan Wolverines 48.1 90.2 SimMatchup >
18 1998-99 Connecticut Huskies 44.6 83.5 SimMatchup >
19 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats 44.0 77.7 SimMatchup >
20 1985-86 Louisville Cardinals 43.8 88.8 SimMatchup >
21 1990-91 Duke Blue Devils 43.0 89.5 SimMatchup >
22 1999-00 Michigan State Spartans 40.2 82.4 SimMatchup >
23 2009-10 Duke Blue Devils 38.9 82.2 SimMatchup >
24 2002-03 Syracuse Orange 31.8 81.8 SimMatchup >
25 1986-87 Indiana Hoosiers 29.7 86.5 SimMatchup >
26 1996-97 Arizona Wildcats 22.5 84.9 SimMatchup >
27 2010-11 Connecticut Huskies 22.3 75.0 SimMatchup >
28 1984-85 Villanova Wildcats 19.5 78.9 SimMatchup >
29 1987-88 Kansas Jayhawks 10.3 80.1 SimMatchup >

Using our college basketball simulation engine, we placed Louisville in a round-robin tournament featuring every national champion since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Every team in the tournament played every other team 51 times. The simulation generated each team's winning percentage (Win %) and average points per game (Avg. PPG).

For the second consecutive year, a team from the Commonwealth of Kentucky claimed college basketball's top prize. Like the Kentucky Wildcats in 2012, the Louisville Cardinals won as the top overall seed in the tournament. The Cardinals are just the sixth top overall team to cut down the nets since 1985.

Louisville's blend of frontcourt talent and backcourt experience thwarted opponents throughout the NCAA Tournament. The team's high-pressure defense enabled rallies against Wichita State in the Final Four (down by 12 points with 13:35 to play in the second half) and Michigan in the championship game (down by 12 points with 3:00 to play in the first half).

Using the same college basketball simulation engine that accurately predicted a six-point Louisville win over Michigan, we "played" the Cardinals against every National Champion since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The Cardinals ranked 16th in the simulation, winning 48.7 percent of simulations, while averaging 78.4 points per game. The team edged out last year's champ and in-state rival as the Wildcats finished 19th and won 44 percent of games.

Rick Pitino is no stranger to the NCAA Championship, having won while at Kentucky. His 1996 Wildcats ranked second in the simulation.

We also "played" an all-Louisville round-robin tournament, pitting the 2013 squad against Denny Crum's 1980 and 1986 National Champions in 51 simulations.

2013 Louisville vs. 1980 and 1986 Louisville
Rank Team Win % Avg. PPG Simulate vs. Louisville
1 1979-80 Louisville Cardinals 56.4 84.6 SimMatchup >
2 2012-13 Louisville Cardinals 47.5 80.0 National Champs!
3 1985-86 Louisville Cardinals 46.1 85.9 SimMatchup >

The 1980 Cardinals rank as the best champion in school history, winning 56.4 percent of simulations. The team was led by Darrell Griffith, the John R. Wooden Award winner and the 1979-80 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

Pitino's 2013 team just edged out Crum's 1986 Cardinals that featured Milt Wagner, Billy Thompson and Pervis Ellison.

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