One thing that the NCAA Tournament shows us is that despite the old adage that defense travels a team without a solid offense is highly vulnerable in a tournament setting. It’s true that most teams tend to ratchet up the defensive pressure, the game typically becomes a more half court affair allowing defenses to set up and play the way they practice. The only real way to win games this late in the year is to be able to keep pace on the offensive. Teams must be able to execute and run their stuff, their sets. While most teams enjoy getting out in transition those opportunities tend to shrink as the year goes on. Every team is getting better, extra practice time, planning, game tape. The best coaches are looking for advantages and most of those come on the offensive end of the floor. All of this bears out in how successful you are in bracketology. Taking into account history and the differences in how the game changes once you enter the post season is important. Sites like BettingTop 10 give those people looking to truly capitalize on the odds and stats a leg up. Currently Michigan is the only team in the top ten defensively with Villanova and Loyola – Chicago in the top 25. Kansas is the outlier at 46. When you check offensive efficiency Villanova and Kansas are both top 5. Michigan is the only other top 25 offensive team left. Loyola comes in at 67.
It’s not to say that defense isn’t an important part of winning in March, but the teams that generally have a chance of flourishing late in March are the ones that have balance. Having an offense that is explosive can be a major advantage but an offense that is efficient is and opportunistic is much more desirable in a tournament setting. The game will always ebb and flow but if your offense is predicated on being able to function in either a halfcourt or an up tempo environment you will be much more likely to be able overcome tough and staunch defensive teams. Being able to get stops is important, but good offense will always find a way and good offense always has a chance – especially when considering the 3 point shot. The best teams left in the tournament have been able to withstand runs, and also been able to go on runs of their own. No lead is safe in March, defense travels but offense wins championships.