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Every Selection Sunday, the NCAA committee grants 68 teams a chance to play for Division 1 college basketball’s national championship. For many teams, it’s enough of an honor to earn a bid, and a victory or two in the tournament is beyond comprehension. For others, the goal is a title. In the end, four teams will set themselves apart by reaching the semifinals, this year in Indianapolis. Only one will cut down the nets at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Who will compose the Final Four? Which team has what it takes to be the champion? Which underdogs have a chance to be Cinderellas? Should any top seeds be on upset alert?
Let’s try to answer these questions by analyzing the shared statistical characteristics of upset victims, Cinderellas, Final Four teams and champions dating to 2012, or the last eight tournament seasons. I have picked out 12 key statistical categories and four of my personal strength indicators, plus a combined average ranking, and charted the recent qualifying teams by their performances in these categories. Here they are: