The Best and Worst of the N.C.A.A. Tournament

The Best and Worst of the N.C.A.A. Tournament

Worst: Texas Southern, the only team in the tournament with a losing record (15-19), allows 109.1 points per 100 possessions.

Best 3-point shooters

Purdue shot 42 percent from the 3-point line, although Villanova made the most total 3s. Guard Dakota Mathias made 46 percent of his attempts, the best figure of any player in the tournament, with three other starters hitting at 39 percent or more.

Worst: Texas is not filled with sharpshooters this year, hitting only 32 percent of its 3-point attempts.

Best at Defending the 3

Penn’s opponents shot only 29 percent from outside the 3-point line. Top-seeded Kansas (40 percent on the season) will test that in the first round.

Worst: Surprisingly, North Carolina struggled to defend the 3, allowing 38-percent shooting to opponents. Virginia shot 53 percent (9 for 17) against the Tar Heels in the A.C.C. title game.


Bring your oxygen tanks when playing Lipscomb, a No. 15 seed that likes to run. The team averaged 77 possessions per game this season. Oklahoma and Marshall are close behind.

Slowest: For the third year in a row, Virginia was the most methodical team in the nation, averaging 60.5 possessions. It worked, as the Cavaliers’ 31-2 record attests. The team never gave up more than 68 points in a game. If it meets the defensive wizards from Cincinnati in the regional final, consider betting the under.

Passing, rebounding, shot blocking

Michigan State, a No. 3 seed, looks good from a lot of analytic angles. The Spartans lead the nation in assist percentage (Cassius Winston averages 7 per game), rebound percentage (Nick Ward and Miles Bridges, 7 per game), and shot-blocking percentage (Jaren Jackson Jr., 3 per game). Those numbers have prompted a lot of prognosticators to see the third-seeded Spartans as a top contender to win the tough Midwest bracket.

Worst: Passing, College of Charleston; rebounding, Marshall; shot-blocking, South Dakota State.

Best From the Line

Davidson makes 80 percent of its free throws. But its most famous graduate is unimpressed. Stephen Curry made 88 percent in college and is at 90 percent for the N.B.A.’s Golden State Warriors.

Worst: Trailing New Mexico State late? Consider fouling. The Aggies shoot only 64 percent from the line as a team.

Best at Getting to the Line

Drawing fouls is a skill, and often an underrated one. Cal State Fullerton managed 0.44 free throw attempts for every field goal attempt, with guard Kyle Allman getting to the line an average of eight times a game.

Worst: Though Davidson usually makes its free throws, it does not draw that many, just 0.25 for every field goal attempt.

Best at Protecting the Ball

Of all the teams in the N.C.A.A. field, it was 12th-seeded South Dakota State that took care of the ball better than any other, surrendering it just 12.2 times per 100 possessions.

Worst: Missouri, by contrast, was a little sloppy, averaging 18.2. Seven of its players had 1.5 turnovers per game or more.

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