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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | March 14, 2018

The tallest teams in the NCAA tournament

What do Christ Koumadje and Demontrae Jefferson have in common? They’re both outliers.

Koumadje, a center from Florida State, stands at 7-4, making him the tallest player in the NCAA tournament. Jefferson, a 5-7 Texas Southern guard, is the shortest.

MARCH MADNESS SHOP
 Second-seeded Duke plays No. 15 Iona in the first round and is the tallest team in this year's tournament. Radford is the shortest, which didn't stop the Highlanders from picking up their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

Here’s the full ranking of 2018’s field of 68 by height:

Rank School Average Height (in inches)
1 Duke 79.21
2 Florida State 78.59
3 Oklahoma 78.47
4 Kentucky 78.23
5 Kansas 78.17
6 Alabama 78.14
7 San Diego State 78.08
8 UCLA 78.00
8 West Virginia 78.00
10 Virginia 77.92
11 Purdue 77.92
12 Missouri 77.85
13 Texas Tech 77.79
14 Texas 77.69
14 Xavier 77.69
16 Michigan State 77.67
17 Providence 77.62
18 North Carolina 77.56
19 Arizona 77.47
20 Creighton 77.46
20 Gonzaga 77.46
22 Wichita State 77.25
23 TCU 77.23
24 Clemson 77.21
25 Loyola Chicago 77.20
26 Michigan 77.18
27 UNCG 77.17
28 Montana 77.08
28 Florida 77.08
30 Buffalo 77.07
31 Miami 77.00
31 Arkansas 77.00
31 Cincinnati 77.00
31 Houston 77.00
31 Kansas State 77.00
31 UMBC 77.00
37 Syracuse 76.93
38 Stephen F. Austin 76.92
39 NC State 76.92
40 Penn 76.89
41 Georgia State 76.85
42 Butler 76.83
42 Seton Hall 76.83
44 Charleston 76.77
44 Ohio State 76.77
46 Virginia Tech 76.75
47 Auburn 76.73
47 Marshall 76.73
49 Nevada 76.71
50 Murray State 76.67
51 Bucknell 76.64
52 CSU Fullerton 76.60
53 Davidson 76.57
54 Iona 76.50
54 Villanova 76.50
56 South Dakota State 76.45
57 St. Bonaventure 76.31
58 Texas A&M 76.14
59 Wright State 76.08
60 Lipscomb 76.08
61 Rhode Island 76.07
62 New Mexico State 76.00
63 Tennessee 75.94
64 Arizona State 75.58
65 Texas Southern 75.57
66 NC Central 75.47
67 LIU-Brooklyn 75.27
68 Radford 75.21

The Blue Devils’ players average 79.2 inches (just over 6-7). Duke has 10 players over 6-6, and their shortest player is 6-2. That may have something to do with why the Blue Devils are the fourth-best rebounding team in the country, and the second-best in the tournament.

Radford is on the other end of the spectrum, averaging just 75.2 inches per player (just over 6-3). Only four Highlanders breach 6-6, and just one player in Radford’s starting five is taller than 6-5 — the 6-8 Randy Phillips, who averages 6.9 points per game. But it’s 6-5 Ed Polite Jr. who pulls in the most rebounds for Radford, accounting for 23% of the Highlanders boards.

Seeing that difference between a 1 seed and a 16 seed is pretty common. Here's how average height breaks down by seed:

Seed Height
2 77.89
9 77.71
10 77.70
1 77.54
5 77.54
8 77.24
4 77.22
3 77.08
6 77.08
11 77.03
13 76.93
14 76.69
15 76.51
7 76.47
12 76.41
16 75.98

None of the 2-seeds (Duke, Purdue, North Carolina, and Cincinnati) have an average height of under 6-5. The 1 seeds include the Nos. 5 (Kansas), 10 (Virginia), and 14 (Xavier) tallest teams, but are brought down by Villanova, which has an average height of 6-4.5, the 14th shortest in the field. Unsurprisingly, four of the 16 seeds come in at the first (Radford), second (LIU-Brooklyn), third (NC Central), and fourth (Texas Southern) shortest teams in the tournament. 

In the past 10 years, no player under 6-0 or over 6-10 has won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

Year School MOP Height (in inches)
2017 UNC Joel Berry II 72
2016 Villanova Ryan Arcidiacono 75
2015 Duke Tyus Jones 73
2014 UConn Shabazz Napier 73
2013 Louisville Luke Hancock 78
2012 Kentucky Anthony Davis 82
2011 UConn Kemba Walker 73
2010 Duke Kyle Singler 80
2009 UNC Wayne Ellington 76
2008 Kansas Mario Chalmers 73