The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 11 , 2018

Sunday’s PiRate Ratings Spreads for Conference Tournament Championships

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Harvard Penn -1.4
Rhode Island Davidson 2.8
Tennessee Kentucky 1.1
Georgia St. Texas-Arlington 0.9
Cincinnati Houston 4.8

 

Sunday’s Conference Championship Schedule

All Times EDT

Time Conference Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Ivy League Harvard Penn ESPN2
1:00 PM Atlantic 10 Rhode Island Davidson CBS
1:00 PM Southeastern Tennessee Kentucky ESPN
2:00 PM Sun Belt Georgia St. Texas-Arlington ESPN2
3:30 PM American Cincinnati Houston CBS

Note:  Our Final Bracket Gurus Bracketology prediction will appear on this site roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.  Davidson is a potential bid-stealer, and until our gurus know whether they have earned an automatic bid or have been eliminated, they cannot fix the Bubble.  There are about a half-dozen teams that will sweat it out during today’s Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship.

Teams That Have Earned Automatic Bids Through Sunday, 6:00 AM EDT

Team Bid Conf. W-L Avg Score
Arizona AUTO P12 27-7 81-71
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9 81-73
Buffalo AUTO MAC 26-8 85-77
Cal St. Fullerton AUTO BWest 20-11 73-72
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7 75-69
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4 85-67
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13 80-76
Kansas AUTO B12 27-7 82-71
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9 83-78
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16 78-77
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5 72-62
Marshall AUTO CUSA 24-10 84-79
MD-Baltimore Co. AUTO AE 24-10 73-71
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7 75-64
Montana AUTO BSky 26-7 78-69
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5 77-66
New Mexico St. AUTO WAC 28-5 76-65
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12 67-64
San Diego St. AUTO MWC 22-10 77-68
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6 85-74
Stephen F. Austin AUTO SLC 28-6 78-68
Texas Southern AUTO SWAC 15-19 78-80
UNC-Central AUTO MEAC 19-15 70-71
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7 74-62
Villanova AUTO BE 30-4 87-71
Virginia AUTO ACC 31-2 68-53
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9 72-66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 10, 2013

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments Update–Monday, March 11, 2013

DANCE TICKETS PUNCHED

Florida Gulf Coast 24-10

Belmont 26-6

Harvard 19-9

Liberty 15-20

Creighton 27-7

 

Today’s Conference Tournaments in Action

Colonial Athletic—Championship Game

Metro Atlantic—Championship Game

Mid-American—Opening Round

Mideast Athletic—Opening Round (1st half)

Southern—Championship Game

Summit—Semifinal Round

Sun Belt—Championship Game

West Coast—Championship Game

 

Note: RPI Ranking is from Monday, March 4.  These will be updated Monday afternoon

 

America East Conference

 

Seed

Team

Conference

Overall

RPI

1

Stony Brook

14-2

24-7

71

2

Vermont

11-5

21-10

128

3

Hartford

10-6

17-13

171

4

Albany

9-7

23-10

164

5

Maine

6-10

11-19

273

6

U M B C

5-11

8-23

312

7

N. Hampshire

5-11

9-20

293

8

Binghamton

1-15

3-27

338

 

Conference Tournament—Albany, NY  (Championship Game at Higher Seed)

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

2-Vermont  61  7-New Hampshire  42

 

 

2

6-U M B C  69  3-Hartford  62

 

 

3

1-Stony Brook  72  8-Binghamton  49

 

 

4

4-Albany  50  5-Maine  49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

5

2-Vermont  85  6-U M B C  72

 

 

6

4-Albany  61  1-Stony Brook  59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 –Finals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

 

 

7

4-Albany at 2-Vermont

11:30 AM

ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

Online Site: www.americaeast.com

 

 

 

Colonial Athletic Association

 

Seed

Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Northeastern 14-4 19-11 160
2 Delaware 13-5 19-13 127
3 James Madison 11-7 18-14 207
4 George Mason 10-8 18-13 155
5 Drexel 9-9 13-18 205
6 William & Mary 7-11 13-17 265
7 Hofstra 4-14 7-25 321

 

Conference Tournament—Richmond, VA

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

4-George Mason  60  5-Drexel  54

 

 

2

2-Delaware  62  7-Hofstra  57

 

 

3

3-James Madison  72  6-William & Mary  67

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

4

1-Northeastern  69 4-George Mason  67

 

 

5

3-James Madison  58  2-Delaware  57

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3-Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

6

1-Northeastern vs. 3-James Madison

 

 

 

Online Site: http://www.caasports.com

 

Horizon League

 

Seed

Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Valparaiso 13-3 25-7 63
2 Detroit 12-4 20-12 58
3 Wright St. 10-6 21-11 166
4 Green Bay 10-6 18-15 167
5 Illinois-Chicago 7-9 17-15 164
6 Youngstown St. 7-9 17-15 190
7 Loyola (Chi) 5-11 15-16 218
8 Cleveland St. 5-11 14-18 196
9 Milwaukee 3-13 8-24 301

 

Conference Tournament—1st Round & Championship @ Higher Seed, Quarterfinals & Semifinals at Valparaiso

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 5

 

 

1

4-Green Bay  62  9-Milwaukee  46

 

 

2

5-Illinois-Chicago  82  8-Cleveland St.  59

 

 

3

6-Youngstown St.  62  7-Loyola (Chi)  60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

4

3-Wright St.  66  6-Youngstown St.  59

 

 

5

4-Green Bay  64  5-Illinois-Chicago  63

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

6

3-Wright St.  56  2-Detroit  54

 

 

7

1-Valparaiso  70  4-Green Bay  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

8

3-Wright St. vs. 1-Valparaiso

9:00 PM

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.horizonleague.org

 

M A A C

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Niagara 13-5 19-13 123
2 Rider 12-6 18-14 135
3 Loyola (MD) 12-6 21-11 98
4 Iona 11-7 19-13 117
5 Canisius 11-7 18-13 110
6 Manhattan 9-9 14-17 200
7 Fairfield 9-9 19-15 170
8 Marist 6-12 10-21 250
9 Siena 4-14 8-24 297
10 St. Peter’s 3-15 9-21 283

 

Conference Tournament—Springfield, MA

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

9-Siena   70  8-Marist  64

 

 

2

7-Fairfield  54  10-St. Peter’s  47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

3

1-Niagara  74  9-Siena  62

 

 

4

4-Iona  89  5-Canisius  85

 

 

5

7-Fairfield  43  2-Rider  42

 

 

6

6-Manhattan  55  3-Loyola (MD)  52

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

7

4-Iona  79  1-Niagara  73

 

 

8

6-Manhattan  60  7-Fairfield  42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

9

4-Iona vs. 6-Manhattan

9:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.maacsports.com

 

Mid-American Conference

Seed

Team

Conference

Overall

RPI

1

Akron

14-2

24-6

53

2

Ohio U

14-2

23-8

74

3

Western Michigan

10-6

19-11

132

4

Kent St.

9-7

19-12

145

5

Ball St.

8-8

15-14

225

6

Bowling Green

7-9

13-18

254

7

Eastern Michigan

7-9

14-17

235

8

Buffalo

7-9

12-19

231

9

Central Michigan

4-12

11-19

260

10

Northern Illinois

3-13

5-24

331

11

Miami (O)

3-13

8-21

269

 

Conference Tournament—Cleveland (1st round at higher seeds)

 

Game #

Day 1 – Opening Round

Time

TV

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

1

9-Central Michigan at 8-Buffalo

7:00 PM

Online

2

10-Northern Illinois at 7-Eastern Michigan

7:00 PM

Online

3

11-Miami (O) at 6-Bowling Green

7:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – 2nd Round

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

 

 

4

5-Ball St. vs. Winner Game 1

6:30 PM

Online

5

Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

9:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 14

 

 

6

4-Kent St. vs. Winner Game 4

6:30 PM

Online

7

3-W. Michigan vs. Winner Game 5

9:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Semifinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

 

 

8

1-Akron vs. Winner Game 6

6:30 PM

Online

9

2-Ohio vs. Winner Game 7

9:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Finals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

 

 

10

Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9

6:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

Online Site: www.mac-sports.com

 

 

 

Mideast Athletic Conference

 

Seed

Team

Conference

Overall

RPI

1

Norfolk St.

16-0

21-10

169

2

UNC-Central

15-1

22-8

151

3

Hampton

11-5

14-16

282

4

Savannah St.

11-5

18-13

155

5

Morgan St.

10-6

14-14

251

6

Delaware St.

8-8

13-17

276

7

North Carolina A&T

8-8

15-16

253

8

Bethune-Cookman

7-9

12-19

293

9

Coppin St.

5-11

8-23

309

10

Florida A&M

5-11

8-22

333

11

Howard

4-12

7-23

334

12

South Carolina St.

2-14

6-23

342

13

MD-Eastern Shore

2-14

2-25

345

 

Conference Tournament—Norfolk, VA

 

Game #

Day 1 – Opening Round (Day 1)

Time

TV

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

1

4-Savannah St. vs. 13-MD-Eastern Shore

6:30 PM

Online

2

5-Morgan St. vs. 12-South Carolina St.

9:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Opening Round (Day 2)

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

3

8-Bethune-Cookman vs. 9-Coppin St.

4:00 PM

Online

4

7-North Carolina A&T vs. 10-Florida A&M

6:30 PM

Online

5

6-Delaware St. vs. 11-Howard

9:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals (Day 1)

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

 

 

6

1-Norfolk St. vs. Winner Game 3

6:00 PM

Online

7

2-UNC-Central vs. Winner Game 4

8:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Quarterfinals (Day 2)

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 14

 

 

8

3-Hampton vs. Winner Game 5

6:00 PM

Online

9

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

8:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Semifinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

 

 

10

Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 9

6:00 PM

Online

11

Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8

8:00 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6 – Championship Game

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

 

 

12

Winner Game 19 vs. Winner Game 11

5:00 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

 

 

Online Site: http://www.MEACsports.com

 

 

 

 

Northeast Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Robert Morris 14-4 24-10 114
2 Wagner 12-6 20-12 124
3 Long Island 12-6 20-13 195
4 Bryant 12-6 19-12 146
5 Mt. St. Mary‘s 11-7 19-13 156
6 Quinnipiac 11-7 15-17 191
7 Central Connecticut 9-9 13-18 197
8 St. Francis, NY 8-10 12-19 216

 

Conference Tournament—Games at Campus Sites.  Higher Seeds Host All Games.  Teams Will Be Re-Seeded After Quarterfinals

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

1-Robert Morris  75  8-St. Francis (NY)  57

 

 

2

2-Wagner  72  7-Central Connecticut  50

 

 

3

3-Long Island  91  6-Quinnipiac  83

 

 

4

5-Mt. St. Mary‘s  75  4-Bryant  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

5

5-Mt. St. Mary’s  69  1-Robert Morris  60

 

 

6

3-Long Island  94  2-Wagner  82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

7

5-Mt. St. Mary’s  at  3-Long Island

7:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.northeastconference.org

 

 

Patriot League

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Bucknell 12-2 27-5 52
2 Lafayette 10-4 19-14 173
3 Lehigh 10-4 21-9 105
4 Army 8-6 16-15 213
5 American 5-9 10-20 261
6 Colgate 5-9 11-21 255
7 Holy Cross 4-10 12-18 249
8 Navy 2-12 8-23 314

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

1-Bucknell  58  8-Navy  42

 

 

2

4-Army  65  5-American  44

 

 

3

2-Lafayette  77  7-Holy Cross  54

 

 

4

3-Lehigh  71  6-Colgate  64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

 

Games at Higher Seed

 

 

5

1-Bucknell  78  4-Army  70

 

 

6

2-Lafayette  82  3-Lehigh  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Finals

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

 

 

 

Game at Higher Seed

 

 

7

2-Lafayette at 1-Bucknell

7:30 PM

CBSSN

 

Online Site: http://www.patriotleague.org

 

Southern Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Davidson 17-1 25-7 82
2 College of Charleston 14-4 24-9 147
3 Elon 13-5 21-11 176
4 Appalachian St. 10-8 15-16 270
5 Western Carolina 9-9 14-19 251
6 Samford 9-9 11-21 281
7 Chattanooga 8-10 13-19 276
8 Wofford 7-11 13-19 240
9 Georgia Southern 7-11 14-19 277
10 UNC-Greensboro 6-12 9-22 330
11 The Citadel 5-13 8-22 327
12 Furman 3-15 7-24 342

 

Conference Tournament: Asheville, NC

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

9-Georgia Southern  60  8-Wofford  44

 

 

2

12-Furman   55  5-Samford  51

 

 

3

10-UNC-Greensboro  87  7-Chattanooga  81

 

 

4

6-Western Carolina  76  11-The Citadel  61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

5

1-Davidson  86  9-Georgia Southern  59

 

 

6

4-Appalachian St.  74  12-Furman  60

 

 

7

2-Elon  68  10-UNC-Greensboro  61

 

 

8

3-Coll. of Charleston  78  6-W. Carolina  70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

9

1-Davidson  65  4-Appalachian St.  62

 

 

10

3-College of Charleston   68  2-Elon  60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

11

1-Davidson vs. 3-College of Charleston

7:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.soconsports.com

 

Summit League

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 South Dakota St. 13-3 23-9 75
2 Western Illinois 13-3 22-7 126
3 North Dakota St. 12-4 23-8 81
4 Oakland 10-6 16-16 132
5 I P F W 7-9 16-16 264
6 Mo.-Kansas City 5-11 8-24 287
7 South Dakota 5-11 10-20 242
8 I U P U I 1-15 6-26 325

 

Conference Tournament—Sioux Falls, SD

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

1-South Dakota St.  66  8-I U P U I  49

 

 

2

2-Western Illinois  54  7-South Dakota  53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

3

5-I P F W  91  4-Oakland  72

 

 

4

3-North Dakota St.  69  6-UM-Kansas City  58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 –Semifinals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

5

1-S. Dakota St. vs. 5-I P F W

7:00 PM

FOXCS

6

2-Western Illinois vs. 3-North Dakota St.

9:30 PM

FOXCS

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

9:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.thesummitleague.org

 

Sun Belt Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Middle Tennessee 19-1 28-5 23
2 South Alabama 14-6 17-12 149
3 Arkansas St. 12-8 19-12 154
4 Florida Int’l 11-9 18-13 137
5 Arkansas-Little Rock 11-9 17-15 163
6 Western Kentucky 10-10 19-15 178
7 Florida Atlantic 9-11 14-18 209
8 Louisiana-Lafayette 8-12 13-20 229
9 North Texas 7-13 12-20 233
10 Troy 6-14 12-21 271
11 Louisiana-Monroe 3-17 4-23 299

 

Conference Tournament—Hot Springs, AR

Note: This Tournament Uses Two Courts— S=Summit Arena, C=Convention Center Court

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

6-Western Kentucky  74  11-UL-Monroe  60

 

 

2

8-UL-Lafayette  74  9-North Texas  55

 

 

3

10-Troy   81  7-Florida Atlantic  79 ot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

4

4-Florida Int’l  69  5-Ark.-Little Rock  54

 

 

5

1-Middle Tennessee  81  8-UL-Lafayette  66

 

 

6

6-Western Kentucky  62  3-S. Alabama  59

 

 

7

2-Arkansas St.  68  10-Troy  63 ot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

8

4-Florida Int’l  61  1-Middle Tennessee  57

 

 

9

6-Western Kentucky  58  2-Arkansas St.  56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

10

4-Florida Int’l vs. 6-Western Kentucky

7:00 PM  S

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.sunbeltsports.org

 

West Coast Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Gonzaga 16-0 30-2 10
2 St. Mary’s 14-2 27-5 41
3 B Y U 10-6 21-11 62
4 Santa Clara 9-7 21-11 90
5 San Francisco 7-9 14-16 152
6 San Diego 7-9 15-18 180
7 Pepperdine 4-12 12-18 204
8 Portland 4-12 11-21 219
9 Loyola Marymount 1-15 10-23 253

 

Conference Tournament: Las Vegas

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

9-Loyola Marymount  65  8-Portland  54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – 2nd Round

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

 

 

2

9-Loyola Marymount  61  5-San Francisco  60

 

 

3

6-San Diego  62  7-Pepperdine  59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

4

9-Loyola Marymount   60  4-Santa Clara  58

 

 

5

6-San Diego  72  3-B Y U  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

6

1-Gonzaga  66  9-Loyola Marymount  48

 

 

7

2-St. Mary’s  69  6-San Diego  66 ot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Finals

 

 

8

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

 

1-Gonzaga vs. 2-St. Mary’s

8:00 PM

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.wccsports.com

 

 

As The Bubble Blows

A couple of regular season champions lost in conference tournaments yesterday.  Stony Brook lost in the American East tournament, and it’s off to the NIT for the Seawolves.  Charleston Southern fell to 20-loss Liberty and will be NIT-bound.  In the MAAC, top-seeded Niagara fell to four-seed Iona, and the Purple Eagles have no shot as an at-large invitation.  Middle Tennessee dominated the Sun Belt Conference during the regular season for the consecutive year, and for the second consecutive year, they fell in the tournament, this time to Florida International.  The Blue Raiders hold a faint chance of earning an at-large bid.

 

 

January 27, 2012

PiRate Ratings NCAA Basketball Report for January 28, 2012

Welcome back to College Basketball PiRate style.  We have a unique way of looking at the NCAA Tournament, and as March approaches, we will review what we call Bracketnomics.  Until then, we will concentrate on focusing in on the teams that are in contention for an NCAA berth.

 

In this week’s preview, we will focus on the low-major conferences.  In most years, these leagues would have no shot at sending multiple teams to the Big Dance.  However, that is not an impossible task this year.

 

Before we get to each of the 16 low-major conferences, let’s take a look at which low and mid-major teams appear in the top 50 in the RPI rankings (as of Friday, January 27, 2012).

 

There are 14 teams on the list.  Creighton, Southern Mississippi, and Gonzaga all appear in the second ten, and these teams would appear to be safe at-large teams if they do not win automatic bids.

 

San Diego State, Wichita State, Murray State, and St. Mary’s all have RPIs in the 20’s.  If these four teams continue to play at the same pace, they should have no trouble getting at-large bids as well.

 

Long Beach State, Oral Roberts, Davidson, Middle Tennessee, Harvard, Northern Iowa, and Iona have RPIs in the 40’s.  They need to improve on their resumes in order to be under consideration for at-large bids.

 

Here is our look at the bottom 16 conferences.

 

America East (definite 1-bid conference)

Stony Brook 8-1  13-7

Boston U. 7-2  11-12

Vermont 6-2  12-10

 

Stony Brook defeated Boston last night to take a one game lead over the Terriers.  BU had defeated Stony Brook two weeks earlier in the first contest.

 

Stony Brook is led by blue-collar worker Tommy Brenton.  He does all the dirty work—gets rebounds, makes great passes, and plays excellent defense.

 

Boston U has a big scorer in Darryl Partin, who averages 20 points per game.  D. J. Irving sets him up with crisp passes.  Irving scores 12 points per game and dishes out 5.5 assists per contest.

 

Atlantic Sun (definite 1-bid conference)

Belmont 7-2  14-7

Mercer 7-2  15-7

USC Upstate 7-3  13-9

 

Belmont defeated Mercer earlier this year, so the Bruins technically are in first place.  This Belmont team is not as good as last year’s 30-win squad, but they cannot be overlooked.  Belmont lost by one at Duke.

 

Seven teams are within two games of first in this league, so the conference tournament should be quite interesting. 

 

Big Sky (definite 1-bid conference)

Weber State 8-0  16-3

Montana 7-1  14-6

Montana St. 6-2  11-8

 

Weber State wins games at the free throw line.  The Wildcats lead the nation in free throw percentage at better than 80%, and they have a chance to break the all-time single season mark.  Two Wildcats, Damian Lillard and Scott Bamforth, average better than 90% from the line.  Lillard leads the Big Sky in scoring at 25 points per game.

 

The Wildcats have won 10 games in a row, outscoring opponents by an average of 80.1 to 62.5.

 

Big South (definite 1-bid conference)

UNC-Asheville 10-1  15-7

Coastal Carolina 8-2  15-5

Campbell 8-3  14-9

Charleston Southern 7-3  13-7

V M I 6-5  11-10

 

UNCA is a scoring machine.  The Bulldogs average 83 points per game and shoot close to 50% per game.  They have a great two-man tandem in Matt Dickey and J. P. Primm.  Both average 16 points per game and make it tough for opposing backcourts to matchup.

 

Coastal Carolina has a better inside game and could be the better NCAA Tournament team if they can get there.  CCU owns wins over LSU and Clemson.

 

Big West (possible 2-bid conference)

Long Beach St. 8-0  15-6

 

The 49ers have a 2 ½-game lead over Cal State Fullerton and UCSB.  LBSU defeated Pitt and Xavier and lost close games to San Diego State, Louisville, North Carolina, and Kansas.  The 49ers have three star players capable of starting in big conferences.  T. J. Robinson averages a double-double.  Casper Ware and Larry Anderson make the league’s best guard tandem.  Should LBSU win the regular season title with no or just one conference loss, the 49ers could still get into the Big Dance if they lost in the finals of the Big West Tournament.

 

Ivy League (possible 2-bid conference)

Harvard 3-0  17-2

Penn 2-0  10-9

Yale 2-1  12-5

Princeton 1-1  10-8

 

Harvard trounced Yale last night in New Haven by 30 points.  The Crimson have an RPI rating in the 40’s, and they might have a shot at an at-large bid if they finished tied for first in the Ivy at 13-1 and lost in a conference playoff. 

 

Penn and Princeton are always threats to run off a string of conference victories, but we believe that this is Tommy Amaker’s year in Boston.  Harvard has a win over Florida State.

 

M A A C (possible 2-bid conference)

Iona 8-2  16-5

Loyola (MD) 8-2  15-5

Manhattan 8-2  15-7

 

All three co-leaders won last night.  Iona has the best resume to date, and with an RPI in the high 40’s, the Gaels are on the cusp of at-large status.  They lead the nation in assists per game with 20, and they shoot almost 50% from the field.  They own a 26-point win over Maryland, and they lost by one to Purdue.

 

M E A C (definite 1-bid conference)

Norfolk State  7-0  15-6

Bethune-Cookman 6-1  9-12

Savannah St. 5-2  10-10

 

Norfolk State may be the best MEAC team in the last five years.  They lost by just two points to Marquette earlier this year, and at 15-6, they have a good shot at winning 20 regular season games.  The Spartans must play at Bethune-Cookman in the only meeting of the top two teams.

 

Kyle O’Quinn averages 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, and he shoots 59% from the field.  O’Quinn stands a great chance of winning league MVP honors.

 

N E C (definite 1-bid conference)

Long Island 8-1  14-7

Wagner 7-2  16-4

Robert Morris 7-2  16-6

St. Francis NY 7-2  10-10

 

Long Island is not as good this year as last, but the Blackbirds are still the class of the league.  LIU swept Wagner already, so the Blackbirds would have to lose twice for Wagner to have any chance to win the regular season title.

 

LIU still has three top notch stars.  Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere team for 33 points and 17 boards per game, while Jason Brickman averages six assists per game.

 

Wagner defeated Pittsburgh, Penn, and Princeton this year, so the Seahawks might be a better matchup for a major conference opponent in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Ohio Valley (possible 2-bid league)

Murray State 8-0  20-0

 

The Racers have moved up to number nine in the nation, the first OVC team to crack the Top 10 since Western Kentucky was a member in the early 1970’s.  The last undefeated team in the nation has a small chance of running the table in the regular season.

 

The Racers are winning games with excellent outside shooting, where they average 42% from behind the arc.  Isaiah Canaan is the best of those outside shooters, hitting 47% three pointers and 18.7 points per game.

 

Patriot League (definite 1-bid league)

Bucknell 6-0  16-6

Lehigh 4-2  16-6

 

Bucknell may not be strong enough to pull off an epic upset in the first round of the Big Dance, but the Bison will be a tough out in the first round.  They lost by 12 to both Minnesota and Vanderbilt and lost by 19 to Syracuse.  The Bison have won eight games in a row.

 

Southern (possible 2-bid league)

North

Elon 5-3  10-9

UNC-Greensboro 5-4  7-14

 

South

Davidson 9-0  15-4

 

Davidson could possibly earn an at-large bid if the Wildcats failed to earn an automatic bid.  The Wildcats won at Kansas.

 

Southland (definite 1-bid league)

East

Northwestern State 4-2  11-9

McNeese State 4-2  8-10

 

West

UT-Arlington 6-0  14-5

UT-San Antonio 5-1  13-7

 

UT-Arlington has won 10 games in a row after beginning the season at 4-5.  They lost to Baylor by 10 points.  UTA has excellent depth for a low-major team.

 

S W A C (definite 1-bid league)

Mississippi Valley State 7-0  8-11

Southern 6-2  10-11

Texas Southern 5-2  6-13

 

No team in this league has a winning record, so it is a strong chance the winner of the SWAC Tournament will be making a quick trip to Dayton for the play-in round.

 

Mississippi Valley has won seven games in a row after beginning the season 1-11.  Among the teams that beat them are Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Ole Miss.

 

Summit League (possible 2-bid league)

Oral Roberts 11-0  19-4

South Dakota State 8-2  16-6

 

Oral Roberts has reeled off 12 straight victories and moved up to the mid 40’s in the RPI rating.  ORU owns a 22-point win over Xavier.  Two of their four losses came at the hands of Gonzaga by six and West Virginia by seven.

 

Sunbelt (possible 2-bid league)

East

Middle Tennessee 9-0  20-2

 

West

Denver 6-2  16-5

 

This could be Middle Tennessee’s best ever team.  The Blue Raiders have made waves in the NCAA Tournament in the past, knocking off Kentucky in 1982.

 

This Middle Tennessee team won by 20 points at UCLA, and if they can knock off Vanderbilt today, the Blue Raiders could move into the Top 25.  They have excellent depth and can go 10 or 11 deep.  Laron Dendy is the leader of the team.

March 28, 2008

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Finals–March 29, 2008

The Elitist of the Elite

A PiRate Preview of The Regional Final Games-March 29, 2008

Eight teams are left, and only Davidson, a team with a 25-game winning streak can be considered a surprise.  Xavier and Louisville may not have been expected to get this far, but both the Musketeers and Cardinals are no big surprises.

All four number one seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight.  Can all four make it to the Final Four for the first time since the current 64/65-team format has been in effect?  It’s possible, but it’s also possible that two of the four top-seeded teams could lose.

Of the eight Sweet 16 round games, seven of them were dull games.  Only the Xavier-West Virginia game was worth watching from start to finish.  Let’s hope the Regional Final games are a little more exciting.

In the statistics shown below, the records are up to date, but the stats do not include the Regional Semifinal games.  Those will be included in next week’s Final Four Previews.

Note:  In the statistics below, you will see a column marked other.  “B” means the player is an exceptional shot blocker.  “S” means the player is exceptional at stealing the ball.  “A” means the player is an excellent passer for assists.  “F” means the player is foul-prone.

West Regional-Phoenix

Saturday, March 29, 2008

6:40 PM EDT

#3 Xavier vs. #1 UCLA

Xavier Musketeers

Record: 30-6

Head Coach: Sean Miller

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

31

Jason Love

F/C

6-09

255

So.

6.1

5.4

57.4

0.0

60.4

B

5

Derrick Brown

F

6-08

225

So.

10.9

6.7

60.2

34.5

72.1

20

C.J. Anderson

F/G

6-06

220

Jr.

10.7

5.9

52.3

0.0

67.3

34

Stanley Burrell

G

6-03

210

Sr.

9.8

2.1

39.1

38.9

83.1

A

24

Drew Lavender

G

5-07

153

Sr.

11.0

2.6

43.6

40.4

86.8

A

KEY RESERVES %

1

Josh Duncan

F

6-09

235

Sr.

12.1

4.7

50.4

41.8

85.4

F

11

B.J. Raymond

G/F

6-06

225

Jr.

10.1

3.1

44.9

41.1

86.1

25

Dante’ Jackson

G

6-05

205

Fr.

2.4

1.2

35.4

38.1

61.5

S/F

Statistical Analysis

XAV

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.8

FG%

40.6

7.2

39.1

3pt%

33.7

5.4

75.5

FT%

67.6

7.9

35.8

Reb

30.2

5.6

13.1

TO

13.0

-0.1

3.4

BK

3.6

-0.2

5.6

STL

6.6

-1.0

15.3

AST

13.1

2.2

R+T  #

5.47

75.5

PPG

62.7

12.8

PiRate Score

8 *

Schedule Strength

.5720

(*) Missed being 10 by very little

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

& how point values are assigned posted on 3/18/08

NCAA Tournament Results

Georgia

73-61

Purdue

85-78

West Virginia

79-75 ot

U C L A  Bruins

Record: 34-3

Head Coach: Ben Howland

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

42

Kevin Love

C

6-10

271

Fr.

17.3

10.6

55.7

36.5

76.5

B

23

Luc Rich. Mbah a Moute

F

6-08

232

Jr.

8.6

5.5

47.9

20.0

69.4

3

Josh Shipp

F/G

6-05

220

Jr.

12.4

3.2

44.0

32.5

79.2

S

2

Darren Collison

G

6-00

160

Jr.

15.1

2.6

49.4

51.6

87.6

S/A

0

Russell Westbrook

G

6-03

185

So.

12.3

3.8

46.8

31.9

70.5

S/A

KEY RESERVES %

14

Mata-Real, Lorenzo

C

6-09

235

Sr.

3.3

3.7

50.0

0.0

45.2

B/F

12

Alfred Aboya

F/C

6-09

245

Jr.

3.1

2.3

50.0

33.3

52.8

F

41

Dragovic, Nikola

F

6-09

215

So.

2.6

1.4

33.9

23.8

12-12

13

James Keefe

G

6-08

225

So.

2.1

2.4

44.2

28.6

35.7

F

Statistical Analysis

UCLA

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.6

FG%

42.2

5.4

34.6

3pt%

32.5

2.1

73.0

FT%

67.0

6.0

36.3

Reb

27.9

8.4

12.4

TO

14.7

2.3

4.1

BK

2.6

1.5

7.4

STL

4.7

2.7

14.4

AST

11.3

3.1

R+T  #

12.48

73.3

PPG

58.0

15.3

PiRate Score

15

Schedule Strength

.5751

NCAA Tournament Results

Mississippi Valley

70-29

Texas A&M

51-49

Western Kentucky

88-78

UCLA is looking to become the first team since Duke to make it to three consecutive Final Fours.  Of Course the Bruins went to the Final Four every year from 1967 through 1975, so three in a row is now big deal in Westwood.

Xavier is looking to become the first team from the Queen City to make the Final Four since Cincinnati did so in 1992 (The Bearcats also own a five consecutive streak from 1959-1963).

UCLA has a huge intangible in its favor.  The Bruins keep getting the benefit of several officials’ mistakes.  Going back to the end of the regular season when they won back-to-back games over Stanford and California, both ending in controversy, to the Pac-10 Tournament where they won a close game over Southern Cal, to the Texas A&M game in the second round of the Big Dance where the Bruins players were allowed to hold and push with no fouls being called, where the Aggies’ players were whistled for entering the same Zip Code, and it is a pattern that cannot be ignored.  I’m not saying this is a conspiracy.  I’m saying its probably human nature taking its course.  UCLA always got the benefit of the doubt during their great dynasty years.  I remember watching them foul Maryland all over the gym in December of 1973, while Maryland couldn’t get within an arm’s length without being whistled.  Somehow, the Terps had a chance to win at the end that night, but fell short by one basket.

UCLA probably doesn’t need any help to win this game, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them benefit from a few calls or non-calls by the zebras.  While Xavier has the talent to keep this game close, I’m expecting the sons of Westwood to march to the Final Four with a victory.  The matchup between UCLA’s Kevin Love and Xavier’s Jason Love will be what decides this game, and we can make an educated guess which player will win.

Prediction: UCLA 73  Xavier 64

East Regional-Charlotte

Saturday, March 29, 2008

9:05 PM EDT

#3 Louisville vs. #1 North Carolina

 

Louisville Cardinals

Record: 27-8

Head Coach: Rick Pitino

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

4

David Padgett

F/C

6-11

245

Sr.

11.4

4.5

67.7

0.0

65.2

F

1

Terrence Williams

F

6-06

210

Jr.

11.0

7.3

40.5

34.3

56.7

S/A

5

Earl Clark

F/G

6-08

220

So.

10.9

8.0

46.2

23.1

65.5

B

34

Jerry Smith

G

6-01

200

So.

10.5

3.6

44.8

37.7

77.6

S

33

Andre McGee

G

5-10

180

Jr.

6.4

1.6

40.4

40.3

69.8

S/A

KEY RESERVES %

32

Derrick Caracter

F/C

6-09

265

So.

8.5

4.5

55.7

1 of 1

63.1

B/F

10

Edgar Sosa

G

6-01

175

So.

7.6

1.7

38.5

37.4

63.6

3

Juan Palacios

F/C

6-08

250

Sr.

6.4

4.0

44.5

31.3

70.5

S

Statistical Analysis

U of L

Stat

Opp

Difference

46.0

FG%

38.4

7.6

35.2

3pt%

30.6

4.6

64.4

FT%

67.7

-3.3

37.3

Reb

34.5

2.8

13.3

TO

14.6

1.3

4.9

BK

2.7

2.2

8.1

STL

5.7

2.4

15.1

AST

12.2

2.9

R+T  #

5.33

72.3

PPG

60.9

11.4

PiRate Score

9

Schedule Strength

.5852

NCAA Tournament Results

Boise State

79-61

Oklahoma

78-48

Tennessee

79-60

North Carolina Tar Heels

Record: 35-2

Head Coach: Roy Williams

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

50

Tyler Hansbrough

F

6-09

250

Jr.

22.8

10.2

54.1

0.0

81.2

S

21

Deon Thompson

F

6-08

240

So.

8.5

4.8

47.7

0.0

58.6

B/F

1

Marcus Ginyard

G-F

6-05

218

Jr.

7.4

4.5

44.6

42.9

66.3

S

22

Wayne Ellington

G

6-04

200

So.

16.8

4.3

47.9

42.1

81.5

5

Ty Lawson

G

5-11

195

So.

12.9

2.7

52.8

36.0

82.5

S/A

KEY RESERVES %

14

Danny Green

G-F

6-05

210

Jr.

11.3

5.0

46.8

37.1

86.3

BSAF

32

Alex Stepheson

F

6-09

235

So.

4.4

4.8

53.2

0.0

43.2

B/F

11

Quentin Thomas

G

6-03

190

Sr.

3.4

1.5

57.3

25.0

78.1

A

4

Bobby Frasor

G

6-03

208

Jr.

3.2

1.8

34.2

30.0

50.0

S/A

Statistical Analysis

UNC

Stat

Opp

Difference

49.1

FG%

42.4

6.7

38.3

3pt%

33.0

5.3

75.4

FT%

66.9

8.5

44.0

Reb

32.4

11.6

14.3

TO

16.1

1.8

4.6

BK

4.9

-0.3

8.3

STL

7.9

0.4

17.3

AST

13.7

3.6

R+T  #

15.19

89.9

PPG

72.9

17.0

PiRate Score

17

Schedule Strength

.5921

NCAA Tournament Results

Mount St. Mary’s

113-74

Arkansas

108-77

Washington State

68-47

Louisville Coach Rick Pitino has his Cardinals playing the best half-court defense of any team he has ever coached, including his 1996 national champs at Kentucky.  What UL did to Tennessee was amazing Thursday night.  However, for the Cards to have any chance of getting to the Final Four, they will have to play even better defensively tonight.

North Carolina is an unstoppable force right now.  Sure, Washington State held them to 67 points, but the Cougars didn’t do it with great defense.  They slowed the game down, making it a low possession game.  UNC still had a fantastic points per possession stat in the game.

I expect the Tar Heels to get their first taste of playing in an NCAA Tournament game that isn’t decided by the under 12 timeout in the first half.  The Heels may even get extended into the second half before they put this one away.

Prediction: North Carolina 78  Louisville 69

South Regional-Houston

Sunday, March 30, 2008

2:20 PM EDT

#2 Texas vs. #1 Memphis

Texas Longhorns

Record: 31-6

Head Coach: Rick Barnes

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

32

Connor Atchley

F/C

6-10

225

Jr.

19.2

2.9

44.3

38.0

77.9

B

5

Damion James

F/G

6-07

227

Jr.

13.2

10.7

46.4

44.6

56.3

B

24

Justin Mason

G

6-02

185

So.

7.1

4.3

42.2

34.2

66.2

A

3

A.J. Abrams

G

5-10

155

Jr.

16.6

2.8

42.8

38.1

80.9

14

D.J. Augustin

G

5-11

175

So.

19.2

2.9

44.3

38.0

77.9

A

KEY RESERVES %

1

Gary Johnson

F

6-07

235

Fr.

5.7

4.0

41.6

0.0

55.6

F

34

Dexter Pittman

C

6-10

293

So.

2.7

2.3

54.8

0.0

60.5

B/F

15

Alexis Wangmene

F/C

6-08

240

Fr.

2.2

2.4

42.3

0.0

66.0

B/F

Statistical Analysis

UT

Stat

Opp

Difference

45.3

FG%

38.8

6.5

39.1

3pt%

32.6

6.5

68.2

FT%

67.9

0.3

38.1

Reb

35.1

3.0

9.6

TO

12.1

2.5

5.3

BK

2.8

2.5

6.0

STL

4.6

1.4

13.1

AST

12.4

0.7

R+T  #

6.60

75.5

PPG

64.4

11.1

PiRate Score

9

Schedule Strength

.5950

NCAA Tournament Results

Austin Peay

74-54

Miami (Fla.)

75-72

Stanford

82-62

Memphis Tigers

Record: 36-1

Head Coach: John Calipari

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

3

Joey Dorsey

F/C

6-09

265

Jr.

7.0

9.7

64.7

0.0

37.9

B/F

2

Robert Dozier

F

6-09

215

Jr.

9.4

6.7

45.1

29.0

68.5

B

14

Chris Douglas-Roberts

G/F

6-07

200

Jr.

17.3

4.2

54.7

42.7

68.4

5

Antonio Anderson

G

6-06

210

Jr.

8.4

3.7

40.9

32.8

56.6

A

23

Derrick Rose

G

6-03

205

Fr.

14.1

4.3

46.9

35.1

68.4

A

KEY RESERVES %

20

Doneal Mack

G

6-05

175

So.

7.7

1.8

39.7

37.1

66.7

F

0

Shawn Taggart

F/C

6-10

230

So.

5.8

4.2

51.0

37.5

63.9

B/F

1

Willie Kemp

G

6-02

175

So.

5.3

1.1

38.2

36.6

57.1

F

15

Andre Allen

G

5-10

205

Sr.

3.4

1.2

31.5

29.6

40.6

F

Statistical Analysis

Mem

Stat

Opp

Difference

46.6

FG%

38.5

8.1

35.3

3pt%

30.3

5.0

59.2

FT%

66.9

-7.7

40.9

Reb

34.2

6.7

12.0

TO

16.3

4.3

6.2

BK

3.3

2.9

8.5

STL

5.8

2.7

16.2

AST

10.7

5.5

R+T  #

15.47

79.8

PPG

61.1

18.7

PiRate Score

19

Schedule Strength

.5749

NCAA Tournament Results

Texas-Arlington

87-63

Mississippi State

77-74

Michigan State

92-74

Memphis looked every bit as talented as the UNLV 1990-91 team Friday Night against Michigan State.  Sure, they surrendered some easy baskets, but they out-rebounded a Tom Izzo-coached team by nine boards!  That doesn’t happen often, if ever.  When you have a player like Derrick Rose, who can come off the bench and score 27 points and Robert Dozier who can almost record a double double while playing just half the game, and you see how complete this team really is.  Who says the Tigers cannot hit free throws?  26-35 is going to win a lot of close games.

Texas isn’t just horse fodder.  The Longhorns are talented enough to advance to the title game.  Just imagine how great this team would be if Kevin Durant had decided to play just one more season.  D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams won’t be intimidated by the Tigers’ defense, and the deadly duo can force Memphis to become lax in the paint.  Then, Connor Atchley and Damion James will take over inside. 

Give Texas some home court advantage for playing in Houston, but give Memphis that little extra to get over the hump and avoid falling in the Elite Eight round for the third consecutive year.  They won’t be denied a third straight time-not with this much talent.

Prediction: Memphis 78  Texas 75

Midwest Regional-Detroit

Sunday, March 30, 2008

5:05 PM EDT

#10 Davidson vs. #1 Kansas

Davidson Wildcats

Record: 29-6

Head Coach: Bob McKillop

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

15

Thomas Sander

F

6-08

220

Sr.

7.6

4.9

57.9

23.1

53.3

F

41

Andrew Lovedale

F

6-08

215

Jr.

6.7

5.4

53.6

0.0

66.7

F

14

Max Paulhus Gosselin

G/F

6-06

205

Jr.

3.6

3.5

36.7

12.5

65.5

S

30

Stephen Curry

G

6-03

185

So.

25.7

4.6

48.8

44.4

88.8

S/A

2

Jason Richards

G

6-02

185

Sr.

12.9

3.1

41.8

32.4

74.8

A

KEY RESERVES %

5

Boris Meno

F

6-08

230

Sr.

7.3

5.6

49.5

5.6

66.7

22

Will Archambault

G/F

6-06

210

So.

5.2

1.9

39.1

27.8

69.0

F

24

Bryant Barr

G

6-04

195

So.

5.1

1.0

38.9

40.5

64.7

23

Stephen Rossiter

F

6-07

230

So.

3.1

3.4

60.3

0.0

67.6

S/F

Statistical Analysis

DC

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.1

FG%

42.3

4.8

36.2

3pt%

35.6

0.6

72.3

FT%

63.1

9.2

36.6

Reb

32.7

3.9

12.1

TO

16.9

4.8

3.3

BK

2.4

0.9

8.1

STL

5.6

2.5

17.1

AST

13.5

3.6

R+T  #

13.23

78.6

PPG

63.5

15.1

PiRate Score

14

Schedule Strength

.5252

NCAA Tournament Results

Gonzaga

82-76

Georgetown

74-70

Wisconsin

73-56

Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 34-3

Head Coach: Bill Self

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

STARTERS

32

Darnell Jackson

F

6-08

250

Sr.

11.5

6.7

62.3

33.3

69.5

0

Darrell Arthur

F

6-09

225

So.

13.1

6.2

54.0

16.7

70.4

B/F

25

Brandon Rush

G/F

6-06

210

Jr.

13.0

5.0

42.5

43.9

77.6

15

Mario Chalmers

G

6-01

195

Jr.

12.6

3.1

52.5

47.1

73.3

S/A

3

Russell Robinson

G

6-01

205

Sr.

7.4

2.8

42.3

31.3

76.6

S/A

KEY RESERVES %

4

Sherron Collins

G

5-11

205

So.

9.5

2.0

47.9

36.8

76.5

S/A

24

Sasha Kaun

C

6-11

250

Sr.

7.1

3.9

61.1

0.0

54.4

B/F

45

Cole Aldrich

C

6-11

240

Fr.

2.9

3.1

51.9

0.0

64.7

B/F

5

Rodrick Stewart

G

6-04

200

Sr.

2.9

2.3

49.3

31.3

60.7

Statistical Analysis

KU

Stat

Opp

Difference

50.8

FG%

38.0

12.8

40.1

3pt%

33.7

6.4

69.6

FT%

68.4

1.2

38.8

Reb

30.9

7.9

12.8

TO

15.8

3.0

6.0

BK

2.6

3.4

8.9

STL

6.2

2.7

18.4

AST

11.3

7.1

R+T  #

14.31

81.4

PPG

61.4

20.0

PiRate Score

21

Schedule Strength

.5594

NCAA Tournament Results

Portland State

85-61

UNLV

75-56

Villanova

72-57

I have to admit that Stephen Curry and company did something I didn’t think they could do-they blew Wisconsin off the floor Friday night.  I underestimated just how fluid the Wildcats play.  This is actually their third trip to the Elite 8, with the other two coming in 1968 and 1969 (they lost both times to North Carolina by one possession).

Kansas is the team to beat.  The Jayhawks can dominate the game at both ends of the floor and in the stat book,  as they showed against ‘Nova Friday night.  I believe the Jayhawk defense will be able to combat the numerous perimeter screens set and keep Curry from putting up numbers reminiscent of Austin Carr when he played in the NCAA Tournament for Notre Dame.

I’m going with the Jayhawks, because I think they are as good as any National Champion in the last quarter century.  Davidson won’t lose because they are a small school from the Southern Conference.  In my opinion any other team in the field would also lose if they played Kansas in the Elite 8.

Prediction: Kansas 75  Davidson 60

March 26, 2008

From Sweet To Elite–A PiRate Look At the NCAA Sweet 16 Games March 26, 2008

 

From Sweet To Elite

A PiRate Preview of Sweet 16 Games-March 26, 2008

The pretenders are gone, except for maybe one or two, and now the NCAA Tournament begins to get serious.  More than four of the remaining teams in the field have the entire pedigree and most of them have three or more of the required statistics in my Final Four criteria, so picking winners is going to be a crapshoot.

This week, I am going to add a statistic to the category today.  When you get to the Sweet 16, obviously all the teams have won at least two games in a row.  If they also won their conference tournament, then they have now won five or even six games in a row.  Some of these teams probably entered their conference tournament on a winning streak.  That’s what we are looking for in this stat.  No points are assigned, but if a team has a 10 or more-game winning streak, and they are from one of the power conferences, use that to decide in toss-up situations (after strength of schedule has first been applied).

This could mean that the team is playing better ball today than they played earlier in the season.  Thus, their cumulative statistics are lagging a little bit.

Without further adieu, here are the PiRate Sweet 16 game previews.

Note:  In the statistics below, you will see a column marked other.  “B” means the player is an exceptional shot blocker.  “S” means the player is exceptional at stealing the ball.  “A” means the player is an excellent passer for assists.  “F” means the player is foul-prone.

East Regional-Charlotte

Thursday, March 27, 2008

7:27 PM EDT

#4 Washington State vs. #1 North Carolina

Washington State Cougars

Record: 26-8

Head Coach: Tony Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

Aron Baynes

C

6-10

270

Jr.

10.3

5.9

59.4

0.0

66.4

F

34

Robbie Cowgill

F

6-10

211

Sr.

7.4

5.0

55.6

0.0

68.2

 

25

Kyle Weaver

F

6-06

201

Sr.

12.2

5.2

47.4

38.1

74.4

A/S

2

Derrick Low

G

6-02

196

Sr.

14.1

1.8

43.5

39.1

78.4

S

10

Taylor Rochestie

G

6-01

186

Jr.

10.7

3.2

47.6

43.8

80.4

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Daven Harmeling

F

6-07

216

Jr.

5.7

2.1

43.2

38.5

75.0

 

52

Caleb Forrest

C/F

6-08

228

Jr.

3.5

2.1

51.6

20.0

77.8

F

4

Nikola Koprivica

G/F

6-06

211

So.

2.6

1.0

39.2

13.8

67.6

S

Statistical Analysis

 

WSU

Stat

Opp

Difference

48.0

FG%

41.3

6.7

37.5

3pt%

33.0

4.5

73.1

FT%

72.2

0.9

29.8

Reb

29.1

0.7

10.2

TO

13.2

3.0

2.9

BK

2.5

0.4

6.2

STL

4.3

1.9

13.9

AST

10.2

3.7

 

R+T  #

 

5.16

67.0

PPG

56.1

10.9

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

10

Schedule Strength

 

.5613

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Winthrop

71-40

 

Notre Dame

61-41

 

North Carolina Tar Heels

Record: 34-2

Head Coach: Roy Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50

Tyler Hansbrough

F

6-09

250

Jr.

22.8

10.2

54.1

0.0

81.2

S

21

Deon Thompson

F

6-08

240

So.

8.5

4.8

47.7

0.0

58.6

B/F

1

Marcus Ginyard

G-F

6-05

218

Jr.

7.4

4.5

44.6

42.9

66.3

S

22

Wayne Ellington

G

6-04

200

So.

16.8

4.3

47.9

42.1

81.5

 

5

Ty Lawson

G

5-11

195

So.

12.9

2.7

52.8

36.0

82.5

S/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Danny Green

G-F

6-05

210

Jr.

11.3

5.0

46.8

37.1

86.3

BSAF

32

Alex Stepheson

F

6-09

235

So.

4.4

4.8

53.2

0.0

43.2

B/F

11

Quentin Thomas

G

6-03

190

Sr.

3.4

1.5

57.3

25.0

78.1

A

4

Bobby Frasor

G

6-03

208

Jr.

3.2

1.8

34.2

30.0

50.0

S/A

 

Statistical Analysis

 

UNC

Stat

Opp

Difference

49.1

FG%

42.4

6.7

38.3

3pt%

33.0

5.3

75.4

FT%

66.9

8.5

44.0

Reb

32.4

11.6

14.3

TO

16.1

1.8

4.6

BK

4.9

-0.3

8.3

STL

7.9

0.4

17.3

AST

13.7

3.6

 

R+T  #

 

15.19

89.9

PPG

72.9

17.0

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

17

Schedule Strength

 

.5921

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Mount St. Mary’s

113-74

 

Arkansas

108-77

 

Washington State’s style of play is the one style that North Carolina does not like to play.  The Tar Heels are going to try to make this a transition game by trying to play like they are the Denver Nuggets and the Cougars are the Seattle Supersonics.  This ploy will either work, and Carolina will force WSU out of its comfort zone, or the Tar Heels will force their shots and allow State to tighten the screws.

I’m thinking that with a fine home team advantage (UNC just won the ACC Tournament in Charlotte), and a 13-game winning streak in which the team has returned to full strength, the Tar Heels are going to win this one with ease.  It won’t be a repeat of their first two games in the tournament, but UNC will win by 10-15 points.  Washington State will slow the game down and force Carolina to work hard in the half-court, but Carolina will score enough points in transition and get enough second-chance points to eventually force the Cougars away from their comfort zone.

Prediction: North Carolina 76  Washington State 60

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Approximately 10:00 PM EDT

#3 Louisville vs. #2 Tennessee

Louisville Cardinals

Record: 26-8

Head Coach: Rick Pitino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

David Padgett

F/C

6-11

245

Sr.

11.4

4.5

67.7

0.0

65.2

F

1

Terrence Williams

F

6-06

210

Jr.

11.0

7.3

40.5

34.3

56.7

S/A

5

Earl Clark

F/G

6-08

220

So.

10.9

8.0

46.2

23.1

65.5

B

34

Jerry Smith

G

6-01

200

So.

10.5

3.6

44.8

37.7

77.6

S

33

Andre McGee

G

5-10

180

Jr.

6.4

1.6

40.4

40.3

69.8

S/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Derrick Caracter

F/C

6-09

265

So.

8.5

4.5

55.7

1 of 1

63.1

B/F

10

Edgar Sosa

G

6-01

175

So.

7.6

1.7

38.5

37.4

63.6

 

3

Juan Palacios

F/C

6-08

250

Sr.

6.4

4.0

44.5

31.3

70.5

S

Statistical Analysis

 

U of L

Stat

Opp

Difference

46.0

FG%

38.4

7.6

35.2

3pt%

30.6

4.6

64.4

FT%

67.7

-3.3

37.3

Reb

34.5

2.8

13.3

TO

14.6

1.3

4.9

BK

2.7

2.2

8.1

STL

5.7

2.4

15.1

AST

12.2

2.9

 

R+T  #

 

5.33

72.3

PPG

60.9

11.4

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

9

Schedule Strength

 

.5852

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Boise State

79-61

 

Oklahoma

78-48

 

Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 31-4

Head Coach: Bruce Pearl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Wayne Chism

F/C

6-09

242

So.

9.9

5.8

46.6

31.5

54.5

B/F

1

Tyler Smith

F

6-07

215

So.

13.7

6.8

54.1

38.9

71.1

S/A

2

Jajuan Smith

G/F

6-02

195

Sr.

14.5

3.7

46.2

38.2

76.5

S/A

5

Chris Lofton

G

6-02

200

Sr.

15.5

3.2

40.6

39.2

83.2

S

30

J.P. Prince

G/F

6-07

205

So.

8.3

3.3

50.0

16.7

55.7

S/A/F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

Ramar Smith

G

6-02

200

So.

7.5

2.4

44.6

22.7

60.3

S/A/F

32

Duke Crews

F/C

6-07

233

So.

5.4

4.1

50.5

0.0

66.7

F

15

Jordan Howell

G

6-03

190

Sr.

4.3

1.5

32.6

31.9

65.7

A/F

33

Brian Williams

C

6-10

267

Fr.

2.9

3.5

60.3

1 of 2

50.0

F

34

Ryan Childress

F

6-09

235

Jr.

2.4

2.5

36.7

18.8

61.1

S/A/F

Statistical Analysis

 

UT

Stat

Opp

Difference

46.1

FG%

42.7

3.4

35.9

3pt%

31.2

4.7

65.8

FT%

66.9

-1.1

38.0

Reb

37.0

1.0

13.1

TO

18.2

5.1

3.4

BK

4.0

-0.6

9.2

STL

5.8

3.4

17.9

AST

13.4

4.5

 

R+T  #

 

12.26

82.5

PPG

69.7

12.8

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

13

Schedule Strength

 

.6063

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

American

72-57

 

Butler

76-71 ot

 

This should be the most exciting game in the Sweet 16.  Both teams press full-court, although they do it differently.  Tennessee’s press tries to steal the ball or force turnovers against the inbounds pass and then backs off into more of a token press once opponents successfully pass the ball inbounds.  The Vols will then surprise their opponents by going to full pressure in an attempt to start a scoring run.  Louisville’s press is the infamous match-up, multiple press that Rick Pitino has used successfully at Boston U, Providence, and Kentucky.

Turnovers and rebounding will play a greater than normal part in deciding this game.  When two good pressing teams face off, usually the eventual winner will get several additional scoring attempts due to turnovers and offensive rebounds off fast break situations.  In the end, I believe Tennessee’s press will fare a little better than Louisville’s.  The Vols have more depth and will have a better chance of wearing down the Cardinals than vice versa.  Unfortunately for the winner, it looks like this game will take a great deal more energy to win than the North Carolina-Washington State game.

Prediction: Tennessee 75  Louisville 72

West Regional-Phoenix

Thursday, March 27, 2008

7:10 PM EDT

#12 Western Kentucky vs. #1 UCLA

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Record: 29-6

Head Coach: Darrin Horn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40

Jeremy Evans

F/C

6-09

190

So.

6.0

5.2

62.4

42.1

65.4

B

35

D.J. Magley

F

6-09

260

Fr.

4.8

3.3

51.4

0.0

61.3

F

32

Courtney Lee

G/F

6-05

200

Sr.

20.5

4.8

49.0

40.4

82.5

S

5

Ty Rogers

G

6-03

195

Sr.

6.5

2.2

45.4

37.4

63.2

 

3

Tyrone Brazleton

G

6-00

180

Sr.

13.9

2.7

44.6

41.7

67.1

A/F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

A.J. Slaughter

G

6-03

180

So.

7.6

2.1

43.9

44.0

76.5

S/F

20

Orlando Mendez-Valdez

G

6-01

180

Jr.

5.8

1.6

42.5

39.4

78.3

A/F

21

Boris Siakim

F

6-07

225

Sr.

4.8

3.8

55.1

14.3

69.0

F

30

Steffphon Pettigrew

G/F

6-05

220

Fr.

3.9

2.9

40.5

25.0

70.8

F

Statistical Analysis

 

WKU

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.6

FG%

42.1

5.5

39.4

3pt%

33.1

6.3

70.0

FT%

70.3

-0.3

35.0

Reb

31.9

3.1

14.4

TO

17.8

3.4

3.7

BK

2.6

1.1

7.9

STL

6.3

1.6

12.7

AST

11.5

1.2

 

R+T  #

 

9.55

77.3

PPG

66.1

11.2

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

13

Schedule Strength

 

.5123

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Drake

101-99 ot

 

San Diego

72-63

 

U C L A  Bruins

Record: 33-3

Head Coach: Ben Howland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42

Kevin Love

C

6-10

271

Fr.

17.3

10.6

55.7

36.5

76.5

B

23

Luc Rich. Mbah a Moute

F

6-08

232

Jr.

8.6

5.5

47.9

20.0

69.4

 

3

Josh Shipp

F/G

6-05

220

Jr.

12.4

3.2

44.0

32.5

79.2

S

2

Darren Collison

G

6-00

160

Jr.

15.1

2.6

49.4

51.6

87.6

S/A

0

Russell Westbrook

G

6-03

185

So.

12.3

3.8

46.8

31.9

70.5

S/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Mata-Real, Lorenzo

C

6-09

235

Sr.

3.3

3.7

50.0

0.0

45.2

B/F

12

Alfred Aboya

F/C

6-09

245

Jr.

3.1

2.3

50.0

33.3

52.8

F

41

Dragovic, Nikola

F

6-09

215

So.

2.6

1.4

33.9

23.8

12-12

 

13

James Keefe

G

6-08

225

So.

2.1

2.4

44.2

28.6

35.7

F

Statistical Analysis

 

UCLA

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.6

FG%

42.2

5.4

34.6

3pt%

32.5

2.1

73.0

FT%

67.0

6.0

36.3

Reb

27.9

8.4

12.4

TO

14.7

2.3

4.1

BK

2.6

1.5

7.4

STL

4.7

2.7

14.4

AST

11.3

3.1

 

R+T  #

 

12.48

73.3

PPG

58.0

15.3

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

15

Schedule Strength

 

.5751

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Mississippi Valley

70-29

 

Texas A&M

51-49

 

On the surface, this looks like a mismatch that will end with the top-seed blowing the Cinderella 12-seed out of the gym.  While the Bruins could win by 20 points, the Hilltoppers are the type of team that can make UCLA get into a transition game.  This game will be played much like the North Carolina-Washington State; one team will try to get the other team to play a different style of ball than they are accustomed to playing.

Where I think the game will turn is inside the paint.  UCLA has too many horses for Western to stop.  If the Bruins can defend the WKU perimeter, they will eventually control the game, because UCLA will pound the ball inside and dominate on the glass.  It comes down to what time in the game that will happen.  I think WKU can keep it close for a time; I’m just not sure what time it will be.  Thus, I am expecting the Bruins to survive but not by 20 points.

Prediction: UCLA 65  Western Kentucky 58

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Approximately 9:45 PM EDT

#7 West Virginia vs. #3 Xavier

West Virginia Mountaineers

Record: 26-10

Head Coach: Bob Huggins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

Jamie Smalligan

C

7-00

265

Sr.

2.2

1.9

29.5

18.3

71.4

A/F

11

Joe Alexander

F

6-08

230

Jr.

16.8

6.3

46.3

27.5

82.1

B/A

1

Da’Sean Butler

F

6-07

225

So.

12.9

6.1

49.6

37.1

63.7

F

22

Alex Ruoff

G

6-06

215

Jr.

13.8

3.4

47.7

41.4

83.1

S/A

14

Darris Nichols

G

6-03

200

Sr.

10.8

3.3

44.6

39.2

70.9

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Joe Mazzulla

G

6-02

210

So.

5.7

2.9

46.7

47.4

64.8

A/F

35

Wellington Smith

F

6-07

215

So.

5.1

3.8

42.4

25.0

54.2

B/F

41

John Flowers

F

6-07

195

Fr.

4.6

2.5

43.3

28.6

38.0

B/F

Statistical Analysis

 

WVU

Stat

Opp

Difference

45.4

FG%

41.9

3.5

35.9

3pt%

35.1

0.8

69.0

FT%

65.8

3.2

35.9

Reb

33.6

2.3

11.3

TO

15.8

4.5

5.1

BK

2.5

2.6

7.0

STL

5.6

1.4

15.4

AST

11.3

4.1

 

R+T  #

 

9.86

74.8

PPG

63.1

11.7

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

11 *

Schedule Strength

 

.5616

 

(*) Barely missed being 13

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Arizona

75-65

 

Duke

73-67

 

Xavier Musketeers

Record: 29-6

Head Coach: Sean Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

Jason Love

F/C

6-09

255

So.

6.1

5.4

57.4

0.0

60.4

B

5

Derrick Brown

F

6-08

225

So.

10.9

6.7

60.2

34.5

72.1

 

20

C.J. Anderson

F/G

6-06

220

Jr.

10.7

5.9

52.3

0.0

67.3

 

34

Stanley Burrell

G

6-03

210

Sr.

9.8

2.1

39.1

38.9

83.1

A

24

Drew Lavender

G

5-07

153

Sr.

11.0

2.6

43.6

40.4

86.8

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Josh Duncan

F

6-09

235

Sr.

12.1

4.7

50.4

41.8

85.4

F

11

B.J. Raymond

G/F

6-06

225

Jr.

10.1

3.1

44.9

41.1

86.1

 

25

Dante’ Jackson

G

6-05

205

Fr.

2.4

1.2

35.4

38.1

61.5

S/F

Statistical Analysis

 

XAV

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.8

FG%

40.6

7.2

39.1

3pt%

33.7

5.4

75.5

FT%

67.6

7.9

35.8

Reb

30.2

5.6

13.1

TO

13.0

-0.1

3.4

BK

3.6

-0.2

5.6

STL

6.6

-1.0

15.3

AST

13.1

2.2

 

R+T  #

 

5.47

75.5

PPG

62.7

12.8

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

8 *

Schedule Strength

 

.5720

 

(*) Barely missed being 10

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Georgia

73-61

 

Purdue

85-78

 

The PiRate Criteria reveals West Virginia to be a slight favorite in this game.  I’m on the fence personally.  I like both of these teams’ hustle and the ability to put team ahead of the individual.  While the Tennessee-Louisville game looks like the most exciting, this game looks like the most balanced.  These two teams could play 10 times and split the games five to five.

So, where do I see the game being decided?  If I had to pinpoint one area, it would be the versatility of West Virginia to change its lineup from short and quick to tall and muscular.  Bob Huggins will find the right combination in the second half, and the Mountaineers will advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in four years.

Prediction: West Virginia 74  Xavier 69

South Regional-Houston

Friday, March 28, 2008

7:27 PM

#3 Stanford vs. #2 Texas

Stanford Cardinal

Record: 28-7

Head Coach: Trent Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42

Robin Lopez

C

7-00

260

So.

10.3

5.7

54.2

1 of 1

65.2

B

11

Brook Lopez

F

7-00

255

So.

19.0

8.1

46.9

0.0

78.2

B

44

Fred Washington

F

6-05

215

Sr.

4.5

4.1

48.2

20.0

53.2

A/F

4

Anthony Goods

G

6-03

205

Jr.

10.3

2.1

37.2

35.2

74.6

 

1

Mitch Johnson

G

6-01

190

Jr.

6.7

4.3

43.3

39.7

66.2

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

Lawrence Hill

F

6-08

215

Jr.

8.7

4.9

41.3

36.5

74.6

 

31

Taj Finger

F

6-08

200

Sr.

5.9

4.3

55.3

22.2

74.2

F

22

Kenny Brown

G

6-01

200

Jr.

4.3

1.3

43.8

38.3

70.8

 

2

Landry Fields

G/F

6-07

200

So.

3.8

2.0

35.5

34.5

60.7

A/F

 

Statistical Analysis

 

Stan

Stat

Opp

Difference

45.2

FG%

39.3

5.9

36.6

3pt%

33.4

3.2

69.5

FT%

66.6

2.9

39.1

Reb

31.1

8.0

12.3

TO

11.7

-0.6

5.2

BK

2.4

2.8

4.4

STL

5.8

-1.4

14.6

AST

9.9

4.7

 

R+T  #

 

7.37

71.2

PPG

61.0

10.2

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

8 *

Schedule Strength

 

.5547

 

 

(*) Barely missed being 12

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Cornell

77-53

 

Marquette

82-81 ot

 

 

Texas Longhorns

Record: 30-6

Head Coach: Rick Barnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Connor Atchley

F/C

6-10

225

Jr.

19.2

2.9

44.3

38.0

77.9

B

5

Damion James

F/G

6-07

227

Jr.

13.2

10.7

46.4

44.6

56.3

B

24

Justin Mason

G

6-02

185

So.

7.1

4.3

42.2

34.2

66.2

A

3

A.J. Abrams

G

5-10

155

Jr.

16.6

2.8

42.8

38.1

80.9

 

14

D.J. Augustin

G

5-11

175

So.

19.2

2.9

44.3

38.0

77.9

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Gary Johnson

F

6-07

235

Fr.

5.7

4.0

41.6

0.0

55.6

F

34

Dexter Pittman

C

6-10

293

So.

2.7

2.3

54.8

0.0

60.5

B/F

15

Alexis Wangmene

F/C

6-08

240

Fr.

2.2

2.4

42.3

0.0

66.0

B/F

 

Statistical Analysis

 

UT

Stat

Opp

Difference

45.3

FG%

38.8

6.5

39.1

3pt%

32.6

6.5

68.2

FT%

67.9

0.3

38.1

Reb

35.1

3.0

9.6

TO

12.1

2.5

5.3

BK

2.8

2.5

6.0

STL

4.6

1.4

13.1

AST

12.4

0.7

 

R+T  #

 

6.60

75.5

PPG

64.4

11.1

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

9

Schedule Strength

 

.5950

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Austin Peay

74-54

 

Miami (Fla.)

75-72

 

 

Stanford poses a tough match-up with two mobile seven footers in their starting lineup.  Texas isn’t one of those teams that will have problems.  The Longhorns’ defense should force the Cardinal to shoot too many outside shots, something they don’t want to do.  I expect this game to be lower scoring than average, as Stanford will try to pound it inside the paint and will find it difficult to get the ball there consistently.

When Texas has the ball, I expect the ‘Horns to put the ball in D.J. Augustin’s hands and let him break down the Stanford defense.  It won’t work all night, but it will work enough times to move Texas on to the Regional finals.

Prediction: Texas 69  Stanford 61

Friday, March 28, 2008

Approximately 10:00 PM EDT

#5 Michigan State vs. #1 Memphis

Michigan State Spartans

Record: 27-8

Head Coach: Tom Izzo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Goran Suton

C

6-10

245

Jr.

8.7

8.2

53.6

9.1

77.6

F

2

Raymar Morgan

F

6-07

225

So.

14.2

6.1

56.2

30.3

67.8

 

1

Kalin Lucas

G

6-00

180

Fr.

10.2

1.6

43.1

37.0

76.4

A

11

Drew Neitzel

G

6-00

185

Sr.

14.1

2.5

40.9

40.1

86.0

A

5

Travis Walton

G

6-02

190

Jr.

3.6

2.0

38.7

0.0

73.2

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Chris Allen

G

6-03

195

Fr.

5.9

1.1

37.1

37.0

80.0

 

15

Durrell Summers

G

6-04

195

Fr.

4.9

2.4

50.8

50.0

75.5

 

41

Marquise Gray

F

6-08

235

Jr.

4.5

3.8

60.7

0.0

65.0

F

34

Drew Naymick

C

6-10

250

Sr.

4.3

4.2

66.3

0.0

77.4

B/F

 

Statistical Analysis

 

MSU

Stat

Opp

Difference

48.0

FG%

39.8

8.2

37.4

3pt%

31.1

6.3

73.9

FT%

66.6

7.3

37.2

Reb

29.9

7.3

13.7

TO

12.3

-1.4

4.3

BK

4.0

0.3

5.9

STL

5.9

0.0

17.5

AST

12.3

5.2

 

R+T  #

 

5.32

71.1

PPG

61.7

9.4

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

8

Schedule Strength

 

.5636

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Temple

72-61

 

Pittsburgh

65-54

 

 

Memphis Tigers

Record: 35-1

Head Coach: John Calipari

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Joey Dorsey

F/C

6-09

265

Jr.

7.0

9.7

64.7

0.0

37.9

B/F

2

Robert Dozier

F

6-09

215

Jr.

9.4

6.7

45.1

29.0

68.5

B

14

Chris Douglas-Roberts

G/F

6-07

200

Jr.

17.3

4.2

54.7

42.7

68.4

 

5

Antonio Anderson

G

6-06

210

Jr.

8.4

3.7

40.9

32.8

56.6

A

23

Derrick Rose

G

6-03

205

Fr.

14.1

4.3

46.9

35.1

68.4

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

Doneal Mack

G

6-05

175

So.

7.7

1.8

39.7

37.1

66.7

F

0

Shawn Taggart

F/C

6-10

230

So.

5.8

4.2

51.0

37.5

63.9

B/F

1

Willie Kemp

G

6-02

175

So.

5.3

1.1

38.2

36.6

57.1

F

15

Andre Allen

G

5-10

205

Sr.

3.4

1.2

31.5

29.6

40.6

F

 

Statistical Analysis

 

Mem

Stat

Opp

Difference

46.6

FG%

38.5

8.1

35.3

3pt%

30.3

5.0

59.2

FT%

66.9

-7.7

40.9

Reb

34.2

6.7

12.0

TO

16.3

4.3

6.2

BK

3.3

2.9

8.5

STL

5.8

2.7

16.2

AST

10.7

5.5

 

R+T  #

 

15.47

79.8

PPG

61.1

18.7

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

19

Schedule Strength

 

.5749

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

The PiRate Criteria show this game as a blowout, but I think Michigan State has a chance at the upset.  If the Spartans play with the same intensity as they displayed against Pittsburgh, they will keep this game within striking distance.

Memphis didn’t play poorly against Mississippi State, but the Tigers couldn’t put the Bulldogs away in the second round. 

The game will come down to how many extra shots Michigan State gets due to their rebounding acumen versus how many extra fast break opportunities Memphis gets due to their ability to force turnovers and have a numbers advantage.

Prediction: Memphis 74  Michigan State 67

Midwest Regional-Detroit

Friday, March 28, 2008

7:10 PM EDT

#10 Davidson vs. #3 Wisconsin

Davidson Wildcats

Record: 28-6

Head Coach: Bob McKillop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

Thomas Sander

F

6-08

220

Sr.

7.6

4.9

57.9

23.1

53.3

F

41

Andrew Lovedale

F

6-08

215

Jr.

6.7

5.4

53.6

0.0

66.7

F

14

Max Paulhus Gosselin

G/F

6-06

205

Jr.

3.6

3.5

36.7

12.5

65.5

S

30

Stephen Curry

G

6-03

185

So.

25.7

4.6

48.8

44.4

88.8

S/A

2

Jason Richards

G

6-02

185

Sr.

12.9

3.1

41.8

32.4

74.8

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Boris Meno

F

6-08

230

Sr.

7.3

5.6

49.5

5.6

66.7

 

22

Will Archambault

G/F

6-06

210

So.

5.2

1.9

39.1

27.8

69.0

F

24

Bryant Barr

G

6-04

195

So.

5.1

1.0

38.9

40.5

64.7

 

23

Stephen Rossiter

F

6-07

230

So.

3.1

3.4

60.3

0.0

67.6

S/F

Statistical Analysis

 

DC

Stat

Opp

Difference

47.1

FG%

42.3

4.8

36.2

3pt%

35.6

0.6

72.3

FT%

63.1

9.2

36.6

Reb

32.7

3.9

12.1

TO

16.9

4.8

3.3

BK

2.4

0.9

8.1

STL

5.6

2.5

17.1

AST

13.5

3.6

 

R+T  #

 

13.23

78.6

PPG

63.5

15.1

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

14

Schedule Strength

 

.5252

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Gonzaga

82-76

 

Georgetown

74-70

 

Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 31-4

Head Coach: Bo Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Brian Butch

F/C

6-11

245

Sr.

12.4

6.7

45.7

30.7

65.8

 

1

Marcus Landry

F

6-07

230

Jr.

10.9

5.4

46.9

35.8

76.0

 

45

Joe Krabbenhoft

G/F

6-07

220

Jr.

7.5

6.6

47.6

18.5

75.5

A

3

Trevon Hughes

G

6-01

190

So.

11.6

3.1

39.8

31.9

68.8

S/A

22

Michael Flowers

G

6-02

185

Sr.

9.5

3.8

45.4

41.8

70.0

S/A/F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

Jason Bohannon

G

6-02

195

So.

8.1

2.4

43.2

38.9

87.3

 

34

Greg Stiemsma

C

6-11

260

Sr.

3.4

3.0

55.6

0.0

84.2

B/A/F

30

Jon Leuer

F

6-10

215

Fr.

3.0

1.3

47.2

46.2

48.3

 

Statistical Analysis

 

UW

Stat

Opp

Difference

45.1

FG%

38.0

7.1

35.6

3pt%

30.5

5.1

70.7

FT%

68.2

2.5

36.0

Reb

30.3

5.7

12.2

TO

13.8

1.6

3.3

BK

2.9

0.4

6.3

STL

6.2

0.1

12.7

AST

9.8

2.9

 

R+T  #

 

8.12

67.6

PPG

53.9

13.7

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

13

Schedule Strength

 

.5518

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Cal State Fullerton

71-56

 

Kansas State

72-55

 

The criteria for these two teams are close.  Davidson’s long winning streak does not count as a tiebreaker, as the Wildcats are not from a power conference.  Wisconsin has won 12 in a row, so the winning streak does apply to the Badgers.  Wisconsin’s perimeter defense is strong with Flowers, Hughes,  and Krabbenhoft able to shut down any opponents’ outside game.  I expect the Badgers to hold Stephen Curry under 20 points.

When Wisconsin has the ball, they will set up the outside shot by going inside to Butch and Stiemsma first.  Unlike Georgetown, when Davidson tries to pack their defense inside, Wisconsin will exploit it with the three-bombs of Flowers and Bohannon. 

Prediction: Wisconsin 66  Davidson 55

Friday, March 28, 2008

Approximately 9:45 PM EDT

#12 Villanova vs. #1 Kansas

Villanova Wildcats

Record: 22-12

Head Coach: Jay Wright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33

Dante Cunningham

F

6-08

230

Jr.

10.4

6.4

54.9

0.0

69.1

S/F

0

Antonio Pena

F

6-08

230

Fr.

7.0

4.3

48.0

33.3

69.1

 

22

Dwayne Anderson

G/F

6-06

215

Jr.

6.4

4.8

50.7

33.3

64.3

S

10

Corey Fisher

G

6-01

200

Fr.

9.2

1.8

35.7

34.2

74.0

A

1

Scottie Reynolds

G

6-02

190

So.

16.0

3.1

41.6

38.1

77.8

S/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

Shane Clark

F

6-07

205

Jr.

7.0

4.3

43.5

29.1

84.1

F

24

Corey Stokes

G

6-05

220

Fr.

6.4

2.5

36.5

29.8

90.0

F

3

Malcolm Grant

G

6-00

185

Fr.

5.6

0.8

39.0

46.6

84.1

A/F

5

Casiem Drummond

C

6-10

275

So.

4.9

4.5

52.4

0.0

44.4

B/F

 

Statistical Analysis

 

VU

Stat

Opp

Difference

43.3

FG%

43.4

-0.1

34.8

3pt%

36.3

-1.5

72.8

FT%

68.1

4.7

36.1

Reb

33.3

2.8

14.3

TO

16.4

2.1

2.8

BK

4.6

-1.8

8.0

STL

6.6

1.4

13.6

AST

12.9

0.7

 

R+T  #

 

6.83

73.2

PPG

69.4

3.8

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

-1

Schedule Strength

 

.5586

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Clemson

75-69

 

Siena

84-72

 

 

Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 33-3

Head Coach: Bill Self

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Player

Pos

Height

Weight

Cl.

Pts.

Reb.

FG%

3pt%

FT%

Other *

 

STARTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Darnell Jackson

F

6-08

250

Sr.

11.5

6.7

62.3

33.3

69.5

 

0

Darrell Arthur

F

6-09

225

So.

13.1

6.2

54.0

16.7

70.4

B/F

25

Brandon Rush

G/F

6-06

210

Jr.

13.0

5.0

42.5

43.9

77.6

 

15

Mario Chalmers

G

6-01

195

Jr.

12.6

3.1

52.5

47.1

73.3

S/A

3

Russell Robinson

G

6-01

205

Sr.

7.4

2.8

42.3

31.3

76.6

S/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY RESERVES %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Sherron Collins

G

5-11

205

So.

9.5

2.0

47.9

36.8

76.5

S/A

24

Sasha Kaun

C

6-11

250

Sr.

7.1

3.9

61.1

0.0

54.4

B/F

45

Cole Aldrich

C

6-11

240

Fr.

2.9

3.1

51.9

0.0

64.7

B/F

5

Rodrick Stewart

G

6-04

200

Sr.

2.9

2.3

49.3

31.3

60.7

 

 

Statistical Analysis

 

KU

Stat

Opp

Difference

50.8

FG%

38.0

12.8

40.1

3pt%

33.7

6.4

69.6

FT%

68.4

1.2

38.8

Reb

30.9

7.9

12.8

TO

15.8

3.0

6.0

BK

2.6

3.4

8.9

STL

6.2

2.7

18.4

AST

11.3

7.1

 

R+T  #

 

14.31

81.4

PPG

61.4

20.0

 

 

 

 

PiRate Score

21

Schedule Strength

 

.5594

 

 

 

 

(#) For an explanation of R+T, PiRate Score, and Schedule

Strength, see “Bracketnomics 505” posted on 3/17/08

 

 

 

 

NCAA Tournament Results

Portland State

85-61

 

UNLV

75-56

 

The team with the best criteria plays the team with the worst criteria.  I  have the criteria from the 1985 Championship Game, the one where the all-time biggest Cinderella, Villanova, upset the Goliath Georgetown.  Villanova’s PiRate criteria was -2, while Georgetown’s was 19, for a difference of 21.  The difference in this game is 22, so it would be an even bigger upset in the bits and bytes of the PiRate Computer.

Kansas has the perfect PiRate Criteria fingerprint for a National Championship.  The Jayhawks have a perfect score.  Very few teams, other than ones coached by John Wooden, have been able to outscore their opponents by 20 points per game, shoot almost 13% better from the field, out-rebound their opponents by eight per game, force three more turnovers per game than they commit with nine of those coming on steals, and have seven legitimate offensive threats all in the same season.  When it happens, you have a team for the ages.  Kansas looks like that sort of team, and until someone can knock them off, I sticking with the boys from Lawrence to go all the way.

Prediction: Kansas 80  Villanova 64

March 21, 2008

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament–March 22, 2008 (3rd Update)

 

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament

March 22, 2008 (3rd Update)

Thursday almost brought one major surprise when Duke escaped with a one-point win over Belmont.  Most of the other Thursday games were a little ho-hum.  The PiRate Criteria Rating was 15-1 on the day, losing only on the Texas A&M and BYU game, a game I said was the most competitive of the day.  Additionally, I predicted that UCLA would set a record for fewest points allowed in the modern day NCAA Tournament; they did just that by holding the weakest team in the tournament, Mississippi Valley State, to just 29 points.

Friday was the day that ruined brackets all over America.  The four lower seeds in Tampa all upset the four higher seeds.  While I didn’t do as well Friday (9-7) as I did Thursday, my big teams all advanced and are still alive.  That’s what this criteria looks to accomplish-find the teams that have what it takes to get to San Antonio.

Now, we’re down to 32 and by Sunday night, the Sweet 16 will be all that’s left.  Let’s take a look at the PiRate Criteria as it applied to the second round.  Due to time constraints, I will be using statistics that do not reflect the first round tournament games.

East Region

#1 North Carolina (33-2)

Scoring Margin: 16.9

FG% Margin: 6.2

Rebound Margin: 11.6

TO Margin: 1.9

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 15.48

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5921

#9 Arkansas (23-11)

Scoring Margin: 6.6

FG% Margin: 4.9

Rebound Margin: 4.5

TO Margin: -0.3

Steals: 7.0

R + T: 4.0

PiRate: 0

SOS: .5701

North Carolina has too much inside game for Steve Hill to stop and too much outside game for the Razorbacks to sag in the lane.  The Tar Heels will be on cruise control as they waltz to the Sweet 16.  Adding an extra few points for home state (cross town) advantage, you come up with another double digit win for the Tar Heels.

Prediction: North Carolina by 14

#5 Notre Dame (25-7)

Scoring Margin: 10.1

FG% Margin: 4.7

Rebound Margin: 5.8

TO Margin: -0.4

Steals: 6.4

R + T: 5.19

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5414

#4 Washington State (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 10.0

FG% Margin: 5.6

Rebound Margin: 0.1

TO Margin: 3.0

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 4.64

PiRate: 9

SOS: .5613

The best of the rest in the Big East meets the best of the rest in the Pac-10.  This game is obviously a tossup, as the criteria indicates.  Washington State has a slight edge in the final numbers, and they have extra impetus here to make up for what they thought was a blown chance in the second round last year.

While something in my gut says the Irish are going to win, my criteria forces me to go with Washington State in a close ball game.

Prediction: Washington State by 4

#6 Oklahoma (23-11)

Scoring Margin: 5.0

FG% Margin: 3.6

Rebound Margin: 3.0

TO Margin: 0.4

Steals: 6.6

R + T: 3.63

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5753

#3 Louisville (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 10.6

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 3.0

TO Margin: 1.2

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 5.33

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5852

The Big 12 and the Big East have enjoyed early success in the Big Dance this year, and now representatives from both conferences face off in this game.

Oklahoma was quite impressive in their win over St. Joe’s, while Louisville had little more than a workout against Boise State.  Rick Pitino certainly knows how to prepare his team in the NCAA Tournament, and I expect his Cardinals to move on to the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Louisville by 8

#7 Butler (30-3)

Scoring Margin: 10.5

FG% Margin: 2.1

Rebound Margin: -1.1

TO Margin: 3.6

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 4.34

PiRate: 6

SOS: .5181

# 2 Tennessee (30-4)

Scoring Margin: 12.9

FG% Margin: 2.9

Rebound Margin: 1.2

TO Margin: 5.4

Steals: 9.3

R + T: 13.25

PiRate: 13

SOS: .6063

Butler will not be intimidated by the Vols.  The Bulldogs clobbered Tennessee last year in the semifinals of the Pre-season NIT.

Tennessee has not played its best ball in the last couple of weeks.  It could be the Vols have players hitting the wall as they prepare to play their full-court pressing, fast breaking style of play in game 35.

Butler cannot really take advantage of Tennessee’s lone weakness.  The Bulldogs don’t rebound the ball with enough authority to dominate the glass in this game, and I think second chance points could be a major factor in this game.

Prediction: Tennessee by 7

Midwest Region

#1 Kansas (32-3)

Scoring Margin: 19.9

FG% Margin: 12.3

Rebound Margin: 7.9

TO Margin: 3.0

Steals: 9.0

R + T: 14.38

PiRate: 21

SOS: .5594

#8 UNLV (27-7)

Scoring Margin: 8.0

FG% Margin: 1.6

Rebound Margin: -1.6

TO Margin: 4.3

Steals: 7.9

R + T: 6.55

PiRate: 5

SOS: .5496

The Jayhawks are solid at every position and in every phase of the game.  UNLV will not be able to keep the rebounding statistics close to even.  I expect KU to win the battle of the boards by five to 10.  The Runnin’ Rebels will have a hard time scoring consistently without some form of transition game, while Kansas should pick up 10-15 points thanks to their fast break and early offense.  The Big 12 is showing itself to be maybe the best conference so far, and I am selecting the Jayhawks to win with relative ease.

Prediction: Kansas by 15

#12 Villanova (21-12)

Scoring Margin: 3.5

FG% Margin: -0.9

Rebound Margin: 2.7

TO Margin: 2.4

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 7.37

PiRate: -1

SOS: .5586

#13 Siena (23-10)

Scoring Margin: 5.7

FG% Margin: 0.0

Rebound Margin: -4.5

TO Margin: 6.3

Steals: 9.4

R + T: 9.71

PiRate: 5

SOS: .5218

Villanova may have been the final at-large team in the field, but they proved their worth by coming back from an 18-point deficit to beat the team that took North Carolina to the wire last weekend.  Now, the Wildcats find themselves as the sole remaining team from the City of Brotherly Love.  Their win gave the Big East a 7-1 mark in the first round.

Siena did not upset Vanderbilt; they won by 21, and that’s no upset.  It’s plain to see that experts all over the nation, including Seth Davis, called this one correctly.  The Saints went marching all over the Commodores.  Now, they aim for a berth in the Sweet 16, and they match up well with Villanova.  The Wildcats extended themselves in their come-from-behind win, and they should bounce a little on Sunday.

Siena’s quickness just may be enough to advance the Saints into the third round.  I expect an even better scoring performance by Siena’s big three scorers, and I expect Coach Fran McCaffery’s cagers to steal the ball enough times to get some cheap baskets in the stretch.

Prediction: Siena by 4

#11 Kansas State (21-11)

Scoring Margin: 9.8

FG% Margin: 2.1

Rebound Margin: 8.1

TO Margin: 1.3

Steals: 7.7

R + T: 10.5

PiRate: 11

SOS: .5697

#3 Wisconsin (30-4)

Scoring Margin: 13.5

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 5.7

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 12.96

PiRate: 17

SOS: .5518

This should be an interesting game worth watching.  Kansas State didn’t have its best effort and still looked amazing against Southern Cal.  The Wildcats can play even better than that, especially when Michael Beasley doesn’t get in quick foul trouble.  I don’t expect the men from the Little Apple to commit as many fouls in this game.

Wisconsin keeps winning like they are a push-button, mechanical team.  They play at a rather consistent pace and just don’t lose because of their actions; you have to beat them with superior talent and strategy, because this team is as fundamentally sound as a team can be.

I believe Coach Ryan will devise a game plan that slows down Beasley and forces Bill Walker out of his comfort zone.  At the same time, I expect K-State’s defense to shut down Wisconsin for long stretches and make the Badgers look human.  In the end, I’ll go with the Badgers to recover and score just enough points to win.  Look for a score in the neighborhood of 60-55.  If Wisconsin goes into a long drought in the second half, then KSU will take a commanding lead and hold on for the upset.  It wouldn’t be that much of an upset, because the Wildcats should have been seeded in the upper half of the brackets.

Prediction: Wisconsin by an iffy 5

#10 Davidson (27-6)

Scoring Margin: 15.8

FG% Margin: 5.8

Rebound Margin: 4.3

TO Margin: 4.6

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 13.24

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5252

#2 Georgetown (28-5)

Scoring Margin: 11.7

FG% Margin: 11.9

Rebound Margin: 2.6

TO Margin: -0.4

Steals: 7.1

R + T: 1.92

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5670

The criteria shows that Davidson has a real chance in this game.  The Wildcats came from behind in a hard-fought game to knock off Gonzaga, while Georgetown played a so-so game against a team that is virtually the same as an in-state opponent.

I expect Stephen Curry’s shooting percentage to go south, while Georgetown performs up to standards.  I just don’t see the Wildcats having enough inside to win, but they had stretches this year in their games against North Carolina and UCLA where they handled themselves on the boards against even better inside teams.

I won’t totally discount Davidson, especially since the criteria says they will win.  I’ll stick with the #2-seed to get by on defense and rebounding to pull out a win in a rough game.

Prediction: Georgetown by 8

South Region

#1 Memphis (34-1)

Scoring Margin: 19.1

FG% Margin: 8.3

Rebound Margin: 6.5

TO Margin: 4.4

Steals: 8.7

R + T: 15.69

PiRate: 19

SOS: .5749

#8 Mississippi State (23-10)

Scoring Margin: 8.0

FG% Margin: 9.3

Rebound Margin: 5.1

TO Margin: -2.6

Steals: 6.0

R + T: 1.36

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5523

This game will be physical and could get ugly.  This is a backyard brawl between two schools that have rivalries in more than one sport.  Mississippi State doesn’t have the ball handlers to break Memphis’s press and score in transition.  That will allow the Tigers to gamble a little on their press and force a few more turnovers.

Mississippi State will intimidate the Tigers in the paint and force Memphis’s big men to alter their shots.  It will give the Bulldogs a fighting chance in this game.

All year, I have wondered if Memphis has been seasoned enough.  However, upon looking at their strength of schedule, those fears have been unfounded.  Look for the top seed to advance.

Prediction: Memphis by 9

#5 Michigan State (26-8)

Scoring Margin: 9.3

FG% Margin: 7.9

Rebound Margin: 7.1

TO Margin: -1.2

Steals: 6.1

R + T: 5.34

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5636

#4 Pittsburgh (27-9)

Scoring Margin: 8.9

FG% Margin: 3.8

Rebound Margin: 4.4

TO Margin: 1.9

Steals: 6.8

R + T: 7.50

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5723

This will be the equivalent of the Bears and Packers playing football in the 1930’s.  Both of these teams can play muscle basketball with the best of them.  The criteria calls this one a 50-50 proposition, so I have to vote to break the tie.  I’m going with Pittsburgh for two reasons.  First, they are playing their best ball of the season and are riding a nice winning streak.  Second, Michigan State has a habit of occasionally going into a funk on offense. 

The Panthers will make it hard for Drew Neitzel to get many open looks from outside, and it will take an epic performance by Raymar Morgan to counter it.  I expect Pitt’s great depth in the frontcourt will eventually wear down the Spartans inside.

Prediction: Pittsburgh by 7

#6 Marquette (25-9)

Scoring Margin:  11.5

FG% Margin: 3.5

Rebound Margin: 2.4

TO Margin: 3.8

Steals: 9.6

R + T: 11.16

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5753

#3 Stanford (27-7)

Scoring Margin:  10.1

FG% Margin: 5.5

Rebound Margin: 8.0

TO Margin: -0.5

Steals: 4.4

R + T: 7.47

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5547

Marquette has the better criteria here by a healthy margin.  The Golden Eagles looked a little off in their opening round game with Kentucky, but that may have been more Kentucky’s doing.  Stanford’s defense will look ordinary compared to the Wildcats. 

At the other end of the floor, Stanford’s hope is to dominate the boards and get multiple offensive rebounds and second chance points.  I think the Cardinal will lose the turnover battle by at least three or four, so a decided rebounding margin will be a must.  I’m guessing that won’t happen.

Prediction: Marquette by 6

#7 Miami (Fla.) (23-10)

Scoring Margin: 7.0 

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: 2.1

TO Margin: 1.2

Steals: 6.1

R + T: 3.86

PiRate: 1

SOS: .5599

#2 Texas (29-6)

Scoring Margin: 11.1 

FG% Margin: 6.3

Rebound Margin: 2.5

TO Margin: 2.9

Steals: 6.2

R + T: 6.82

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5950

The ACC only put four teams into the Dance, and three of them won in the first round.  The Big 12 saw five of its six entrants survive to the second round.  Something has to give Sunday.

Miami’s second half against St. Mary’s showed a Hurricane team that was capable of competing with any team in the tournament.  Texas blew Austin Peay off the floor before the first TV timeout, and the Longhorns will come into this game fresh and ready to give the Big 12 another victory.

Prediction: Texas by 10

West Region

#1 U C L A (32-3)

Scoring Margin: 15.0 

FG% Margin: 4.8

Rebound Margin: 8.4

TO Margin: 2.5

Steals: 7.4

R + T: 12.84

PiRate: 14

SOS: .5771

#9 Texas A&M (25-10)

Scoring Margin: 9.6  

FG% Margin: 7.3

Rebound Margin: 7.1

TO Margin: -1.5

Steals: 4.5

R + T: 5.48

PiRate: 6

SOS: .5561

UCLA’s defensive effort in the opening round was nothing short of spectacular, even against lowly Mississippi Valley.  Texas A&M played a complete game against BYU.  I expect the Aggies to be pests in this game and keep it close for most of the day.

The match-ups only slightly favor the Bruins, but the venue favors the sky blue and gold even more.  Look for Ben Howland’s squad to move on to the Sweet 16, but it won’t be another repeat of Thursday night.

Prediction: UCLA by 9

#12 Western Kentucky (28-6)

Scoring Margin: 11.6  

FG% Margin: 5.1

Rebound Margin: 3.3

TO Margin: 3.8

Steals: 7.8

R + T: 10.41

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5123

#13 San Diego (22-13)

Scoring Margin: 2.2 

FG% Margin: 1.0

Rebound Margin: 1.8

TO Margin: 0.3

Steals: 6.8

R + T: 2.29

PiRate: 0

SOS: .5283

As former New York Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen used to say, “How about that?”  The number 12 and number 13 seed advanced twice in Tampa.  According to the PiRate criteria, Western Kentucky is a hidden gem.  The Hilltoppers made it to the Final Four in 1971, only to have their appearance forfeited.  Might WKU be on a course to get there again?  I think they will come up short by at least one and possibly two games, but I think they will be one of the final 16 teams with a chance to do just that.

I don’t give San Diego much chance in this game, because I’m not sure they can come back down to Earth after knocking off Connecticut Friday.  Two years ago, George Mason was able to stay up after winning big game after big game, but that team had a double digit criteria number-just like WKU.

Prediction: Western Kentucky by 7

#6 Purdue (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 7.5 

FG% Margin: -1.1

Rebound Margin: -0.1

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 9.69

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5204

#3 Xavier (28-6)

Scoring Margin: 13.0 

FG% Margin: 7.4

Rebound Margin: 6.2

TO Margin: -0.2

Steals: 5.6

R + T: 5.93

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5720

Xavier fiddled for 32 minutes Thursday before wearing down Georgia.  The Musketeers should play more consistently in this second round game, and it should be enough to send their Big 10 bully back to Indiana.

Xavier should control the boards and shoot a higher percentage from the field than the Boilermakers.  Unless they commit 18 or more turnovers, with a good eight being PU steals or they shoot below 35%, they will get too many additional chances to score to possibly lose.

Prediction: Xavier by 7

#7 West Virginia (25-10)

Scoring Margin: 11.9 

FG% Margin: 3.5

Rebound Margin: 2.0

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 7.2

R + T: 10.29

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5616

#2 Duke (28-5)

Scoring Margin: 14.8 

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: 0.5

TO Margin: 5.0

Steals: 8.7

R + T: 10.94

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5857

Here is my upset pick for Saturday.  West Virginia has the horses to exploit Duke’s weakness in the paint.  These two teams’ criteria couldn’t be much closer, and Duke’s schedule strength advantage of 2.4 isn’t going to tilt the game in their favor.

West Virginia is improving every week, whereas Duke appears to be hitting a valley.  The win over Belmont was not the result of overlooking their #15-seeded opponents.  The Blue Devils just didn’t look like they were capable of putting Belmont away at any point in the game.

Prediction: West Virginia by 6

March 19, 2008

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament–March 19, 2008 (2nd Update)

 

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament

March 19, 2008 (2nd Update)

There’s a pandemic hitting this country this week.  Millions of Americans are coming down with a 48-hour illness and will have to stay home from work Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21.  If this applies to you, then I have some medicine that will make you more comfortable.  Consume this special PiRate juice; I call it bracketcillin.

If you have read my prior two postings, I have explained my criteria for selecting teams to advance.  Without repeating it totally, I look for teams with large scoring margins, large field goal percentage margins, a combination of rebounding and turnover margins, and strength of schedule to separate the pretenders from the contenders.  I assign numbers based on this result to find the teams with the best chances of advancing deep into the tournament.

Here is a preview of the first round games on Thursday and Friday.  Following that, I will then fill out my bracket for you.

East Region

#1 North Carolina (32-2)

Scoring Margin: 16.9

FG% Margin: 6.2

Rebound Margin: 11.6

TO Margin: 1.9

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 15.48

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5921

#16 Mount St. Mary’s (19-14)

Scoring Margin: 2.8

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: -1.4

TO Margin: 0.7

Steals: 7.3

R + T: -0.17

PiRate: Eliminate with -(R+T) rating

SOS: .4924

This one is a no-brainer.  Mount St. Mary’s will have no answer for the Tar Heels inside game, and they won’t be able to stop the transition game either.  UNC will quickly put this game away and be quite rested for Sunday’s second round game.  If MSM didn’t have a negative R+T rating, their PiRate score would be -2.  Carolina’s schedule gives them an extra 10 points for an advantage of 25 to -2.  You can also throw in a three points for home state advantage.  This does not equate to a 30-point spread; it correlates to a 50-point margin.  I look for Roy Williams to empty the bench early enough to prevent the score from getting that lopsided. 

Prediction: North Carolina by 28

#8 Indiana (25-7)

Scoring Margin: 10.4

FG% Margin: 5.4

Rebound Margin: 6.7

TO Margin: -0.2

Steals: 7.0

R + T: 6.36

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5549

#9 Arkansas (22-11)

Scoring Margin: 6.6

FG% Margin: 4.9

Rebound Margin: 4.5

TO Margin: -0.3

Steals: 7.0

R + T: 4.0

PiRate: 0

SOS: .5701

Before using the criteria to select a winner here, we must penalize Indiana five points for having a late season coaching change, one that greatly affected the Hoosiers’ performance.  IU was clearly not the same team with Dan Dakich as head coach as they were with Kelvin Sampson leading the team.

Arkansas gets 1.5 points benefit from having a stronger schedule.  Combine this with Indiana’s losing five points, and the difference becomes 1.5 points.  I’ll still go with Indiana to win the game, but the game should be close. 

Prediction: Indiana by 4.

#5 Notre Dame (24-7)

Scoring Margin: 10.1

FG% Margin: 4.7

Rebound Margin: 5.8

TO Margin: -0.4

Steals: 6.4

R + T: 5.19

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5414

#12 George Mason (23-10)

Scoring Margin: 7.6

FG% Margin: 5.0

Rebound Margin: 4.0

TO Margin: -0.2

Steals: 5.6

R + T: 3.73

PiRate: 1

SOS: .5166

This George Mason team does not have the same gaudy stats that their 2006 Final Four team had.  While the Patriots scoring, shooting, and rebounding margins are quite good, their turnover and R+T margins don’t approach that of two years ago.

Notre Dame possesses similar statistics to GMU, but they are just a little better and played a tougher schedule.  Go with the Irish to win a game that is still in doubt with 10 minutes to play. 

Prediction: Notre Dame by 7

#4 Washington State (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 10.0

FG% Margin: 5.6

Rebound Margin: 0.1

TO Margin: 3.0

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 4.64

PiRate: 9

SOS: .5613

#13 Winthrop (22-11)

Scoring Margin: 7.4

FG% Margin: 5.1

Rebound Margin: 3.7

TO Margin: 2.3

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 8.39

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5072

Watch out here!  Winthrop is good enough to upset the Cougars in the first round Thursday night and compete for a Sweet 16 berth Saturday evening.  Their criteria score is not as strong as some of the other mid-majors, but it’s good enough to win an opening round game.

Washington State has really good numbers as well, and the Cougars are probably the worst possible opponent for Winthrop to face.  WSU will not give away the ball and will not take a ton of ill-advised shots.  Coach Tony Bennett’s squad plays smart, albeit passive, ball on offense with tight defense.  This will work against Winthrop, but the first time the Cougars face an up-tempo team that can force turnovers, they will be going home. 

Prediction: Washington State by 8

#6 Oklahoma (22-11)

Scoring Margin: 5.0

FG% Margin: 3.6

Rebound Margin: 3.0

TO Margin: 0.4

Steals: 6.6

R + T: 3.63

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5753

#11 St. Joseph’s (21-12)

Scoring Margin: 6.0

FG% Margin: 4.3

Rebound Margin: 0.0

TO Margin: 1.5

Steals: 7.2

R + T: 2.59

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5559

If you are looking for a double-digit seed to advance in the first round, you have to consider this game.  St. Joe’s matches up well with Oklahoma.  The Sooners rely on an inside game and don’t scare many people with their outside shooting.  St. Joe’s defense is excellent in the paint, and I expect the Hawks to neutralize the one-two punch of Blake Griffin and Longar Longar.

This game will come down to which team commits the fewer mistakes/forces more mistakes.  It’s a complete toss-up, so you will have to make a guess as to which team advances.  I’m going with St. Joe’s only because Phil Martelli’s teams have done well in the early rounds.

Prediction: St. Joe’s by 3

#3 Louisville (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 10.6

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 3.0

TO Margin: 1.2

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 5.33

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5852

#14 Boise State (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 6.6

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 2.3

TO Margin: -0.9

Steals: 6.4

R + T: 0.92

PiRate: 0

SOS: .4904

This smells like a blowout.  Boise State will be coming off a huge high after winning at New Mexico State in triple overtime for the WAC Tournament Championship.  Louisville will be looking to rebound after being dismissed by Pitt in overtime. 

Other than having one of the best field goal percentages, Boise State is pedestrian at-best elsewhere.  Louisville’s pressure defense may not force many turnovers, but I expect the Cards to take the Broncos out of their offense and force shots BSU wouldn’t normally take.  Also, look for Louisville’s great depth to tire the BSU regulars.  Once fatigued, the BSU shooting prowess will disappear, and so will the Broncos’ chances.

Prediction: Louisville by 14

#7 Butler (29-3)

Scoring Margin: 10.5

FG% Margin: 2.1

Rebound Margin: -1.1

TO Margin: 3.6

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 4.34

PiRate: 6

SOS: .5181

#10 South Alabama (26-6)

Scoring Margin: 10.6

FG% Margin: 5.9

Rebound Margin: 6.5

TO Margin: 0.3

Steals: 6.1

R + T: 6.94

PiRate: 10

SOS: .5178

If the mid-majors held their own tournament with 32 teams, these two squads would be expected to compete for Final Four berths.  Both of them are good enough to defeat a major conference opponent in a first round match, but one of them will be going home.  I believe both teams were seeded lower than they should have been seeded.

South Alabama actually has a little better criteria score than Butler, even though the Bulldogs have been highly ranked all season.  The strengths of schedule are basically even.  It is rare that I pick against the criteria scores, but Butler has three starters left over from last season’s Sweet 16 team, and they played better down the stretch.  I’m going against the form here, so beware.  The criteria picks USA by about five points, but I’m overriding the results and going with the more seasoned five.

Prediction: Butler by 4

# 2 Tennessee (29-4)

Scoring Margin: 12.9

FG% Margin: 2.9

Rebound Margin: 1.2

TO Margin: 5.4

Steals: 9.3

R + T: 13.25

PiRate: 13

SOS: .6063

# 15 American (21-11)

Scoring Margin: 3.2

FG% Margin: 3.4

Rebound Margin: 2.4

TO Margin: 1.5

Steals: 4.5

R + T: 4.02

PiRate: 1

SOS: .5034

American has had a couple of really good teams and really good players in the past like Kermit Washington and Russell Bowers, but this is the Eagles first time in the Big Dance.  They better start dancing as soon as the music starts because they will only get one song.  This team cannot match up with Tennessee’s exceptional quickness. 

The Volunteers are vulnerable if an opponent with an exceptional half-court defense and dominating inside game can additionally hold onto the ball.  They might face that type of team in the second round, but not the first.  Tennessee will take some really dumb shots occasionally, but on the other hand, the orange and white will never feel intense pressure late in games and be afraid to shoot when open.  It’s a wash in the early rounds, and the Vols will breeze with a big win.  The criteria score difference is a whopping 22, which equates to a major blowout.

Prediction: Tennessee by 35

Midwest Region

#1 Kansas (31-3)

Scoring Margin: 19.9

FG% Margin: 12.3

Rebound Margin: 7.9

TO Margin: 3.0

Steals: 9.0

R + T: 14.38

PiRate: 21

SOS: .5594

#16 Portland State (23-9)

Scoring Margin: 6.8

FG% Margin: 2.7

Rebound Margin: 2.4

TO Margin: 0.8

Steals: 7.0

R + T: 3.74

PiRate: 1

SOS: .4867

Portland State got shafted in this tournament.  The Vikings are better than all four #15 seeds and at least equal to the #14 seeds.  Instead, PSU must face the team with the best criteria in the entire tournament.  Scott Morrison will be in over his head in this game, and Jeremiah Dominguez will find Mario Chalmers too talented to exploit.

Kansas possesses the statistical criteria that resembles the fingerprint of past national champions and Final Four teams.  Not many teams from a power conference have outscored opponents by 20 points per game, shot better than 12% per game from the field, had a +8 rebounding margin, a +3 turnover margin and averaged 9 steals a game all in the same season.  Duke in 1999, UNLV in 1991, UCLA in 1973, 1972, and St. Bonaventure in 1970 all pulled off the trick; all five made it to the Final Four.  Coach Bill Self has slowly molded the Jayhawks into a power team after being more of a finesse team under Roy Williams.  This KU team is better than Self’s Illinois team that made it to the finals in 2005.  I’m sticking with the Jayhawks until they are no longer in the tourney, and I expect them to be playing in April.

Prediction: Kansas by 28

#8 UNLV (26-7)

Scoring Margin: 8.0

FG% Margin: 1.6

Rebound Margin: -1.6

TO Margin: 4.3

Steals: 7.9

R + T: 6.55

PiRate: 5

SOS: .5496

#9 Kent State (28-6)

Scoring Margin: 7.6

FG% Margin: 5.8

Rebound Margin: 1.4

TO Margin: 1.6

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 4.66

PiRate: 3

SOS: .5267

Kent State may have been given a little too much credit for winning the regular season and MAC Tournament this year.  A Bracket-Buster win at St. Mary’s proved the Golden Flashes were quite good, but they look more like a #11 seed than a #9 seed.

UNLV is one of those teams nobody really wants to play.  They are pesky and don’t back down.  This Runnin’ Rebels team is in no way similar to the teams from the Tarkanian era.  Coach Lon Kruger’s teams play the same way as he played under Jack Hartman at Kansas State in the 1970’s.  Hartman was tutored by his coach, the legendary Hank Iba, so if you know your basketball history, you know what type of team UNLV is this year.

The Rebels won’t advance too far because they don’t have the inside might to compete against the likes of Kansas.  However, they will still be playing Saturday night.

Prediction: UNLV by 8

#5 Clemson (24-9)

Scoring Margin: 9.9

FG% Margin: 2.2

Rebound Margin: 2.4

TO Margin: 3.0

Steals: 9.9

R + T: 9.53

PiRate: 9

SOS: .5740

#12 Villanova (20-12)

Scoring Margin: 3.5

FG% Margin: -0.9

Rebound Margin: 2.7

TO Margin: 2.4

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 7.37

PiRate: -1

SOS: .5586

Here is definitely one game where the #12 seed is not going to upset the #5 seed.  Watch out for Clemson.  In a game where fouls will not be called as much as they are in the regular season (last night’s play-in game had several no-calls that would have been 10-yard penalties in football), Clemson’s foul shooting woes may not come into play.

The Tigers are almost as good as Tennessee; the CU press defense and inside game are better, while their outside game is much weaker. 

Villanova just barely earned their invitation and would have been left out had Illinois beaten Wisconsin Sunday.  The Wildcats will have to hit some three-pointers to win this game, and they just don’t have the accuracy to do so.  While I expect ‘Nova to stay in this game with some scoring runs, Clemson will cause enough confusion to experience one additional spurt.

Prediction: Clemson by 7

#4 Vanderbilt (26-7)

Scoring Margin: 6.2

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: -0.8

TO Margin: 0.5

Steals: 6.0

R + T: -0.08

PiRate: Eliminate with negative R+T rating

SOS: .5613

#13 Siena (22-10)

Scoring Margin: 5.7

FG% Margin: 0.0

Rebound Margin: -4.5

TO Margin: 6.3

Steals: 9.4

R + T: 9.71

PiRate: 5

SOS: .5218

If you watched the NCAA Selection Show Sunday night, you saw CBS’s Seth Davis immediately call for the underdog Saints to upset Vanderbilt.  It came out of his mouth so quickly, you wonder on what information he was basing this quick pick.  At first I thought it was a bias against an elite school, but on closer examination, I found out I owed Mr. Davis an apology.  I’m sorry Seth.

This has the potential to be the biggest opening round upset, although I still think the Commodores have a 55-60% chance of winning.  According to the criteria, we are supposed to eliminate any team with a negative R+T.  Vanderbilt’s R+T of -0.08 is definitely a negative number, but it really can be rounded to zero.  Using zero as their R+T gives them a criteria score of -1.  Siena’s criteria rating of 5 and Vanderbilt’s schedule strength number of 4 make this a two-point criteria advantage for the Saints.  That’s enough to make this a toss-up game.  Now, add to this the fact that Vanderbilt came within a poor no-call of advancing to the Elite 8 last year, and they have three returning starters plus a dominating post player in freshman A.J. Ogilvy, and it adds up to a very slim Commodore win.  However, that’s as far as this team is going this year.

Prediction: Vanderbilt by 2

#6 Southern California (21-11)

Scoring Margin: 5.9

FG% Margin: 9.0

Rebound Margin: 0.5

TO Margin: -1.4

Steals: 5.7

R + T: -1.42

PiRate: Eliminate with negative R+T rating

SOS: .5835

#11 Kansas State (20-11)

Scoring Margin: 9.8

FG% Margin: 2.1

Rebound Margin: 8.1

TO Margin: 1.3

Steals: 7.7

R + T: 10.5

PiRate: 11

SOS: .5697

Kansas State is a much better team than Kent State, and the committee needed to flip-flop these two teams.  The Wildcats are inconsistent, but even on an off night, they would handle the Golden Flashes.

As for this game, I expect Michael Beasley to outperform O.J. Mayo in this can’t miss game.  You will see the nation’s best player, the 6-10 freshman Beasley, record a double double (about 25 points and 12 rebounds) and the nation’s most exciting freshman, 6-5 guard Mayo (expect 20 points, 5 rebounds, and a couple of steals).

As for the game itself, USC has a negative R+T rating, and this one isn’t close enough to give an exemption, especially when KSU has a dominating inside presence and takes care of the ball.  I’m looking for the purple and white to shock the Trojans, not by winning a toss-up game, but by winning with relative ease.

Prediction: Kansas State by 11

#3 Wisconsin (29-4)

Scoring Margin: 13.5

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 5.7

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 12.96

PiRate: 17

SOS: .5518

#14 Cal State Fullerton (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 9.9

FG% Margin: 1.1

Rebound Margin: 1.7

TO Margin: 4.0

Steals: 9.0

R + T: 10.34

PiRate: 11

SOS: .4881

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan won four national championships at the Division III level at Wisconsin-Platteville.  While his first two title teams were run and gun squads that put more than two points per minute on the scoreboard, his last two title teams used the playing style the Badgers now employ.  Ryan’s teams are tough defensively and careful offensively.  That will work almost every time when his team is more talented.  UW is talented enough to methodically handle their opponents in the first two rounds, but I cannot see the Badgers getting past the second weekend, especially if that means knocking off both Georgetown and Kansas.

Cal State Fullerton isn’t exactly chopped liver; as a #11 seed, I would have given them a 50-50 chance of upsetting USC.  The Titans are sneaky fast and exceptionally accurate from the field.  Their team resembles the Rupp’s Runts Kentucky team of 1966 and the 1964 national champion UCLA team.  Their front line goes 6-5, 6-5, and 6-4, yet they have a seasonal rebounding advantage of 1.7 per game. 

Wisconsin’s defense will curtail the Titans, holding them to 60 points or less.  The Badgers will be patient and work the ball inside to take advantage of the size difference.  UW will get enough offensive rebounds and put backs to score well more than one point per possession.  It adds up to an eventual double digit victory and a happy night on State Street in Madtown. 

Prediction: Wisconsin by 16

#7 Gonzaga (25-7)

Scoring Margin: 13.3

FG% Margin: 9.1

Rebound Margin: 5.2

TO Margin: 0.8

Steals: 7.6

R + T: 6.66

PiRate: 12

SOS: .5373

#10 Davidson (26-6)

Scoring Margin: 15.8

FG% Margin: 5.8

Rebound Margin: 4.3

TO Margin: 4.6

Steals: 8.1

R + T: 13.24

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5252

If you are of conspiratorial mind, you might be wondering how two of the top four mid-major teams ended up facing each other in the first round.  If you believe South Alabama and Butler are the other top two mid-major teams (taking into account that Drake and Xavier are not mid-major but major), and half of the mid-major elite will be eliminated in the first round, then you have a real conspiracy.  I choose to look at this as a gift.  At least two of the elite mid-majors will be guaranteed to advance to the second round where they will be formidable opponents for major powers.  In fact, I have proposed in the media in the past to separate the majors and mid-majors until the Sweet 16 or even Elite 8 by giving the top major teams byes for one or more rounds (I’ll explain that proposal next week).

As far as this game is concerned, both of these teams earn their keep with their perimeter games.  Davidson’s outside shooting is led by Stephen Curry, a poor man’s Chris Lofton.  Gonzaga is more of a shoot by committee team.  The Bulldogs have better depth but no stars.   On paper, this is a true toss-up, but there is one major intangible.  The game will take place in Raleigh, where Davidson can bus the 150 miles.  Gonzaga’s flight from Spokane to Raleigh across three time zones and 2,500 miles will negatively affect their performance.  Give the Wildcats three more criteria points for excellent home state advantage, and that will tilt the game in their favor.  Then, watch out for them Sunday afternoon, as they are the best double-digit, mid-major seed.

Prediction: Davidson by 3

#2 Georgetown (27-5)

Scoring Margin: 11.7

FG% Margin: 11.9

Rebound Margin: 2.6

TO Margin: -0.4

Steals: 7.1

R + T: 1.92

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5670

#15 Maryland-Baltimore County (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 6.6

FG% Margin: 2.2

Rebound Margin: -0.8

TO Margin: 3.2

Steals: 6.2

R + T: 3.96

PiRate: 2

SOS: .4738

There isn’t much need to devote too much space to this game, since it is a classic mismatch.  UMBC might open the game with a little run to take a short-lived lead, but after the first TV timeout, Georgetown will take control of the game and be comfortably ahead by the under eight minutes timeout in the first half.

UMBC has no answer for the Hoyas’ inside game.  I expect Georgetown to hold the Retrievers to 35-38% shooting, win the battle of the boards by more than 10, and shoot better than 50% from the field.  It adds up to a big win, but the Hoyas are going to ride into an ambush on Sunday.

South Region

#1 Memphis (33-1)

Scoring Margin: 19.1

FG% Margin: 8.3

Rebound Margin: 6.5

TO Margin: 4.4

Steals: 8.7

R + T: 15.69

PiRate: 19

SOS: .5749

#16 Texas-Arlington (21-11)

Scoring Margin: 5.4

FG% Margin: 8.0

Rebound Margin: 3.4

TO Margin: -1.6

Steals: 6.7

R + T: 0.83

PiRate: 3

SOS: .4763

Memphis is one of the teams in this tournament with criteria statistics that match those of historical Final Four teams.  The Tigers don’t approach the statistical dominance of Kansas, but they are talented enough to go all the way.  They should advance at least to the Elite 8 once again.

UT-Arlington at best was the third best team out of the Southland Conference this season, and the best team received a whipping in the NIT last night.  The Mavericks are for sure one and done, and their one won’t be too much fun. 

Prediction: Memphis by 32

#8 Mississippi State (22-10)

Scoring Margin: 8.0

FG% Margin: 9.3

Rebound Margin: 5.1

TO Margin: -2.6

Steals: 6.0

R + T: 1.36

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5523

#9 Oregon (18-13)

Scoring Margin: 4.4

FG% Margin: 4.2

Rebound Margin: 1.9

TO Margin: -1.5

Steals: 4.6

R + T: 0.24

PiRate: -2

SOS: .5647

Both of these teams have fatal flaws that will keep them from advancing too far in the tournament.  Mississippi State does not handle the ball all that well.  The Bulldogs can punish opponents with a muscle game and block 10 shots in 40 minutes.  However, they can be taken out of their offense with pressure, and they can be beaten with the fast break.  Additionally, you have to wonder how big of an emotional hit they took when they fell to a Georgia team that was playing its second game in six hours after going to overtime in the first one.

Oregon can certainly fast break as competently as any team, but the Ducks tend to make too many mental mistakes to exploit Mississippi State’s liabilities.  Oregon must shoot the ball well in order to have any chance in this game, and I don’t think it will happen.  Normally, the green and gold hit 48.5% of their shots.  I think they will get 60 attempts, which means they should hit 29 of them.  However, throw in about five more blocked shots than normal, and figure that three of those shots would have gone in, and it reduces Oregon to 43.3%.  The Ducks won’t win with that poor shooting percentage.

Prediction: Mississippi State by 5

#5 Michigan State (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 9.3

FG% Margin: 7.9

Rebound Margin: 7.1

TO Margin: -1.2

Steals: 6.1

R + T: 5.34

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5636

#12 Temple (21-12)

Scoring Margin: 4.0

FG% Margin: 4.9

Rebound Margin: -0.8

TO Margin: 0.1

Steals: 6.3

R + T: -0.65

PiRate: Eliminated with negative R+T rating

SOS: .5593

Michigan State usually makes it to the Sweet 16 and almost always wins their first tournament game.  Of course, they are almost always a top-four seed when they make the Big Dance.

Temple has historically been a team that advances farther than expected in the tournament.  That was under John Chaney; now they are led by Fran Dunphy.  Dunphy had some classics across town at Penn, but he only ever won one NCAA game. 

This game will come down to how well Temple can shoot from outside.  The Owls have won many games with excellent foul shooting, and as I have said all week, foul shooting becomes less important overall in the NCAA Tournament.  Look for the Spartans to force Temple into enough bad shots and to control the boards.

Michigan State by 9

#4 Pittsburgh (26-9)

Scoring Margin: 8.9

FG% Margin: 3.8

Rebound Margin: 4.4

TO Margin: 1.9

Steals: 6.8

R + T: 7.50

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5723

#13 Oral Roberts (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 7.9

FG% Margin: 4.7

Rebound Margin: 2.5

TO Margin: 0.8

Steals: 6.3

R + T: 3.71

PiRate: 1

SOS: .5114

Pittsburgh is a hot team coming into this tournament.  The Panthers withstood some injuries that depleted the roster until late in the season, and Coach Jamie Dixon told the press before the Big East Tournament that his squad was playing its best basketball of the year.  Pitt dispensed of Oklahoma State earlier this season, and ORU is a junior version of the Cowboys.

Oral Roberts is a sound team that doesn’t beat itself.  That works against teams in the Summit League, but it won’t feed the bulldog against Big East powers.  The Golden Eagles don’t have a defensive answer for Pitt’s power game.

Prediction: Pittsburgh by 13

#6 Marquette (24-9)

Scoring Margin:  11.5

FG% Margin: 3.5

Rebound Margin: 2.4

TO Margin: 3.8

Steals: 9.6

R + T: 11.16

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5753

#11 Kentucky (18-12)

Scoring Margin: 3.3 

FG% Margin: 7.5

Rebound Margin: 1.8

TO Margin: -2.6

Steals: 6.7

R + T: -2.38

PiRate: Eliminated with negative R+T rating

SOS: .5732

While there is no Dwayne Wade on this roster, the 2008 Marquette team compares quite favorably with the 2003 Marquette team that made it to the Final Four.  The 2008 team is better at forcing turnovers via the steal, and that’s what gives the men from Milwaukee an excellent shot at making it to a second week in the tournament.

Kentucky just barely qualified as an at-large team, and they are missing their key cog in center Patrick Patterson.  Without the talented big man, the Cats have no chance to make it past the first weekend, and I think they will be one and done this year.

Look for Marquette to play aggressively, wearing down the depth-poor blue mist.  Kentucky will keep it close for a half, but they will tire in the final 20 minutes, and that will allow the Golden Eagles to cruise to victory.

Prediction: Marquette by 8

#3 Stanford (26-7)

Scoring Margin:  10.1

FG% Margin: 5.5

Rebound Margin: 8.0

TO Margin: -0.5

Steals: 4.4

R + T: 7.47

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5547

#14 Cornell (22-5)

Scoring Margin: 9.0 

FG% Margin: 7.0

Rebound Margin: 1.2

TO Margin: 0.7

Steals: 6.0

R + T: 2.21

PiRate: 4

SOS: .4704

Stanford has the talent and criteria statistics to advance to the Elite 8, but as of late, the Cardinal have weaknesses that can be exploited by certain teams.  Stanford can go in long shooting slumps against teams that pack their defense inside to stop Brook Lopez. 

Cornell became only the third Ivy League school to go 14-0 in league play (Penn and Princeton have done it before).  The Big Red enter the Dance waltzing on a 16-game winning streak.  Unfortunately, their stay in the cotillion will last one afternoon.  Cornell is one of those teams that rely on winning by dominating the free throw shooting stat.  As mentioned ad nauseum already, free throw shooting prowess will not carry a team in the Big Dance, unless it is to protect the lead in the final 90 seconds.  I don’t see Cornell leading the game with a minute and half to go, and off they’ll go back to Cayuga’s waters.

Prediction: Stanford by 13

#7 Miami (Fla.) (22-10)

Scoring Margin: 7.0 

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: 2.1

TO Margin: 1.2

Steals: 6.1

R + T: 3.86

PiRate: 1

SOS: .5599

#10 St. Mary’s (25-6)

Scoring Margin: 12.8 

FG% Margin: 5.7

Rebound Margin: 3.7

TO Margin: 1.3

Steals: 7.4

R + T: 6.01

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5130

As most #7-10 matches tend to be, this will be a close game that should go down to the wire.  Miami hasn’t danced in six years.  The Hurricanes have a talented backcourt, led by Jack McClinton. 

St. Mary’s was 23-3 before losing three of their final five games.  The Gaels have the talent to get to the 2nd round, but it will depend on how well they can defend the perimeter.

The criteria clearly shows St. Mary’s to be the superior team, even when the strength of schedule is factored in.  So, I’m going with the mild upset here.

Prediction: St. Mary’s by 3

#2 Texas (28-6)

Scoring Margin: 11.1 

FG% Margin: 6.3

Rebound Margin: 2.5

TO Margin: 2.9

Steals: 6.2

R + T: 6.82

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5950

#15 Austin Peay (24-10)

Scoring Margin: 3.9  

FG% Margin: -1.5

Rebound Margin: -2.4

TO Margin: 4.1

Steals: 9.7

R + T: 7.14

PiRate: -1

SOS: .4965

Texas has to be included in your Elite 8 bracket.  The Longhorns are loaded with talent and have good criteria representation.  D.J. Augustin runs the offense as well as any play-maker in the nation.  Damion James and Connor Atchley combine to give the burnt orange the best rebounding duo in the Big 12 after Michael Beasley and any Kansas State student.

Austin Peay does one thing quite well-play aggressive defense.  I just don’t see them having much success in taking the ball away from the Longhorns.  It should be a long afternoon for them in Little Rock Friday.  In what will continue to be a bad month for governors in this country, look for the round ball Govs to fall by less than 4,300 dollars points. 

Prediction: Texas by 23

West Region

U C L A (31-3)

Scoring Margin: 15.0 

FG% Margin: 4.8

Rebound Margin: 8.4

TO Margin: 2.5

Steals: 7.4

R + T: 12.84

PiRate: 14

SOS: .5771

#16 Mississippi Valley State (17-15)

Scoring Margin: -3.1  

FG% Margin: -3.6

Rebound Margin: -1.7

TO Margin: 1.1

Steals: 6.2

R + T: -0.06

PiRate: Eliminated with negative R+T rating

SOS: .4571

What is the lowest score any team has scored in the NCAA Tournament since the advent of the 3-point shot and 35-second clock?  In 2001, Michigan State defeated Alabama State 69-35 in the first round.  If UCLA comes out with the same intensity they have the previous two seasons when they held their opening round opponents to 44 and 42 points, the Bruins could hold the Delta Devils to less than a point per minute.

Mississippi Valley should have been in the play-in game because they are the weakest team in the NCAA Tournament.  They will be lucky to hit one third of their shots in this game; they won’t get more than three or four offensive rebounds if that much.  They will turn the ball over five or more times than the Bruins, and they will give up more than 1.2 points per possession in this game.

UCLA can name the score in what is a virtual home game in Anaheim.  I expect Ben Howland to give every Bruin on the roster significant playing time in this game, so don’t expect a 60-point win.  The Bruins have their faults, but they won’t be damaging until at least the end of next week.

Prediction: UCLA by 34

#8 B Y U (27-7)

Scoring Margin: 11.0 

FG% Margin: 7.4

Rebound Margin: 4.8

TO Margin: -0.6

Steals: 5.9

R + T: 3.95

PiRate: 5

SOS: .5306

#9 Texas A&M (24-10)

Scoring Margin: 9.6  

FG% Margin: 7.3

Rebound Margin: 7.1

TO Margin: -1.5

Steals: 4.5

R + T: 5.48

PiRate: 6

SOS: .5561

This is the most competitive of the ultra-competitive #8-9 contests.  It is truly a 50-50 match.  Both teams are talented enough to give UCLA fits Saturday night, but the Thursday winner may have to extend themselves to get to that game.

Both teams are strong on the boards.  BYU is better offensively by a wide margin, while A&M is better defensively.  I think the game will be decided at the guard positions, and the Cougars have the better duo.

Prediction: B Y U by 6

#5 Drake (28-4)

Scoring Margin: 12.3 

FG% Margin: 1.9

Rebound Margin: 3.1

TO Margin: 4.0

Steals: 7.6

R + T: 10.40

PiRate: 14

SOS: .5436

#12 Western Kentucky (27-6)

Scoring Margin: 11.6  

FG% Margin: 5.1

Rebound Margin: 3.3

TO Margin: 3.8

Steals: 7.8

R + T: 10.41

PiRate: 15

SOS: .5123

If these two teams were playing two Big 10 opponents in the first round, someone like Purdue or Indiana, I might pick both of them to pull off upsets.  These two squads are both strong enough to make it to the Sweet 16.

Drake is not considered a mid-major since the Missouri Valley Conference is among the top eight leagues.  The Bulldogs hit a valley after they had already clinched the MVC regular season championship, but they recovered to whip their three conference tournament opponents by an average of 20 points per game.  Keno Davis is my choice for National Coach of the Year.  His team has been one of the best outside shooting squads in the NCAA this year, as the Bulldogs average more than nine made three-pointers per game.

Western Kentucky has a team similar in playing style to Tennessee.  They press and run the fast break.  For most of the season, it was the outstanding guard play of Courtney Lee, Tyrone Brazelton, and Ty Rogers that carried the load for the Hilltoppers.  However, in the Sunbelt Conference Tournament, the emergence of forward Jeremy Evans gave Coach Darrin Horn a new weapon.

The criteria shows both of these teams to be worthy of going all the way to San Antonio.  Western’s schedule strength is a little suspect, while Drake’s is stronger by only three points.  That will eventually prove to be the Bulldog’s downfall.

Prediction: Drake by 3

#4 Connecticut (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 9.1 

FG% Margin: 7.9

Rebound Margin: 6.2

TO Margin: -1.4

Steals: 5.8

R + T: 4.25

PiRate: 7

SOS: .5681

#13 San Diego (21-13)

Scoring Margin: 2.2 

FG% Margin: 1.0

Rebound Margin: 1.8

TO Margin: 0.3

Steals: 6.8

R + T: 2.29

PiRate: 0

SOS: .5283

This Connecticut team is missing one key proponent that will keep the Huskies from advancing to the Elite 8 this year.  Other than A.J. Price, they cannot pick up cheap baskets via the steal.  It leads to a negative turnover margin.  The Huskies will be okay due to exceptional rebounding until they run into a team that can hold their own on the boards.  Then, the three or four fewer possessions they would normally add thanks to having those steals will cause them to lose.  It could happen against Drake in round two, or it could happen against UCLA, Texas A&M, or BYU in the Sweet 16. 

San Diego is just happy to be here.  The Toreros enjoyed a big weekend last week with wins over St. Mary’s and Gonzaga.  That made their season.  They won’t compete with UConn for very long.  USD will not be able to take advantage of UConn’s deficiencies.

Prediction: Connecticut by 14

#6 Purdue (24-8)

Scoring Margin: 7.5 

FG% Margin: -1.1

Rebound Margin: -0.1

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 8.5

R + T: 9.69

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5204

#11 Baylor (21-10)

Scoring Margin: 7.0  

FG% Margin: 2.7

Rebound Margin: 0.1

TO Margin: 1.7

Steals: 7.4

R + T: 3.12

PiRate: 2

SOS: .5569

This is a real toss-up game.  The two teams are not mirror images, but there isn’t much difference in them either.  Both teams live by the jump shot and die by the jump shot, but Purdue’s guards are better defensively than Baylor’s guards.  Neither team is particularly proficient inside the paint, and the winner will be going home Sunday because of it.

I’m going with the Boilermakers for two reasons.  First, they have an incredible +4.8 turnover margin, and I expect turnovers to play a huge part in this game.  Second, even though the Boilermakers ended the season on a stale note, the Bears were even worse down the stretch.  They lost to Colorado in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament to finish the season 5-8 in their final 13 games.  Purdue split their last six games after winning 11 in a row, including a sweep of Wisconsin.

Prediction: Purdue by 6

#3 Xavier (27-6)

Scoring Margin: 13.0 

FG% Margin: 7.4

Rebound Margin: 6.2

TO Margin: -0.2

Steals: 5.6

R + T: 5.93

PiRate: 8

SOS: .5720

#14 Georgia (17-16)

Scoring Margin: 1.1 

FG% Margin: 0.1

Rebound Margin: 4.1

TO Margin: -1.8

Steals: 6.8

R + T: 1.16

PiRate: -1

SOS: .5658

Can Georgia continue to shock the basketball world?  How can a team beat two NCAA-bound teams in the same day, and then turn around 16 hours later and beat a third NCAA-bound team?  Maybe North Carolina might be able to do it, but this is a team that won four conference games all year and then won four in a weekend.

The Bulldogs only have eight players, and their best player isn’t 100% healthy.  Now, they must face a top 10 team that has beaten the likes of Indiana and Kansas State and took Tennessee to the buzzer.  Xavier has the look of a Sweet 16 team; the Musketeers have no weakness.  Their TO margin is basically 0, and they don’t get many steals, but they make up for it with exceptional rebounding and the ability to make opponents miss. 

It would be a great story if the Cinderella Bulldogs could win a game in this tournament, but I don’t see it happening.  Still, 17-17 is a fantastic finish for a team that experienced more obstacles than the Donner Family.

Prediction: Xavier by 11

#7 West Virginia (24-10)

Scoring Margin: 11.9 

FG% Margin: 3.5

Rebound Margin: 2.0

TO Margin: 4.8

Steals: 7.2

R + T: 10.29

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5616

#10 Arizona (19-14)

Scoring Margin: 5.4  

FG% Margin: 3.9

Rebound Margin: -1.5

TO Margin: 0.6

Steals: 5.6

R + T: -0.69

PiRate: Eliminated with negative R+T rating

SOS: .6006

Arizona has the second best strength of schedule in the Big Dance, but that isn’t enough to justify the Wildcats winning a game in the West Regional.  Arizona doesn’t rebound and doesn’t force turnovers, and their half court defense isn’t particularly strong.  It means a quick exit in the tournament and the end of the Kevin O’Neill era in Tucson.

West Virginia is a sleeper team in this tournament.  Unlike when John Beilein coached the Mountaineers and they were a perimeter-oriented team that lived and died by the three-pointer, this team coached by Bob Huggins can hold their own on the boards, prevent power teams from hurting them inside, and play both a power and finesse game.  I think WVU will win this one rather easily and then give Duke a great game on Saturday.

Prediction: West Virginia by 12

#2 Duke (27-5)

Scoring Margin: 14.8 

FG% Margin: 3.1

Rebound Margin: 0.5

TO Margin: 5.0

Steals: 8.7

R + T: 10.94

PiRate: 13

SOS: .5857

#15 Belmont (25-8)

Scoring Margin: 6.6 

FG% Margin: -0.5

Rebound Margin: 1.8

TO Margin: 1.8

Steals: 8.6

R + T: 5.52

PiRate: 0

SOS: .4816

In the past, Duke would win an opening round game like this by 30-40 points.  They still may do so Thursday night, but there is a chance they will only win this game by 20-25.  This Duke squad is more of a turnover-forcing fast break team and less of a pound it inside team.  Eventually, and possibly as early as Saturday, this will be their downfall.

Belmont is making their third consecutive trip to the Big Dance.  The first two times, they looked great…at least until the first TV timeout.  In 2006, they led eventual NCAA runner-up UCLA four minutes into the game.  Last year, they led eventual Final Four participant Georgetown almost to the second TV timeout.  Maybe this year, they will keep the game close halfway into the first half.

Prediction: Duke by 26

Filling Out The Bracket

Okay, so you can see from the previews which teams I am picking to advance to the round of 32.  How do the ratings apply from there, and can you use them to fill the bracket out to the end?  Sure you can.  I’ve been doing it for several years, and once or twice I picked the entire Final Four (they got there differently than how I picked, but they did get there).

In the second round, Here’s how I see the games (Look for complete previews of Round 2 Saturday morning).

North Carolina over Indiana

Notre Dame over Washington St. in a fantastic game

Louisville over St. Joe’s

Tennessee over Butler but harder than expected

Kansas over UNLV

Clemson over Vanderbilt

Wisconsin over Kansas State in a great battle

Georgetown over Davidson but it should be close and could be the big upset

Memphis over Mississippi State in a hard-fought game

Pittsburgh over Michigan State in a physical game

Marquette over Stanford in a mild surprise

Texas over St. Mary’s

UCLA over BYU

Connecticut over Drake in a close nail-biter

Xavier over Purdue

Duke over West Virginia in the game of the day

Sweet 16

North Carolina over Notre Dame

Tennessee over Louisville in an exciting game

Kansas over Clemson

Georgetown over Wisconsin in a 55-50-type game

Pittsburgh over Memphis in the surprise of this round

Texas over Marquette

UCLA over Connecticut

Duke over Xavier

Elite 8

North Carolina over Tennessee

Kansas over Georgetown

Texas over Pittsburgh

UCLA over Duke

Final 4

Kansas over North Carolina

UCLA over Texas

Championship

Kansas over UCLA

March 18, 2008

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament–March 18, 2008 (1st Update)

 

A PiRate Look At The 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament

March 18, 2008 (1st Update)

Yesterday, I gave you my Bracketnomics 505 crash course, where I relayed what I thought were the most pertinent statistical criteria to look at when filling out your brackets.  If you have read that story and earned your M.S. in Bracketnomics, now is the time to work on your doctorate.  Let’s apply the criteria to this year’s Field of 65, and then use tonight’s play-in game between Coppin State and Mount St. Mary’s as an example.

Here’s how I have been taking the criteria listed yesterday and applying numerical grades to it to come up with a list of contenders, dark horses, and pretenders. 

1. Scoring Margin

Award 5 points for every team with a scoring margin difference of 10 or more

Award 3 points for every team with a scoring margin difference of 8.0-9.9

Award 1 point for every team with a scoring margin difference of 5.0-7.9

Award 0 points for every team with a scoring margin difference of 0-4.9

Award -3 points for every team with a negative scoring margin

2. Field Goal % Margin

Award 5 points for every team with a FG% margin difference of 10% or more

Award 3 points for every team with a FG% margin difference of 7.5 to 9.9

Award 1 point for every team with a FG% margin difference of 5.0-7.4

Award 0 points for every team with a FG% margin difference of 0.0-4.9

Award -3 points for every team with a FG% margin difference below 0

3. Rebound Margin

Award 3 points for every team with a Rebound margin difference of 5 or more

Award 1 point for every team with a Rebound margin difference of 3.0-4.9

Award 0 points for every team with a Rebound margin difference of 0-2.9

Award -2 points for every team with a Rebound margin difference below 0

4. Turnover Margin

Award 3 points for every team with a Turnover margin difference of 3 or more

Award 1 point for every team with a Turnover margin difference of 1.5-2.9

Award 0 points for every team with a Turnover margin difference of 0-1.4

Award -2 points for every team with a Turnover margin below 0

3&4. R+T (add to the individual 3 and 4 above)

My formula for R+T is [R + ({.2*S}*{1.2*T})]  Where R is rebounding margin, S is avg. steals per game, and T is turnover margin

Award 5 points for every team with an R+T of 10 or more

Award 3 points for every team with an R+T of 7.5-9.9

Award 1 point for every team with an R+T of 5-7.4

Award 0 points for every team with an R+T of 0-4.9

Completely eliminate from consideration all teams with a negative R+T

5. Schedule Strength

There are no point values assigned here.  Use this to compare when looking at team vs. team.  Take the difference in the Strength of Schedule as given by cbs.sportsline.com and multiple it by 100.  For example, Davidson’s SOS is .5252 and North Carolina’s is .5921.  If they face each other, give the Tar Heels an extra 7 criteria points [(.5921-.5252)*100]=6.69 rounds to 7

If you want to compile all this information yourself, the best way is to go to all 65 official athletic websites of the teams in the Big Dance.  That’s where I found my statistical information.  Some of these stats are available in other places, but I have already found many to be riddled with mistakes or not up-to-date.  All 65 school sites are accurate and timely.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I will report on the criteria scores for the 64 remaining schools in the NCAA Tournament.  I will review the first round contests by applying the criteria.  There is one game tonight-the play-in match in Dayton between Mount St. Mary’s and Coppin State.  Let’s take a look at the game PiRate style.

Mount St. Mary’s 18-14

Point Differential: 2.6

FG% Differential: 3.1

Rebound Margin: -1.4

TO Margin:  0.7

Stls/G: 7.3

R+T: -0.17

Score: -2 & Eliminate From Consideration due to negative R+T

Schedule: .4924

Coppin State 16-20

Point Differential: -6.0

FG% Differential: -4.3

Rebound Margin: -4.4

TO Margin:  1.9

Stls/G: 7.2

R+T: -1.12

Score: -7 & Eliminate From Consideration due to negative R+T

Schedule: .4796

Schedule Points: Mount St. Mary’s +1.28

Neither of these two teams has any chance of advancing past Friday.  I don’t think either one could beat any of the #15 seeds this year.  Enjoy this game much like you would enjoy watching batting practice prior to a Major League game.  Mount St. Mary’s has a criteria score that is six points better, but both teams come under the guise of elimination based upon their negative R+T scores.  When this happens, we throw out the criteria scores.  So, we must pick our winner based on other variables. 

Coppin State was 4-19 and then went 12-1 to finish 16-20.  That 12-1 finish is eye-popping, even when it came within the MEAC.  Mount St. Mary’s won eight of their final nine, including three decisive wins in the NEC Tourney.  I’ll take The Mount to come through with a win by about nine points with a score around 71-62.

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