Selection Sunday is 45 days away, but that doesn't mean you can't start narrowing in on your choice for the tourney's ultimate champ. By monitoring a few key factors from now until the brackets are set, you can reduce your list of champion candidates to a handful of teams -- and be reasonably sure the ultimate victor will be among them.
Every one of the last 12 champs have owned these eight characteristics:
- Earned a one, two or three seed;
- Came from a ''power'' conference: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC (labeled “CF” in the table below);
- Either went to the previous year's dance or had an All-American (*/12);
- Were led by a coach with more than five tourney trips and at least one Elite Eight run (CO);
- Averaged more than 73 points per game (PF>73);
- Allowed fewer than 73 points per game (PA<73);
- Owned a scoring margin of at least seven points per game. (SM>=7);
- Played a schedule among the 75 strongest in the country (S<75).