Offense wins championships. Since KenPom started tracking basketball efficiency back in 2003, the No. 1 or No. 2-ranked offense has won 6 of 12 NCAA Tournament championships. Two more were won by the No. 3 and 4 teams.
Unless you’re UConn. Then, defense (and luck, let’s be honest here) wins championships.
Besides those elite offenses winning, there was a rogue win by Syracuse’s No. 14 offense in the first year, 2003, and then two Connecticut wins. In 2004, the Huskies had the No. 9 offense, but No. 5 defense. In 2011, they had the No. 18 offense but No. 11 defense. This year, they had the 39th-ranked offense, but 10th-ranked defense.
UConn has had the two lowest-ranked offenses to win an NCAA title in the KenPom era. And three of the bottom four.
And, most importantly, UConn’s 2014 championship offense was the worst ever, by far, in the KenPom era. That’s true by pure efficiency numbers, and ranking. No team outside the top-18 had ever won before. They barely cracked the top-40.
Sadly we can only go back to 2003, but honestly, this could be the worst offense to win an NCAA title, ever. If it’s not the worst, it’s close.
What’s my point? Luck wins championships. Shabazz Napier is amazing and deserves a ton of credit, but for every praising column written about him, there probably should be another three for the defense… and four or five shots poured out for St. Joseph’s.