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FSU’s blue-chip ratio compared to the AP basketball top-10

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Florida State’s hanging out with the big boys.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Connecticut Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It takes talent to win in college basketball. Everyone loves to point to the statistical oddities that pop up every year in the NCAA Tournament (Hi Loyola-Chicago), but the reality is that power conference teams have won 49 of the past 50 national titles, and the one exception (UNLV) had all the money and support of traditional blue bloods.

When I wrote for Run the Floor I wrote several articles showing how the number of blue chips on a roster was directly correlated to how many conference games they would win. Unfortunately someone took that site out back and shot it, so there’s nothing to link. But it should be obvious. Duke and Kansas win so many conference titles because they have the most talent.

Another way to look at talent is through the prism of the NBA Draft. Since 1995 the average national champion has had five NBA picks on the roster, with 1.7 of those coming in the lottery.

So, good luck Sister Jean.

Now that FSU basketball has moved into the AP top-10, it’s a good time to start looking at whether the Seminoles fit the statistical profile of potential champions.

For now, we’ll look at those 10 teams, and once ACC play begins we’ll take a look at conference rosters. Blue chips are defined a consensus 4* or 5* recruit per 247Sports composite rankings. The ‘Mock Draft’ column lists the number of players currently appearing in the 2019 NBA Mock Draft at ESPN.

Blue Chips 2018-19

Rank Team Blue Chips 5* 4* NBA Mock
Rank Team Blue Chips 5* 4* NBA Mock
1 Kansas 12 2 10 3
2 Duke 8 5 3 3
3 Tennessee 2 0 2 1
4 Gonzaga 4 0 4 3
5 Michigan 7 0 7 1
6 Virginia 7 0 7 2
7 Nevada 3 1 2
8 Auburn 5 0 5
9 Michigan St 8 1 7
10 FSU 3 0 3

The nine teams not FSU average six blue chip players each. It’s clear that Kansas and Duke - the nation’s top-2 teams - are hoarding the talent (along with No. 9 Michigan State and No. 19 Kentucky). But even teams like Michigan and Virginia who traditionally cause announcers to trip over themselves in excitement about how those coaches win without talent, are stacked. Tennessee and FSU are the clear outliers. The Volunteers have an interesting roster, with one of the oldest rosters in college basketball, and nearly the nation’s leader in minutes continuity (returners from last year). They returned all five starters and all are upperclassmen.

The good news is that Florida State is in the nation’s top-10 despite having a statistical talent profile which is a bit underwhelming. The bad news is that there isn’t much precedent for such a roster to make the Final Four.

But it’s only December. Enjoy the ride.