The 10 Best Offensive Teams in the NCAA Tournament
We should care a great deal about offense in the NCAA Tournament.
I think you get the point.
Looking at this year's field, which teams boast the best offenses? Let's dig in.
10. Baylor Bears
The Bears -- a 1 seed -- are an elite offensive rebounding team, ranking seventh nationally in offensive rebound rate (36.3%).
Baylor is extremely balanced as seven players net between 8.4 and 13.5 points per game. LJ Cryer leads the way at 13.5 points per night, and he's hit a dazzling 46.8% of his three-balls on a high volume of 5.8 three-point tries per game.
9. Houston Cougars
Houston's slow pace might deceive some into thinking the Cougars aren't great offensively, but Houston is a very good team in every facet, including the offensive end.
The Cougars are ninth in adjusted offensive rating (119.03), and they're 10th offensively for both Torvik and KenPom. The Cougars beat up opponents on the glass, ranking third in the country in offensive rebound rate (37.8%).
Since December 14th, Houston has lost just one game to a team not named the Memphis Tigers.
8. Villanova Wildcats
Villanova is good at so many things offensively.
They lead the nation in free-throw percentage at an astounding 82.3% clip -- which is 2.6 percentage points clear of the number-two team and 4.9 percentage points better than anyone else in the field. Among teams in the Big Dance, the Wildcats sit second in three-point attempt rate (46.0%), and they have the seventh-lowest turnover rate (13.4%).
They rank eighth offensively by all of Torvik, KenPom, and adjusted offensive rating (119.61).
Collin Gillespie (15.9 points, 42.2% from three and 89.4% on free throws) and Justin Moore (15.0 points) spearhead 'Nova's attack.
7. Duke Blue Devils
Boasting a roster that has seven top-37 recruits, Duke is loaded, and they've been led this season by their offense -- one that ranks seventh in adjusted offensive rating (119.92). KenPom also has the Blue Devils seventh while Torvik ranks Duke's offense fourth.
Pouring in 80.2 points per game, the ninth-most, Duke is 18th in effective field goal percentage (55.6%) and 12th in turnover rate (12.9%).
Paolo Banchero (17.0 points per game) is the headliner, but the Blue Devils have five other players dropping in at least 8.1 points per night, with Wendell Moore scoring 13.5 and drilling 40.2% of his shots from deep.
6. Arizona Wildcats
Arizona has been outstanding this year under new coach Tommy Lloyd. A longtime assistant coach at Gonzaga, a program that is consistently stellar offensively, Lloyd has quickly turned the Wildcats into an offensive juggernaut.
The Wildcats' O ranks sixth in adjusted offensive rating (120.58), seventh by Torvik, and fifth by KenPom.
Arizona is as deep as anyone, with eight players scoring at least 6.9 points per game. The Wildcats are second in the nation -- first among teams in the tourney -- in assist rate (65.4%), and they also grade out well in effective field goal percentage (16th).
Bennedict Mathurin puts in 17.4 points per night while Azuolas Tubelis is good for 14.5 points per game and owns a sparkling 62.5% effective field goal percentage.
5. Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky checks in fifth in adjusted offensive rating (121.26), sixth by Torvik, and fourth on KenPom.
The 'Cats do a large chunk of their damage on two-pointers, which makes a lot of sense when you have Oscar Tshiebwe -- who averages 17.0 points and 15.2 boards per game -- at your disposal. Kentucky ranks second nationally in both two-point attempts per game and offensive rebound rate (37.9%).
Sitting 353rd in three-point attempt rate (28.0%) and 114th in three-point percentage (34.9%), UK might have a hard time digging out of a hole if they get behind. But -- on paper -- that's really the only issue with this team.
4. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas is a 1 seed for the fourth time in the past six tourneys, and while their defense is solid (29th by KenPom), the Jayhawks' offense is what really drives this team.
Offensively, Kansas slots in fourth in adjusted offensive rating (121.63) as well as fifth by Torvik and sixth via KenPom.
Among squads in the Big Dance, the Jayhawks are 18th in effective field goal percentage (54.1%) and 20th in offensive rebound rate (33.4%). Like Kentucky, Kansas is a team that does most of its work inside the arc as they are 271st in three-point attempt rate (33.8%).
Ochai Agbaji is the catalyst for Kansas' offense. He's averaging 19.7 points per game while sinking 40.5% of his shots from three.
3. Gonzaga Bulldogs
For the first time since the 2017-18 season, a team other than Gonzaga enters the dance as the top-ranked offense by adjusted offensive rating.
Man, that's wild.
But don't worry too much about the ability of Mark Few's guys to light up the scoreboard. KenPom still puts the Bulldogs first in adjusted offense. Torvik and adjusted offensive rating (122.60) have the Zags third. Paired with a defense that ranks inside the top 10, Gonzaga is the clear title favorite heading into the tournament. We give them a 26.5% chance to win the crown.
Offensively, Gonzaga is second in effective field goal percentage (59.4%), and they're 11th among tournament teams in three-point percentage (37.9%).
With nine top-100 recruits, including freshman Chet Holmgren, the top-ranked player in the 2021 class, the Zags are overflowing with talent and have five guys scoring at least 11.2 points per night.
2. Iowa Hawkeyes
In terms of pure entertainment, it's hard to beat these next two teams, as they're both excellent offensively while being underwhelming on D, which leads to a lot of fun games.
Iowa has gobs of shooting and is capable of blitzing anyone when they're hitting from deep. Iowa ranks second offensively by all of adjusted offensive rating (123.09), KenPom and Torvik.
The Hawkeyes are first among tourney teams in turnover rate (11.1%), and they manage to keep the turnovers in check despite playing at the 52nd-fastest pace. They've jacked up the third-most three-point tries among tourney teams, and they're 15th in three-point percentage (36.8%). You don't want to get into a track meet with the Hawkeyes.
1. Purdue Boilermakers
Last weekend's Big Ten Tournament title game was a matchup of the two best offenses in the nation, which is why it held a 151.5-point total. The game didn't live up to that over/under (75-66 win for Iowa), but that was due to each team missing some good looks as they combined to go 13 for 48 from three.
Purdue is first in adjusted offensive rating (123.12), and Torvik ranks them first offensively, as well. KenPom puts the Boilermakers third in offense. Impressively, they're doing it while having just one top-100 recruit playing meaningful minutes.
Matt Painter's bunch has everything you'd want from an offense. They have a dominant big (Zach Edey), another dominant big (Trevion Williams), a deadeye shooter (Sasha Stefanovic) and a do-it-all weapon (Jaden Ivey) who will be one of the first names called in the next NBA Draft.
Edey is fourth nationally in effective field goal percentage (65.5%) and is averaging 14.6 points and 7.8 boards. Ivey totals 17.4 points and 3.2 dimes per game, and he might be the most lethal transition player in the nation. Ivey is getting comped to Ja Morant, so, yeah, he's got some juice.
Among teams in the field, the Boilers are 4th in effective field goal percentage (57.0%), 4th in three-point percentage (39.1%), 9th in free throw attempt rate (36.3%), 9th in assist rate (58.9%) and 12th in free throws per field goal attempt (.255). They can do it all.