The previous year's results of every NCAA Tourney winner since 1983 | The Boneyard

The previous year's results of every NCAA Tourney winner since 1983

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alexrgct

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To what extent does the past predict the future? Well, the short answer is, "the larger the sample size of history, the better one can predict the future". Starting with 1983 (the first year in which there had been a previous year's NCAA tourney), there have been 32 national champions. That's a large enough sample size that it's worth reviewing the previous year's results of those 32 NCAA champions and contemplating what we can say about next year.

The history of the NCAA tourney from 1983 on, with the champion's previous year's result in parentheses:

1983- USC (Elite 8)
1984- USC (National Champions)
1985- Old Dominion (Elite 8)
1986- Texas (Sweet 16)
1987- Tennessee (Final 4)
1988- La Tech (National Finals)
1989- Tennessee (Final 4)
1990- Stanford (Elite 8)
1991- Tennesssee (Elite 8)
1992- Stanford (Final 4)
1993- Texas Tech (Sweet 16)
1994- North Carolina (Sweet 16)
1995- UConn (Elite 8)
1996-Tennessee (National Finals)
1997- Tennessee (National Champions)
1998- Tennessee (National Champions)
1999- Purdue (Elite 8)
2000- UConn (Sweet 16)
2001- Notre Dame (Sweet 16)
2002- UConn (Final 4)
2003- UConn (National Champions)
2004- UConn (National Champions)
2005- Baylor (Sweet 16)
2006- Maryland (Round 2)
2007- Tennessee (Elite 8)
2008- Tennessee (National Champions)
2009- UConn (Final 4)
2010- UConn (National Champions)
2011- Texas A&M (Round 2)
2012- Baylor (Elite 8)
2013- UConn (Final 4)
2014- UConn (National Champions)

So, of those 32 champions, the previous years' results break down like this:

DNQ- 0
Round 1- 0
Round 2- 2
Sweet 16- 6
Elite 8- 8
Final 4- 6
National Finals- 2
National Champions- 8

Now, what are some things we can conclude? Well, here were some of my thoughts:

  • It seems a safe bet that if you didn't qualify for the tournament last year, or at least win the first round, you're not winning the next NCAA tourney. The UConn men, of course, are a separate issue on a variety of levels.
  • You want good news for UConn? Defending national champions have won 25% of the next NCAA tourneys! Of those eight successful defenses, half of those were UConn's! You want more good news? Those eight successful defenses involved the likes of Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Tina Charles, and Breanna Stewart. Yes, Breanna belongs in this incredibly heady company...except unlike the rest of her company, she's eligible for the next two seasons. Good news indeed.
  • The previous year's national semis finishers have fared well in successive seasons. However, 2014's losing national semfinalists, Stanford and Maryland, have lost consensus first team AA players who are now playing in the WNBA (and possibly Team USA in 2016). I don't know that either have enough firepower to replace those losses and win it all in 2015.
  • Losing in the regional finals is encouraging; as many teams have gone on to lose in that round and win the NC the following year as have defending champs! So do Baylor, UNC, Louisville, or Texas A&M have reason for optimism? Other than for A&M, I'm skeptical. Baylor, UNC, and Louisville, all lost massively important players without clear replacements.
  • As many teams lost in the regional semis one year and won it all the next as have teams who lost in the national semis. Of the eight teams who lost in that round last year, some standouts are Kentucky (meh), South Carolina, Tennessee, and BYU (who gave UConn a run for its money for the first half of the regional semis in 2014). Obviously, South Carolina is the standout, which is all the more reason to think their game with UConn is one of the very biggest games of the regular season.
  • It's pretty far-fetched to progress from second-round loser to national champion, but there is recent precedent for it: twice in the past 10 years. I see two standout second-round losers from 2014: Texas and Duke. However, 2006 (when the Devils last advanced to the Final Four) has seemed like a long time ago for Duke, and Imani Stafford is likely to spend her season out with injury or hobbled .
  • Finally, let's talk returning national finalists, shall we? Returning from a loss in the championship round to a victory therein doesn't happen often and hasn't happened at all since 1996. However, Notre Dame has a very compelling addition in Brianna Turner. If nothing else, Turner may help ND advance to a round that may be a better launchpad for 2015-16 than would be making the national championship round again this season.
Conclusion: to quote Kibitzer, I like our chances...
 
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Good analysis, Alex. You're right that it's playing the odds, though. I like our chances, too, but I'm keeping my eye on South Carolina and ND.

And that's all barring injuries.
 

FairView

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Thanks for all the work to create an entertaining read!
 

UcMiami

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I think what this really says is that the nature of the women's game with players staying four years is that you very seldom have 'surprises'. Teams build up to being good and then build into championship caliber. Only 6% of the champion teams have come from further back in the pack that top 16 the previous year, and 75% of the champions were in the top eight the previous year.
I'm sure on the men's side with the best players leaving after one or two years at most, it would be a very different picture.

Great data - thanks
 

alexrgct

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One more (somewhat) interesting point: Since Tennessee in 1996, the only program to lose in a national championship game and go on to win the NC not just the following season but in ANY successive season was Tennessee in 2007 and 2008.

The championship round losers, starting in 1996:

1996- Georgia
1997- Old Dominion
1998- La Tech
1999- Duke
2000-Tennessee
2001- Purdue
2002- Oklahoma
2003- Tennessee
2004- Tennessee
2005- Michigan State
2006- Duke
2007- Rutgers
2008- Stanford
2009- Louisville
2010- Stanford
2011- Notre Dame
2012- Notre Dame
2013- Louisville
2014- Notre Dame

As you can see, many of these losing teams (Stanford, Tennessee, ODU, Purdue, Notre Dame, La Tech) have championship bona fides, but again, other than Tennessee's championships in the Candace Parker years, no one else from 1996 on has lost in the championship round and gone on to win it all in any season that's followed.

On a related note, Uconn has never lost a championship game...
 
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