The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 4, 2010

The NCAA Championship Game–Butler vs. Duke

All The Marbles

Will Coach K Earn His Fourth Set Of Agates?

It started with 65; it’s down to two.  When they NCAA Tournament’s 2010 brackets were released three weeks ago, we here at the PiRate Ratings told you that our criteria showed that Kansas, Kentucky, and Syracuse were not going to make it to the final round.  We selected Duke based on a criteria score that blew the other teams out of the water.

Well, we are one win away from being able to say we have selected the national champion five times in the last six years, missing only on Florida in 2006. 

Before we break down the stats, let’s take a quick look something.  We’re talking about Duke here.  Consider this about this Blue Devil basketball team.  Their coach is with one of the best around.  Consider that this Duke team has two of the best inside players in the game and a couple of wing players that can shoot lights out.  Throw in a reserve who might be a star in the NBA in a few years, and this team looks unbeatable.

Now the opponent is coming into this game on a very long winning streak, longer than any team in many years.  This opponent is a bit undersized compared to Duke, but they have a unique style of play.  This opponent wins games with a huge spurt or two.  Except for those spurts, they appear to be little better than an above-average team.

Wait a minute!  We don’t want to mislead you here.  We’re not talking about 2010.  We’re talking about 1964.  That’s right.  In 1964, Duke had a sure-championship team with a top-notch coach in Vic Bubas, who had already guided Duke to a Final Four.  That team had two talented post players in 6-10 twin towers Jay Buckley and Hack Tison.  Wing player Jeff Mullins was a deadly shooter who could take it inside and finish the fast break.  On the bench, sophomore Jack Marin would be an NBA star in the latter part of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  That Blue Devil team looked unbeatable.

Their opponent was a small team with no starter over 6-5.  They came into the championship game on a 29-game winning streak.  They played a unique style of ball, pressing all over the floor and running the fast break on every opportunity.  They relied on a couple of spurts in every game, and the rest of the time, they basically played teams evenly.  That team, of course, was UCLA, and it was the first of 10 national champions produced by the legendary Wizard of Westwood—John Wooden.

Can Butler become the 2010 alternative to UCLA of 1964?  Their unique style of ball is completely different from Wooden’s Bruins, but it produces the same results.  Rather than rely on quick spurts in two minutes (UCLA scored 16 consecutive points on Duke in less than two minutes just before the end of the first half), Butler’s defense has long stretches where it holds opponents scoreless or to just a couple of points. 

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, this is not 1964.  This Duke team is closer in comparison to the 1970 UCLA team, the one that had Henry Bibby, John Vallely, Curtis Rowe, Sidney Wicks, and Steve Patterson.  That Bruin team pounded opponents inside with brute force and stung them from outside with great perimeter shooting.  Thus, we strongly believe we will have successfully picked yet another national champion when the clock strikes zero.

Before getting to the PiRate Data which will predict the outcome of the game, let’s take a look at the position by position matchups.  We are guessing that the two Butler players who left the Michigan State game (Mack & Howard) will both be available to play but neither will be 100%.

Point Guard

                   Duke: John Scheyer                    Butler: Shelvin Mack

Neither player is your atypical point guard.  Both can lead their respective teams in scoring in any game and will come down the floor and pop a three point attempt before setting up any offensive play.

Scheyer is the better of the two when it comes to natural point guard duties, and he adds something extra—a rebounding force.

Mack suffered from dehydration in Saturday’s semifinal game, and he will be better hydrated for this game.  However, he won’t be 100%.

Advantage: Duke

Shooting Guard

                   Duke: Nolan Smith                     Butler: Ronald Nored

Nored is not much of an offensive threat, but he is a fairly good defensive player, especially in Butler’s help and recover defense.  He is a plus at the free throw line, but unless the Bulldogs are trying to nurse a small lead in the final minutes, this won’t come into play.

Smith is a stud.  He can drain the three and take a defender to the basket on the drive.  He will dominate Nored in this game, and this will be one of the areas where the Blue Devils will exploit.

Advantage: Duke

 

Small Forward

                   Duke: Kyle Singler                      Butler: Gordon Hayward

This is the matchup of the game.  Both teams’ best players square off.  The only chance Butler has of keeping the game close and having a chance to win is if Hayward is red hot and gets open shots, while Singler is ice cold, much like he was when Duke edge Baylor in the South Regional Finals.

We think Singler has a little more speed, but Hayward is a little more consistent.

Advantage: Tossup

 

Power Forward

          Duke: Lance Thomas                            Butler: Willie Veasley

The stats on paper point to a Butler advantage in this game, but Thomas has been a rebounding machine in this tournament.  While Singler, Scheyer, and Smith have been firing shots at rapid pace, Thomas has been banging like Charles Barkley and has been pulling down a large number of offensive rebounds.  If you’ve read any about our PiRate Criteria, you know how much we award an offensive rebound that leads to points.  It is not just gold; it is platinum.

Veasley isn’t chopped liver, and he could easily score 10-15 points in this game, but if Thomas gets four or more offensive rebounds, it won’t matter.

Advantage: Duke

 

Center

                   Duke: Brian Zoubek                    Butler: Matt Howard

When Thomas isn’t pulling down offensive rebounds, Zoubek is.  In fact, the big 7-1 center just may be the best offensive rebounder in college ball.  He won’t scare Butler offensively, but because he is a coordinated seven-footer, the Bulldogs have to prevent him from getting the ball in low.  That will allow the perimeter players to get open.

Howard suffered a mild concussion against Michigan State and is considered a game-time decision on whether he can play.  We expect he will play but will not be very effective.

Advantage: Duke

 

Bench

These teams remind us of teams from yesteryear in that neither relies all that much on depth.  Both go only eight deep for the most part, and none of the reserves on either side is likely to step up and have a big game.

Butler’s three contributing reserves will need to play much better against Duke than they did against Michigan State.  Zach Hahn is the best three-point shooter on either team, but he looked like he came in from the crowd rather than the bench in the semifinal game.  If he could play 12 minutes and hit two or three from behind the arc, it could give BU a shot in the arm and fire the rest of the team up.

Duke has three capable reserves that could start for half of the teams in college basketball.  If Andre Dawkins ever find “it,” he is going to be a real star.  He plays schizophrenically; he’s either the next Grant Hill or the next Benny Hill, and you never know what you are going to get.  The Plumlee Brothers, Miles and Mason are very consistent and supply positive minutes when they are in the game.

Advantage: Duke

NCAA National Championship Game

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Tipoff: 9:21 EDT

 

Butler Bulldogs (33-4) vs. Duke Blue Devils (34-5)

 

Butler

 

Roster

No.

Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
1 Shelvin Mack G 6-3 215 So Starter Status Unsure after injury vs. MSU
2 Shawn Vanzant G 6-0 172 Jr Key Reserve
3 Zach Hahn G 6-1 176 Jr Plays In Every Game
5 Ronald Nored G 6-0 174 So Starter
11 Alex Anglin G/F 6-5 177 Jr Seldom Plays
14 Nick Rodgers G 6-2 168 Sr Seldom Plays
20 Gordon Hayward G/F 6-9 207 So Starter
21 Willie Veasley G/F 6-3 206 Sr Starter
22 Grant Leiendecker G 6-5 182 Jr Seldom Plays
24 Avery Jukes F 6-8 215 Sr Plays In Every Game
30 Emerson Kampen C 6-9 189 Fr Seldom Plays
32 Garrett Butcher F 6-7 209 So Seldom Plays
33 Chase Stigall G 6-4 195 Fr Seldom Plays
44 Andrew Smith C 6-11 239 Fr Plays Considerable Time
54 Matt Howard F 6-8 230 Jr Starter Status Unsure after injury vs. MSU
HC Brad Stevens          
Ast Matthew Graves          
Ast Terry Johnson          
Ast

Micah Shrewsbury

         

 

Results

Record:33-4, 18-0 Horizon      
Colors: Blue & White      
       
Opponent But Opp  
Davidson 73 62  
at Northwestern 67 54  
at Evansville 64 60  
Minnesota (Anaheim) 73 82  
UCLA (Anaheim) 69 67  
Clemson (Anaheim) 69 70  
at Ball State 59 38  
Valparaiso 84 67  
Georgetown (at NYC) 65 72  
Ohio State 74 66  
Xavier 69 68  
at Alabama-Birmingham 57 67  
UW-Green Bay 72 49  
UW-Milwaukee 80 67  
at Wright State 77 65  
at Detroit 64 62 ot
Cleveland State 64 55  
Youngstown State 91 61  
at Loyola of Chicago 48 47  
at Illinois-Chicago 84 55  
at UW-Green Bay 75 57  
at UW-Milwaukee 73 66  
Detroit 63 58  
Wright State 74 62  
Loyola of Chicago 62 47  
at Youngstown State 68 57  
at Cleveland State 70 59  
Illinois-Chicago 73 55  
Siena (Bracketbuster) 70 53  
at Valparaiso 74 69  
UW-Milwaukee (Horizon Trn) 68 59  
Wright State (Horizon Trn) 70 45  
UTEP (NCAA) 77 59  
Murray State (NCAA) 54 52  
Syracuse (NCAA) 63 59  
Kansas State (NCAA) 63 56  
Michigan State (NCAA Final 4) 52 50  

 

Statistics

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Gordon Hayward 33.3 15.6 8.3 47.2 29.9 82.2 61 30 39
Shelvin Mack 30.9 14.2 3.7 45.7 38.9 73.4 113 5 50
Matt Howard 25.4 11.6 5.2 48.5 27.3 79.0 30 23 22
Willie Veasley 31.2 10.0 4.3 49.4 36.0 65.5 33 9 43
Ronald Nored 30.1 6.0 2.9 40.8 18.2 62.3 135 4 66
Zach Hahn 15.6 4.9 0.9 43.0 40.9 92.9 24 0 13
Shawn Vanzant 14.6 2.8 1.7 32.1 30.4 72.5 45 6 15
Avery Jukes 10.4 2.7 1.2 37.6 34.4 69.4 5 5 6
Garrett Butcher 5.6 0.5 1.0 19.4 11.1 33.3 1 1 2
                   
                   
Team Stats But Opp              
Points 69.0 59.4              
FG% 44.5 41.5              
3PT % 34.2 31.8              
FT% 73.8 68.0              
Rebounds 32.6 29.9              
Turnovers 12.1 14.0              
Steals 7.1 5.3              
Blocks 2.3 3.1              
Off. Rebound % 29.7                
Possessions/G * 64.9                
                   
Offensive Rebound % = Off. Reb/(Off. Reb + Opp. Def Reb + Opp. Dead Ball Def Reb)  
                   
* Avg Possessions estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds      

 

Duke

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
2 Nolan Smith G 6-2 185 Jr Starter
3 Seth Curry G 6-1 175 So Does Not Play
5 Mason Plumlee F 6-10 230 Fr Key Reserve
12 Kyle Singler F 6-8 230 Jr Starter
13 Olek Czyz F       Seldom Plays
20 Andre Dawkins G 6-4 190 Fr Key Reserve
21 Miles Plumlee F 6-10 240 So Key Reserve
30 Jon Scheyer G 6-5 190 Sr Starter
34 Ryan Kelly F 6-10 220 Fr Key Reserve
41 Jordan Davidson G 6-1 180 Sr Seldom Plays
42 Lance Thomas F 6-8 225 Sr Starter
51 Steve Johnson F 6-5 210 Jr Seldom Plays
52 Todd Zafirovski F 6-8 240 Fr Does Not Play
53 Casey Peters G 6-4 185 Jr Seldom Plays
55 Brian Zoubek C 7-1 260 Sr Starter
HC Mike Krzyzewski          
Ast Steve Wojciechowski          
Ast Chris Collins          
Ast Nate James          

 

Results

Record: 34-5, 13-3 ACC    
Colors: Royal Blue & White    
     
Opponent Duke Opp
UNC Greensboro 96 62
Coastal Carolina (Pre NIT) 74 49
Charlotte (Pre NIT) 101 59
Radford 104 67
Arizona State (Pre NIT @NYC) 64 53
Connecticut (Pre NIT @ NYC) 68 59
at Wisconsin (ACC/B10) 69 73
St. John’s 80 71
Gardner-Webb 113 68
Gonzaga (at NYC) 76 41
Long Beach State 84 63
Penn 114 55
Clemson 74 53
Iowa State (at Chicago) 86 65
at Georgia Tech 67 71
Boston College 79 59
Wake Forest 90 70
at N. C. State 74 88
at Clemson 60 47
Florida State 70 56
at Georgetown 77 89
Georgia Tech 86 67
at Boston College 66 63
at North Carolina 64 54
Maryland 77 56
at Miami (FL) 81 74
Virginia Tech 67 55
Tulsa 70 52
at Virginia 67 49
at Maryland 72 79
North Carolina 82 50
Virginia (ACC Tournament) 57 46
Miami (FL) (ACC Tournament) 77 74
Georgia Tech (ACC Tournament) 65 61
Ark. Pine Bluff (NCAA) 73 44
California (NCAA) 68 53
Purdue (NCAA) 70 57
Baylor (NCAA) 78 71
West Virginia (NCAA Final 4) 78 57

 

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Jon Scheyer 36.7 18.3 3.5 39.9 38.7 88.0 189 8 64
Kyle Singler 35.8 17.6 6.9 41.2 39.6 79.6 94 30 40
Nolan Smith 35.4 17.5 2.8 44.4 39.9 79.9 110 9 45
Brian Zoubek 18.3 5.5 7.7 63.5 0.0 55.4 38 29 27
Miles Plumlee 16.5 5.3 5.0 56.8 100.0 66.1 12 25 19
Lance Thomas 25.1 4.7 4.9 43.3 0.0 74.3 36 8 22
Andre Dawkins 12.8 4.6 1.2 40.0 38.3 73.5 13 2 11
Mason Plumlee 14.5 3.8 3.2 46.2 25.0 54.3 30 30 18
Ryan Kelly 6.5 1.2 1.1 35.6 26.3 66.7 13 14 8
                   
                   
Team Stats Duke Opp              
Points 77.4 61.0              
FG% 44.1 40.3              
3PT % 38.7 28.1              
FT% 76.1 68.7              
Rebounds 39.1 32.7              
Turnovers 10.9 14.3              
Steals 6.6 6.3              
Blocks 4.0 4.0              
Off. Rebound % ^ 40.3                
Possessions/G * 67.2                
                   
^ Offensive Rebound % = Off. Reb/(Off. Reb + Opp. Def Reb + Opp. Dead Ball Def Reb)  
                   
* Avg Possessions estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds      

 

 

PiRate Criteria Comparison

 

Stat Duke Pts Butler Pts
Scoring Margin 16.4 5 9.6 3
FG% Margin 3.80% 0 3.00% 0
Rebound Margin 6.4 3 2.7 0
Turnover Margin 3.4 3 1.9 1
R+T * 11.79 11.79 5.94 5.94
Road W-L 17-5 3 16-4 3
Schedule Strength 61.05 11.05 60.62 10.62
         
Total Duke 36.8 Butler * 25.6
* Butler Receives 2 extra points for quasi-home team advantage
         
Duke has a PiRate Criteria Advantage of 11.2 points
This Computes To An Overall Advantage of 15 points
         
* R+T is a formula that combines rebounding margin and turnover margin.  It is weighted  
to give turnover margin a little more clout and steals even more clout based on the fact that  
turnovers, especially steals, produce a higher percentage of easy fast break points.  
         
R+T Formula: R+T= (.2S * 1.2T)+ R  
R = Rebounding Margin, T = Turnover Margin, S = Avg. Steals per Game  
If Turnover Margin is a negative number, then Steals are dropped from the formula  
         
         
  PiRate Prediction    
  Duke 70    
  Butler 55    

 

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