The 5 Best Offensive Teams in the 2024 NCAA Tournament

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
The 5 Best Offensive Teams in the 2024 NCAA Tournament

It's important to pay attention to which offenses are good in the NCAA Basketball tournament. This is often a predictor of who will go deep in the tournament.

Going back to 2018, all but one team cutting down the nets as champions appeared in the top five of the KenPom adjusted offensive ratings. That was the Kansas Jayhawks in 2022, who were sixth. We could have identified the Connecticut Huskies in 2023 -- who had the second-best offense despite being just a 4 seed -- as a potential darkhorse to win it all .

We may be able to find this year's champions in the list of the top five offenses, so let's take a look at them.

5. Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats enter the tournament as a 3 seed in the South Region after being upset in their first game of the SEC Tournament.

Kentucky went 23-9 this season and 13-5 in the SEC. That doesn't scream "elite team", but their underlying offensive numbers are some of the best in the country.

KenPom has the Wildcats as the fifth-best offense this season. Bart Torvik also has them with the fifth-highest adjusted-offensive efficiency.

Kentucky also was the number one team in three-point percentage, shooting at a 41.2% clip. They were a great shooting team overall, ranking fourth with a 57.4% effective field-goal percentage.

4. Illinois Fighting Illini

Our fourth-ranked offense in the tournament this season is the Illinois Fighting Illini. They won the Big Ten Conference Tournament on Sunday and enter the tournament as a 3 seed.

There is very little to parse through between Illinois and the teams ranked second and third on this list. Bart Torvik has them third in adjusted offensive efficiency with a 125.2 rating. KenPom also ranks them third with a 125.6 rating.

The model from numberFire has them down in seventh in the offensive rating, so that causes them to slip to fourth in these rankings. There is nothing that really stands out in their offensive profile.

Their best ranking is in offensive rebounding (17th).

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

The team that is very close to Illinois in a lot of the offensive metrics is the Alabama Crimson Tide. They come into the big dance as a 4 seed in the West Region.

Alabama also has a 125.6 adjusted-offensive efficiency by KenPom -- same as Illinois. In numberFire's ratings their offense ranks second, and in Torvik, they are fourth.

The calling card for 'Bama this season has been pace. They play at the second-quickest pace for any team in the tournament this season.

There are a few things that make the Crimson Tide an intriguing pick to go deep. They rated 11th in effective field-goal percentage. From behind the arc, they were just 36rd in the nation but attempted had the 18th-highest attempt rate. If they get hot from deep and are getting off a lot of shots because of their pace, their offensive upside is pretty high.

2. Purdue Boilermakers

Ranked as one of the top teams all season, the Purdue Boilermakers are desperate to not repeat last season's devastating upset in a 1-16 matchup.

Purdue ranks second by Bart Torvik with an adjusted-offensive rating of 126.2, the second-highest in the country. They are slightly worse in KenPom and nF's data, slotting as the fourth-best offensive team.

The reason the Boilermakers are the second-best offensive team is because of the different ways they can beat you. They have one of the best players in the tournament, big man Zach Edey. He helps them rate eighth in offensive rebound percentage. They also are dangerous from deep with the second-best three-point percentage in the country.

It won't come as a surprise to people who have paid attention to Purdue all season long, but it's nice to see the numbers backing up the perception of the team.

1. Connecticut Huskies

Last season's champions come into this tournament as the favorites to repeat, according to the college basketball odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Connecticut can thank their elite offense for making them the favorite to win it all once again. They have the best offense by KenPom, nF's model and Bart Torvik. The last Big East team to do this was Villanova in 2018, who ended up winning the title.

UConn is obviously one of the most efficient teams in the tournament field. They are sixth in effective field goal percentage and sixth with a 58.5 shooting percentage on two-point shots.

Being one of the best offensive teams in the tournament led to UConn winning it all as a four seed. They won't take anyone by surprise this season but arguably have a stronger offense this time around.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.