What some advanced stats may tell us about the NCAA field

Terms like "T-ranking" and other statistics may show before the NCAA Tournament even begins who has a chance to cut down the nets April 5 in Indianapolis.

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March 18, 2021 - 9:10 AM

The Illinois Fighting Illini celebrate a 91-88 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten men's basketball tournament championship game Sunday. Photo by John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / TNS

Two years ago, before the start of the last NCAA Tournament, we presented a system that could help narrow down the bracket, using advanced stats from recent seasons.

It worked — barely.

Virginia, one of six teams that passed all of our statistical tests, did in fact win the national championship. All it took was a last-second shot to force overtime in the Elite Eight, three last-second free throws in the semifinal and another late 3-pointer that forced OT in the title game.

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