The idea here is pretty simple. I just took a team’s actual offensive and defensive efficiency for every game, and adjusted it to account for opponent ratings. Then I averaged those adjusted efficiencies over all the games a team played. This should not be thought of as who “deserved” to win each region, for a number of reasons (consistency, skewed numbers from blowouts, etc). It’s merely showing you how well a team played while they were still alive. Final Four teams are in bold.
The top three teams here have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best Margins in the whole bracket, behind only Duke. It’s too bad only one of them was able to make the trip to Indy. WVU won by playing the best defense in the whole tourney – yes, they’re even rated better than Butler. After their gimme against Morgan State, they then beat the teams that performed 4th, 5th, and best in the region. Marquette gets the “tough luck” award, as they turned in the best performance of any first-round loser.
This is either evidence of Tom Izzo’s genius, or of his insane luck, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. I feel sorry for Tennessee, who beat Ohio State, then lost by a free throw to MSU - I can definitely see how they topped the chart. And Michigan State wasn’t the best at anything (off/def/marg). Georgetown and Kansas laid the biggest eggs here (obviously), both on the defensive end – congrats to Georgetown for being the only major conference team with a negative adjusted margin. The highest rated team here would have only ranked 4th, 4th, and 5th in the other regions.
This is the only region with a team that clearly outperformed everybody else – not surprisingly, it’s also the only region where 1st-ranked team made the Final Four. Duke’s offense has been the 3rd-best so far, behind only Cornell and Marquette. Their defense has been 8th-best. Villanova played worse than 5 of the 8 first-round losers in this region - including Robert Morris. Surprisingly, though, it was their offense that didn't show up.
Syracuse and Butler were a cut above the rest statistically, and I don’t think you can really argue that Butler wasn't the best team. It occurs to me now that perhaps Pythag would have been a better way to go than Margin – Butler would have topped this region at 0.982 to Syracuse’s 0.980. Oh well.