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    

 

April 1, 2010

A PiRate Look At The Final Four

The PiRate All-Inclusive Look At The Final Four

Rosters, Stats, Results, PiRate Criteria Scores, and Analysis

National Semifinals

Date: Saturday, April 3, 2010

Place: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Our PiRate NCAA Tournament Criteria correctly picked half the field this year, getting it right with Duke and West Virginia.  We just missed getting three as Butler edged our pick from the West Regional, Kansas State, in the Elite 8.

Our overall number one pick and selection to win the Big Dance back when the field was announced is still going strong, and if the Blue Devils win it all Monday night, the PiRate picking formula will have succeeded in picking the National Champion for the fourth time in five years.

If the NCAA Tournament expands to 96 teams as it looks like might happen, we aren’t sure we will be able to handle the extra work to get this published.  33 extra teams might just be too much to get ready in a couple days.  To tell you the truth, 96 teams would be too much to keep our attention.  We would forget the first three rounds and do something else.  Heck, we might forget the tournament altogether.

Okay, let’s get down to the meat of this edition—The National Semifinal Round.

Game One: 6:07 PM EDT

 

Butler Bulldogs (32-4) vs. Michigan State Spartans (28-8)

 

Butler

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
1 Shelvin Mack G 6-3 215 So Starter
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
HC Brad Stevens          
Ast Matthew Graves          
Ast Terry Johnson          
Ast Micah Shrewsbury          

 

Record:32-4, 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  

 

Stats

 

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Gordon Hayward 33.1 15.5 8.2 47.4 29.5 82.7 61 28 37
Shelvin Mack 31.0 14.2 3.8 45.5 38.6 73.6 112 5 49
Matt Howard 25.7 11.8 5.3 49.4 27.3 79.2 30 23 21
Willie Veasley 31.1 10.1 4.3 49.8 36.9 64.7 33 9 39
Ronald Nored 29.9 6.0 2.9 41.8 18.2 61.2 133 4 63
Zach Hahn 15.8 5.1 0.9 43.9 42.0 92.9 24 0 13
Shawn Vanzant 14.5 2.8 1.7 32.1 30.4 73.5 43 6 15
Avery Jukes 10.1 2.7 1.2 39.2 37.9 69.4 5 5 5
Garrett Butcher 5.6 0.5 1.0 19.4 11.1 33.3 1 1 2
                   
                   
Team Stats But Opp              
Points 69.4 59.6              
FG% 44.9 41.5              
3PT % 34.5 31.7              
FT% 73.9 68.3              
Rebounds 32.6 29.7              
Turnovers 12.2 13.9              
Steals 7.0 5.3              
Blocks 2.3 3.0              
Off. Rebound % 27.5                
Possessions/G * 65.1                
                   
* Possessions/G estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds      

 

PiRate Criteria Score

 

Stat Butler
Scoring Margin 9.8
Points 3
FG% Margin 3.40%
Points 0
Rebound Margin 3.2
Points 1
Turnover Margin 1.7
Points 1
R+T * 6.06
Road W-L 15-4
Points 3
Schedule Strength 6.65
   
Sub-total 20.71
   
Butler Gets an extra 2 points for quasi-home court advantage
Total 22.71

 

* 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 than do most rebounds.
         
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

 

 

 

 

Michigan State

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
1 Kalin Lucas G 6-0 190 Jr Injured–Out For Season
2 Raymar Morgan F 6-8 230 Sr Starter
3 Chris Allen G 6-3 205 Jr Key Reserve
10 Delvon Roe F 6-8 230 So Starter
13 Austin Thornton G 6-5 220 So Plays Some in Every Game
15 Durrell Summers G 6-4 205 Jr Starter
20 Mike Kebler G 6-4 205 Jr Plays Infrequently
22 Isaiah Dahlman G 6-6 195 Sr Plays Infrequently
23 Draymond Green F 6-6 235 So Plays as Much as a Starter
25 Jon Crandell F 6-8 230 Sr Seldom Plays
34 Korie Lucious G 5-11 170 So Starter–replaced Lucas
40 Tom Herzog C 7-0 250 Jr Seldom Plays
41 Garrick Sherman C 6-10 235 Fr Plays Some in Every Game
44 Anthony Ianni C 6-9 260 Jr Does Not Play
50 Derrick Nix C 6-8 280 Fr Starter
HC Tom Izzo          
Ast Mark Montgomery          
Ast Dwayne Stephens          
Ast Mike Garland          

 

Record:28-8, 14-4 Big Ten      
Colors: Green & White      
       
Opponent MSU Opp  
Florida Gulf Coast 97 58  
Gonzaga 75 71  
Toledo (Legends Classic) 75 62  
Valparaiso (Legends Classic) 90 60  
Florida (Legends Classic) 74 77  
U Mass (Legends Classic) 106 68  
at North Carolina (ACC/Big Ten) 82 89  
Wofford 72 60  
at Citadel 69 56  
Oakland 88 57  
I P F W 80 58  
at Texas 68 79  
Texas-Arlington 87 68  
at Northwestern 91 70  
Wisconsin 54 47  
at Iowa 71 53  
Minnesota 60 53  
Illinois 73 63  
Iowa 70 63  
at Minnesota 65 64  
at Michigan 57 56  
Northwestern 79 70  
at Wisconsin 49 67  
at Illinois 73 78  
Purdue 64 76  
at Penn State 65 54  
at Indiana 72 58  
Ohio State 67 74  
Penn State 67 65  
Michigan 64 48  
Minnesota (Big Ten Trn) 67 72  
New Mexico State (NCAA) 70 67  
Maryland (NCAA) 85 83  
Northern Iowa (NCAA) 59 52  
Tennessee (NCAA) 70 69  

 

Stats

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Kalin Lucas-Inj. 31.1 14.8 1.9 45.3 35.4 77.2 131 2 40
Morgan Raymar 27.3 11.5 6.2 53.5 31.3 68.1 62 24 37
Durrell Summers 25.9 11.2 4.6 45.3 35.9 80.3 31 3 25
Draymond Green 25.4 9.8 7.8 52.7 13.3 68.3 111 32 44
Chris Allen 25.7 8.5 2.9 43.0 39.8 73.3 73 3 16
Delvon Roe 20.6 6.5 5.0 55.9 0.0 66.1 41 34 31
Korie Lucious 22.5 5.4 1.7 33.7 30.8 73.7 114 5 26
Derrick Nix 7.8 2.4 2.1 50.7 0.0 27.1 8 6 7
Garrick Sherman 7.2 1.9 1.6 58.8 0.0 55.6 3 5 4
Austin Thornton 5.7 1.1 1.1 35.0 20.0 100.0 9 0 3
                   
                   
Team Stats MSU Opp              
Points 72.4 64.1              
FG% 47.2 40.8              
3PT % 34.3 33.1              
FT% 68.8 70.9              
Rebounds 38.6 29.9              
Turnovers 13.8 12.5              
Steals 6.6 6.4              
Blocks 3.3 2.6              
Off. Rebound % 39.9                
Possessions/G * 67.2                
                   
* Avg Possessions estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds      

 

PiRate Criteria Score

 

Stat Michigan St.
Scoring Margin 8.3
Points 3
FG% Margin 6.40%
Points 1
Rebound Margin 8.1
Points 3
Turnover Margin -1.3
Points -2
R+T * 6.54
Road W-L 13-6
Points 2
Schedule Strength 8.74
   
Total 22.28

 

 

Analysis: First things first.  Butler is not a surprise team in the Final Four, or at least not a surprise in that they come from a smaller conference.  UNLV was once a small team from a small conference that made four trips to the Final Four and won the most lopsided Championship Game ever.  Marquette was a small Midwestern school that became a national power in the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s.

Butler is no different than UNLV or Marquette.  The Bulldogs have been as powerful as a Villanova, Ohio State, or Tennessee in recent years.  They have been a regular fixture, like Gonzaga.

Throw in some home-town advantage, and it’s easy to see why the Bulldogs are actually favored in this game.  There is one problem.  They have very little inside depth to match up with the Spartans’ inside game.

Michigan State won’t have their all-star playmaker Kalin Lucas on hand, but the Spartans will be able to cover that weakness up against Butlers’ gamble-free defense.  Lucious has been more than adequate as a play-maker in Lucas’s place, and Green, Allen, and Morgan have become competent runners of the offense as point forwards.

Most Final Four games are decided by guard play, but we see this game being the exception.  We believe the outcome hinges on the performances of the teams’ frontcourts.  Butler has Howard and Hayward and little else, so neither player can afford to get into foul trouble. 

The Spartans, as usual, dominate on the glass in most games.  In addition to Morgan, Green, and Roe, guards Summers and Allen can rebound like forwards.  Izzo has more options in reserve inside. 

The Criteria show this game to be a tossup, and thus a clear-cut favorite cannot be established.  However, all five of us lean toward the Spartans to win based on their superiority inside.

Prediction: Michigan State 63  Butler 56

 

Game Two: 8:47 PM EDT

 

Duke Blue Devils (33-5) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (31-6)

 

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          
 Record: 33-5, 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  
                   

 

 

Stats

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Jon Scheyer 36.7 18.2 3.6 39.5 38.1 88.2 183 8 62
Kyle Singler 35.7 17.6 6.9 40.9 39.1 79.4 89 30 40
Nolan Smith 35.4 17.4 2.8 44.4 39.6 78.3 104 9 45
Brian Zoubek 18.1 5.5 7.6 63.2 0.0 55.4 35 29 27
Miles Plumlee 16.6 5.4 5.1 56.6 100.0 66.1 12 25 18
Lance Thomas 24.9 4.8 4.9 43.2 0.0 74.3 36 8 21
Andre Dawkins 12.9 4.7 1.2 40.0 38.3 73.5 13 2 11
Mason Plumlee 14.7 3.8 3.3 46.2 28.6 54.3 30 29 17
Ryan Kelly 6.6 1.2 1.1 35.6 26.3 66.7 13 14 8
                   
                   
Team Stats Duke Opp              
Points 77.4 61.1              
FG% 43.9 40.2              
3PT % 38.2 27.8              
FT% 76.1 68.5              
Rebounds 39.3 32.8              
Turnovers 11.1 14.4              
Steals 6.7 5.4              
Blocks 4.1 4.0              
Off. Rebound % ^ 40.3                
Possessions/G * 67.5                
                   
^ Offensive Rebound % is based on this formula          
Offensive Rebounds/(Opponents’ Defensive Rebounds + Defensive Dead Ball Rebounds)  
                   
* Avg Possessions estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds 

 

     

PiRate Criteria Score

Stat Duke
Scoring Margin 16.3
Points 5
FG% Margin 3.70%
Points 0
Rebound Margin 5.9
Points 3
Turnover Margin 3.3
Points 3
R+T * 11.21
Road W-L 16-5
Points 3
Schedule Strength 10.39
   
Total 35.6

 

 
   

West Virginia

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
1 Da’Sean Butler F 6-7 230 Sr Starter
2 Cam Thoroughman F 6-7 240 Jr Plays Some in Every Game
3 Devin Ebanks F 6-9 215 So Starter
4 Jonnie West G 6-3 195 Jr Seldom Plays–Son of Jerry West
5 Kevin Jones F 6-8 250 So Starter
12 Kenny Ross G 6-0 175 Fr Does Not Play
15 Bryan Lowther G 6-6 215 Fr Does Not Play
20 Cam Payne G 6-4 225 So Seldom Plays
21 Joe Mazzulla G 6-2 200 Jr Starter in Replace of Bryant
25 Darryl Bryant G 6-2 200 So Broken Bone in Foot Will Try To Play
30 Danny Jennings F 6-8 260 Fr Plays Infrequently
32 Dalton Pepper G 6-5 215 Fr Plays Infrequently
33 Casey Mitchell G 6-4 225 Jr Key Reserve
35 Wellington Smith F 6-7 245 Sr Starter
41 John Flowers F 6-7 215 Jr Key Reserve
42 Deniz Kilicli F 6-9 260 Fr Plays Infrequently

 

Record: 31-6, 13-5 Big East      
Colors: Old Gold & Blue      
       
Opponent WVU Opp  
Loyola of Md 83 60  
Citadel (at Charleston, WV) 69 50  
Long Beach State (Anaheim) 85 62  
Texas A&M (Anaheim) 73 66  
Portland (Anaheim) 84 66  
Duquesne 68 39  
Coppin State 69 43  
at Cleveland State 80 78  
Ole Miss 76 66  
at Seton Hall 90 84 ot
Marquette 63 62  
at Purdue 62 77  
Rutgers 86 52  
at Notre Dame 68 70  
at South Florida 69 50  
Syracuse 71 72  
Marshall (at Charleston, WV) 68 60  
Ohio State 71 65  
at Depaul 62 46  
Louisville 77 74  
Pittsburgh 70 51  
at St. John’s 79 60  
Villanova 75 82  
at Pittsburgh 95 98 3ot
at Providence 88 74  
Seton Hall 75 63  
at Connecticut 62 73  
Cincinnati 74 68  
Georgetown 81 68  
at Villanova 68 66 ot
Cincinnati (Big East Trn) 74 68  
Notre Dame (Big East Trn) 53 51  
Georgetown (Big East Trn) 60 58  
Morgan State (NCAA) 77 50  
Missouri (NCAA) 68 59  
Washington (NCAA) 69 56  
Kentucky (NCAA) 73 66  

 

Stats

Player Min/G Pts Reb FG% 3pt % FT% Ast Bk Stl
Da’Sean Butler 36.0 17.4 6.3 41.6 35.7 78.3 117 15 36
Kevin Jones 32.9 13.7 7.2 52.4 40.6 67.6 40 33 22
Devin Ebanks 34.1 12.0 8.2 45.3 10.0 76.8 82 23 36
Darryl Bryant 24.3 9.3 2.2 34.6 31.5 75.7 108 1 25
Wellington Smith 23.0 6.5 4.1 46.0 35.3 59.5 46 36 27
Casey Mitchell 8.3 3.8 0.9 32.1 30.2 84.2 13 0 10
Deniz Kilicli 6.6 3.4 0.9 50.0 0.0 55.6 1 0 0
Dalton Pepper 7.8 3.2 0.6 37.1 33.3 72.7 16 1 4
John Flowers 14.4 3.0 2.4 43.6 31.8 46.8 45 28 21
Joe Mazzulla 15.6 2.6 1.8 36.7 12.5 57.1 85 1 24
                   
Team Stats WVU Opp              
Points 72.8 63.1              
FG% 43.1 41.3              
3PT % 33.6 31.6              
FT% 70.3 67.8              
Rebounds 38.9 32.3              
Turnovers 11.9 13.6              
Steals 5.7 6.2              
Blocks 4.1 3.0              
Off. Rebound % 38.8                
Possessions/G * 65.8                
                   
* Avg Possessions estimated and based on this formula        
FG attempts + (.5* FT attempts) + Turnovers – Offensive Rebounds      

 

PiRate Criteria Score

Stat WVU
Scoring Margin 9.7
Points 3
FG% Margin 0.18%
Points 0
Rebound Margin 6.9
Points 3
Turnover Margin 2.7
Points 1
R+T * 7.45
Road W-L 19-4
Points 3
Schedule Strength 10.96
   
Total 28.41

 

Analysis: Most fans, prognosticators, and pundits believe this is the real championship game between the two best teams left in the tournament.  We cannot disagree, as the criteria scores show both to be better than the other two teams.  What it should be is a more interesting game.  West Virginia’s 1-3-1 zone defense is a throwback to an earlier time when there was no three-point line.  Its natural weakness is on deep sides, where really good outside shooters can load up on three-point shots against it.  WVU rebounds exceptionally well out of this zone defense, thanks to the size and quickness of the three big men—Butler, Jones, and Ebanks.

Duke’s inside game isn’t as quick as the Mountaineers, but it could be even stronger.  Zoubek, Singler, and the Plumlee brothers know how to throw around their muscle.  This should make the inside game a wash.

We believe the Blue Devils will win this game because of their exceptional backcourt.  Scheyer and Smith will find the seams in the Mountaineer zone and hit crucial three-pointers throughout the game.  Singler will get into the act as well.

West Virginia’s only hope is that Butler (Da’Sean and not the school from Indianapolis) will have one of those terrific games.  He can keep WVU in it, but in the end we believe the Blue Devils will have just a little too many weapons.

Prediction: Duke 73  West Virginia 65

 

Coming Sunday—A look at the big game for all the marbles.

March 28, 2010

Sunday’s Regional Final Games

Sunday’s Regional Finals

Advanced Level Bracketnomics

 

The PiRate NCAA Tournament Criteria Formula worked like a charm in Friday night’s regional semifinal games.  Let’s see how it applies to Sunday’s regional final games.

South Regional

 

#1 Duke (30.48) vs. #3 Baylor (26.04)

We have been split whether to issue Baylor a partial home court advantage for this game, but we have decided to leave it as a 100% neutral game.  Baylor will have more fans for sure, but it won’t be like it would be if Duke were playing Kentucky in Nashville or Indianapolis.  The advantage for Baylor will be negligible.

Both teams in this game have crucial assets that prove to be winning tickets in games of this magnitude.  For Baylor, the Bears hit over 48% of their field goal attempts and give up less than 38%.  They have a scoring margin in double digits, and they control the boards by more than five per game.

For Duke, the Blue Devils outscore their opposition by 16 points per game and outrebound them by almost six per game.  The Dukies enjoy one of the best R+T* ratings in the nation, coming in at 11.64.  This number is so high because not only is their rebounding margin great, their turnover margin is also terrific at +3.7.  When a team consistently wins the battle of the boards and the turnover margin by healthy amounts, they have to really throw up bricks and give up easy layups to lose.

The two teams’ strengths of schedule are a wash—there isn’t even a half-point’s difference.  This game should be a see-saw affair with neither team pulling away until maybe the final minutes.  We’re going to stick with our pre-tournament favorite to win it all and take Coach K and company to earn the trip to Indianapolis.

Prediction: Duke 70  Baylor 63

 

Midwest Regional

 

#5 Michigan State (20.92) vs. #6 Tennessee (21.16)

Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl faced a serious dilemma when he dismissed star forward Tyler Smith from the squad at the end of December.  His team also played a couple weeks without the services of three other players.  Yet, the Volunteers upset undefeated and number one Kansas in their next game.  While fans and media were expecting the orange and white to crumble to a losing SEC record, Pearl changed their style of play to a more conservative approach and guided the Vols to double-digit wins in the conference.  This marks the farthest Tennessee has ever advanced in the Big Dance.

Michigan State under Coach Tom Izzo has made a habit of making it this far and farther.  The Spartans made it to the Championship Game last year.  Now, Izzo is facing the same dilemma Pearl faced in December.  He must get by without the services of his top player—Kalin Lucas.

The Spartans edged Northern Iowa in their first game without Lucas, but they face a team in the regional finals that will definitely exploit Lucas’s loss.  Tennessee can pressure the perimeter in the frontcourt and force MSU to work the shot clock to its final seconds.  The Spartans will have to force up some shots against the Volunteers’ defense.

Michigan State can still win this game if the Spartans shoot 38%.  They will definitely win the rebounding battle in this game.  However, Tennessee will force more turnovers and pick up a couple of cheapie baskets.  It is more likely that the Vols will enjoy some type of scoring spurt in this game.  Since it is most likely to be a limited possession game, just one spurt of eight to 10 points will be enough to advance Pearl’s club to the school’s first Final Four bid in history.

Prediction: Tennessee 64  Michigan State 59

 

* For an explanation of R+T as well as the rest of the PiRate Criteria, go to: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/bracketnomics-505-how-to-pick-your-ncaa-tournament-brackets/

 

 

Coming Thursday: An in-depth look at the Final Four with expanded coverage.  We will have a one-stop look at the four teams, including rosters, statistics, schedules, the entire PiRate formulas, and of course, our predictions.

March 25, 2009

A PiRate Look At The 2009 NCAA Tournament: The Sweet 16

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Sweet 16

 March 26-27, 2009

 

As the Sweet 16 prepares to begin play tomorrow night, our PiRate Formula for picking teams that display the necessary statistics similar to the historical Final Four participants and National Champions are once again proving to be quite accurate.  We consider it the SABRmetrics of college basketball.

 

We originally told you about our list of the 12 Super Teams in this tournament.  We apologize for our not being able to count.  We only listed 11 teams.  Of those 11 teams, eight advanced to the Sweet 16.  One of the three teams, UCLA, lost to Villanova.  Villanova just barely missed out on qualifying for the Super Team list, and they basically got to host their first two games at the Spectrum.  Only Wake Forest and West Virginia’s losses can really be listed as misses.

 

On Sunday, our picks ran the table, going 8-0.  Combined with Saturday’s games, our second round success rate was 14-2.  For the tournament to date, we are now 38-10.

 

Without further adieu, here are the eight games for the third round.  The criteria scores and Strengths of Schedule have been updated to reflect the two games in the tournament.

 

(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]

 

East Region @ Boston

 

Pittsburgh (14) vs. Xavier (10) [Pitt 3]

Game Time: Thursday, 7:27 PM EDT

This is an interesting match if only because Xavier coach Sean Miller was once a starter on a great Pitt team. 

 

The way to beat Pitt is to force them to commit turnovers and play transition defense.  The Musketeers are more like Pitt than like the type of team needed to beat the Panthers.  Xavier cannot match up inside with the more muscular Pitt inside, and the Panthers will advance to the Elite 8.  Xavier’s only chance is to take 30 three-point shots and hit 40%.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 74 Xavier 64

 

Villanova (9) vs. Duke (14) [Duke 4]

Game Time: Thursday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

Villanova missed out on being rated at 13 by just a hair.  This game is being touted as one in which the 3-seed Wildcats should be favored over the 2-seed Blue Devils. 

 

This game provides an excellent study in contrast.  VU has a great deal of talent inside with a surprising outside presence.  Duke has a great deal of talent on the perimeter with a surprising inside presence.

 

This should be a close game throughout the first half and a good deal of the second half.  Then, we believe the Duke defense will begin to force Villanova into mistakes and take advantage of those errors.  It should lead to a nice Blue Devil run in the last 10 minutes to move Coach K to the Elite 8.

 

Prediction: Duke 77 Villanova 70

 

South Region @ Memphis

 

Syracuse (4) vs. Oklahoma (9) [Syracuse 2]

Game Time: Friday, 7:27 PM EDT

This is the only Sweet 16 game in which neither team owns a double digit criteria score.  What it means to us is that the winner of this game will lose in the Elite 8 game Sunday.

 

This one should be a tight contest.  Syracuse’s zone defense should reduce the number of looks for Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  The Sooners have an ample trio of outside shooters, and they will have to step it up a notch to beat the Orangemen.  If Tony Crocker, Willie Warren, and Austin Johnson are hot, the Sooners will continue to play on Sunday.

 

Syracuse will have to pack in their zone to keep Griffin from killing them inside.  They will score points on offense, but they may give up points just even quicker if they cannot cover the perimeter when the ball is kicked out from the posts.

 

Prediction: Oklahoma 82 Syracuse 75

 

 

North Carolina (17) vs. Gonzaga (17) [N. Carolina 5]

Game Time: Friday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

Gonzaga shares the second best PiRate criteria score with their opponent, but the Bulldogs compiled their stats against an inferior schedule.  Even though they played some big time teams, including Memphis and Connecticut, they played too many teams well beneath the average. 

 

North Carolina will not be able to just walk all over the Zags.  We expect GU to stay within striking distance for at least 30-32 minutes, and we wouldn’t be shocked if they led at any point of that time.

 

The Tar Heels will supposedly have Ty Lawson near 100% ready for this game.  Their bench is much more potent than Gonzaga’s, and we think they will eventually wear down the Bulldogs.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 85 Gonzaga 74

 

Midwest Region @ Indianapolis

 

Louisville (10) vs. Arizona (-2) [Louisville 2]

Game Time: Friday, 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona is the one team in the Sweet 16 that we feel doesn’t have the talent of the other 15 teams.  We didn’t think the Wildcats would make it this far, and we honestly felt that Penn State deserved to be here in their place.

 

The players heard for days that they didn’t deserve to be in the Dance, and that motivated them to play great ball last weekend.  We think this weekend will be different.

 

Louisville has not played like a number one seed of the entire tournament.  They got a virtual bye in the first round against Morehead State, and they could have easily lost to Siena in round two.  The Cardinals might stumble through for a third time and win only because their opponent is the weakest of the Sweet 16 teams.  It may be UL’s last win of the season if they don’t play more consistently.

 

Prediction: Louisville 69 Arizona 64

 

Kansas (10) vs. Michigan State (7) [Mich. St. 1]

Game Time: Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

This game should be a rugged, jaw-to-jaw contest of teams that like to bang it.  Both teams control the boards in their games, and it will be interesting to see if either can dominate the other.  We’ll call it a standoff in this stat.

 

Both teams’ weakness is their ability to take advantage of turnover margin.  If either team were playing somebody like Missouri this week, we would feel inclined to pick them to lose.  Since neither team will be able to force a bunch of mistakes and capitalize with a great fast break, we will call this a standoff as well.

 

We think the game will be decided by KU’s defense.  The Jayhawks will force MSU to shoot a lower percentage of shots and not receive their usual amount of offensive rebounds to hold the Spartans well below their points per game average.  We’re not sure MSU can do the same to the Jayhawks, so we’re picking the defending champions to return to the Elite 8.

 

Prediction: Kansas 72 Michigan State 67

 

West Region @ Glendale, AZ

 

Connecticut (14) vs. Purdue (6) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Thursday, 7:07 PM EDT

This looks like a potential mismatch, but some late developments may have the UConn players not ready mentally for this game.  A report by Yahoo Sports that the Huskies broke several NCAA rules when it recruited a former player may make it difficult for the players to properly prepare for this game.

 

Purdue doesn’t have the tools needed to beat Connecticut.  It takes a team with solid strength in the paint, and the Boilermakers don’t have the inside firepower.  Only a poorly played game by the top seed would make this one close.

 

We think the Huskies will start out a little bit off their game, but after a couple of TV timeouts, they should settle down and start playing well.  As long as Hasheem Thabeet stays out of foul trouble and plays about 25 minutes in this game, UConn should win by double digits.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73 Purdue 60

 

Missouri (12) vs. Memphis (19) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Thursday, Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

This is the can’t miss game of the Sweet 16.  Both teams are strong in every aspect of the game.  Nary of foot of the court will be free parking for either team.  It will be a fast-paced game with the players on both teams trying to show up their opponents.

 

Yes, we picked Memphis to make it to the Championship Game and win it all, but we are not so sure they are the true favorite in this game.  Missouri won’t be intimidated, and if the Memphians come out flat like they did in the first round, Mizzou’s fast break game will quickly run out to a double-digit game.

 

All in all, we think Memphis will be pumped to play the Big 12 Tournament Champions.  This is a border war game, and neither team should be flat.  We’re going with Memphis only because we picked them to win the title.  In reality, we think this is a 50-50 contest.

 

Prediction: Memphis 77 Missouri 75

 

Come back Friday for a look at Saturday’s games and Saturday for a look at Sunday’s games.

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