Stearns wins first-half honors as majors’ most effective GM

 

The Milwaukee Brewers relinquished their grip on first place just before the All-Star break, but that should not obscure the team-building work done by their general manager, David Stearns.

At the 2018 All-Star break, the impact of Stearns’ moves since the end of the 2017 season has improved the Brewers by 7.1 games, the best performance of any of the 30 major league general managers. The Brewers completed the All-Star break 2.5 games behind the NL Central division leading Chicago Cubs.

Stearns compiled positive scores in all five facets of the rating: acquisitions via trade, purchase or waiver claim; free agent signings; farm system callups;  trade losses; and free agency losses. His trade for Christian Yelich improved the Brewers by 1.5 games based on Wins Above Average. His free agent signing of Lorenzo Cain provided a 3.1 game improvement, and his callup of rookie pitcher Freddy Peralta brought a 0.9 game improvement.

In what may be a surprise, the second best mid-term performance was turned in by Tampa Bay Rays’ general manager Erik Neander, whose moves improved the Rays by 4.9 games. Third was Dave Dombrowski, general manager of the AL East leading Boston Red Sox, whose signing of J.D. Martinez was among moves improving the Red Sox by 4.5 games at the break.

At the other end of the scale, the worst GM performance was by Marlins GM Mike Hill. Supervising his team’s teardown following its purchase by new ownership, the sum total of Hill’s decisions hurt the Marlins by 10.2 games. Kansas City’s Dayton Moore scored -8.1, while Colorado Rockies’ GM Jeff Bridich was saddled by a -7.3 score.

The leader in 2017 was Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer with a score of +9.0 games. Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi was second at +6.7.

Here are the mid-term scores for all 30 major league general managers. (Because Dick Williams relinquished his position in early April in favor of Nick Krall, the Cincinnati Reds have two GMs ranked.)

Rank      Name                            Team                                 Rating

1       David Stearns                    Milwaukee Brewers       +7.1

2      Erik Neander                      Tampa Bay Rays               +4.9

3      Dave Dombrowski            Boston Red Sox                 +4.5

4      John Mozeliak                   St. Louis Cardinals            +3.7

5      Dick Williams                     Cincinnati Reds                +3.5

6      tie Brian Cashman            New York Yankees           +2.8

Jeff Luhnow                       Houston Astros                 +2.8

Mike Chernoff                  Cleveland Indians             +2.8

9      Jerry DiPoto                       Seattle Mariners               +2.1

10   tie Mike Hazen                  Arizona Diamondbacks   +1.6

Alex Avila                            Detroit Tigers                    +1.6

12   Farhan Zaidi                        Los Angeles Dodgers       +1.1

13   Jed Hoyer                            Chicago Cubs                      +0.9

14   Nick Krall                              Cincinnati Reds                 -0.1

15   Jon Daniels                         Texas Rangers                     -0.6

16   David Forst                         Oakland A’s                         -0.9

17   Alex Anthopolous            Atlanta Braves                     -1.0

18   Bobby Evans                      San Francisco Giants         -1.2

19   Ross Atkins                         Toronto Blue Jays              -1.3

20   Billy Eppler                          Los Angeles Angels          -1.6

21   Matt Klentak                      Philadelphia Phillies         -2.2

22   tie Rick Hahn                      Chicago White Sox            -2.7

Mike Rizzo                          Washington Nationals     -2.7

24   Neal Huntington               Pittsburgh Pirates             -2.8

25   Dan Duquette                   Baltimore Orioles              -4.1

26   tie Sandy Alderson          New York Mets                  -5.0

A.J. Preller                          San Diego Padres             -5.0

28   Thad Levine                        Minnesota Twins             -6.1

29   Jeff Bridich                          Colorado Rockies             -7.3

30   Dayton Moore                   Kansas City Royals           -8.8

31   Mike Hill                             Miami Marlins               -10.2

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How Justify ranks against other Triple Crown winning horses

Justify is the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown. That alone puts him in exclusive company. His dominance rating for the three Triple Crown races, however, ranks Justify at the bottom of the list of those 13.

The reason is the horse’s relatively small margins of victory in the races, particularly the Preakness. Justify won the three Triple Crown races by a total of 4.75 lengths. With the exception of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, that equals the smallest cumulative margin of victory of any Triple Crown horse. And the 1978 Triple Crown series is unique because in all three races Affirmed staged tight duels with another exceptional horse, Alydar, who finished second by 1.5 lengths, a neck and a head respectively. The shared dominance of those two horses is demonstrated by the margins separating Affirmed and Alydar from the third place finisher, 33.5 lengths and 30.75 lengths respectively.

The largest cumulative margin of victory by any Triple Crown winner was the 36 lengths, both by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and by 1943 champion Count Fleet. Famously, 31 of Secretariat’s 36-length margin was provided in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont. Count Fleet won his Belmont by 25 lengths.

When American Pharoah won the 2015 Triple Crown, his victory margins were 1 length in the Kentucky Derby, 7 lengths in the Preakness and 5.5 lengths in the Belmont.

Justify’s -0.74 dominance rating in the Preakness matches the weakest dominance rating by any Triple Crown winner in a single race. Gallant Fox posted a -0.74 dominance rating in the 1930 Belmont to wrap up the Triple Crown. In thoroughbred racing negative Z Scores are good.

Here is the ranking of the 13 Triple Crown winners based on the cumulative total of the Z Scores of their performances in the three Triple Crown races:

Rank      Horse                                    Year       Derby    Pr’ness Bel’nt    Total

1              Secretariat                          1973       -2.15      -1.13      -2.26      -5.54

2              War Admiral                       1937       -2.19      -1.45      -1.41      -5.05

3              Assault                                 1946       -2.19      -1.26      -1.48      -4.93

4              Omaha                                 1935       -1.55      -2.08      -0.93      -4.56

5              Whirlaway                           1941       -2.14      -1.34      -1.01      -4.49

6              Sir Barton                            1919       -1.52      -1.96      -0.97      -4.45

7              American Pharoah           2015       -1.67      -1.13      -1.49      -4.29

8              Gallant Fox                         1930       -1.66      -1.87      -0.74      -4.27

9              Citation                                                1948       -1.27      -1.38      -1.62      -4.27

10           Affirmed                              1978       -1.26      -1.85      -1.04      -4.15

11           Seattle Slew                       1977       -1.67      -1.01      -1.44      -4.12

12           Count Fleet                        1943       -1.79      -1.07      -1.25      -4.11

13           Justify                                   2018       -1.72      -0.74      -1.40      -3.87

Jutanugarn’s victory among most dominant ever at Women’s Open

 

Ariya Jutanugarn’s June playoff victory in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open ranks among the 20 most dominant performances in the event’s more than 70 year history.

Jutanugarn, who is from Thailand, compiled a Z Score of -2.56 in defeating South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim on the fourth hole of their playoff. It was Jutanugarn’s second major victory; she also won the 2016 British Open.

Her -2.56 Z score ranks in a three-way tie for 14th best in the history of the Women’s Open.  Others who compiled a -2.56 Z Score were Louise Suggs in 1949 and Karrie Webb in 2000. Jutanugarn’s performance was the best in a Women’ Open since 2013, when Inbee Park won with a -2.77 Z Score.

As good as Jutanugarn’s performance was, it might have been better. She began the final nine holes at -16, holding a seven-stroke lead. Had she shot even par on the final nine, she would have posted a -3.32 Z Score, and that would have been the second best in the tournament’s history.

Here are the 25 best performances, measured by Z Score, in the history of the U.S. Women ‘s Open:

Rank      Player                                   Year       Z Score

1              Juli Inkster                          2002       -3.39

2              Karri Webb                         2001       -3.24

3              Amy Alcott                          1980       -3.23

4              Annika Sorenstam           1996       -3.15

5              Juli Inkster                          1999       -3.11

6              Mickey Wright                   1959       -3.11

7              tie Kathy Guadagnino    1985       -2.81

and Na Yeon Choi            2012       -2.81

9              Patty Sheehan                  1992       -2.78

10           Inbee Park                          2013       -2.77

11           JoAnne Carner                  1971       -2.69

12           Pat Bradley                         1981       -2.63

13           Meg Mallon                        2004       -2.59

14           tie Louise Suggs                1949       -2.56

and Karrie Webb              2000       -2.56

and Ariya Jutanugarn     2018       -2.56

17           tie Patty Sheehan            1994       -2.48

and Inbee Park                 2008       -2.48

19           Lisolotte Neumann         1988       -2.46

20           JoAnne Carner                  1976       -2.45

21           Cristie Kerr                          2007       -2.43

22           Betsy King                           1989       -2.41

23           Mary Mills                           1963       -2.38

24           Annika Sorenstam           2006       -2.37

25           (tie) Susie Berning           1973       -2.35

and Janet Anderson       1982       -2.35

Ovechkin once again reigns as NHL’s most exceptional goal scorer

 

As he has routinely been for much of the past decade, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was the NHL’s most exceptional goal scorer again in 2017-18. This year, however, his league-leading 47 goals scored didn’t quite measure up to his other recent seasons.

Ovechkin’s total translated to a 3.10 Z Score among the season’s top 60 goal producers. It was the fifth time since 2012-13 and seventh time overall that Ovechkin has produced the best Z Score among goal producers. But it was also his lowest Z Score among those seven league-leading seasons, although it was also a higher Z Score than any produced by any other NHL goal-scorer since Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos produced a 4.62 during the 2011-12 season.

Ovechkin’s score was the 27th highest ever recorded by a goal scorer. He is already represented six times among the top 25 – three times among the top 10 – his best being a 4.23 Z Score in 2015-16 that ranks sixth all time.

Here is a list of the NHL’s 10 most exceptional goal scoring seasons of all time based on Z Score:

Rank      Player                                   Season                 Team     Z                              Score

1              Wayne Gretzky                 1983-84                Edmonton Oilers              4.76

2              Steven Stamkos                 2011-12                Tampa Bay Lightning       4.62

3              Wayne Gretzky                 1981-82                Edmonton Oilers              4.52

4              Brett Hull                            1990-91                St. Louis Blues                   4.39

5              Phil Esposito                       1970-71                Boston Bruins                    4.29

6              Alex Ovechkin                   2015-16                Washington Capitals       4.23

7              Pavel Bure                          1999-00                Florida Panthers               4.16

8              Alex Ovechkin                   2013-14                Washington Capitals       4.08

9              Alex Ovechkin                   2014-15                Washington Capitals       4.08

10           Brett Hull                             1991-92                St. Louis Blues                   4.07

Koepka’s second U.S. Open win even more exceptional than his first

 

Brooks Koepka’s performance in his second U.S. Open victory at Shinnecock Hills in June was even more dominant than his 2017 victory.

Koepka compiled a Z Score of -2.42 in overcoming the Shinnecock challenge, fractionally more dominant than his winning -2.24 Z Score at Erin Hills in 2017.

In strokes, Koepka’s winning margin in the 2018 Open was just one stroke over Tommy Fleetwood. He won the 2017 tournament by four strokes. But the field average of the players who completed four rounds at Shinnecock was 292.35 strokes, significantly higher than the 288.12 field average for those completing four rounds at Erin Hills in 2017. The 2018 field was also much more tightly bunched, with a performance standard deviation of 4.69 strokes. The standard deviation of the field average in 2017 was 7.21 strokes, demonstrating a much more spread-out field. Both of those factors made Koepka’s 2018 performance more exceptional.

Even so, Koepka’s Z Score does not measure up with the all-time top 25 U.S. Open performances.   Attaining that plateau would have required a Z Score of -2.56, a standard last attained in the Open by Martin Kaymer in 2014. Koepka’s Z Score is the best in the U.S. Open since Kaymer’s -2.81.

Here are the 10 most exceptional U.S. Open performances in history based on winning Z Score:

Rank      Player                   Year       Z Score

1              Tiger  Woods      2000       -4.12

2              Rory McIlroy      2011       -3.07

3              Tony Jacklin        1970       -3.04

4              tie Ben Hogan    1953

and Tom Kite     1992       -2.98

6              Martin Kaymer  2014       -2.81

7              tie Jack Nicklaus1967

and Billy Casper 1966      -2.79

9              Lee Janzen          1993       -2.75

10           tie Alex Smith    1906

and Fuzzy Zoeller 1984   -2.73

 

The 25 most dominant performances in Kentucky Derby history

 

Methodology: Each horse’s rating is based on the standard deviation of the distance covered as of the time the winner crossed the finish line measured against the average of other race finishers unless unless a horse finished more than one-half standard deviation behind the horse immediately ahead of it. If the latter occurs, that horse’s distance and the distances of all subsequent horses are not considered. The Kentucky Derby is a 1.25 mile race, a distance that translates to 6,600 feet. In racing, distances behind the leader are measured in lengths, a measure commonly standardized at eight feet per length. Therefore, a horse finishing one length behind the winner is presumed to have covered 6,592 feet as of the time the winner crossed the finish line. The following example, from the 2015 Kentucky Derby won by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah illustrates the method. Eighteen horses started the race of which 12 finished close enough behind the leader to qualify for inclusion in the rating. The field average distance covered by those 12 was 6,544 feet; the standard deviation was 33.42 feet:

Place     Horse/Jockey                                    Lengths                 Distance              St. Dev.

  1. American Pharoah/Espinoza 6,600                     67
  2. Firing Line/Stevens 00                        6,592                     1.43
  3. Dortmund/Garcia 00                        6,576                     0.95
  4. Frosted/Rosario neck                      6,574                     89
  5. Danzig Moon/Leparoux 25                        6,548                     0.12
  6. Materiality/Castellano 25                        6,538                  -0.19
  7. Keen Ice/Desmoreaux 00                        6,530                  -0.42
  8. Mubtaahij/Soumillon 75                        6,524                  -0.60
  9. Itsaknockout/Saez 75                        6,518                 -0.78
  10. Carpe Diem/Velazquez 75                        6,518                 -0.78
  11. Frammento/Nakatani 00                        6,510                 -1.02
  12. Bolo/Bejarano 75                        6,502                 -1.26
  13. Z/Vazquez 2.75
  14. Ocho Ocho Ocho/Trujillo head
  15. Far Right/Smith head
  16. War Story/Talamo 50
  17. Tencendur/Franco 75
  18. Upstart/Ortiz 50

 

 

 

                       

Summary: To dedicated race fans, the most surprising element of the following list will be the absence of more than half of the Triple Crown winners in history…among them American Pharoah, who has noted above rated 1.67.  These absences are due to a variety of factors. For the record, here are the standard deviations of the performances of the other six Triple Crown winners not among the all-time top 25 Kentucky derby winners: Seattle Slew (1977) 1.67, Gallant Fox (1930) 1.66,  Omaha (1935) 1.55, Sir Barton (1919) 1.52, Citation (1948) 1.27, Affirmed (1978) 1.26. An additional word about Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown winner often numbered among the greatest thoroughbreds in racing history. It is no criticism of Citation’s overall achievements to say that his Kentucky Derby performance, while victorious, was not particularly exceptional. He won by 3.5 lengths over a weak field of just six. Beyond that, the runner-up, Coaltown, was Citation’s stablemate, and Coaltown ran as a pacesetter for Citation, who passed Coaltown in the stretch and pulled away.

 

Disclaimer: Our perceptions of the strength of individuals (or teams) can be colored by factors that are extraneous to their actual dominance: general familiarity, the presence or absence of attention-getting personalities, national affinities, subjective opinions that become engrained over time, superiority in certain statistical categories being the most likely. This rating is based on an objective methodology, meaning that it is immune to influence from any of those criteria. That also means its findings may vary – in some cases substantially – from the historical consensus. As you scan this list, be prepared to have your presumptions of relative greatness challenged.

 

Each paragraph is headed by the name of the horse, year, jockey, odds and standard deviation score.

 

25: Determine, 1954, Raymond York, 4.3-to-1, 1.78. Going off as part of an entry pegged as the second favorite, Determine survived a jostled start to overtake Hasty Road at the head of the stretch and win going away.

 

24: Count Fleet, 1943, Johnny Longden, 0.4-to-1, 1.79. The overwhelming favorite based on his four victories as a two-year-old, Count Fleet assumed the lead at the outset and was never headed. Jockey Johnny Longden, who would ride County Fleet to that season’s Triple Crown, kept him well in front of eventual runner-up Blue Swords, finishing three lengths to the good.

 

23: California Chrome, 2014, Victor Espinoza, 2.5-to-1, 1.813. Rated close to the lead from early in the race, California Chrome moved in front around the final turn and his driving finish wore down Samraat, who faded from a challenging position to finish fifth. California Chrome beat longshot Commanding Curve by nearly two lengths. Chrome went on to win the Preakness before managing only a fourth place finish in the Belmont.

 

22: Thunder Gulch, 1995, Gary Stevens, 24-5-to-1, 1.822. Held just off the lead in a tightly packed field through the first mile, Thunder Gulch passed Serena’s Song at the head of the stretch and won a battle with Tejano Run for the finish line by nearly four lengths.

 

21: Barbaro, 2006, Edgar Prado, 6.1-to-1, 1.860. Race fans are familiar with the tragic story of Barbaro, who left the Derby as a Triple Crown favorite only to break down in the Preakness and eventually be euthanized. Only the second betting favorite when the Derby began, Barbaro stumbled at the start but caught the leaders at the far turn and reached the lead by the sixteenth pole. From there he won inspirationally, opening up a six and one-half length advantage by the finish line.

 

20: Proud Clarion, 1967, Ron Ussery, 30-to-1., 1.861.  A 30-to-1 shot at the race’s start, Proud Clarion broke inauspiciously behind the heavy favorite, Damascus, and ran eighth at the halfway point. Forced outside as Ron Ussery positioned him for stretch run, he circled the field and caught leader Barb’s Delight and ran him down in the final furlong, winning by a length.

 

19: Monarchos, 2001, Jorge Chavez, 10.5-to-1, 1.873. Bumped at the start, Monarchos was pulled back at the race’s outset, standing only 10th at the three-quarter mile mark. But a strong sustained rush pulled him up to sixth at the mile mark and to second at the head of the stretch. From there he pulled away from Congaree to win by more than four lengths.

 

18: Pompoon, 1937, Harry Richards, 8-to-1, 1.874. Pompoon is the only horse among the 25 most dominant who did not actually win the race. He had a good excuse, running against War Admiral, a future Triple Crown winner and one of racing’s all-time great horses. This should not diminish Pompoon’s own run. Close to the pace all the way, he worked his way to second place – a length and a half behind War Admiral – by the mile mark. Although unable to catch the eventual winner, he did rout the rest of the 20-horse field, finishing eight lengths ahead of the third place finisher.

 

17: Unbridled, 1990, Craig Perret, 10.8-to-1, 1.927. Only the fifth betting favorite, Unbridled broke badly in a tightly packed 15-horse field and was 12th a half mile into the race. But jockey Craig Perret found running room outside entering the stretch, enabling him to tap Unbridled’s speed heading home. He won by three and one-half lengths.

 

16:   Count Turf, 1951, Conn McCreary, 14.6-to-1, 1.931. Despite being the son of 1943 Derby winner Count Fleet and grandson of 1928 winner Reigh Count, Count Turf was so lightly regarded that he was part of a five-horse field entry. Count Turf came from fourth at the mile marker and won going away, his final margin put at four lengths.

 

15: Street Sense, 2007, Calvin Borel, 4.9-to-1, 1.932. The first of Calvin Borel’s three Kentucky Derby champions, Street Sense ran a conservative race that saw him 17th in a 20-horse field at the three-quarters mile mark. Running in Borel’s favorite position on the rail, Street Sense found enough running room deep on the backstretch to move all the way to third by the mile mark. He took the lead from Hard Spun at the head of the stretch and won by nearly four lengths.

 

  1. Gato Del Sol, 1982, Eddie Delahoussaye, 21-to-1, 1.95. Jockey Eddie Delahussaye broke Gato Del Sol easily, positioning him at the back of a 19-horse field as late as the half mile mark. Finding ample running room on the outside, Gato Del Sol advanced easily up the backstretch, working his way to fifth by the mile mark. As the leaders faded, Gato Del Sol displayed plenty in reserve for a stretch run that saw him hold off a fast-closing Laser Light for a two and one-half length victory.

 

13: Always Dreaming, 2017, John Velazquez, 5-to-1, 1.96. The weak betting favorite in a 19-horse field, Always Dreaming stalked longshot State of Honor down the backstretch, gradually drew away and fought off other challengers into the home stretch. He won by two and three-quarters lengths.

 

12: Hill Gail, 1952, Eddie Arcaro, 1.10-to-1, 2.00. With Eddie Arcaro in the saddle, Hill Gail went off as almost an even money favorite in the field of 16, took the lead at the outset, withstood a brief challenge from Hannibal on the backstretch, then opened up a five-length lead by the mile marker. Perhaps eased a bit toward the finish, he won by two lengths.

 

11: Smarty Jones, 2004, Stewart Elliott, 4-to-1, 2.02. The betting favorite, Smarty Jones stalked the early leader, Lion Heart, down the backstretch, challenged him three-quarters of a mile from the finish, seized the lead with a furlong remaining and pulled away to a three-length win. He would go on to win the Preakness and then see his Triple Crown hopes dashed by a runner-up finish at the Belmont Stakes.

 

10: Big Brown, 2008, Kent Desormeaux, 2.4-to-1, 2.03. The heavy favorite due to a series of sensational winter and spring performances, Big Brown worked his way forward from the 20th starting position to seize the lead with a quarter mile to go. The rest was easy, Desormeaux gradually building a five-length winning margin. Like Smarty Jones, Big Brown added the Preakness and went to the Belmont Stakes a heavy favorite to complete the Triple Crown, only to finish that race well out of the money.

 

  1. Reigh Count, 1928, Chick Lang, 2.06-to-1, 2.08. A dominant two-year-old, Reigh Count demonstrated why he was the clear betting favorite. Close to the front virtually from the start, he forced the leader, Misstep until overtaking him down the stretch and winning by three lengths. Reigh Count was the sire of Derby winner County Fleet and the grandfather of Derby winner Count Turf.

 

  1. Twenty Grand, 1931, Charles Kurtsinger, 0.88-to-1, 2.09. Possibly the shortest favorite in Derby history, Twenty Grand broke leisurely but gained momentum entering the backstretch and began relentlessly wearing down the rest of the 12-horse field. He won by four lengths. Jockey Charles Kurtsinger would also ride Twenty Grand to a Belmont victory, and would add the Preakness in 1933. In 1937, aboard War Admiral, Kurtsinger won the Triple Crown.

 

7: Hoop Jr., 1945, Eddie Arcaro, 3.7-to-1, 2.11. Hoop Jr. is often overlooked today, having run in an era that also produced such racing legends as Triple Crown winners Count Fleet, Assault and Citation. Still he went to the Derby post as the second favorite in the final race of the World War II era, seized the lead early and was never headed. Arcaro’s horse opened up a six-length lead by the head of the stretch and gave none of it back.

 

  1. Pensive, 1944, Conn McCreary, 7-to-1, 2.12. The 16-horse race quickly broke down into a battle between Pensive, Broadcloth and the heavy favorite, Stir Up. At the top of the stretch, Broadcloth and Stir Up staged a neck-and-neck battle, but that effort exhausted both, and Pensive overtook them in the final furlong to win by four. Pensive nearly completed the Triple Crown, adding the Preakness and finishing a close second in the Belmont. Jockey Conn McCreary would win a second Derby in 1951 aboard Count Turf.

 

  1. Mine That Bird, 2009, Calvin Borel, 50-to-1, 2.13. Probably the biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history, Calvin Borel rode Mine That Bird to the Derby win despite being only the 18th betting choice in the 20-horse field. As was his pattern, Borel kept his horse well back on the inside through the race’s early stages, beginning his drive at the mile mark and slipping into the lead position at the stretch. Riding the rail toward the finish, Borel pulled away to win by nearly seven lengths.

 

  1. Whirlaway, 1941, Eddie Arcaro, 3-to-1, 2.14. The betting favorite coming off a four-win season as a two-year-old, Whirlaway found himself blocked coming out of the gate. So Arcaro eased him back until asking for speed with a half mile to go. He got it; Whirlaway powered into the lead as the stretch run began and left no doubt, winning by eight lengths. He and Arcaro went on to complete the Triple Crown.

 

  1. Secretariat, 1973, Ron Turcotte, 1.5-to-1, 2.15. Rated easily by Turcotte at the start, Secretariat disdained the rail for the clear outside lane, which he used to rein in his competitors down the backstretch. He caught the front-runner, Sham, just past the mile marker, and won by three lengths. Secretariat of course went on to win the Triple Crown, an achievement capped by his stunning 31-length win in the Belmont stakes.

 

  1. Assault, 1946, Warren Mehrtens, 8-to-1, 2.191. The son of 1936 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Bold venture, Assault made his reputation with a dominant performance at the Derby. Guided by Warren Mehrtens, Assault stayed close to Spy Song until passing him for the stretch run. The final quarter mile was a pure exhibition, Assault steadily pulling away to an eight-length victory. He would go on to claim the Triple Crown.

 

1: War Admiral, Charles Kurtsinger, 1937, 1.6-to-1, 2.193. Son of the legendary Man O’ War, War Admiral had been lightly raced, a fact that did not deter betters from making him nearly an even-money favorite. Leading virtually start to finish, he ran easily until the final half mile when – facing a persistent challenge from Pompoon – Kurtsinger asked for speed. War Admiral maintained his two-length lead to the finish, he and Pompoon leaving the rest of the 20-horse field eight to 10 lengths and more in arrears. The subsequent Triple Crown winner, War Admiral is perhaps best-known today for his 1938 match race against Seabiscuit.

 

 

 

 

The 25 Most Dominant NCAA tournament teams

Qualifications for consideration: Eligible teams are those teams that won an NCAA Tournament championship. The tournament has been played annually since 1939; hence, with the completion of the 2018 championship a total of 80 teams are eligible for consideration.

Methodology: Each team’s rating is based on the standard deviation of its points per game differential measured against the standard deviations of the point differentials of all tournament teams. If a team’s standard deviation is one-half point or more worse than the team immediately above it, the performance of that team and all teams below it are not factored into the rating. The example below shows the scores for each team during the 1966 tournament famously won by Texas Western (now UTEP) over Kentucky. That tournament featured 22 teams, 4 of whose performance standard deviations did not meet the minimum standard for qualification.  The average point differential was +5.29; the group standard deviation was 0.56.

1966                                                       Games  PPG       PPGA    Diff.       Std Dev.

Texas Western                                  5              81.00     74.60     6.40        1.10

Kentucky                                             4              79.50     76.75     2.75        0.41

Western Kentucky                           2              92.00     83.00     9.00        1.60

St. Josephs                                         2              69.50     62.00     7.50        1.31

Davidson                                             2              86.50     79.50     7.00        1.22

Syracuse                                              2              87.50     84.50     3.00        0.46

Utah                                                      3              77.00     74.33     2.75        0.40

Kansas                                                  2              78.00     75.50     2.50        0.37

Duke                                                     3              81.67     79.33     2.33        0.34

Houston                                               2              71.00     69.50     1.50        0.18

Dayton                                                 2              68.50     68.50     0.00      -0.11

Oregon State                                     2              63.50     65.00   -1.50      -0.39

Cincinnati                                            1              76.00     78.00   -2.00      -0.48

Michigan                                              2              78.50     81.50   -3.00      -0.67

SMU                                                      1              70.00     76.00   -6.00      -1.24

Colorado State                                  1              76.00     82.00   -6.00      -1.24

Miami (Ohio)                                     1              51.00     58.00   -7.00      -1.43

Pacific                                                   1              74.00     83.00   -9.00      -1.81

Oklahoma City                                   1              74.00     89.00     DNQ

Providence                                         1              48.00     65.00     DNQ

Loyola (Chicago)                               1              86.00  105.00      DNQ

Rhode Island                                      1              65.00     95.00     DNQ

 

Disclaimer: Our perceptions of the strength of teams (or individuals) can be colored by factors that are extraneous to their actual dominance: general familiarity, the presence or absence of attention-getting personalities, subjective opinions that become engrained over time, superiority in certain statistical categories being the most likely. This rating is based on an objective methodology, meaning that it is immune to influence from any of those criteria. That also means its findings may vary – in some cases substantially – from the historical consensus. As you scan this list, be prepared to have your presumptions of relative greatness challenged. It is also worth noting that tournament formats such as the NCAA Tournament can yield debatable results. This is because the most reliable results are obtained in “closed-end competitions” – that is, when teams play each other – and that never occurs in single-elimination events.

 

T-24. 2005 North Carolina (1.75)

Record: 33-4

Tournament wins: Oakland 96-68, Iowa State 64-53, Villanova 76-65, Wisconsin 88-82, Michigan State 87-81, Illinois 75-70.

Coach: Roy Williams.

Starters and scoring averages: Sean May 17.5, Rashad McCants 16.0, Jawad Williams 13.1, Raymond Felton 12.9, Marvin Williams, 11.3.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored 84.17; allowed 70.33.

In a paragraph: North Carolina went 14-2 in the ACC, entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed, and never faced a seed higher than 5 until running into fellow No. 1 seed Illinois in the championship game. In the title game, May scored 26 points and the Tar Heels shot 52 percent.

 

T-24. 1978 Kentucky (1.75)

Record: 30-2.

Tournament wins: Florida State 85-76, Miami (Ohio) 91-69, Michigan State 52-49, Arkansas 64-59, Duke 94-88.

Coach: Joe B. Hall.

Starters and scoring average: Jack Givens 18.1, Rick Robey 14.4, Kyle Macy 12.9, James Lee 11.3, Mike Phillips 10.2.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 77.2, allowed 68.2.

In a paragraph: Kentucky spent all but a few weeks in February atop the Associated Press poll, and never fell lower than third. The Wildcats’ only two losses came to SEC foes Alabama and Louisiana State, the latter by one point in overtime.

 

  1. 2016 Villanova (1.80)

Record: 35-5.

Tournament wins: North Carolina-Asheville 86-56, Iowa 87-68, Miami (Fla.) 92-69, Kansas 64-59, Oklahoma 95-51, North Carolina 77-74.

Coach: Jay Wright.

Starters and scoring average: Josh Hart 15.5, Kris Jenkins 13.6, Ryan Arcidiacono 12.5, Jalen Brunson 9.6, Daniel Ochefu 10.0.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 84.17, allowed 62.83.

In a paragraph: Ranked outside the top 10 both in the pre-season and as late as early January, the Wildcats won 16 of 17 between Dec. 31 and Feb. 20. In the tournament, their only two close calls were with Kansas in the regional final and North Carolina in the championship game.  In that title game, Phil Booth came off the bench to provide 20 points.

 

  1. 1961 Cincinnati (1.81)

Record: 27-3.

Tournament wins: Texas Tech 78-55, Kansas State 69-64, Utah 82-67, Ohio State 70-65 OT.

Coach: Ed Jucker.

Starters and scoring average: Carl Bouldin 11.7, Bob Wiesenhahn 17.1, Tom Thacker 12.3, Paul Hogue 16.8, Tony Yates 7.4.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 74.75, allowed 62.75.

In a paragraph: Playing without their graduated star, Oscar Robertson, the Bearcats won their final 18 regular season games. Still they entered the tournament as a decided underdog to the defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes. The championship game was close throughout, Cincinnati’s defense holding Ohio State star John Havlicek to just one field goal and two points.  Jerry Lucas offset that with a 27-point performance, but the deeper Bearcats prevailed.

 

  1. 1974 North Carolina State (1.84)

Record: 30-1.

Tournament wins: Providence 92-78, Pittsburgh 100-72, UCLA 80-77 2OT, Marquette 76-64.

Coach: Norm Sloan.

Starters and scoring average: David Thompson 26.0, Tom Burleson, 18.1, Monte Towe 12.8, Mo Rivers 12.1, Tim Stoddard 5.5.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored 89.50, allowed 72.75.

In a paragraph: With a 30-1 record and No. 1 national ranking, the Wolfpack posed the most serious challenge to UCLA’s reign in nearly a decade. The teams met in the national semi-final ranked 1-2, the nationally televised contest pitting Wolfpack star Thompson against Bruins seniors Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes. Concluding his illustrious career, Walton produced 29 points and 18 rebounds. But Thompson responded with 28 points, and center Tom Burleson threw in 20 as the Wolfpack outscored UCLA 13-10 in the second overtime to end their string of seven consecutive national championships. In the title game, Thompson and Towe dominated Marquette, holding star Warrior forward Bo Ellis to just 12 points in a 76-64 Wolfpack victory.

 

  1. 2002 Maryland (1.88)

Record: 32-4.

Tournament wins: Siena 85-70, Wisconsin 87-56, Kentucky 78-68, Connecticut 90-82, Kansas 97-88, Indiana 64-53.

Coach: Gary Williams.

Starters and scoring average: Juan Dixon 20.4, Steve Blake 8.0, Byron Moulton 11.1, Lonny Baxter 15.2, Chris Wilcox 12.0.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 83.50, allowed 69.67.

In a paragraph: The Terrapins came into the tournament having lost only once since mid-January, and were never seriously threatened. In their championship-game victory over Indiana, Maryland led by six at halftime and built that advantage to 12 by game’s end. Dixon led the offense with 18 points, but he got strong support from Baxter (15) and Wilcox (10).

  1. 2001 Duke (1.92)

Record: 35-4.

Tournament wins: Monmouth 95-52, Missouri 94-81, UCLA 76-63, Southern California 79-69, Maryland 95-84, Arizona 82-72.

Coach: Mike Krzyewski.

Starters and scoring average: Jay Williams 21.6, Shane Battier 19.9, Carlos Boozer 13.3, Mike Dunleavy 12.6, Nate James 12.3.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 86-83, allowed 70-67.

In a paragraph:  Ranked among the top 5 all season, the Blue Devils defeated North Carolina in their final regular season game, rolled through the ACC Tournament, and blew away five NCAA opponents by double digit margins. In the championship game against fifth ranked Arizona, Duke broke open a close game in the second half with Dunleavy (21 points) and Battier (18) leading the way. Battier was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

 

  1. 2013 Louisville (2.03)

Record: 35-5.

Tournament wins: North Carolina A&T 79-48, Colorado State 82-56, Oregon 77-69, Duke 85-63, Wichita State 72-68, Michigan 82-76.

Coach: Rick Pitino.

Starters and scoring average: Peyton Siva 10.0, Gorgui Dieng 9.8, Russ Smith 18.7, Chane Behanan 9.8, Wayne Blackshear 7.6.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 79.5, allowed 62.83.

In a paragraph: Louisville’s championship has since been vacated by the NCAA for program improprieties.

 

  1. 1952 Kansas (2.11)

Record: 28-3.

Tournament wins: TCU 68-64, St. Louis 74-55, Santa Clara 74-55, St. Johns 80-63.

Coach: Phog Allen.

Starters and scoring average: Clyde Lovelette 28.4, Bob Kenney 13.7, Bill Hougland 7.1, Dean Kelley 6.0, Bill Lienhard 5.8.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 74.0, allowed 59.25.

In a paragraph:  Lovellette, who went on to a solid professional career, is the only player to have led the nation in scoring while also leading his team to a national championship. In the title game he scored 33 points and added 17 rebounds. For his tournament efforts he was named the Most Outstanding Player. For Allen, the victory was a capstone to a career that included 37 seasons at Kansas producing 590 victories against only 219 defeats plus 22 conference championships.

 

  1. 2006 Florida (2.19)

Record: 35-5.

Tournament wins: Jackson State 112-69, Purdue 74-67, Butler 65-57, Oregon 85-77, UCLA 78-66, Ohio State 84-75.

Coach: Billy Donovan.

Starters and scoring average: Taurean Green 13.3, Lee Humphrey 10.3, Al Horford 13.2, Corey Brewer 13.2, Joakim Noah 12.0.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 72.67, allowed 56.67.

In a paragraph:  On their way to the first of two consecutive NCAA championships, the Gators were ranked No. 1 in pre-season polls and again from mid-January through mid-February. Between Dec. 6 and Feb. 14 they won 17 consecutive games. In the championship games Florida’s superb depth – all five starters averaged in double figures — showed through. Horford, Green, Brewer and Humphrey all posted between 13 and 18 points.

 

T-13. 1959 California (2.21)

Record: 25-4.

Tournament wins: Utah 71-53, Saint Mary’s 66-46, Cincinnati 64-58, West Virginia 71-70.

Coach: Pete Newell.

Starters and scoring average: Darrall Imhoff 11.5, Al Buch 9.2, Bob Dalton 7.5, Dick Doughty 3.4, Denny Fitzpatrick 13.3.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 68.00, allowed 56.75.

In a paragraph:  The Golden Bears entered the tournament outside the top 10 rankings, but coming off a 14-2 conference season and featuring the nation’s best defense. They had allowed just 51 points per game. The tournament was more of the same. In the semi-finals, heavily favored Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson scored 19 points, but the Bears held everyone else down and Imhoff produced 22 as Cal pulled away in the second half. Facing West Virginia and star guard Jerry West in the championship game, they built a 39-33 halftime lead and held on at the finish. West scored 28 but Newell’s defense held everyone else in check.

 

T-13. 1958 Kentucky (2.21)

Record:23-6.

Tournament wins: Miami Ohio 94-70, Notre Dame 89-56, Temple 61-60, Seattle 84-72.

Coach: Adolph Rupp.

Starters and scoring average: Vernon Hatton 17.1, Johnny Cox 14.9, John Crigler 13.6, Adrian Smith 12.4, Ed Beck 5.6.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 82.00, allowed 64.50.

In a paragraph: The Wildcats entered the tournament ranked only 9th nationally. But lightly regarded Manhattan stunned top-ranked West Virginia in the tournament’s first round, second ranked Cincinnati fell to third ranked Kansas State in a regional semi-final, and Seattle took out fourth ranked San Francisco in the West Regional, then eliminated K-State in the national semi-final. That opened the door for Rupp’s Wildcats, who eliminated No. 5 Temple by a point in the semis. In the championship game, Hatton out-scored Seattle’s Elgin Baylor 30-25 and the Cats overcame a three-point halftime deficit to win going away.

 

  1. 2009 North Carolina (2.26)

Record: 34-4.

Tournament wins: Radford 101-58, Louisiana State 84-70, Gonzaga 98-77, Oklahoma 72-60, Villanova 83-69, Michigan State 89-72.

Coach: Roy Williams.

Starters and scoring average: Wayne Ellington 15.8, Tyler Hansbrough 20.7, Ty Lawson16.6, Danny Green 13.1, Deon Thompson 10.6.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 87.00, allowed 67.67.

In a paragraph:  Top-ranked much of the season, the Tar Heels opened with 13-straight victories, and won 10 more consecutively from mid-January to mid-February. The championship game against Michigan State was no contest: Carolina opened up a 21-point halftime advantage. Lawson, Hansbrough and Ellington were all named to the all-tournament team.

 

  1. 1972 UCLA (2.27)

Record: 30-0.

Tournament wins: Weber State 90-58, Long Beach State 73-57, Louisville 96-77, Florida State 81-76.

Coach: John Wooden.

Starters and scoring average: Bill Walton 21.1, Henry Bibby 15.7, Jamaal Wilkes 13.5, Larry Farmer 10.7, Greg Lee 8.7.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 85.00, allowed 67.00.

In a paragraph: Undefeated and top-ranked all season, this iteration of the Bruins dynasty faced few challenges. The Bruins topped 100 points in each of their first seven games, and no regular season opponent came closer than six points. The tournament was more of the same, including eliminations of No. 5 Long Beach State by 16 points and No. 4 Louisville by 21.  A hoped-for showdown between the Bruins and second ranked North Carolina evaporated when Florida State upset the Tar Heels 79-75 in their semi-final. In the championship matchup, UCLA grabbed an 11-point half time advantage and withstood a Seminole comeback. Walton scored 24 and Wilkes 23.

 

  1. 1962 Cincinnati (2.30)

Record: 29-2.

Tournament wins: Creighton 66-46, Colorado 73-46, UCLA 72-70, Ohio State 71-59.

Coach: Ed Jucker.

Starters and scoring average: Paul Hogue 16.8, Ron Bonham 14.3, Tom Thacker 11.0, George Wilson 9.2, Tony Yates 8.2.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 70.50, allowed 55.25.

In a paragraph: Despite returning three starters from their championship team, the Bearcats were rated behind the Ohio State Buckeyes all season. The much sought-after championship game materialized when Cincinnati scraped past UCLA in the semi-final. In the first title game ever to pit the nation’s two top-ranked teams, the Bearcats held Buckeye stars Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek to 11 pints each and breezed to their repeat championship.

 

  1. 1979 Michigan State (2.31)

Record: 26-6.

Tournament wins: Lamar 95-64, Louisiana State 87-71, Notre Dame 80-68, Pennsylvania 101-67, Indiana State 75-64.

Coach: Jud Heathcote.

Starters and scoring average: Greg Kelser 18.8, Magic Johnson 17.1, Jay Vincent 12.7, Ron Charles 8.8, Mike Brkovich 7.0.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 87.60, allowed 66.80.

In a paragraph: The national championship game, pitting Johnson against No. 1 Indiana State’s Larry Bird, was every bit as looked-upon as their subsequent pro matchups would be. The Spartans showed the experience gleaned from their Big Ten championship, leading from the early moments. Johnson outscored Bird 24-19 and added 5 assists plus 7 rebounds. Kelser was the Spartans’ inside punch, adding 19 points and 8 rebounds.

 

  1. 1960 Ohio State (2.35)

Record: 25-3.

Tournament wins: Western Kentucky 98-79, Georgia Tech 86-69, New York University 76-54, California 75-55.

Coach: Fred Taylor.

Starters and scoring average: Jerry Lucas 26.3, Larry Siegfried 13.3, Mel Nowell 13.1, John Havlicek 12.2, Joe Roberts 11.0.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 83.75, allowed 64.25.

In a paragraph: This was the first of three straight Buckeye teams to reach the championship game, and the only one to win the title. The Buckeyes won 13 consecutive games before a surprising late season thrashing at Indiana. It may have sobered them. Ohio State raced through four tournament games, winning all of them by 17 points or more. The title game against defending champion California was another blowout, Ohio State leading 37-19 at halftime. Lucas hit seven of nine field goals and the Buckeyes as a group made 31 of 46 shots, 67 percent. Lucas and Nowell were named to the all-tournament team.

 

  1. 1956 San Francisco (2.37)

Record: 29-0.

Tournament wins: UCLA 72-61, Utah 92-77, Southern Methodist 86-68, Iowa 83-71.

Coach: Phil Woolpert.

Starters and scoring average: Bill Russell 20.6, K.C. Jones 9.8, Hal Perry 9.1, Carl Boldt 8.6, Mike Farmer 8.4.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 83.25, allowed 68.00.

In a paragraph: The defending champion Dons began the season ranked No., 1 and were never unseated from that perch. Only one team all season played them within 10 points, and that team – California – held the ball in a 33-24 defeat. They also overcame the loss of star guard K.C. Jones, whose eligibility expired just prior to the tournament. Even so, in the title game, Russell dominated, making 11 field goals and claiming 27 rebounds. Russell and Perry were obvious all-tournament choices. That summer, Russell and Jones led the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.

 

  1. 1990 UNLV (2.46)

Record: 35-5.

Tournament wins: Arkansas Little Rock 102-72, Ohio State 76-65, Ball State 69-67, Loyola Marymount 131-101, Georgia Tech 90-81, Duke 103-73.

Coach: Jerry Tarkanian.

Starters and scoring average: Larry Johnson 20.6, Anderson Hunt 15.9, David Butler15.8, Stacy Augmon 14.2, Greg Anthony 11.2.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 95.17, allowed 76.50.

In a paragraph: The hoped-for showdown between Tarkanian’s Runnin Rebels and top-ranked Oklahoma evaporated when North Carolina took out the Sooners in the tournament’s second round. That made Tarkanian’s Rebels, with only one loss since February, the prohibitive favorites. They validated that view with a 30-point victory over Loyola Marymount in the regional championship game, then outlassed Duke by 30 to claim the national title. The Rebels shot 61 percent in that game.

 

  1. 1970 UCLA (2.46)

Record: 28-2.

Tournament wins: Long Beach State 88-65, Utah State 101-79, New Mexico State 93-77, Jacksonville 80-69.

Coach: John Wooden.

Starters and scoring average: Sidney Wicks 18.6, John Vallely 16.3, Henry Bibby 15.6, Curtis Rowe 15.3, Steve Patterson 12.5.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 90.25, allowed 72.50.

In a paragraph: This was the often-overlooked “team between,” the Bruins championship club that had neither Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nor Bill Walton. More remarkably, the Bruins starters were all iron men; no reserve averaged more than two minutes of playing time per game. Even so, the Bruins sailed through their first 21 games undefeated before losing twice late in conference play. The defeats steeled them in advance of the tournament, in which no opponent played them within 10 points. Facing a once-beaten Jacksonville team that started two 7-footers for the championship, Rowe, Wicks, Patterson and Vallely all scored 15 points or more and the Bruins led pretty much all the way.

 

  1. 1981 Indiana (2.67)

Record: 26-9.

Tournament wins: Maryland 99-64, Alabama-Birmingham 87-72, St. Josephs 78-46, Louisiana State 67-49, North Carolina 63-50.

Coach: Bob Knight.

Starters and scoring average: Isiah Thomas 16.0, Ray Tolbert 12.2, Randy Wittman 10.4, Landon Turner 9.5, Ted Kitchel 9.2.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 78.80, allowed 56.20.

In a paragraph: The Hoosiers enjoyed one of the game’s great comeback stories. In mid-January they were an uninspired 10-7 and unranked. They went 16-2 the rest of the way, reaching the top 10 and winning their first four tournament games by margins ranging from 15 to 35 points. Facing North Carolina in the championship game, Thomas scored 23 points and the Hoosiers broke open a 27-26 game at halftime to win by 13.

 

  1. 1973 UCLA (2.76)

Record: 30-0.

Tournament wins: Arizona State 98-81, San Francisco 54-39, Indiana 70-59, Memphis 87-66.

Coach: John Wooden.

Starters and scoring average: Bill Walton 20.4, Jamaal Wilkes 14.8, Larry Farmer 12.2, Larry Hollyfield 10.7, Tommy Curtis 6.4.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 77.25, allowed 61.25.

In a paragraph: With Walton at his best, the six-time defending champion Bruins opened the season ranked No. 1 and were never dislodged. Their closest regular season challenges came in six point victories over Oregon State and Stanford. When second ranked North Carolina St. failed to make the tournament, experts essentially conceded the championship to UCLA, and with good reason. In the final game against Memphis, Walton played perhaps the greatest game in college basketball history. He hit 21 of 22 shots, scored 44 points and added 13 rebounds to carry the Bruins.

 

  1. 1963 Loyola Chicago (3.47)

Record: 29-2.

Tournament wins: Tennessee Tech 111-42. Mississippi State 61-51, Illinois 79-64, Duke 94-75, Cincinnati 60-58.

Coach: George Ireland.

Starters and scoring average: Jerry Harkness 21.4, Les Hunter 17.0, John Egan 13.7, Vic Rouse 13.5, Ron Miller 13.3.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 81.00, allowed 58.00.

In a paragraph: Rediscovered due to the NCAA Tournament success of the 2018 edition of the Ramblers, the 1963 bunch deserves to be remembered for its own performance. This was one of the legitimately great teams in tournament history. Ranked second most of the season, Loyola chased the two-time defending champion Bearcats in the polls, and their tournament run was viewed in Chicago as a prelude to an inevitable showdown. That prelude included their widely recalled meeting with Mississippi State, a game laced with racial overtones given Loyola’s four black starters and the segregationist viewpoints of Mississippi’s governor at the time. The Ramblers won that won 61-51, and little more than a week later earned the right to face Cininnati for the championship.  The more experienced Bearcats raced out to an early lead, but the Ramblers rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half and tied the game on Harkness’s jumper with four seconds left. Rouse tipped in the overtime winner at the buzzer.

 

  1. 1967 UCLA (3.54)

Record: 30-0.

Tournament wins: Wyoming 109-60, Pacific 80-64, Houston 73-58, Dayton 79-64.

Coach: John Wooden.

Starters and scoring average: Lew Alcindor 29.0, Lucius Allen 15.5, Mike Warren 12.7, Lynn Shackelford 11.4, Kenny Heitz 6.1.

Tournament points-per-game differential: Scored; 85.25, allowed 61.50.

In a paragraph: The Bruins were ranked No. 1 all season, and only two teams came within 10 points of them. Both held the ball to keep down the score. Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, carried a 29-point per game scoring average with 15.5 rebounds per game and a 67 percent shooting average. The team’s dominance was all the more remarkable since only one key player, Warren, was an upper-classman. The tournament’s outcome was never in doubt, especially when SMU took out second-ranked Louisville in a regional semi-final. Meanwhile the Bruins opened up double digit leads by halftime in every one of their tournament games. In the title game against heavy underdog Dayton, Abdul-Jabbar scored 20 points and added 18 rebounds, Allen scored 19, Warren kicked in 17 and UCLA nearly doubled up the Flyers by halftime, leading 38-20.