Historical hurdles for title teams

Limitations facing UCLA, Indiana and other hyped preseason contenders

Updated: July 3, 2012, 2:12 PM ET
By Drew Cannon | Special to ESPN Insider
Cody Zeller & Matt RothTim Fuller/US PresswireCody Zeller helped put Indiana back on the map last season, but their work isn't finished.

The freshmen are committed, the draft decisions are made, the transfers are transferred. The teams, as currently composed, look much like those we'll be watching come November. But since it's early July, let's cover all of our bases and talk about title contenders in terms of program health.

By "program health," we're referring to the consistency and magnitude of a school's winning history in recent years. It takes a little while for a phoenix to rise out of the ashes -- there aren't stories of the tiny college with no basketball tradition that suddenly win the NCAA tournament. The pulse of a program can be taken with data to see whether it's far enough along to be considered a real title threat.

We found five universal truths of every team to win the 64-plus team NCAA tournament. All 28 modern-era champions had a few things in common, and of the 2013 squads, only 14 fulfill all of the historical requirements of winning a championship in this era. This certainly isn't to say that the other 333 teams in Division I are incapable of winning the NCAA championship, but if one were to do so, it would set a record for quickest program rise.

Here are the five historical hurdles a potential champion must clear, including the preseason contenders that fail each requirement: