What early polls tell us about the eventual 2023 men's college basketball champion

ByKyle Soppe ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Associated Press released their preseason Top 25 this week, marking the official start to 2022-2023 men's college basketball season. Four teams received first-place votes and a total of 44 teams appeared on ballots, highlighting the level of parity that we have in the sport. This is the first of many data points to digest for the college basketball season, and while it is only October, it's never too early to start thinking about what the bracket will look like in March.

Of course, plenty will change between now and the crowning of our 2023 champion, but using history as a guide, this first set of data does hold some long-term value. Here's what we know over the past 10 tournaments:

The average season sees the preseason Top 25 teams rack up 39.5 March Madness wins (play-in games do not count)

84% of teams in the preseason Top 25 make the tournament

The average preseason ranking of the national champion is 5.9 (the last team to win a title when ranked worse than sixth in the preseason poll was the 2015-16 Villanova Wildcats led by Josh Hart)

While we don't "know" anything, recent data suggests that one of these top-six teams will likely win the final game of the season, and four of the teams from the above list may not hear their name called on Selection Sunday (144 days away, but who's counting?).