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Odds and Ends

One Thing to Know About Every Tournament Team

by Vaughn Dalzell
Updated On: March 18, 2021, 11:15 am ET

It is essential to know the little ins-and-outs of what makes each team tick and this article is meant to assist in that manner. Get ready for a wild few weeks as the upsets, Cinderellas and more are right around the corner.

The NCAA play-in games begin Thursday at 5:10 PM ET and the first-round on Friday at 12:15 PM ET.

Here are one or a few things you should know about all 68-tournament teams this season. For a more in-depth breakdown of the bracket and our staff's picks, you can watch NBC Sports Edge's show, "Brackets and Bets" on YouTube.



No. 1 Gonzaga: The Bulldogs rank first entering the tournament in points per game (92.1), adjusted tempo (74.8) and two-point percentage (63.9%).

No. 2 Iowa: The Hawkeyes average 83.8 points per game and hit the three at 38.6%, both ranking top seven in the tournament field.

No. 3 Kansas: The Jayhawks are the fifth-tallest team in the tournament (78.2 in) and expect 6-foot-10 big man David McCormack back.

No. 4 Virginia: The Cavs play at the slowest tempo in the country (60.1) and 14-10 to the Over.

No. 5 Creighton: The Blue Jays have the second-worst free-throw shooting percentage in the field (64.2%).

No. 6 USC: The Trojans are the second-tallest team in the country (79.4) and tied-sixth in blocks per game (5.3).

No. 7 Oregon: The Ducks are 17-9 to the Over this season and averaged 74.4 points per game.

No. 8 Oklahoma: The Sooners are 12-13 ATS and 11-14 to the Under this season.

No. 9 Missouri: The Tigers have the fifth-most minutes back from last season in the 68-team field (77%).

No. 10 VCU: The Rams are ranked 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency (89.6) and ninth in defensive turnover percentage (23.7%).

No. 11 Wichita State: The Shockers are the worst ATS team (9-9-1) in the play-in games and the 10th-shortest squad (76.4 in). They come in at one of the lowest profitable ATS teams in the country.

No. 11 Drake: The Bulldogs were 20-6-1 ATS this season, the tournament's best ATS mark.

No. 12 UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos have won 18 of the last 19 games and shooting 76.3% from the free-throw line on the season. 

No. 13 Ohio: The Bobcats are one-of-eight teams to average 80 or more points per game entering the tournament (80.4).

No. 14 Eastern Washington: The Eagles shoot 79.9% from the free-throw line and have won 13 of their last 14 games.

No. 15 Grand Canyon: The Antelopes are the third-best ATS team in the tournament at 15-5. 

No. 16 Norfolk State: The Spartans hit the triple at a 37.3%-clip, 14th-best in the field.

No. 16: Appalachian State: The Mountaineers are the fifth-shortest team (76.1 in) and average the sixth-fewest points per game in the field (68.2).


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No. 1 Baylor: The Bears are the nation's best three-point shooting team at 40.1%.

No. 2 Ohio State: The Buckeyes rank fourth in adjusted offensive efficiency (122.3) and are 17-12-1 to the Over, the 14th-best mark in the field.

No. 3 Arkansas: The Razorbacks have the fewest returning minutes from last season's team at 12.2% out of the 68-team field.

No. 4 Purdue: The Boilermakers are one-of-six teams to rank top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency.

No. 5 Villanova: The Wildcats have the fourth-most minutes back from last season's team (77.4%), but lost arguably the most important player three games ago, Collin Gillespie.

No. 6 Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have the eighth-best defensive turnover percentage in the nation (23.8%), third-best in the field.

No. 7 Florida: The Gators are the fifth-worst ATS team in the tournament (10-13), but rank top 40 in offensive and defensive efficiency.

No. 8 North Carolina: The Tar Heels are the third-tallest team in the tournament (78.8) and fifth-worst free-throw shooting team (66.8%).

No. 9 Wisconsin: The Badgers own the second-lowest offensive turnover percentage in the country at 13.5%.

No. 10 Virginia Tech: The Hokies finished the season ranked top 55 in offensive and defensive efficiency while playing at the 93rd ranked tempo (66.1).

No. 11 Utah State: The Aggies finished top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency (89.3), defensive rebounding percentage (21.3%), two-point defense percentage (42.9%) and block percentage (14.6%). 

No. 12 Winthrop: The Eagles own a 23-1 record and play at the third-fastest tempo in the 68-team field. Their only loss was by two points.

No. 13 North Texas: The Mean Green plays the third-slowest pace in the field (63.1), 350th in the nation.

No. 14 Colgate: The Raiders and Baylor Bears are the only two teams in the field to shoot 40% or better from three, one-of-four in the country.

No. 15 Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles are the best free-throw shooting team in the country (82.6%) and have the third-best Over record in the field at 16-7.

No. 16 Hartford: The Hawks limit opponents to 28.7% on the season, ranking ninth overall and third in the tournament. 




No. 1 Michigan: The Wolverines are one-of-three teams to rank top 10 in the nation for offensive and defensive efficiency.

No. 2 Alabama: The Crimson Tide finished the season ranked third in adjusted defensive efficiency despite playing 30 games, tied for the most in the country.

No. 3 Texas: The Longhorns have the second-highest minute continuity in the tournament returning 78.6% from last year's team.

No. 4 Florida State: The Seminoles are the tallest team in the nation (79.6) and eighth in block percentage (14.6%).

No. 5 Colorado: The Buffaloes are the second-best free-throw shooting team in the country at 82.2% and 11-18-1 to the Under this season, the sixth-best mark in the tournament.

No. 6 BYU: The Cougars rank top 28 in offensive and defensive efficiency, while having only 31.2% of their minutes from last season, the fourth-fewest in the 68-team field.

No. 7 UConn: The Huskies are the second-best ATS team in the tournament at 16-5-1 and one-of-six teams ranking top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency.

No. 8 LSU: The Tigers are 16-10-1 to the Over with 82.1 points per game on the season.

No. 9 St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies rank top 15 lowest in points per game in the field and are 6-14 to the Under this season, the best Under mark in the field.

No. 10 Maryland: The Terps are the fourth-lowest scoring team in the field (67.7) and fourth-worst ATS (12-16).

No. 11 UCLA: The Bruins rank 26th in the country with a 113.5 adjusted offensive efficiency despite playing at the 332nd ranked tempo (64.7).

No. 11 Michigan State: The Spartans are one-of-12 teams to average 70 points or fewer per game.

No. 12 Georgetown: The Hoyas are 11-14 to the Under this season and enter the tournament as the seventh-tallest team.

No. 13 UNC Greensboro: The Spartans rank 312th in the nation with a 30% mark from three-point range.

No. 14 Albeline Christian: The Wildcats lead the nation in defensive steal percentage (26.7%).

No. 15 Iona: The Gaels are 11-5-1 ATS this season and rank top 25 nationally with a 30.1% defensive three-point percentage and 45.6% effective field goal percentage. 

No. 16 Mount St. Mary's: The Mountaineers played at the second-slowest tempo in the league behind Virginia.

No. 16 Texas Southern: The Tigers are 13-9-1 to the Over despite shooting 27.7% from three, ranking 342nd in the country. 



No. 1 Illinois: The Fighting Illini rank top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency, while averaging 81.4 points per game.

No. 2 Houston: The Cougars are 18-8 ATS this season, the eighth-best mark in the 68-team tournament. 

No. 3 West Virginia: The Mountaineers are 18-9 to the Over this season and 13-14 ATS.

No. 4 Oklahoma State: The Cowboys won eight of the last 10 games and are 19-8-1 to the Over this season, the best mark in the field.

No. 5 Tennessee: The Vols are 11-15 to the Under and are ranked fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency (87.8).

No. 6 San Diego State: The Aztecs have won 14 straight games and ended the season ranked 11-13 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (89.6), two-point percentage (44.5%), steal percentage (12.1%). 

No. 7 Clemson: The Tigers are the second-lowest scoring team in the field at 65.3 points per game.

No. 8 Loyola-Chicago: The Ramblers lead the country in adjusted defensive efficiency (86.7). 

No. 9 Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets rank second in the country with a 13.2% steal percentage and finished the regular-season 14-9-2 to the Over.

No. 10 Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights rank third in minute continuity entering the tournament (77.8%) and as the worst free-throw shooting team (63.2%). 

No. 11 Syracuse: The Orange rank 18th in adjusted offensive efficiency (113.9) out of the tournament teams and ended the regular-season 12-13 ATS.

No. 12 Oregon State: The Beavers are the sixth-tallest team in the field (78.2 in) and finished 19-9 ATS and 18-11 to the Over this season.

No. 13 Liberty: The Flame are the second-shortest team in the tournament (75.8 in) and the fourth-slowest offense (63.1).

No. 14 Morehead State: The Mountaineers have won 19 of their last 20 games overall entering the tournament.

No. 15 Cleveland State: The Vikings are 17-8-1 ATS this season and defend the three-ball at 30.8%, 36th-best in the nation.

No. 16 Drexel: The Dragons have the highest minute continuity from last season in the field at 78.9% and the sixth-slowest offensive tempo (64.2).

You can find more College Basketball content here on NBC Sports Edge or on our Twitter for more NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament content.

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Vaughn Dalzell

Vaughn Dalzell is a former Division I SID, two-time IUP Alumnus and former contributor for numberFire, FantasyPros and Bet The Prop. You can follow him on Twitter for more insight @VmoneySports.