The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 6, 2008

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game–April 6, 2008

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game–April 6, 2008

 

Game Time: Monday, April 7, 2008, 9:21 PM EDT, San Antonio, TX

Television: CBS Network

Radio: Westwood One Radio Affiliates, including (some cities may have two affiliates, but it will air on just one of them-check prior to tip-off):

New York City: WEPN 1050-AM

Los Angeles/San Diego/San Bernardino: XEPE 1700-AM

Chicago: WMVP 1000-AM

Dallas-Ft. Worth: KESM 103.3-FM

Philadelphia: WPEN 950-AM

Houston: KTRH 740-AM/ KBME 790-AM

Miami: WQAM 560-AM

Washington, D.C.: WTEM 980-AM

Atlanta: WCNN 680-AM

Boston: WEEI 850-AM

Detroit: WXYT 1270-AM/97.1-FM

San Francisco: KNBR 680-AM

Phoenix: KGME 910-AM

Seattle: KJR 950-AM

Minneapolis-St. Paul: KFAN 1130-AM/KFXN 950-AM

St. Louis: KMOX 1120-AM/KFNS 590-AM

Baltimore: WBAL 1090-AM

Denver: KKFN 950-AM/KEPN 1600-AM

Portland, OR: WFXX 1080-AM

Cincinnati: WCKY 1530-AM

Cleveland: WKNR 850-AM/WWGK 1540-AM

 

www.westwoodone.com has a live listen link as well

Teams

 

University of Memphis Tigers, Memphis, TN

Colors: Blue and Gray

Coach: John Calipari  182-63 in 8 years at Memphis 375-134 in 16 seasons overall

Assistant Coach: Derek Kellogg

Assistant Coach: John Robic

Assistant Coach: Jose “Chuck” Martin

 

2008 Record: 38-1

 

UT-Martin                 102-71

Richmond                    80-63

Oklahoma (n)               63-53

Connecticut (n)            81-70

Arkansas State            84-63

Austin Peay                104-82

Southern Cal (n)          62-58 ot

@ Middle Tennessee   65-41

@ Cincinnati                79-69

Georgetown                 85-71

Arizona                        76-63

Siena                           102-58

Pepperdine                   90-53

East Carolina               99-58

@ Marshall                  68-45

@ Rice                          77-50

Southern Miss.             83-47

@ Tulsa                        56-41

Gonzaga                       81-73

@ Houston                   89-77

UTEP                           70-64

SMU                             77-48

Central Florida            85-64

Houston                        68-59

@ UAB                         79-78

@ Tulane                     97-71

Tennessee                     62-66

Tulsa                             82-67

@ Southern Miss.        76-67

@ SMU                        72-55

UAB                             94-56

Tulane (cusa)               75-56

Southern Miss (cusa)  69-53

Tulsa (cusa)                  77-51

 

NCAA Tournament

UT-Arlington               87-63

Mississippi State          77-74

Michigan State             92-74

Texas                            85-67

UCLA                        78-63

 

PPG                            80.2

PPG allowed              61.6

FG %                          46.7

FG % Defense           38.7

3pt %                          35.1

3pt % Defense           30.3

FT %                          61.3

Rebound Avg.           40.8

Opp. Rebound           34.2

Turnovers                  11.7

Opp. Turnovers         15.8

Steals                            8.4

R + T (*)                     14.9

PiRate (^)                   19

SOS (#)                       57.49

 

(*): This is my special rating to determine extra scoring opportunities.  The formula for R+T is: R+T = R + ((.2*S) * (1.2*T)), where R = Rebound Margin, S = Avg. Steals per game, and T = Turnover Margin.  For Additional Info, see my articles of March 17 and March 18, 2008.

 

(^): The PiRate Score awards points based on scoring margin, field goal percentage difference, rebounding and turnover margins, and R+T.  A look at the last 200 Final Four teams showed more than 80% of them scoring 12 or above in this stat.  It is actually used to pick teams with the best chance of advancing to the Final Four from the original field, but it is included herein.

 

(#): SOS = strength of schedule.  For the last few years, I have been using the SOS from CBS.Sportsline.Com and multiplying by 100 to get this value.  I have surmised that these numbers can be used to gauge, by taking the difference, the average number of points per game one schedule is from another.  Thus a PiRate score of 15 versus one of 18 can be considered equal if PiRate 15 has a SOS that is 6 points better than PiRate 18.

 

Starting Lineup

 

Note: Positions given may differ from player’s recognized position.  Some teams consider their five starters to be different from the five historical positions, while I list them by the positions they play on the offensive end of the floor.

Center: #3 Joey Dorsey, 6-9 260 Sr.

6.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 64.0% FG, 0-1 3pt, 37.8% FT, 0.5 ast, 1.9 blk, 1.1 stl

Strengths:  Powerful inside player who can hit the offensive glass and get easy putbacks.  Excellent defender in the post. Can run the fast break and finish like a smaller player.

 

Weaknesses: Foul-prone. Has very little offensive game outside of 6 feet, and a terrible foul shooter.

 

Power Forward: #2 Robert Dozier, 6-9 215 Jr.

9.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 44.3% FG, 29.0% 3pt, 67.5% FT, 1.0 ast, 1.9 blk, 1.1 stl

Strengths: Aside from shot blocking, he alters shots with his long arms.  He can rebound on both ends of the floor and gets a lot of junk baskets with his offensive rebounding skills.  He can hit the jumper out to 15 feet.

 

Weaknesses:  Doesn’t move well away from the ball.  Can become foul-prone.  Shot selection can be suspect.

 

Small Forward: #14 Chris Douglas-Roberts, 6-6 200 Jr.

18.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 54.4% FG, 44.3% 3pt, 71.4% FT, 1.8 ast. 0.5 blk, 1.2 stl

Strengths: Excellent at creating offense by moving with and without the ball.  Good jump-shooter with a threat to drive to the hoop if being overplayed.  Good position defense.  Excellent on the fast break.

 

Weaknesses:  Can be taken to the basket by more powerful frontcourt players.  Can steal the ball from him when he drives to the basket.

 

Shooting Guard: #5 Antonio Anderson, 6-6 200 Jr.

8.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 41.0% FG, 33.6% 3pt, 57.7% FT, 3.5 ast, 0.3 blk, 1.2 stl

Strengths: Best defender on the team and one of the best in the nation.  Can play any of the three backcourt positions.  Good first step in drives to the basket.  Strong passer.

 

Weaknesses: Outside shooting is suspect.

 

Point Guard: #23 Derrick Rose, 6-4 195 Fr.

14.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 48.0% FG, 34.7% 3pt, 71.1% FT, 4.6 ast, 0.4 blk, 1.2 stl

Strengths: The entire package!  Rose is Magic Johnson minus four inches.  Outside shooing is good and improving; ability to drive to the hoop is outstanding.  Runs the offense as competently as any other collegian, and he’s just a freshman.

 

Weaknesses:  Can begin to hurry when opponents slow the tempo down.

 

Key Reserves

 

#20 Doneal Mack, 6-5 170 So. G/F

7.1 ppg. 1.7 rpg, 39.0% FG, 36.5% 3pt, 66.7% FT, 12.7 minutes/G

 

#0 Shawn Taggart, 6-3 230 So. F/C

6.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 50.9% FG, 37.0% 3pt, 64.6% FT, 16.9 minutes/G

 

#1 Willie Kemp, 6-2 165 So. G

5.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 38.3% FG, 36.7% 3pt, 64.0% FT, 14.1 minutes/G

University of Kansas Jayhawks, Lawrence, KS

Colors: Crimson and Blue

Coach: Bill Self 141-32 in 5 years at Kansas 348-137 in 15 years overall

Assistant Coach:  Danny Manning

Assistant Coach: Joe Dooley

Assistant Coach: Kurtis Townsend

 

2008 Record: 36-3

 

UL-Monroe                107-78

Missouri-KC                85-62

Washburn                    92-60

Northern Arizona       87-46

Arizona                        76-72 ot

Fla. Atlantic                 87-49

@ Southern Cal           59-55

Eastern Washington   85-47

DePaul                          84-66

Ohio U                          88-51

@ Georgia Tech          71-66

Miami (FL)                  78-54

Yale                              86-53

@ Boston College        85-60

Loyola (MD)                90-60

@ Nebraska                 79-58

Oklahoma                    85-55

@ Missouri                   76-70

Iowa State                    83-59

Nebraska                      84-49

@ Kansas State            75-84

@ Colorado                 72-59

Missouri                       90-71

Baylor                         100-90

@ Texas                       69-72

Colorado                      69-45

@ Oklahoma State      60-61

@ Iowa State               75-64

Kansas State                88-74

Texas Tech                 109-51

@ Texas A&M            72-55

Nebraska (B12)           64-54

Texas A&M (B12)       77-71

Texas (B12)                  84-74

 

NCAA Tournament

Portland State              85-61

UNLV                                      75-56

Villanova                      72-57

Davidson                      59-57

North Carolina            84-66

 

PPG                            80.7

PPG allowed              61.3

FG %                          50.8

FG % Defense           37.9

3pt %                          39.9

3pt % Defense           32.9

FT %                          69.8

Rebound Avg.           38.7

Opp. Rebound           30.9

Turnovers                  13.1

Opp. Turnovers         15.6

Steals                            8.8

R + T (*)                     13.1

PiRate (^)                   19

SOS (#)                       55.94

 

Starting Lineup

 

Center: #00 Darrell Arthur, 6-9 225 So.

12.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 53.8% FG, 16.7% 3pt, 69.6% FT, 0.8 ast, 1.4 blk, 0.5 stl

Strengths: Great leaper with speed and quickness.  Decent shooting range up to 15 feet.  Excellent low post moves and inside shooting touch.

 

Weaknesses: Major problem with committing fouls.  Good defenders can steal the ball from him when he drives to the basket.

 

Power Forward: #32 Darnell Jackson, 6-8, 250 Sr.

11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 62.5% FG, 2-6 3pt, 68.7% FT, 1.1 ast, 0.5 blk, 0.8 stl

Strengths: Tough inside player who can rebound the ball and get second-chance points.  Good post defender when it comes to preventing the ball from entering the post.  Doesn’t make silly mistakes.

 

Weaknesses: Not much quickness may allow Dozier to have a much better than normal game.  Defense is not great once opponent gets ball in the low post.

 

Small Forward: #25 Brandon Rush, 6-6 210 Jr.

13.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 43.2% FG, 42.3% 3pt, 78.3% FT, 2.1 ast, 0.8 blk, 0.8 stl

Strengths: Plays taller than 6-6.  Has excellent speed and quickness.  Excellent shooting range to the NBA 3-point line.  Very tough perimeter defender who can also guard a bigger opponent.

 

Weaknesses: Not much explosiveness to the hoop when he has the ball.  If forced to go to the left, he just about won’t shoot or drive.

 

Shooting Guard: #15 Mario Chalmers, 6-1 190 Jr.

12.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 52.1% FG, 47.3% 3pt, 73.4% FT, 4.4 ast, 0.6 blk, 2.4 stl

Strengths: Great shooting range.  Excellent passing skills, strong on the ball defender and has tricky quickness to jump in passing lanes.

 

Weaknesses: Not a great ball-handler for his position and could be prone into making turnovers against Memphis’s pressure defense.

 

Point Guard: #3 Russell Robinson, 6-1 205 Sr.

7.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 42.1% FG, 31.8% 3pt, 77.9% FT, 4.1 ast, 0.4 blk, 2.0 stl

Strengths: One of the best defensive players in college ball.  Can smother a high-scoring opponent.  Plays intelligently and won’t make many mistakes,

 

Weaknesses: Not a great shooter.  

Key Reserves

 

#4 Sherron Collins, 5-11 205 So. G

9.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 46.5% FG, 36.6% 3pt, 76.8% FT, 23.5 minutes/G

 

#24 Sasha Kaun, 6-11 250 Sr. C

7.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 62.6% FG, 0 3pt, 54.1% FT, 17.6 minutes/G

 

#45 Cole Aldrich, 6-11 240 Fr. C

2.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 51.8% FG, 0 3pt, 68.4% FT, 8.4 minutes/G

Predictions

 

Las Vegas Spread: Memphis by 1 ½ points with Over/Under of 146.5 points.

PiRate System: About the same-Memphis by a tiny amount

 

My personal thoughts:  This game will be decided by the pace of the backcourts.  If Kansas’s outstanding perimeter defenders repeat their performance of the last game against North Carolina, they will slow Memphis down.

 

Depth could be a factor, but with the extra timeouts, Kansas won’t feel the effects of not having Rodrick Stewart, while Memphis won’t miss a beat without Andre Allen.

 

If I had to make a pick against the spread, I’d go with KU at +1.5 and Under 146.5.

 

I picked Kansas to win the National Championship before the season and before the start of March Madness, so I’m sticking with the Jayhawks to cut the nets.  Enjoy!

This is the last blog entry for a month.  Look for a Kentucky Derby Preview on Friday, May 2. 

April 4, 2008

A ONEderful Final Four–April 4, 2008

 

A ONEderful Final Four

Wow!  All four number one seeds have advanced to the Final Four for the first time since teams began to be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.  I did a little research and went back 60 years trying to find a year where the top team in each region advanced to the Final Four, and I couldn’t find another season where such a thing happened.  I found only one year where the four semifinalists were all ranked in the final regular season Top Five.  In 1970, UCLA, St. Bonaventure, Jacksonville, and New Mexico State finished the regular season ranked second, third, fourth, and fifth respectively.  Number one Kentucky fell to Jacksonville in the Mid-east Regional Finals.  The 1970 Final Four entered semifinal play with an incredible combined record of 103-6 (143-9 this year).  Jacksonville, led by twin towers Artis Gilmore and Pembrook Burroughs downed St. Bonaventure, who was missing superstar center Bob Lanier.  UCLA, a team that was not picked to win its conference after losing Kareem Abdul Jabbar to the Milwaukee Bucks, turned out to have the best frontline trio in the nation with Steve Patterson, Sidney Wicks, and Curtis Rowe, combined with fabulous guards Henry Bibby and John Vallely.  The Bruins dismissed New Mexico State.  In the title game, Wicks did the unbelievable by blocking shots by Gilmore multiple times, leading the Bruins to their fourth consecutive title and sixth in the last seven seasons.

This Final Four is the first one in many years where a good case could be made for any of the quartet to win all the marbles.  All four teams have unique features that other teams will have a tough time stopping or attacking, yet all four teams have Achilles’ heals that can be exploited.   If the semifinal matchups were best of seven series, I would expect both to go seven games.  This doesn’t mean that the three final games will be nail-biters; it means that any of this group could potentially blow out any of the other teams.

Here is a breakdown of the two Semi-final Games.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

6:07 PM EDT

UCLA 35-3  vs. Memphis 37-1

UCLA

Stat

Memphis

73.8

PPG

80.3

58.5

Def PPG

61.6

47.9

FG%

46.9

41.8

Def. FG%

38.8

35.1

3pt %

35.1

32.3

Def 3pt %

30.3

73.0

FT%

60.7

+8.6

Reb. Margin

+6.6

+1.8

TO Margin

+4.2

7.3

Stls/G

8.4

4.3

Blk/G

6.2

11.8

R+T

15.1

15

PiRate

19

57.71

SOS

57.49

 

For explanation of R+T, PiRate, and SOS, see Bracketnomics 505 from March 17, 2008, and the subsequent blog story of March 18, 2008.  I have adjusted SOS by already multiplying by 100.

Starters

Center

UCLA: #42 Kevin Love, 6-10 260 Fr.

17.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 56.5% FG, 36.3% 3pt, 76.4% FT, 1.9 ast, 1.4 blk, 0.7 stl

Memphis: #3 Joey Dorsey, 6-9 260 Sr. (plays this position as a forward)

7.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 65.2% FG, 0-1 3pt, 37.8% FT, 0.5 ast, 1.9 blk, 1.1 stl

Power Forward

UCLA: #23 Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, 6-8 230 Jr.

8.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 48.3% FG, 20.0% 3pt, 68.1% FT, 1.6 ast, 0.4 blk, 1.1 stl

Memphis: #2 Robert Dozier, 6-9 215 Jr.

9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 44.4% FG, 29.0% 3pt, 67.5% FT, 1.0 ast, 1.8 blk, 1.1 stl

Small Forward

UCLA: #3 Josh Shipp, 6-5 220 Jr.

12.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 43.7% FG, 32.4% 3pt, 78.6% FT, 2.2 ast, 0.4 blk, 1.4 stl

Memphis: #14 Chris Douglas-Roberts, 6-6 200 Jr.

17.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 54.5% FG, 41.6% 3pt, 70.9% FT, 1.8 ast, 0.4 blk, 1.2 stl

Shooting Guard

UCLA: #0 Russell Westbrook, 6-3 187 So.

12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 46.2 FG%, 32.4% 3pt, 71.3% FT, 4.3 ast, 0.2 blk, 1.6 stl

Memphis: #5 Antonio Anderson, 6-6 200 Jr.

8.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 40.9% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 57.7% FT, 3.5 ast, 0.3 blk, 1.2 stl

Point Guard

UCLA: #2 Darren Collison, 6-1 165 Jr.

14.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 49.1% FG, 53.0% 3pt, 87.2% FT, 3.8 ast, 0.1 blk, 1.8 stl

Memphis: #23 Derrick Rose, 6-4 195 Fr.

14.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 48.1% FG, 34.7% 3pt, 69.8% FT, 4.7 ast, 0.4 blk, 1.2 stl

Key Reserves

UCLA

#14 Lorenzo Mata-Real, 6-9 240 Sr. C

3.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg

#12 Alfred Aboya, 6-8 235 Jr. F/C

2.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg

#13 James Keefe, 6-8 220 So. F

2.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Memphis

#20 Doneal Mack, 6-5 170 So. G/F

7.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg

#0 Shawn Taggart, 6-3 230 So. F/C

6.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg

#1 Willie Kemp, 6-2 165 So. G

5.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg

Note: Backup point guard Andre Allen has been suspended for the Final Four.

My Guess at the Game

UCLA will slow the tempo down in this game and force Memphis to beat them in a half-court game.  The Bruins talented backcourt should not have too much difficulty avoiding the costly turnovers that lead to cheap baskets for Memphis.  The Tigers will need a half-dozen cheap baskets to win this one.

UCLA will isolate Love and/or Mbah a Moute down low with the hopes of forcing Dorsey to foul.  Dorsey has a problem with fouling in the paint, and he will have to log at least 30 minutes for the Tigers to compete.

If the game becomes an issue of depth, the sons of Westwood have superior inside reserves, while the bullies from the Bluff have superior perimeter reserves.

Basically, when two outstanding teams face off on a neutral court, you look at which team will get more scoring chances by way of rebounding and turnover margin, and you look at which team is likely to get more high percentage shot opportunities.

When I look at all the statistics and talent, I definitely see evidence that UCLA will win the battle of the boards by a moderate amount, while Memphis forces the Bruins into a few extra turnovers.  It comes down to who gets the open shots.  I don’t think the Bruins will give up more than a handful of easy shots, while Memphis will gamble for steals and give up some open looks.   I look for Darren Collison to burn the Tigers from outside and open up the lane for Love about 12 minutes into the game.  It will lead to Dorsey committing some fouls and having to go to the bench.  When that happens, UCLA will get some offensive rebounds and putbacks.  Look for UCLA to advance to the title game.

Prediction: UCLA 67  Memphis 59

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Approximately 8:47 PM EDT

Kansas 35-3  vs. North Carolina 36-2

Kansas

Stat

N. Carolina

80.6

PPG

89.2

61.2

Def PPG

72.2

50.7

FG%

49.1

37.9

Def. FG%

42.3

40.1

3pt %

37.9

33.3

Def 3pt %

32.6

69.6

FT%

75.5

+7.7

Reb. Margin

+11.5

+2.6

TO Margin

+1.8

8.8

Stls/G

8.2

5.9

Blk/G

4.5

13.2

R+T

15.0

19

PiRate

15

55.94

SOS

59.21

Starters

Center

Kansas: #00 Darrell Arthur, 6-9 225 So.

12.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 54.3% FG, 16.7% 3pt, 69.6% FT, 0.8 ast, 1.3 blk, 0.5 stl

North Carolina: #50 Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9 250 Jr.

22.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 54.2% FG, 0% 3pt, 80.6% FT, 0.9 ast, 0.3 blk, 1.5 stl

Power Forward

Kansas: #32 Darnell Jackson, 6-8, 250 Sr.

11.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 62.0% FG, 2-6 3pt, 68.3% FT, 1.1 ast, 0.5 blk, 0.7 stl

North Carolina: #21 Deon Thompson, 6-8 240 So.

8.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 48.1% FG, 0% 3pt, 58.6% FT, 1.1 ast, 1.3 blk, 0.7 stl

Small Forward

Kansas: #25 Brandon Rush, 6-6 210 Jr.

13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 42.3% FG, 42.9% 3pt, 79.0% FT, 2.1 ast, 0.8 blk, 0.9 stl

North Carolina: #1 Marcus Ginyard, 6-5 218 Jr.

7.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 44.7% FG, 42.9% 3pt, 64.9% FT, 2.2 ast, 0.1 blk, 1.1 stl

Shooting Guard

Kansas: #15 Mario Chalmers, 6-1 190 Jr.

12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 52.2% FG, 47.6% 3pt, 74.6% FT, 4.4 ast, 0.6 blk, 2.4 stl

North Carolina: #22 Wayne Ellington, 6-4 200 So.

16.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 47.1% FG, 41.4% 3pt, 82.5% FT, 2.1 ast, 0.2 blk, 1.1 stl

Point Guard

Kansas: #3 Russell Robinson, 6-1 205 Sr.

7.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 42.2% FG, 32.1% 3pt, 77.5% FT, 4.1 ast, 0.4 blk, 2.0 stl

North Carolina: #5 Ty Lawson, 5-11 195 So.

12.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 52.3% FG, 35.8% 3pt, 82.9% FT, 5.3 ast, 0.0 blk (1), 1.6 stl

Key Reserves

Kansas

#4 Sherron Collins, 5-11 205 So. G

9.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg

#24 Sasha Kaun, 6-11 250 Sr. C

7.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg

#5 Rodrick Stewart, 6-4, 200 Sr. G

2.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg

North Carolina

#14 Danny Green, 6-6 210 Jr. F/G

11.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg

#32 Alex Stepheson, 6-9 235 So. F/C

4.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg

#11 Quentin Thomas, 6-3 190 Sr. G

3.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg

My Guess at the Game

This has the potential to rank among the best semifinal games in the last 50 years (a list of some great ones follows this preview).

Much like the first game, this game will be won by the team that gets the combination of the most extra scoring opportunities and best looks at the basket.  Can any team playing North Carolina keep the rebounding margin at a stand-off?  Kansas can probably keep the Tar Heel advantage at a minimum and then offset that advantage by winning the turnover margin battle.  That means this game will be decided by shot selection and prevention of good shots.  If that is the case, Kansas is one of the best, if not the best, teams at winning the battle for high percentage shots.

North Carolina still has the ace in the hole in Hansbrough.  He can neutralize the perceived Jayhawk advantage by matching the entire Arthur and Jackson combined in scoring and rebounding.  Again, I think the frontcourts of both teams are basically even.

In the backcourt, I see a decided advantage that I think will eventually tilt the game in the winner’s advantage.  North Carolina has a terrific trio in Ellington, Lawson, and Green.  The Tar Heel guards can destroy an opponent in a matter of two minutes with a fast-break outburst.  One momentary lapse can lead to a 10-0 Carolina run.

So, you see me picking the Tar Heels, yes?  No!  I see Kansas with the advantage in the backcourt.  The Jayhawks perimeter players, Rush, Chalmers, Robinson, Collins, and Stewart, are the best combined quintet of guards in the nation.  As a whole, this group has superior scoring ability from the outside (Chalmers & Rush), the best penetrator to the hoop (Rush), excellent passing (Chalmers, Robinson, Collins), excellent ball hawks (Chalmers & Robinson), excellent defenders on the ball (all five, especially Rush), and even some added rebounding strength (Rush & Chalmers).  Collins could not only start on most of the other NCAA Tournament teams, he could be an all-conference player on most of them!

I see Kansas controlling the tempo for most of the game and preventing North Carolina from making any great, extended scoring runs.  Kansas had its shock game against Davidson, and the Jayhawks have yet to play their best game in this tournament.  I think they will Saturday, and I think it will put them in the Title Game on Monday Night.

Prediction: Kansas 77  North Carolina 73

My List of the 20 Best Semifinal Games in Last 50 Seasons

1959: California 64  Cincinnati 58

1962: Cincinnati 72  UCLA 70

1968: UCLA 101  Houston 69

1969: UCLA 85  Drake 82

1971: Villanova 92   Western Kentucky 89 2ot

1973: UCLA 70  Indiana 59

1974: North Carolina State 80  UCLA 77 2ot

1975: UCLA 75  Louisville 74 ot

1977: North Carolina 84  UNLV 83

          Marquette 51  UNCC 49

1978: Duke 90  Notre Dame 86

1983: Houston 94  Louisville 81

1987: Indiana 97  UNLV 93

1989: Michigan 83  Illinois 81

1991: Duke 79  UNLV 77

          Kansas 79  North Carolina 73

1992: Duke 81  Indiana 78

1996: Kentucky 81  U Mass. 74

1998: Kentucky 86  Stanford 85 ot

2004: Connecticut 79  Duke 78

January 4, 2008

PiRate BCS National Championship Game Preview and Viewer’s Guide

The NCAA Football Bowl Division BCS Championship Game

Monday, January 7, 2008

8:30 PM EST

Fox Network

New Orleans Superdome

Ohio State 11-1 vs. LSU 11-2

How They Got To New Orleans

Ohio State Buckeyes

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Colors

Scarlet and Gray

League

Big 10 Conference

National Titles (*)

2002, 1968, 1957, 1954, 1942

* Awarded by AP, UPI, BCS, and other official polls
Unofficial Nat’l Titles (%)

1998, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1970,

1969, 1961, 1944, 1933

% Awarded by various unofficial polls and computers

Head Coach

Jim Tressel

Record at Ohio State

73-15 in 7th season

Bowl Record at OSU

4-2

Overall Record

146-58-2

Offensive Coordinator

Jim Bollman

Defensive Coordinator

Jim Heacock/Luke Fickell

Opponents

OSU

Opp

Youngstown State

38

6

Akron

20

2

at Washington

33

14

Northwestern

58

7

at Minnesota

30

7

at Purdue

23

7

Kent State

48

3

Michigan State

24

17

at Penn State

37

17

Wisconsin

38

17

Illinois

21

28

at Michigan

14

3

Per Game Stats

OSU

Opp

Points

32.0

10.7

First Downs

20.9

12.9

Rushing Attempts

43.6

31.4

Rushing Yards

200.7

77.1

Avg per Rush

4.6

2.5

Rush Yds NFL method *

209.0

99.6

Passing Yards

196.4

148.2

Pass Yds NFL method *

188.1

125.7

Pass Completions

16.3

16.4

Pass Attempts

25.3

31.6

Interceptions

1.0

0.8

Sacks

3.5

1.2

Sack Yards

22.5

8.3

Punting Avg.

40.4

39.2

Punt Returns

38.6

6.8

Net Punting

36.5

33.9

Fumbles-LST

1.4-0.6

1.3-0.7

Penalties-Yds

5.4-40.9

4.1-37.2

Yds per Interception Ret.

17.8

7.4

Avg. Kick Return

17.6

21.4

Time of Possession

32:11

27:49

3rd down conversion %

47.6

30.7

PAT %

97.8

100.0

FG %

81.0

70.0

* The NFL figures QB sacks as lost passing yards and not rushing yards
This is a better barometer of both the rushing and passing games

Louisiana State Tigers

Location

Baton Rouge, LA

Colors

Purple and Gold

League

Southeastern Conference

National Titles (*)

2003, 1958

* Awarded by AP, UPI, BCS, and other official polls
Unofficial Nat’l Titles (%)

1936, 1935, 1908

% Awarded by various unofficial polls and computers

Head Coach

Les Miles

Record at LSU

33-6 in 3rd year

Bowl Record at LSU

2-0

Overall Record

61-27

Offensive Coordinator

Gary Crowton

Defensive Coordinator

Bo Pelini

Opponents

LSU

Opp

at Mississippi St.

45

0

Virginia Tech

48

7

Middle Tennessee

44

0

South Carolina

28

16

at Tulane

34

9

Florida

28

24

at Kentucky

37

43

3 OT
Auburn

30

24

at Alabama

41

34

Louisiana Tech

58

10

at Ole Miss

41

24

Arkansas

48

50

3 OT
Tennessee

21

14

Per Game Stats

LSU

Opp

Points

38.7

19.6

First Downs

22.4

16.5

Rushing Attempts

43.3

33.4

Rushing Yards

218.9

103.1

Avg per Rush

5.1

3.1

Rush Yds NFL method *

233.8

122.0

Passing Yards

229.2

180.8

Pass Yds NFL method *

214.3

161.9

Pass Completions

18.2

15.2

Pass Attempts

31.9

32.7

Interceptions

0.9

1.6

Sacks

2.5

2.2

Sack Yards

18.9

14.9

Punting Avg.

43.4

39.2

Punt Return Avg.

5.8

9.5

Net Punting

35.5

36.5

Fumbles-LST

1.2-0.2

1.8-0.9

Penalties-Yds

8.7-64.9

4.6-37.2

Yds per Interception Ret.

11.6

9.5

Avg. Kick Return

20.1

20.5

Time of Possession

32:07

27:53

3rd down conversion %

45.4

36.0

PAT %

100.0

96.7

FG %

78.1

83.3

L S U Offense

Ohio State Defense

Pos

No.

Name

Ht 

Wt

Yr

||

Pos

No.

Name

Ht

Wt

Yr

SE

1

Brandon LaFell

6-3  

205

So

||

DE

97

Cameron Heyward

6-6   

282

Fr

2

Demetrius Byrd

6-2  

195

Jr

||

9

Rob Rose

6-5   

294

S0

28

R.J. Jackson

6-0  

205

So

||

DT

84

Doug Worthington

6-7   

271

So

LT

70

Ciron Black

6-5  

320

So

||

93

Nader Abdallah

6-5   

297

Jr

76

Jarvis Jones

6-7  

294

Fr

||

DT

92

Todd Denlinger

6-3   

286

So

LG

79

Herman Johnson

6-7  

356

Jr

||

72

Dexter Larimore

6-3   

304

Fr

63

Ryan Miller

6-6  

302

Jr

||

DE

50

Vernon Gholston

6-4   

264

Jr

62

Robert Smith

6-2  

273

Sr

||

78

Alex Barrow

6-5   

275

Jr

C

74

Brett Helms

6-2  

270

Jr

||

WLB

1

Marcus Freeman

6-2   

236

Jr

63

Ryan Miller

6-6  

302

Jr

||

36

Brian Rolle

5-11   

212

Fr

RG

65

Lyle Hitt

6-2  

299

So

||

MLB

33

James Laurinaitis

6-3   

240

Jr

76

Jarvis Jones

6-7  

294

Fr

||

38

Austin Spitler

6-3   

234

So

63

Ryan Miller

6-6  

302

Jr

||

SLB

6

Larry Grant

6-3   

226

Sr

RT

71

Carnell Stewart

6-5  

320

Sr

||

26

Tyler Moeller

6-1   

203

Fr

78

Joseph Barksdale

6-4  

310

Fr

||

CB

2

Malcolm Jenkins

6-1   

208

Jr

TE

82

Richard Dickson

6-2  

235

So

||

32

Eugene Clifford

6-2   

191

Fr

89

Keith Zinger

6-4  

250

Sr

||

13

Andre Amos

6-1   

179

So

81

Mit Cole

6-4  

260

Sr

||

SS

4

Kurt Coleman

5-11  

187

So

FL

9

Early Doucet

6-0  

207

Sr

||

3

Jamario O’Neal

6-1    

199

Jr

80

Terrence Toliver

6-5  

190

Fr

||

FS

21

Anderson Russell

6-0   

205

So

87

Jared Mitchell

5-11  

198

So

||

8

Aaron Gant

6-0   

201

So

QB

15

Matt Flynn

6-3  

227

Sr

||

CB

20

Donald Washington

6-1   

188

So

11

Ryan Perrilloux

6-3  

227

So

||

5

Chimdi Chekwa

6-1   

185

Fr

14

Andrew Hatch

6-3  

214

So

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

TB

18

Jacob Hester

6-0  

228

Sr

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Keiland Williams

6-0  

226

So

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

Charles Scott

5-11  

226

So

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Trindon Holliday

5-5  

160

So

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

Richard Murphy

6-1  

197

Fr

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

FB

45

Quinn Jackson

6-2  

238

Jr

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

40

Shawn Jordan

5-11  

254

Sr

||

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio State Offense

L S U Defense

Pos

No.

Name

Ht

Wt

Yr

||

Pos

No.

Name

Ht 

Wt

Yr

WR

80

Brian Robiskie

6-3  

196

Jr

||

LE

93

Tyson Jackson

6-5    

291

Jr

12

Dane Sanzenbacher

5-11  

178

Fr

||

47

Tremaine Johnson

6-2    

282

Jr

LT

75

Alex Boone

6-8  

313

Jr

||

LT

72

Glenn Dorsey

6-2    

303

Sr

73

Josh Kerr

6-5  

276

Fr

||

97

Al Woods

6-4    

315

So

LG

71

Steve Rehring

6-8  

345

Jr

||

90

Ricky Jean-Francois

6-3   

285

So

78

Dan Dye

6-3  

277

Sr

||

RT

99

Marlon Favorite

6-1   

302

Jr

C

64

Jim Cordle

6-4  

302

So

||

92

Drake Nevis

6-1   

288

Fr

66

Andrew Moses

6-3  

272

So

||

90

Ricky Jean-Francois

6-3   

285

So

RG

63

Ben Person

6-4  

321

Jr

||

RE

49

Kirston Pittman

6-4   

252

Sr

77

Connor Smith

6-5  

317

Fr

||

84

Rahim Allen

6-3   

254

So

RT

74

Kirk Barton

6-6  

300

Sr

||

90

Ricky Jean-Francois

6-3   

285

So

70

Byrant Browning

6-4  

311

Fr

||

SLB

35

Luke Sanders

6-5   

242

Sr

TE

88

Rory Nicol

6-5  

250

Jr

||

56

Perry Riley

6-1   

232

So

86

Jake Ballard

6-7  

255

So

||

MLB

48

Darry Beckwith

6-1   

230

Jr

87

Brandon Smith

6-3  

240

Jr

||

54

Jacob Cuttera

6-4   

235

So

WR

9

Brian Hartline

6-3  

180

So

||

WLB

7

Ali Highsmith

6-1   

223

Sr

4

Ray Small

6-0  

182

So

||

11

Kelvin Sheppard

6-3   

223

Fr

QB

17

Todd Boeckman

6-5  

243

Jr

||

CB

19

Jonathan Zenon

6-0   

180

Sr

11

Robby Schoenhoft

6-6  

244

So

||

29

Chris Hawkins

6-1   

175

So

TB

28

Chris Wells

6-1  

235

So

||

SS

16

Craig Steltz

6-2   

209

Sr

34

Maurice Wells

5-10  

195

Jr

||

24

Harry Coleman

6-2   

205

So

3

Brandon Saine

6-1  

220

Fr

||

FS

27

Curtis Taylor

6-3   

204

Jr

FB

49

Dionte Johnson

6-0  

242

Sr

||

44

Danny McCray

6-1   

206

So

16

Trever Robinson

6-0  

225

Sr

||

CB

21

Chevis Jackson

6-0   

184

Sr

42

Tyler Whaley

6-1  

265

Sr

||

4

Jai Eugene

5-11   

184

Fr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L S U Special Teams

Ohio State Special Teams

Pos

No.

Name

Ht

Wt

Yr

||

Pos

No.

Name

Ht

Wt

Yr

K

6

Colt David

5-9  

173

Jr

||

K

85

Ryan Pretorius

5-9  

175

Jr

P

36

Patrick Fisher

6-5  

253

Sr

||

KO

20

Aaron Pettrey

6-1  

193

So

KR

8

Trindon Holliday

5-5  

160

So

||

P

15

A. J. Trapasso

6-1  

224

Jr

5

Keiland Williams

6-0  

226

So

||

KR

4

Ray Small

6-0  

182

So

9

Early Doucet

6-0  

207

Sr

||

34

Maurice Wells

5-10  

195

Jr

PR

3

Chad Jones

6-3  

218

Fr

||

PR

9

Brian Hartline

6-3  

180

So

9

Early Doucet

6-0  

207

Sr

||

4

Ray Small

6-0  

182

So

LS

51

Jacob O’Hair

6-2  

237

Sr

||

LS

56

Dimitrios Makridis

6-1  

208

Sr

Hld

15

Matt Flynn

6-3  

227

Sr

||

61

Jackson Haas

6-3  

228

Sr

11

Ryan Perrilloux

6-3  

227

So

||

Hld

48

Jon Thoma

6-1  

199

So

Game Preview

In January of 1973, Ohio State played Southern California in the Rose Bowl and USC blew them off the Pasadena turf much like they did with Illinois this past Monday.  A year later, Ohio State returned to the Rose Bowl for a rematch with USC.  Many pundits expected another Trojan slaughter, but The Buckeyes redeemed themselves with a slaughter of their own by a score of 42-21.

Does history repeat itself?  Ohio State was blown out last year by Florida in the National Championship Game, and now they must take on another SEC team in their home state.  Ohio State has much better odds this time around, as LSU is more of a power team than a speed and finesse team.  Ohio State can hold its own against power teams.

What does play in LSU’s favor is that this is almost a home game for them.  The Tigers receive three points home field advantage, and they already own a win on this field this season.

I expect this to be a game that is slightly biased in favor of defense in the bend but don’t break mode.  I expect both teams to lose good chances to score in this game.

When it comes down to it, LSU coach Les Miles will gamble, while Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will play it close to the vest.  Will LSU’s gambles pay off or be costly?  Will Ohio State be too conservative?  This is where the game will be decided.  I’d say it’s pretty much 50-50, so you should be rewarded with a game rivaling the excitement of last week’s New England Patriots-New York Giants game.

Las Vegas Line:          LSU by 4

Totals Line:                 48½

Money Line:                LSU -165  Ohio State +150

PiRate Computer:     Tossup with predicted score of 24-24 going to overtime

Mean Rating:             LSU 26  Ohio State 25

75 other computers:    48 pick LSU and 27 pick Ohio State

75 computers avg.       LSU by 2.08 points

             

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