Last season, teams with strong efficiency numbers on both offense and defense were hard to come by. That was likely one of the reasons why the national championship game featured a 7-seed and an 8-seed. The lack of dominant teams allowed for a wide open NCAA tournament.
This year we have all seen Kentucky’s dominance, but they are not alone. Kentucky, Arizona, Villanova, Gonzaga, Utah, Northern Iowa, and Wichita State were all top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency prior to the start of the tournament. The first weekend was unkind to Villanova and Northern Iowa, but plenty of the strong teams still remain.
Take a look at this Sweet 16 efficiency visulization (all numbers from kenpom.com):
Arizona is a really good basketball team too. Wisconsin’s offense has showed no signs of slowing down with 1.37 ppp against Coastal Carolina and 1.19 ppp against Oregon, but the defense is only slightly better than last season.
For comparison’s sake, the graphs from 2014 and and 2013 are below. Please note the axis scales, as having to make room for a particularly bad team (i.e. – FGCU) can make the graphs misleading: