Talent in the Sweet 16

If you examine the rosters of NCAA Tournament champions they have a couple things in common. One, they're filled with elite recruits. Two, they have multiple players who end up as 1st round picks in the NBA. Those two things are not always interchangeable. Not every elite recruit pans out. Not all 1st round picks were elite recruits. But it's pretty darn close. Evaluating talent in basketball is easier than it is in other major sports. You could watch Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in high school (then, Michael Gilchrist) and see an NBA player. It's hard to look at a high school quarterback and see anything more than NFL potential.

This is the reason why I track where elite talent ends up. Those schools win titles.

For a data source I use RSCI Hoops, which, if you aren't familiar with this site, you should be. They take ESPN, Rivals, Scout, etc… rankings and combine them into one consensus ranking. There's no need to argue about which service is better, because the power of crowd sourcing wins out. In the end, defer to RSCI.

Starting with the consensus top 100 players:

The take home here is that Duke, Florida and Michigan State's roster are completely jacked. But not all of the players are eligible, two of Florida's players are currently sitting out the year after transferring (Dorian Finney Smith and Damontre Harris), so is Rodney Hood at Duke. They can still practice though, so they add value to the team. But take them away if you want – those teams are still loaded.

The only teams without a consensus top 100 player are Wichita State and La Salle. Everybody's sweetheart Florida Gulf Coast has one (Jamail Jones, a transfer from Marquette), but like a few of the guys listed above, he's sitting out after transferring.

How about the higher end talent. Twenty-two of thirty NBA 1st round picks last year were former consensus top 50 recruits. Here's what this Sweet 16 has.

If Rodney Hood didn't have to sit out the year, Duke could field an entire 8-man rotation of nothing but former top 50 recruits. Sick.

Half the teams have at least four of these players. Syracuse isn't far behind, and then Florida, Ohio State, Arizona and Indiana. It would be smart to have some combination of these teams in your Final Four.

What about the elite of the elite – the consensus 5* recruits?

Duke and Arizona are the leaders here, and all of the players are eligible and play a major role. In total there are 22 guys in the Sweet 16 who were once considered 5* recruits by just about everyone.