Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Offseason Data Questions: Oregon St.'s Dismal Elite 8 Follow Up

I asked readers for data questions I could interrogate during the college basketball offseason. I want to answer the first today. It comes from Bryan Beban.

The answer to Beban's original question is 54 teams that went to the Elite 8 since 1985 didn't make the NCAA Tournament the following season. That number is about a fifth of all of the 280 team-seasons (excluding 2022 and 2019) in the sample.

This question though is an interesting jumping off point, because Oregon State had a truly historically awful follow up season to its Elite 8 appearance. I looked at every Elite 8 team since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 and none had a bigger drop in win percentage than Oregon State, which went 3-28 this past season (a 51 percentage point drop).

Most of the other teams in the top 20 in that metric were elite teams that dropped off to slightly below average. The number two team, for instance, is 2013-14 Florida. The Gators went 36-3 and made it to the Final Four before going 16-17 the next season.

One interesting historical comparison for Oregon St. though was the 1993-94 Boston College Eagles. That team also went to the Elite 8, but they then won just nine games during the following season. That program immediately bounced back and made the second round of the next two NCAA Tournaments before Jim O'Brien departed for Ohio State. So there might be hope for Oregon State yet.

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