The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 22, 2013

Bracketnomics 2013: NCAA Tournament: Saturday, March 23, Third Round

 2013 NCAA Tournament— Round Three Schedule For Saturday, March 23, 2013

All times Eastern Daylight

Time

Network

Region

Higher Seed

Lower Seed

 

12:15 PM

CBS

South

#4 Michigan (27-7)

#5 Virginia Commonwealth (27-8)

 

2:45 PM

CBS

Midwest

#3 Michigan St. (26-8)

#6 Memphis (31-4)

 

5:15 PM

CBS

Midwest

#1 Louisville (30-5)

#8 Colorado St. (26-8)

 

6:10 PM

TNT

West

#6 Arizona (26-7)

#14 Harvard (20-9)

 

7:10 PM

TBS

Midwest

#4 St. Louis (28-6)

#12 Oregon (27-8)

 

7:45 PM

CBS

East

#3 Marquette (24-8)

#6 Butler (27-8)

 

8:40 PM

TNT

West

#1 Gonzaga (32-2)

#9 Wichita St. (27-8)

 

9:40 PM

TBS

East

#4 Syracuse (27-9)

#12 California (21-11)

 

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

Def FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

Rd  W-L

Michigan

75.2

62.9

12.3

.484

.419

6.5

35.1

32.2

2.9

9.2

12.1

2.9

6.0

7.58

56.00

60.0

V C U

77.3

64.8

12.5

.449

.444

0.5

34.8

34.8

0.0

11.8

19.9

8.1

11.8

12.08

55.72

64.7

Michigan St.

68.2

59.3

8.9

.460

.394

6.6

37.3

30.5

6.8

13.4

12.8

-0.6

8.1

7.70

59.69

53.3

Memphis

75.9

65.1

10.8

.479

.405

7.4

37.8

32.9

4.9

14.6

15.5

0.9

9.0

7.78

54.81

81.3

Louisville

73.6

58.0

15.6

.445

.388

5.7

37.5

33.9

3.6

12.7

18.7

6.0

10.7

12.94

59.42

77.8

Colorado St.

73.1

62.9

10.2

.448

.409

3.9

40.4

28.4

12.0

10.8

11.1

0.3

4.9

13.34

56.44

56.3

Arizona

73.3

63.7

9.6

.450

.415

3.5

36.2

30.3

5.9

13.1

13.8

0.7

6.9

8.12

57.27

68.8

Harvard

68.9

63.9

5.0

.482

.440

4.2

29.4

30.4

-1.0

13.5

13.8

0.3

7.4

0.84

48.79

42.9

St. Louis

68.7

58.1

10.6

.448

.412

3.6

32.8

32.5

0.3

11.5

15.2

3.7

7.5

6.24

55.73

69.2

Oregon

72.5

62.9

9.6

.451

.406

4.5

37.9

30.9

7.0

15.1

15.7

0.6

8.8

9.48

53.29

60.0

Marquette

69.0

62.7

6.3

.467

.405

6.2

35.0

30.6

4.4

13.6

12.9

-0.7

6.7

4.90

58.24

46.7

Butler

69.7

63.7

6.0

.455

.417

3.8

36.6

28.9

7.7

13.2

11.2

-2.0

5.7

6.44

56.61

70.6

Gonzaga

78.0

59.7

18.3

.503

.382

12.1

37.4

30.0

7.4

11.3

13.9

2.6

8.0

12.12

54.72

93.8

Wichita St.

69.4

60.7

8.7

.443

.400

4.3

38.4

30.0

8.4

12.8

13.2

0.4

7.5

10.38

53.84

64.7

Syracuse

71.3

60.1

11.2

.440

.377

6.3

38.7

34.6

4.1

12.6

15.5

2.9

8.9

9.36

59.30

56.3

California

67.5

64.4

3.1

.446

.396

5.0

37.2

34.0

3.2

12.5

11.1

-1.4

5.8

2.68

56.35

60.0

 

Thursday’s Pick Record: 12 – 4.

 

Game Previews

Michigan vs. Virginia Commonwealth

Michigan has a decided shooting edge in this game, and the Wolverines should win the rebound battle, but the key here will be how much they control the boards.  VCU’s pressing defense is called “Havoc” for a reason.  The Rams can get 10 steals on just about any team in this tournament, because players do not have the fundamentals mastered in this era.  If Michigan cannot win the rebounding battle by at least five and maybe as much as eight, VCU will create enough turnovers and score enough in transition to erase Michigan’s shooting advantage.  The Maize and Blue may be the best team VCU’s press has tried to upset this year, and Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are much better than the average pair of ball-handlers.

 

Like most of Saturday’s games, this one will be an excellent game to watch, and it should be nip and tuck all the way.  We grade these teams three ways to come up with our PiRate Number.  Michigan has a slight edge in one rating, while VCU has an equally slim edge in the second rating.  VCU qualifies in four of our rating criteria categories, while Michigan qualifies in three.  However, Michigan qualifies in the all-important strength of schedule, while the Rams do not.

 

VCU fails to qualify on SOS by the thinnest of hairs, and when we compare the two teams’ SOS side-by-side, they are separated by less than a point per game.

 

PiRate Pick: Virginia Commonwealth 74  Michigan 70

 

Michigan St. vs. Memphis

This is another game where the teams match up well with enough strengths with which to exploit the other and enough liabilities that can be exploited.  MichiganState is a tad slow in transition, while Memphis is considerably quicker.  The Spartans are stronger in the paint, while their guards are better outside shooters than the Tigers’ guards.

 

We think the difference in this game will come in shot selection.  In the second half, we expect MichiganState to take the smarter shots, while Memphis throws up some ill-advised shots.  It will be the difference down the stretch as Sparty pulls away at the end.

 

PiRate Pick: Michigan State 68  Memphis 61

 

Louisville vs. Colorado St.

The Rams might have a decent shot at ousting any of the other three number one seeds, but they unfortunately draw the one number one seed that they do not match up well against.  Louisville is a much better version of New Mexico, and CSU could not handle New Mexico.

 

The Cardinals have the best defensive backcourt in the tournament, even better than VCU’s Havoc Defense.  Not only can UL steal the ball 10 times a game, they also can stop teams in the paint and on the perimeter in the halfcourt.  Coach Rick Pitino may have his best team since his 1996 Kentucky Wildcats, and “The Ville,” looks to be unstoppable at this point.

 

ColoradoState may keep it close for one or two TV timeouts, but the Cardinals will pull away and have a double-digit lead before halftime.  CSU is not the best come-from-behind team, and things will only get worse until Pitino removes his starters.

 

PiRate Pick: Louisville 77  Colorado St. 54

 

Arizona vs. Harvard

If you read our previous post, you know we selected the 6-seeded Wildcats to emerge as the surprise winner of the West Region.  We’ve been given a gift in this round, as Sean Miller’s squad almost gets a walkover to advance to the Sweet 16.

 

Harvard is the first team that failed to qualify in any of our criteria categories to advance to the Round of 32 in six seasons.  We do not expect the Crimson to put up much of a fight in this game.

 

Arizona will get about 10-12 more chances to score points in this game, and the Wildcats should match or exceed Harvard in shooting percentage.  UA’s quickness should prevent the Crimson from getting many open looks from behind the arc, which is the only area where Harvard has a chance to stay in the game.

 

PiRate Pick: Arizona 71  Harvard 52

 

St. Louis vs. Oregon

We think this will be a dandy of a game to watch.  Aside from being just plain solid, SLU is playing for their deceased head coach, Rick Majerus.  While this emotional boost of octane does not figure in our PiRate Criteria, we do keep this knowledge in the back of our heads.

 

OU has an axe to grind that equalizes the Billikens’ extra emotion.  The Ducks felt as if they were seeded about five spots lower than they deserved to be seeded.  So these factors cancel each other out.

 

Let’s look at the Criteria numbers for this game.  Oregon should end up with a better shooting percentage, and the Ducks should win the battle of the boards, but not by a large number.  The SLU players are a better ball-control team, but they won’t remind anybody of conference rival VCU.

 

Oregon has a small R+T advantage, while SLU has played a slightly more difficult schedule and has performed better away from home.  The fact that this game is in San Jose does not help the Ducks as much as it would if this were the previous round, but SLU will have been on the coast for four days and will have adjusted by the time this game tips off.

 

Both teams have exceptional depth and balance, and this game should have a fluidity that others do not.  It would not surprise us if neither team ever enjoys a lead of more than eight points.  It would also not surprise us if 40 minutes is not enough to determine the winner.

 

PiRate Pick: Oregon 72  St. Louis 70

 

Marquette vs. Butler

This game could have just as easily been Davidson versus Bucknell.  Marquette survived an advanced because Davidson panicked at the end.  Bucknell had Butler on the ropes, but the Bulldogs showed poise when it counted.  The more experienced teams emerged victorious.

 

Now, in this round, we need to closely examine the numbers, because both teams are solid with savvy.  Marquette is a slightly better shooting team than Butler, and the Golden Eagles are also a little better affecting shots by the opponent.   Butler is considerably better on the glass, while neither team is much of a ball-hawking power.  Butler will get three to five more chances to score, but Marquette will shoot a higher percentage.

 

Looking at the other criteria, Marquette compiled their stats against competition that was a little less than two points per game better than Butler’s opponents, but Butler performed much better away from Indianapolis than MU did away from Milwaukee.  This stat is the deciding factor for us, and we believe Coach Brad Stevens will have his squad a little better prepared on less than 48 hours notice.

 

PiRate Pick: Butler 59  Marquette 55

 

Gonzaga vs. Wichita St.

The number one seed and regular final season number one team almost fell to a 16-seed.  The last time the overall number one team and top seed in a region lost their first game was way back in 1981, when #1-seed DePaul lost to #9-seed St. Joseph’s (40-team tournament in 1981).

 

WichitaState looked like a Sweet 16 team in their win over Pittsburgh.  The Shockers have their best team since the great 1981 team that advanced to the Elite 8.  That team had three future NBA players in Cliff Levengston, Antoine Carr, and Xavier McDaniel.

 

Of course, this is Gonzaga’s best team, and the Bulldogs have been toughened by their narrow escape.  We do not see Coach Mark Few’s team stubbing its toe and coming out flat in this game.  GU has something to prove.

 

The Zags are a better shooting team and a better defending team in the half-court.  The two teams are fairly even on the boards, while Gonzaga enjoys a slight advantage in turnover margin.  The two teams’ strengths of schedule differ minutely, but Gonzaga enjoys a considerably better record away from Spokane than WSU has away from Wichita.

 

PiRate Pick: Gonzaga 78  Wichita State 69

 

Syracuse vs. California

The Golden Bears get a little bit of home court advantage, as Berkeley is only 45 miles north of San Jose.  Still, the ‘Cuse is clearly the better team.

 

A lot of teams have trouble with Coach Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 matchup zone the first time they face it.  We believe the Bears will shoot under 40% in this game and fail to pick up enough offensive rebounds to keep the game within reach at the end.

 

Syracuse enjoys small, but significant advantages in field goal percentage margin and rebound margin.  The difference is more significant in turnover margin, and this leads to SU enjoying an R+T rating that is worth 6 ½ more possessions.  To top it off, The Orangemen’s strength of schedule is about three points per game better than Cal’s.  This adds up to a solid win for Boeheim’s bunch.

 

PiRate Pick: Syracuse 69  California 57

 

Coming Saturday night, we will preview Sunday’s games.

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