With the college basketball season one-third over and heading for conference play, you know that among the very best teams in the country, four have yet to lose. You know they are all playing better than expected and have diverse styles. So what can you expect from this quartet come tournament time?
Here's a look at the top-ranked undefeated teams from a Giant Killers perspective. Our statistical model assesses teams according to the metrics we have determined to be crucial to keeping heavy favorites safe or rendering them prone to upsets in past NCAA tournaments. It then assigns a rating between zero and 100; a score of 90 means we estimate the Giant would have a 90 percent chance of beating an average Killer (any opponent seeded at least five slots lower) in the NCAA tournament. Of course, a team's odds against actual underdogs will probably be higher in the first round, then lower in subsequent rounds.
For purposes of comparison, West Virginia is the safest team in the country, with an insane Giant Rating of 99.6. Meanwhile, Creighton (67.6) and USC (70.4) are also undefeated, but rate as vulnerable Giants. And it turns out that even among the potential Final Four we're looking at here, there is more of a spread than you might think, given their records: