It's that time of year when fans start fantasizing about how good their team could be. This might be the year! But in the end, if you're a betting man, you know that the last team standing is likely to be a pretty predictable choice.
In other words, it's not about the X's and O's, it's about the Jimmys and Joes.
Sure, there's going to be some random team advancing through an insanely lucky bracket. Or there's going to be this year's version of 2006 George Mason. But the team that cuts down the nets is almost sure to one that got there because they're stacked.
I looked at every NCAA tournament winner from 1995-2012 and tracked down where their players went in the NBA draft. 2013 Louisville was not included (2 players drafted), as they have several more from that roster who will be drafted this year. 2011 UConn also has Shabazz Napier, who may be drafted.
Of those 18 title teams, 14 (78%) had at least four NBA draft picks on their rosters. Six (33%) of the teams had the benefit of at least six NBA players, and one (1996 Kentucky) had an astonishing 8 NBA picks.
Looking at just first round picks, that same Kentucky team had seven first rounders. And the only team that didn't have at least two first round picks was 1999 UConn who won on the strength of the 7th overall pick in the draft (Richard Hamilton) and two 2nd rounders.
In terms of the elite talent – the lottery picks – 2005 UNC tops them all with four lottery picks. Several teams have been blessed with three top 10 picks, but only 2012 Kentucky had the first two picks in the draft. Only two teams (2010 Duke and 1998 Kentucky) won without at least one lottery pick.
So does your team have at least four or five NBA picks, including multiples from the 1st round and at least one lottery pick? If not, keep on dreaming.