The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 1, 2010

A PiRate Look At The Final Four

The PiRate All-Inclusive Look At The Final Four

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

National Semifinals

Date: Saturday, April 3, 2010

Place: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

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

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

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

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

Game One: 6:07 PM EDT

 

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

 

Butler

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
1 Shelvin Mack G 6-3 215 So Starter
2 Shawn Vanzant G 6-0 172 Jr Key Reserve
3 Zach Hahn G 6-1 176 Jr Plays In Every Game
5 Ronald Nored G 6-0 174 So Starter
11 Alex Anglin G/F 6-5 177 Jr Seldom Plays
14 Nick Rodgers G 6-2 168 Sr Seldom Plays
20 Gordon Hayward G/F 6-9 207 So Starter
21 Willie Veasley G/F 6-3 206 Sr Starter
22 Grant Leiendecker G 6-5 182 Jr Seldom Plays
24 Avery Jukes F 6-8 215 Sr Plays In Every Game
30 Emerson Kampen C 6-9 189 Fr Seldom Plays
32 Garrett Butcher F 6-7 209 So Seldom Plays
33 Chase Stigall G 6-4 195 Fr Seldom Plays
44 Andrew Smith C 6-11 239 Fr Plays Considerable Time
54 Matt Howard F 6-8 230 Jr Starter
HC Brad Stevens          
Ast Matthew Graves          
Ast Terry Johnson          
Ast Micah Shrewsbury          

 

Record:32-4, 18-0 Horizon      
Colors: Blue & White      
       
Opponent But Opp  
Davidson 73 62  
at Northwestern 67 54  
at Evansville 64 60  
Minnesota (Anaheim) 73 82  
UCLA (Anaheim) 69 67  
Clemson (Anaheim) 69 70  
at Ball State 59 38  
Valparaiso  84 67  
Georgetown (at NYC) 65 72  
Ohio State 74 66  
Xavier 69 68  
at Alabama-Birmingham 57 67  
UW-Green Bay 72 49  
UW-Milwaukee 80 67  
at Wright State 77 65  
at Detroit 64 62 ot
Cleveland State 64 55  
Youngstown State 91 61  
at Loyola of Chicago 48 47  
at Illinois-Chicago 84 55  
at UW-Green Bay 75 57  
at UW-Milwaukee 73 66  
Detroit 63 58  
Wright State 74 62  
Loyola of Chicago 62 47  
at Youngstown State 68 57  
at Cleveland State 70 59  
Illinois-Chicago 73 55  
Siena (Bracketbuster) 70 53  
at Valparaiso 74 69  
UW-Milwaukee (Horizon Trn) 68 59  
Wright State (Horizon Trn) 70 45  
UTEP (NCAA) 77 59  
Murray State (NCAA) 54 52  
Syracuse (NCAA) 63 59  
Kansas State (NCAA) 63 56  

 

Stats

 

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

 

PiRate Criteria Score

 

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

 

* R+T is a formula that combines rebounding margin and turnover margin.  It is weighted
to give turnover margin a little more clout and steals even more clout based on the fact that
turnovers, especially steals, produce a higher percentage of easy fast break points than do most rebounds.
         
R+T Formula: R+T= (.2S * 1.2T)+ R
R = Rebounding Margin, T = Turnover Margin, S = Avg. Steals per Game
If Turnover Margin is a negative number, then Steals are dropped from the formula

 

 

 

 

Michigan State

 

Roster

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

 

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

 

Stats

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

 

PiRate Criteria Score

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Michigan State 63  Butler 56

 

Game Two: 8:47 PM EDT

 

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

 

Duke

 

Roster

No. Name Pos Ht Wt Yr Status
2 Nolan Smith G 6-2 185 Jr Starter
3 Seth Curry G 6-1 175 So Does Not Play
5 Mason Plumlee F 6-10 230 Fr Key Reserve
12 Kyle Singler F 6-8 230 Jr Starter
13 Olek Czyz F       Seldom Plays
20 Andre Dawkins G 6-4 190 Fr Key Reserve
21 Miles Plumlee F 6-10 240 So Key Reserve
30 Jon Scheyer G 6-5 190 Sr Starter
34 Ryan Kelly F 6-10 220 Fr Key Reserve
41 Jordan Davidson G 6-1 180 Sr Seldom Plays
42 Lance Thomas F 6-8 225 Sr Starter
51 Steve Johnson F 6-5 210 Jr Seldom Plays
52 Todd Zafirovski F 6-8 240 Fr Does Not Play
53 Casey Peters G 6-4 185 Jr Seldom Plays
55 Brian Zoubek C 7-1 260 Sr Starter
HC Mike Krzyzewski          
Ast Steve Wojciechowski          
Ast Chris Collins          
Ast Nate James          
 Record: 33-5, 13-3 ACC      
Colors: Royal Blue & White      
       
Opponent Duke Opp  
UNC Greensboro 96 62  
Coastal Carolina (Pre NIT) 74 49  
Charlotte (Pre NIT) 101 59  
Radford 104 67  
Arizona State (Pre NIT @NYC) 64 53  
Connecticut (Pre NIT @ NYC) 68 59  
at Wisconsin (ACC/B10) 69 73  
St. John’s 80 71  
Gardner-Webb 113 68  
Gonzaga (at NYC) 76 41  
Long Beach State 84 63  
Penn 114 55  
Clemson 74 53  
Iowa State (at Chicago) 86 65  
at Georgia Tech 67 71  
Boston College 79 59  
Wake Forest 90 70  
at N. C. State 74 88  
at Clemson 60 47  
Florida State 70 56  
at Georgetown 77 89  
Georgia Tech 86 67  
at Boston College 66 63  
at North Carolina 64 54  
Maryland 77 56  
at Miami (FL) 81 74  
Virginia Tech 67 55  
Tulsa 70 52  
At Virginia 67 49  
at Maryland 72 79  
North Carolina 82 50  
Virginia (ACC Tournament) 57 46  
Miami (FL) (ACC Tournament) 77 74  
Georgia Tech (ACC Tournament) 65 61  
Ark. Pine Bluff (NCAA) 73 44  
California (NCAA) 68 53  
Purdue (NCAA) 70 57  
Baylor (NCAA) 78 71  
                   

 

 

Stats

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

 

     

PiRate Criteria Score

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

 

 
   

West Virginia

 

Roster

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

 

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

 

Stats

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

 

PiRate Criteria Score

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

 

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Duke 73  West Virginia 65

 

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

March 28, 2010

Sunday’s Regional Final Games

Sunday’s Regional Finals

Advanced Level Bracketnomics

 

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

South Regional

 

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Duke 70  Baylor 63

 

Midwest Regional

 

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Tennessee 64  Michigan State 59

 

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

 

 

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

April 5, 2009

A PiRate Look At The 2009 NCAA Basketball Championship Game

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Final Four

The National Championship Game

 April 6, 2009

Ford Field: Detroit

Tip Time: 9:21 PM EDT

 

Michigan State (31-6) vs. North Carolina (33-4)

 

Note: Team info courtesy of the two schools’ official athletic websites

 

Michigan State Spartans

 

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Year Hometown/High School

00

Ibok, Idong 6-11 260 C RS SR Lagos, Nigeria/Montverde (Fla.) Academy

1

Lucas, Kalin 6-0 180 G SO Sterling Heights, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

2

Morgan, Raymar 6-8 225 F JR Canton, Ohio/McKinley

3

Allen, Chris 6-3 205 G SO Lawrenceville, Ga./Meadowcreek

5

Walton, Travis 6-2 190 G SR Lima, Ohio/Lima Senior

10

Roe, Delvon 6-8 225 F FR Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward

13

Thornton, Austin 6-5 210 G RS FR Sand Lake, Mich./Cedar Springs

14

Suton, Goran 6-10 245 C RS SR Lansing, Mich./Everett

15

Summers, Durrell 6-4 195 G SO Detroit, Mich./Redford Covenant Christian

20

Kebler, Mike 6-4 200 G SO Okemos, Mich./Okemos

22

Dahlman, Isaiah 6-6 200 G JR Braham, Minn./Braham Area

23

Green, Draymond 6-6 235 F FR Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw

25

Crandell, Jon 6-8 225 F JR Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams

34

Lucious, Korie 5-11 170 G FR Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI

40

Herzog, Tom 7-0 240 C RS SO Flint, Mich./Powers

41

Gray, Marquise 6-8 235 F RS SR Flint, Mich./Beecher

 

   
Coaches  
   
Tom Izzo – Head Coach
Mark Montgomery – Associate Head Coach
Dwayne Stephens – Assistant Coach
Mike Garland – Assistant Coach
Jordan Ott – Video Coordinator
Richard Bader – Director of Basketball Operations

 

 
                                     

                               2008-09 Michigan State Basketball

                  Michigan State Combined Team Statistics (as of Apr 05, 2009)

                                           All games

 

 

 RECORD:                OVERALL      HOME        AWAY       NEUTRAL

 ALL GAMES………..   (31-6)      (12-2)      (9-1)       (10-3)

 CONFERENCE……….   (15-3)      (7-2)       (8-1)       (0-0)

 NON-CONFERENCE……   (16-3)      (5-0)       (1-0)       (10-3)

 

 

   DATE            OPPONENT                       W/L    SCORE  ATTEND

   ————    ——————–           —    —–  ——

   11/16/08        IDAHO                          W     100-62   14759

   11/19/08     at IPFW                           W      70-59    6704

   11/27/08     vs Maryland                         L    62-80    4464

   11/28/08     vs Oklahoma State                 W      94-79    4658

   11/30/08     vs Wichita State                  W      65-57    3768

   12/03/08     vs North Carolina                   L    63-98   25267

   12/07/08        BRADLEY                        W      75-59   14759

   12/13/08        ALCORN STATE                   W     118-60   14759

   12/17/08        THE CITADEL                    W      79-65   14759

   12/20/08     vs Texas                          W      67-63   17074

  @12/27/08     vs Oakland University             W      82-66   15361

  *12/31/08     at Minnesota                      W      70-58   14625

  *1/3/09       at Northwestern                   W      77-66    8117

  *01/06/09        OHIO STATE                     W      67-58   14759

   01/10/09        KANSAS                         W      75-62   14759

  *1/14/09      at Penn State                     W      78-73   10270

  *1/17/09         ILLINOIS                       W      63-57   14759

  *1/21/09         NORTHWESTERN                     L    63-70   14759

  *01/25/09     at Ohio State                     W      78-67   18767

  *01/29/09     at Iowa Hawkeyes                  W      71-56   13640

  *02/01/09        PENN STATE                       L    68-72   14759

  *2/4/09          MINNESOTA                      W      76-47   14759

  *2/7/09          INDIANA                        W      75-47   14759

  *02/10/09     at Michigan                       W      54-42   13751

  *02/17/09     at Purdue                           L    54-72   14123

  *02/22/09        WISCONSIN                      W      61-50   14759

  *02/25/09        IOWA HAWKEYES                  W      62-54   14759

  *03/01/09     at Illinois                       W      74-66   16618

  *3-3-09       at Indiana                        W      64-59   15006

  *03/08/09        PURDUE                         W      62-51   14759

   3-13-09      vs Minnesota                      W      64-56   13023

   3-14-09      vs Ohio State                       L    70-82   15728

   03/20/09     vs Robert Morris                  W      77-62   12814

   03/22/09     vs Southern Cal                   W      74-69   14279

   3/27/09      vs Kansas                         W      67-62   33780

   3/29/09      vs Louisville                     W      64-52   36084

   4/4/09       vs Connecticut                    W      82-73   72456

 * = Conference game

 

 

 

 ## SUMMARY              GP-GS   Min   FG%  3PT%   FT%  R/G  A/G STL BLK PTS/G

 —————————————————————————–

 01 Lucas, Kalin…….. 37-36  31.8  .397  .394  .810  2.2  4.6  39   6  14.7

 02 Morgan, Raymar…… 34-25  22.6  .526  .238  .654  5.4  1.2  23   7  10.4

 14 Suton, Goran…….. 31-28  26.6  .513  .409  .848  8.3  1.6  36  14  10.2

 03 Allen, Chris…….. 37-5   19.1  .371  .325  .800  2.3  1.3  14   0   8.5

 15 Summers, Durrell…. 37-13  21.4  .436  .387  .719  3.4  0.8  25  12   8.5

 10 Roe, Delvon……… 37-30  18.0  .563  .000  .459  5.1  0.9  16  28   5.7

 05 Walton, Travis…… 37-36  27.9  .415  .600  .578  2.3  3.4  56   1   5.2

 41 Gray, Marquise…… 37-5    9.7  .584  .000  .674  2.9  0.3   4  12   3.2

 23 Green, Draymond….. 36-0   11.4  .544  .000  .617  3.2  0.9  20   9   3.2

 34 Lucious, Korie…… 37-1    8.9  .376  .351  .667  0.9  1.3  10   2   3.1

 13 Thornton, Austin…. 26-0    3.7  .375  .235  .750  0.7  0.3   4   0   1.2

 00 Ibok, Idong……… 27-5    6.1  .375  .000  .667  0.9  0.2   0   7   0.4

 40 Herzog, Tom……… 15-1    2.1  .600  .000  .571  0.7  0.1   0   4   0.7

 22 Dahlman, Isaiah….. 15-0    1.8  .500  .333  .250  0.6  0.0   0   0   0.7

 25 Crandell, Jon…….  9-0    1.1 1.000  .000 1.000  0.0  0.0   0   0   0.4

 20 Kebler, Mike……..  8-0    1.3  .500  .000 1.000  0.3  0.1   0   0   0.5

 TM Team……………. 37-0    0.0  .000  .000  .000  3.2  0.0   0   0   0.0

    Total…………… 37           .452  .357  .697 38.9 16.2 247 102  72.0

    Opponents……….. 37           .414  .316  .696 29.5 11.5 220 131  63.0

 

 SCORING              GP   FG-FGA   FG%  3FG-FGA  3PT%   FT-FTA   FT%   PTS PTS/G

 ——————————————————————————–

 Lucas, Kalin…….. 37  169-426  .397   41-104  .394  166-205  .810   545 14.7

 Morgan, Raymar…… 34  131-249  .526    5-21   .238   87-133  .654   354 10.4

 Suton, Goran…….. 31  116-226  .513   18-44   .409   67-79   .848   317 10.2

 Allen, Chris…….. 37  104-280  .371   52-160  .325   56-70   .800   316  8.5

 Summers, Durrell…. 37  112-257  .436   43-111  .387   46-64   .719   313  8.5

 Roe, Delvon……… 37   80-142  .563    0-0    .000   51-111  .459   211  5.7

 Walton, Travis…… 37   81-195  .415    3-5    .600   26-45   .578   191  5.2

 Gray, Marquise…… 37   45-77   .584    0-0    .000   29-43   .674   119  3.2

 Green, Draymond….. 36   43-79   .544    0-1    .000   29-47   .617   115  3.2

 Lucious, Korie…… 37   38-101  .376   27-77   .351   12-18   .667   115  3.1

 Thornton, Austin…. 26    9-24   .375    4-17   .235    9-12   .750    31  1.2

 Ibok, Idong……… 27    3-8    .375    0-0    .000    4-6    .667    10  0.4

 Herzog, Tom……… 15    3-5    .600    0-0    .000    4-7    .571    10  0.7

 Dahlman, Isaiah….. 15    4-8    .500    1-3    .333    1-4    .250    10  0.7

 Crandell, Jon…….  9    1-1   1.000    0-0    .000    2-2   1.000     4  0.4

 Kebler, Mike……..  8    1-2    .500    0-1    .000    2-2   1.000     4  0.5

 Total…………… 37  940-2080 .452  194-544  .357  591-848  .697  2665 72.0

 Opponents……….. 37  811-1957 .414  224-708  .316  485-697  .696  2331 63.0

 

                                   REBOUNDS

 TOTALS               GP   MIN  OFF  DEF  TOT   PF  FO    A   TO  A/TO  HI

 ————————————————————————-

 Lucas, Kalin…….. 37  1178   26   54   80   47   0  169   78   2.2  24

 Morgan, Raymar…… 34   768   62  121  183   85   2   41   61   0.7  29

 Suton, Goran…….. 31   824   91  167  258   78   1   50   55   0.9  20

 Allen, Chris…….. 37   706   27   57   84   62   0   47   50   0.9  21

 Summers, Durrell…. 37   791   49   75  124   57   0   28   53   0.5  26

 Roe, Delvon……… 37   665   76  113  189   80   1   35   41   0.9  16

 Walton, Travis…… 37  1031   24   60   84   94   1  124   48   2.6  18

 Gray, Marquise…… 37   358   38   69  107   57   0   12   35   0.3  12

 Green, Draymond….. 36   410   37   78  115   63   2   31   22   1.4  16

 Lucious, Korie…… 37   330    4   28   32   36   1   47   40   1.2  16

 Thornton, Austin…. 26    97    4   14   18   14   0    7    6   1.2   9

 Ibok, Idong……… 27   164    9   15   24   28   0    5   13   0.4   2

 Herzog, Tom……… 15    31    3    8   11    3   0    1    0  99.0   5

 Dahlman, Isaiah….. 15    27    3    6    9    1   0    0    0   0.0   6

 Crandell, Jon…….  9    10    0    0    0    0   0    0    0   0.0   2

 Kebler, Mike……..  8    10    1    1    2    0   0    1    0  99.0   2

 Total…………… 37  7400  520  920 1440  706   8  598  511   1.2 118

 Opponents……….. 37  7400  342  751 1093  734   –  427  508   0.8  98

 

 

 TEAM STATISTICS                   MSU          OPP

 ————————————————–

 SCORING……………..         2665         2331

   Points per game…….         72.0         63.0

   Scoring margin……..         +9.0            –

 FIELD GOALS-ATT………     940-2080     811-1957

   Field goal pct……..         .452         .414

 3 POINT FG-ATT……….      194-544      224-708

   3-point FG pct……..         .357         .316

   3-pt FG made per game.          5.2          6.1

 FREE THROWS-ATT………      591-848      485-697

   Free throw pct……..         .697         .696

   F-Throws made per game         16.0         13.1

 REBOUNDS…………….         1440         1093

   Rebounds per game…..         38.9         29.5

   Rebounding margin…..         +9.4            –

 ASSISTS……………..          598          427

   Assists per game……         16.2         11.5

 TURNOVERS……………          511          508

   Turnovers per game….         13.8         13.7

   Turnover margin…….         -0.1            –

   Assist/turnover ratio.          1.2          0.8

 STEALS………………          247          220

   Steals per game…….          6.7          5.9

 BLOCKS………………          102          131

   Blocks per game…….          2.8          3.5

 ATTENDANCE…………..       206626       400377

   Home games-Avg/Game…     14-14759     10-13162

   Neutral site-Avg/Game.            –     13-20674

 

 SCORE BY PERIODS:           1st  2nd    Total

 ————————-  —- —-     —-

 Michigan State………..  1290 1375  –  2665

 Opponents…………….  1096 1235  –  2331

 

 

 

North Carolina Tar Heels

 

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Hometown (High School)

1

Marcus Ginyard 6-5 220 G/F SR Alexandria, Va. (Bishop O’Connell)

2

Marc Campbell 5-11 175 G JR Wilmington, N.C. (Ravenscroft)

4

Bobby Frasor 6-3 210 G SR Blue Island, Ill. (Brother Rice)

5

Ty Lawson 5-11 195 G JR Clinton, Md. (Oak Hill Academy (Va.))

11

Larry Drew II 6-1 180 G FR Encino, Calif. (Woodland Hills Taft)

13

Will Graves 6-6 245 F/G SO Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley)

14

Danny Green 6-6 210 F/G SR North Babylon, N.Y. (St. Mary’s)

15

J.B. Tanner 6-0 185 G SR Hendersonville, N.C. (West Henderson)

21

Deon Thompson 6-8 245 F JR Torrance, Calif. (Torrance)

22

Wayne Ellington 6-4 200 G JR Wynnewood, Pa. (The Episcopal Academy)

24

Justin Watts 6-4 205 G FR Durham, N.C. (Jordan)

30

Jack Wooten 6-2 190 G SR Burlington, N.C. (Williams)

32

Ed Davis 6-10 215 F FR Richmond, Va. (Benedictine)

35

Patrick Moody 6-4 195 F SR Asheville, N.C. (T.C. Roberson)

40

Mike Copeland 6-7 235 F SR Winston-Salem, N.C. (R.J. Reynolds)

44

Tyler Zeller 7-0 220 F FR Washington, Ind. (Washington)

50

Tyler Hansbrough 6-9 250 F SR Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Poplar Bluff)

 

 
Coaching Staff
 
Roy Williams – Head Coach
Joe Holladay – Assistant Coach
Steve Robinson – Assistant Coach
C.B. McGrath – Assistant Coach
Jerod Haase – Director of Basketball Operations
Chris Hirth – Head Athletic Trainer
Eric Hoots – Video Coordinator
Jonas Sahratian – Strength & Conditioning Coordinator

 

 

North Carolina Season Schedule/Results & Leaders (as of Apr 05, 2009)

 

North Carolina Combined Team Statistics (as of Apr 05, 2009)

                                           All games

 

 

 RECORD:                OVERALL      HOME        AWAY       NEUTRAL

 ALL GAMES………..   (33-4)      (14-1)      (8-2)       (11-1)

 CONFERENCE……….   (13-3)      (7-1)       (6-2)       (0-0)

 NON-CONFERENCE……   (20-1)      (7-0)       (2-0)       (11-1)

 

 

   DATE            OPPONENT                       W/L    SCORE  ATTEND

   ————    ——————–           —    —–  ——

   11/15/08        PENN                           W      86-71   19623

   11/18/08        KENTUCKY                       W      77-58   21538

   11/21/08     at UC Santa Barbara               W      84-67    6000

   11-24-08     vs CHAMINADE                      W     115-70    2500

   11-25-08     vs Oregon                         W      98-69    2500

   11-26-08     vs Notre Dame                     W     102-87    2500

   11/30/08        UNC ASHEVILLE                  W     116-48   18054

   12/03/08     vs Michigan State                 W      98-63   25267

   12/13/08        ORAL ROBERTS                   W     100-84   21269

   12/18/08        EVANSVILLE                     W      91-73   21291

   12/20/08     vs VALPO                          W      85-63   10645

   12/28/08        RUTGERS                        W      97-75   21750

   12-31-08     at Nevada                         W      84-61   10526

  *01/04/09        BOSTON COLLEGE                   L    78-85   21750

   01/07/09        COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON          W     108-70   20543

  *01/11/09     at Wake Forest                      L    89-92   14714

  *01/15/09     at Virginia                       W      83-61   13811

  *01/17/09        MIAMI                          W      82-65   21750

  *01/21/09        CLEMSON                        W      94-70   21750

  *01/28/09     at Florida State                  W      80-77   11333

  *01/31/09     at NC State                       W      93-76   19700

  *02/03/09        MARYLAND                       W     108-91   20863

  *02/07/09        VIRGINIA                       W      76-61   20879

  *2/11/09      at Duke                           W     101-87    9314

  *2/15/09      at Miami                          W      69-65    7200

  *02/18/09        NC STATE                       W      89-80   21750

  *02/21/09     at Maryland                         LOT  85-88   17950

  *02/28/09        GEORGIA TECH                   W     104-74   20959

  *03/04/09     at Virginia Tech                  W      86-78    9847

  *03/08/09        DUKE                           W      79-71   21750

   3/13/09      vs Virginia Tech                  W      79-76   26352

   3/14/09      vs Florida State                    L    70-73   26352

   03/19/09     vs Radford                        W     101-58   20226

   03/21/09     vs LSU                            W      84-70   22479

   3/27/09      vs Gonzaga                        W      98-77   17103

   3/29/09      vs Oklahoma                       W      72-60   17025

   4/4/09       vs Villanova                      W      83-69   72456

 

 

 

 ## SUMMARY              GP-GS   Min   FG%  3PT%   FT%  R/G  A/G STL BLK PTS/G

 —————————————————————————–

 50 Tyler Hansbrough…. 33-33  30.2  .517  .429  .850  8.2  1.0  42  12  20.8

 05 Lawson, Ty………. 34-34  29.7  .539  .486  .795  2.9  6.6  67   5  16.5

 22 Wayne Ellington….. 37-36  30.3  .480  .408  .773  4.9  2.7  36   6  15.8

 14 Danny Green……… 37-37  27.5  .470  .414  .852  4.7  2.7  66  51  13.3

 21 Deon Thompson……. 37-36  24.9  .495  .000  .642  5.8  0.7  35  40  10.6

 32 Ed Davis………… 37-2   19.0  .511  .000  .587  6.5  0.6  14  65   6.5

 13 Will Graves……… 20-0   11.2  .437  .278  .889  2.6  0.8   7   2   4.0

 44 Tyler Zeller…….. 14-2    8.3  .472  .000  .800  2.1  0.2   3   3   3.3

 04 Frasor, Bobby……. 37-4   17.3  .330  .278  .462  2.0  1.4  22   5   2.6

 11 Larry Drew II……. 37-0    9.7  .357  .231  .412  1.1  2.0  15   1   1.4

 01 Ginyard, Marcus…..  3-0   12.3  .250  .000  .500  2.7  1.3   2   0   1.3

 15 J.B. Tanner……… 20-0    2.2  .421  .357  .333  0.4  0.1   1   0   1.2

 35 Patrick Moody……. 20-0    2.2  .583  .000  .615  0.8  0.0   2   3   1.1

 40 Mike Copeland……. 16-1    2.6  .250  .000 1.000  0.8  0.1   0   0   0.8

 24 Justin Watts…….. 26-0    3.2  .226  .000  .429  0.7  0.2   2   3   0.7

 30 Jack Wooten……… 19-0    1.9  .364  .200  .250  0.3  0.1   0   0   0.5

 02 Campbell, Marc…… 19-0    1.9  .500  .000 1.000  0.2  0.5   2   0   0.2

 TM TEAM……………. 37-0    0.0  .000  .000  .000  3.1  0.0   0   0   0.0

    Total…………… 37           .481  .387  .754 42.2 18.2 316 196  89.8

    Opponents……….. 37           .411  .338  .692 35.5 13.6 265 162  72.0

 

 SCORING              GP   FG-FGA   FG%  3FG-FGA  3PT%   FT-FTA   FT%   PTS PTS/G

 ——————————————————————————–

 Tyler Hansbrough…. 33  217-420  .517    9-21   .429  243-286  .850   686 20.8

 Lawson, Ty………. 34  179-332  .539   51-105  .486  151-190  .795   560 16.5

 Wayne Ellington….. 37  208-433  .480   82-201  .408   85-110  .773   583 15.8

 Danny Green……… 37  182-387  .470   75-181  .414   52-61   .852   491 13.3

 Deon Thompson……. 37  161-325  .495    0-0    .000   70-109  .642   392 10.6

 Ed Davis………… 37   94-184  .511    0-0    .000   54-92   .587   242  6.5

 Will Graves……… 20   31-71   .437   10-36   .278    8-9    .889    80  4.0

 Tyler Zeller…….. 14   17-36   .472    0-0    .000   12-15   .800    46  3.3

 Frasor, Bobby……. 37   36-109  .330   20-72   .278    6-13   .462    98  2.6

 Larry Drew II……. 37   20-56   .357    6-26   .231    7-17   .412    53  1.4

 Ginyard, Marcus…..  3    1-4    .250    0-0    .000    2-4    .500     4  1.3

 J.B. Tanner……… 20    8-19   .421    5-14   .357    2-6    .333    23  1.2

 Patrick Moody……. 20    7-12   .583    0-0    .000    8-13   .615    22  1.1

 Mike Copeland……. 16    4-16   .250    0-2    .000    5-5   1.000    13  0.8

 Justin Watts…….. 26    7-31   .226    0-6    .000    3-7    .429    17  0.7

 Jack Wooten……… 19    4-11   .364    1-5    .200    1-4    .250    10  0.5

 Campbell, Marc…… 19    1-2    .500    0-1    .000    2-2   1.000     4  0.2

 Total…………… 37 1177-2448 .481  259-670  .387  711-943  .754  3324 89.8

 Opponents……….. 37  991-2413 .411  267-791  .338  414-598  .692  2663 72.0

 

                                   REBOUNDS

 TOTALS               GP   MIN  OFF  DEF  TOT   PF  FO    A   TO  A/TO  HI

 ————————————————————————-

 Tyler Hansbrough…. 33   995  102  167  269   74   1   32   61   0.5  34

 Lawson, Ty………. 34  1011   23   77  100   59   0  224   65   3.4  25

 Wayne Ellington….. 37  1120   55  127  182   55   0  101   62   1.6  34

 Danny Green……… 37  1016   68  107  175   79   2  100   61   1.6  26

 Deon Thompson……. 37   920   70  143  213   81   1   26   46   0.6  22

 Ed Davis………… 37   702   81  161  242   70   1   22   40   0.6  15

 Will Graves……… 20   224   22   29   51   32   0   15   23   0.7  10

 Tyler Zeller…….. 14   116   11   18   29   19   0    3    8   0.4  18

 Frasor, Bobby……. 37   639   22   52   74   49   0   53   26   2.0   9

 Larry Drew II……. 37   360    5   36   41   36   0   74   45   1.6   5

 Ginyard, Marcus…..  3    37    6    2    8    5   0    4    3   1.3   3

 J.B. Tanner……… 20    44    2    5    7    4   0    1    1   1.0   9

 Patrick Moody……. 20    43    4   11   15    7   0    0    3   0.0   6

 Mike Copeland……. 16    41    4    9   13    8   0    1    2   0.5   5

 Justin Watts…….. 26    84    6   13   19    6   0    5    9   0.6   9

 Jack Wooten……… 19    37    0    5    5    1   0    2    2   1.0   4

 Campbell, Marc…… 19    36    1    3    4    2   0    9    7   1.3   2

 Total…………… 37  7425  545 1017 1562  587   5  672  465   1.4 116

 Opponents……….. 37  7425  481  834 1315  757   –  505  584   0.9  92

 

 

 TEAM STATISTICS                    NC          OPP

 ————————————————–

 SCORING……………..         3324         2663

   Points per game…….         89.8         72.0

   Scoring margin……..        +17.9            –

 FIELD GOALS-ATT………    1177-2448     991-2413

   Field goal pct……..         .481         .411

 3 POINT FG-ATT……….      259-670      267-791

   3-point FG pct……..         .387         .338

   3-pt FG made per game.          7.0          7.2

 FREE THROWS-ATT………      711-943      414-598

   Free throw pct……..         .754         .692

   F-Throws made per game         19.2         11.2

 REBOUNDS…………….         1562         1315

   Rebounds per game…..         42.2         35.5

   Rebounding margin…..         +6.7            –

 ASSISTS……………..          672          505

   Assists per game……         18.2         13.6

 TURNOVERS……………          465          584

   Turnovers per game….         12.6         15.8

   Turnover margin…….         +3.2            –

   Assist/turnover ratio.          1.4          0.9

 STEALS………………          316          265

   Steals per game…….          8.5          7.2

 BLOCKS………………          196          162

   Blocks per game…….          5.3          4.4

 ATTENDANCE…………..       315519       365800

   Home games-Avg/Game…     15-21035     10-12040

   Neutral site-Avg/Game.            –     12-20450

 

 SCORE BY PERIODS:           1st  2nd   OT    Total

 ————————-  —- —- —-     —-

 North Carolina………..  1646 1669    9  –  3324

 Opponents…………….  1259 1392   12  –  2663

 

 

Player Matchups

Point Guard

Michigan State: Kalin Lucas

North Carolina: Ty Lawson

 

Lawson is the best point guard in the nation, but Lucas isn’t totally outmanned in this matchup.  Lucas is probably one of the top five point guards in the nation.

 

Lawson’s advantage here is small.  Expect a great matchup at this most important position.

 

Shooting Guard

Michigan State: Travis Walton

North Carolina: Wayne Ellington

 

Walton is the best defensive player from the Big 10, but stopping Ellington will not beat North Carolina.  Ellington may be held under 10 points, but North Carolina can win nine times out of ten when he scores in single digits.

 

We’ll give another slight advantage to North Carolina

 

Small Forward

Michigan State: Raymar Morgan

North Carolina: Danny Green

 

If Morgan plays as well as he did Saturday, then he should outpace Green.  Green is at a size disadvantage against Morgan, and Morgan has the speed and quickness to stay with Green all night.

 

We give Michigan State the advantage.

 

Power Forward

Michigan State: Delvin Roe

North Carolina: Deon Thompson

 

This will be an interesting matchup.  Thompson has the better moves around the basket, but Roe has the better power game.  It will be a study in contrasts. 

 

If North Carolina gets their offense running and gunning, Roe will have a tough time contributing on the defensive board.

 

An ever so slight advantage goes to Michigan State here.

 

Center

Michigan State: Goran Suton

North Carolina: Tyler Hansbrough

 

There haven’t been many classic matchups between two future NBA centers and major contributors in the NCAA Championship Game’s last 30 years (such as Rick Robey vs. Mike Gmisnki in 1978, Sam Perkins vs. Patrick Ewing in 1982, and Ewing vs. Akeem Olajuwon in 1984).  This one looks like one of those few exceptions.

 

We believe that Suton will slow Hansbrough inside and force him to take several shots from outside his comfort zone.  Meanwhile, Suton will try to force Hansbrough to guard some from outside the low post area.

 

Hansbrough’s advantage is not that large.  Suton missed the first game between these two teams, so his presence will mean a major turnaround from the earlier game.

 

Bench Play

Michigan State

Chris Allen

Durrell Summers

Marquise Gray

Draymond Green

 

North Carolina

Ed Davis

Bobby Frasor

Larry Drew, Jr.

 

If Davis and Frasor have good games, this could be enough to throw the game in North Carolina’s favor.  It’s not that these two guys will have to dominate to tilt the game, it’s that they will allow the Tar Heels to either make a run or play more consistently

 

Michigan State has a numbers’ advantage, but with the extra length of TV timeouts, this game will not require subs entering games.

 

A small advantage goes to North Carolina

 

PiRate Criteria see articles from the week of March 16-18 for explanation of this statistical formula

 

North Carolina had the second best criteria score of the 65 teams in the field, so the Tar Heels were selected to make it all the way to the last game.

 

Michigan State did not qualify as a superior team, but the Spartans have home court advantage of about three points.  Combined with a criteria score of seven, it gives them an opportunity to be there at the end with a chance to win.

 

The strengths of schedule are nearly equal, as Michigan State gets one additional point here.

 

Prediction

We believe this game will be close and the lead will never be all that large for either team.  Michigan State will desire to make this a lower possession game, while North Carolina will try to make it a game of race horse basketball.  The Spartans will crash the offensive glass, and that will limit the Tar Heels’ fast breaking opportunities.

 

When all is said and done, North Carolina has too many weapons to ever pick against them. 

 

North Carolina 74 Michigan State 69

April 4, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Final Four: Semifinal Round–April 4, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Final Four

The Semifinals

 April 4, 2009

 

Ford Field: Detroit

 

Many basketball purists believe that the NCAA Tournament Semifinal is the top ticket in all of sports.  While we would argue that any ticket to a Green Bay Packers game would top it, this is the only time the top four teams in any sport meet on the same court back-to-back.

 

At Detroit’s Ford Field Saturday, there’s a good chance that the teams in the home uniforms will win more games in four hours than the regular tenant of the building won all season.  We know that’s a stab at the division rival Lions, but we had to do it.

 

For what it’s worth, our record through the first four rounds is 45-15.

 

Here is a guide for the two semifinal games.  We hope you have fun.

 

Note: Team info courtesy of the four schools’ official athletic websites

 

Game 1

Connecticut Huskies (31-4) vs. Michigan State Spartans (30-6)

Tip Time: 6:07 PM EDT

 

Rosters

 

Connecticut Huskies

 

NO NAME HT/WT POSITION YR/CLASS HOMETOWN

4

Adrien, Jeff 6-7/243 Forward SR Brookline, Mass.

24

Austrie, Craig 6-3/176 Guard SR Stamford, Conn.

55

Bailey, Kyle 6-3/170 Guard SO Lancaster, N.H.

2

Beverly, Donnell 6-4/190 Guard SO Hawthorne, Calif.

10

Bird, Johnnie 6-0/165 Guard SR Fort Bragg, N.C.

11

Dyson, Jerome 6-3/180 Guard JR Rockville, Md.

33

Edwards, Gavin 6-9/230 Forward/Center JR Gilbert, Ariz.

30

Haralson, Scottie 6-4/215 Guard FR Jackson, Miss.

13

Hornat, Alex 6-5/205 Forward JR South Windsor, Conn.

45

Lindner, John 6-5/265 Forward SR Cheshire, Conn.

32

Mandeldove, Jonathan 6-11/220 Center JR Stone Mountain, Ga.

35

Okwandu, Charles 7-1/255 Center SO Lagos, Nigeria

12

Price, A.J. 6-2/190 Guard SR Amityville, N.Y.

21

Robinson, Stanley 6-9/220 Forward SO Birmingham, Ala.

34

Thabeet, Hasheem 7-3/265 Center JR Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

40

Veronick, Jim 6-8/200 Forward SR Durham, Conn.

15

Walker, Kemba 6-1/172 Guard FR Bronx, N.Y.

 

 
Coaches
 
Jim Calhoun – Head Coach
George Blaney – Assistant Coach
Andre LaFleur – Assistant Coach
Patrick Sellers – Assistant Coach
Beau Archibald – Director of Operations

 

 

 

Michigan State Spartans

 

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Year Hometown/High School

00

Ibok, Idong 6-11 260 C RS SR Lagos, Nigeria/Montverde (Fla.) Academy

1

Lucas, Kalin 6-0 180 G SO Sterling Heights, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

2

Morgan, Raymar 6-8 225 F JR Canton, Ohio/McKinley

3

Allen, Chris 6-3 205 G SO Lawrenceville, Ga./Meadowcreek

5

Walton, Travis 6-2 190 G SR Lima, Ohio/Lima Senior

10

Roe, Delvon 6-8 225 F FR Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward

13

Thornton, Austin 6-5 210 G RS FR Sand Lake, Mich./Cedar Springs

14

Suton, Goran 6-10 245 C RS SR Lansing, Mich./Everett

15

Summers, Durrell 6-4 195 G SO Detroit, Mich./Redford Covenant Christian

20

Kebler, Mike 6-4 200 G SO Okemos, Mich./Okemos

22

Dahlman, Isaiah 6-6 200 G JR Braham, Minn./Braham Area

23

Green, Draymond 6-6 235 F FR Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw

25

Crandell, Jon 6-8 225 F JR Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams

34

Lucious, Korie 5-11 170 G FR Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI

40

Herzog, Tom 7-0 240 C RS SO Flint, Mich./Powers

41

Gray, Marquise 6-8 235 F RS SR Flint, Mich./Beecher

 

 
Coaches
 
Tom Izzo – Head Coach
Mark Montgomery – Associate Head Coach
Dwayne Stephens – Assistant Coach
Mike Garland – Assistant Coach
Jordan Ott – Video Coordinator
Richard Bader – Director of Basketball Operations
 

 

 

 

 

Player Matchups

 

Ppg=points per game, rpg=rebounds per game, bpg=blocks per game, apg=assists per game, spg=steals per game, fg%=field goal percentage, 3pt= 3-point percentage, ft%=free throw percentage, mpg=minutes per game

 

Point Guard

Connecticut: A.J. Price (6-2, 190 Sr.)-14.7 ppg/3.4 rpg/40.3% 3pt/71.2% ft/4.8 apg

 

Michigan State: Kalin Lucas (6-0, 180 So.)-14.6 ppg/2.2 rpg/38.8% 3pt/81.4% ft/4.6 apg

 

This position is the reason why both teams made it this far.  Both players are 4-star leaders.  Their stats are similar, but the differences are Price’s experience and the fact that he compiled these stats in addition to leading the Huskies while Lucas is more of the go-to guy.

 

We give a slight advantage to UConn here.

 

Shooting Guard

Connecticut: Craig Austrie (6-3, 176 Sr.)-7.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 80.5% ft, 2.3 apg

 

Michigan State: Travis Walton (6-2, 190 Sr.)-5.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg

 

While Walton is one of the top defensive guards in the nation, stopping Austrie won’t shut the Huskie offense down.  He should be able to supply extra help defense though, and that should make up for his inability to shoot from outside or at the foul line.

 

Austrie has had some hot nights, but that isn’t required of him for his team to make it to Monday night.

                                                                 

We’ll give an ever so slight advantage to MSU.

 

Small Forward

Connecticut: Stanley Robinson (6-9, 220 So.)-8.2 ppg/5.7 rpg/49.5% fg

 

Michigan State: Delvin Roe (6-8, 225 Fr.)-5.8 ppg/5.0 rpg/56.5% fg

 

This is a tough one to figure out.  Neither player plays consistently.  If both play a good game, it will be close to a wash.  Roe cannot hit the broad side of a barn from the foul line, but Robinson is basically an in-close shooter with no real range.

 

We’re going to call this one a stand-off but with high deviation.  Either player could have a big game or disappear.

 

Power Forward

Connecticut: Jeff Adrien (6-7, 243 Sr.)-13.7 ppg/10.0 rpg/50.5% fg/1.1 bpg

 

Michigan State: Raymar Morgan (6-8, 225 Jr.)-10.2 ppg/5.3 rpg/52.5% fg/1.2 apg

 

Morgan has not had a great game in March.  He is not a great defender nor a dominant rebounder for his position.

 

Adrien plays much like Wes Unseld used to play.  He stops the opponent in the hot shooting area, and he punishes any opponent who dares try to rebound the ball in his area. 

 

We’ll give UConn a hefty advantage here.

 

Center

Connecticut: Hasheem Thabeet (7-3, 265 Jr.)-13.5 ppg/10.9 rpg/4.3 bpg/64.9% fg

 

Michigan State: Goran Suton (6-10, 245 Sr.)-10.4 ppg/8.4 rpg/51.6% fg/

 

Both players are prone to getting into foul trouble, but Thabeet is the more likely to foul out of a game.  Thabeet is a Bill Russell type player.  Unless another Wilt Chamberlain is opposing him, he is going to dominate the inside-as long as he is in the game and not sitting on the bench with foul concerns.

 

Suton doesn’t have the flashy numbers of his adversary, but he is a workhorse inside and won’t back down to Thabeet even though he is giving away five inches.  Suton plays strong defense.

 

In a surprise, we’re going to call this one a wash.

 

Bench Play

Connecticut

Kemba Walker (6-1, 172 Fr. G)-9.0 ppg/3.5 rpg/74.6% ft/1.1 spg/2.9 apg/25 mpg

 

Gavin Edwards (6-9, 230 Jr. F/C)-3.9 ppg/2.9 rpg/63.3% fg/74.5% ft/12 mpg

 

Michigan State

Chris Allen (6-3, 205 So. G)-8.7 ppg/2.3 rpg/80.0% ft/19 mpg

 

Durrell Summers (6-4, 195 So. G)-8.4 ppg/3.3 rpg/21 mpg

 

Marquise Gray (6-8, 235 Sr. F)-3.3 ppg/2.9 rpg/58.7% fg/10 mpg

 

Draymond Green (6-6, 235 Fr. F)-3.1 ppg/3.2 rpg/53.3% fg/11 mpg

 

Connecticut basically goes just seven deep since Jerome Dyson was lost 24 games into the season.  The two bench players are better than any two bench players for the Spartans.  However, MSU has great depth.  The Spartans can wear down the best opponents and still have something in the tank at the end of games. 

 

Edwards may have to play serious minutes in the paint if Thabeet picks up too many early fouls.

 

We’ll call this a win-win comparison.  UConn has the better seven deep bench, but MSU has the better depth by far.  Overall, give a slight edge to the Spartans.

 

PiRate Criteria see articles from the week of March 16-18 for explanation of this statistical formula

 

Connecticut qualifies as one of the elite team with statistical data similar to many previous title holders.  Michigan State just barely fails to qualify with 7 total criteria points.  Of course, we must look at both strength of schedule and implied home court advantage.  MSU’s schedule was about two points per game stronger than UConn’s.  You can also add about three points home court advantage for the Spartans playing just over an hour away from campus.

 

Prediction

We are supposed to go with the criteria in virtually every game, and it would be hard to pick against Connecticut.  We think this is going to be a whale of a ball game.  Connecticut gives up just 37.6% shooting to opponents and blocks eight shots per game.

 

Michigan State gives up just 63 points per game and 41.4% shooting to opponents.  The Spartans are the dominant rebounding team in the land with an advantage of almost 10 per contest.  That advantage will be neutralized because UConn is just a hair behind at +9.2 per game. 

 

We expect the Huskies to stake themselves to the early lead and pad it a bit to the halfway point of the final period.  Then, the fatigue factor will begin to creep in.  At this point, Michigan State will mount a rally.  Connecticut will gain a second wind at the end and hold the Spartans at bay in the crucial time of this game.  Then, it will be up to the Huskies to hit their foul shots at the end of the game.  UConn hits 68% from the charity stripe.  It’s not great, but we believe Coach Jim Calhoun’s squad will advance to their third ever national title game.

 

Connecticut 67 Michigan State 63

 

 

Game 2

North Carolina Tar Heels (32-4) vs. Villanova Wildcats (30-7)

Tip Time: 30 minutes following the end of the

Connecticut-Michigan State Game

Approximately 8:47 PM EDT

 

Rosters

 

North Carolina Tar Heels

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Hometown (High School)
1 Marcus Ginyard 6-5 220 G/F SR Alexandria, Va. (Bishop O’Connell)
2 Marc Campbell 5-11 175 G JR Wilmington, N.C. (Ravenscroft)
4 Bobby Frasor 6-3 210 G SR Blue Island, Ill. (Brother Rice)
5 Ty Lawson 5-11 195 G JR Clinton, Md. (Oak Hill Academy (Va.))
11 Larry Drew II 6-1 180 G FR Encino, Calif. (Woodland Hills Taft)
13 Will Graves 6-6 245 F/G SO Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley)
14 Danny Green 6-6 210 F/G SR North Babylon, N.Y. (St. Mary’s)
15 J.B. Tanner 6-0 185 G SR Hendersonville, N.C. (West Henderson)
21 Deon Thompson 6-8 245 F JR Torrance, Calif. (Torrance)
22 Wayne Ellington 6-4 200 G JR Wynnewood, Pa. (The Episcopal Academy)
24 Justin Watts 6-4 205 G FR Durham, N.C. (Jordan)
30 Jack Wooten 6-2 190 G SR Burlington, N.C. (Williams)
32 Ed Davis 6-10 215 F FR Richmond, Va. (Benedictine)
35 Patrick Moody 6-4 195 F SR Asheville, N.C. (T.C. Roberson)
40 Mike Copeland 6-7 235 F SR Winston-Salem, N.C. (R.J. Reynolds)
44 Tyler Zeller 7-0 220 F FR Washington, Ind. (Washington)
50 Tyler Hansbrough 6-9 250 F SR Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Poplar Bluff)

 

 
Coaching Staff
 
Roy Williams – Head Coach
Joe Holladay – Assistant Coach
Steve Robinson – Assistant Coach
C.B. McGrath – Assistant Coach
Jerod Haase – Director of Basketball Operations
Chris Hirth – Head Athletic Trainer
Eric Hoots – Video Coordinator
Jonas Sahratian – Strength & Conditioning Coordinator

 

 

Villanova Wildcats

 

No. Name Pos. Cl. (EXP) Ht. Wt. Hometown High School

0

Antonio Pena Forward RS SO (2L) 6-8 235 Brooklyn, N.Y. St. Thomas More

1

Scottie Reynolds Guard JR (2L) 6-2 190 Herndon, Va. Herndon

4

Jason Colenda Guard JR (1L)   205 Fairfax, Va. Bishop O’Connell

10

Corey Fisher Guard SO (1L) 6-1 200 Bronx, N.Y. St. Patrick’s (N.J.)

15

Reggie Redding Guard JR (2L) 6-5 205 Philadelphia, Pa. St. Joseph’s Prep

20

Shane Clark Forward SR (3L) 6-7 205 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy

21

Maurice Sutton Forward/Center FR 6-11 215 Upper Marlboro, Md. Largo

22

Dwayne Anderson Guard/Forward SR (3L) 6-6 215 Silver Spring, Md. St. Thomas More

23

Russell Wooten Forward JR 6-4 210 Chula Vista, Calif. St. Augustine

24

Corey Stokes Guard SO (1L) 6-5 220 Bayonne, N.J. St. Benedict’s

31

Taylor King Forward RS FR 6-6 230 Huntington Beach, Cal. Santa Ana Mater Dei

33

Dante Cunningham Forward SR (3L) 6-8 230 Silver Spring, Md. Potomac

42

Frank Tchuisi Forward SR (3L) 6-8 215 Douala, Cameroon St. Benedict’s

 

 
Coaches

Jay Wright-Head Coach

Patrick Chambers-Associate Head Coach

Doug West-Assistant Coach

Jason Donnelly-Assistant Coach

Keith Urgo-Manager of Basketball Operations

Kyle Neptune-Administrative Intern

Jeff Pierce-Head Athletic Trainer

Lon Record-Strength Coach

 

Player Matchups

 

Point Guard

North Carolina: Ty Lawson (5-11, 195 Jr.)-16.3 ppg/2.8 rpg/54.2% fg/48.5% 3pt/81.5% ft/6.5 apg/2.0 spg

 

Villanova: Scottie Reynolds (6-2, 190 Jr.)-15.2 ppg/2.8 rpg/35.3% 3pt/81.7% ft/3.3 apg/1.6spg

 

What can’t Ty Lawson do?  He is the best outside shooter in the Final Four.  He can penetrate and either take it to the hoop or dish the rock for an easy shot.  He can play defense better than any other guard.  He can also shoot craps better than anybody on the Canadian-American border.

 

Reynolds is the reason VU made it this far.  It was his buzzer beater that knocked Pittsburgh out of the Dance.  He has a good offensive game, but he cannot handle Lawson.

 

North Carolina receives a huge advantage here.

 

Shooting Guard

North Carolina: Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200 Jr.)-15.6 ppg/4.8 rpg/48.0% fg/39.7% 3pt/77.8% ft/2.7 apg

 

Villanova: Reggie Redding (6-5, 205 Jr.)-6.9 ppg/5.0 rpg/70% ft/3.1 apg/1.2 spg

 

Ellington is a streaky outside shooter.  When his shot is falling, North Carolina cannot be defeated. 

 

Redding is VU’s defensive sparkplug who gives the Wildcats a fourth inside presence.  He had yet to meet an opponent as talented as Ellington though.

 

We give North Carolina the advantage here, but it is not strong.

 

Small Forward

North Carolina: Danny Green (6-6, 210 Sr.)-13.3 ppg/4.8 rpg/47.3% fg/41.5% 3pt/85.2% ft/2.8 apg/1.3 bpg/1.8 spg

 

Villanova: Dwayne Anderson (6-6, 215 Sr.)-9.1 ppg/2.8 rpg/46.0% fg/83.9% ft/1.4 apg/1.6 spg

 

Green can do a little of everything, but he isn’t a go-to player.  Anderson is similar to Green, just not as talented.

 

North Carolina has a small advantage here as well.

 

Power Forward

North Carolina: Deon Thompson (6-8, 245 Jr.)-10.7 ppg/5.8 rpg/49.8% fg/1.1 bpg/1.0 spg

 

Villanova: Dante Cunningham (6-8, 230 Sr.)-16.2 ppg/7.4 rpg/52.9% fg/1.2 apg/1.3 bpg/1.2 spg

 

Thompson is North Carolina’s least talented starter, but that is not a slap in his face.  He’s just not the star that the other four starters are.  There have been times when Thompson has come up with big plays.

 

Cunningham is Villanova’s key weapon.  As he goes, so go the Wildcats.  VU’s only chance at getting to Monday night’s game is for him to have a Danny Manning/Jack Givens moment.  We doubt that will happen, but he should have a good, if not great game.

 

Villanova has a decided edge here.

 

Center

North Carolina: Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 250 Sr.)-20.9 ppg/8.1 rpg/52.1% fg/85.8% ft/1.2 spg

 

Villanova: Shane Clark (6-7, 205 Jr.)-5.6 ppg/3.8 rpg/48.0% fg

 

Clark is a hard-nosed defensive stopper, but he cannot stop his opponent.  The top relief pitcher in baseball couldn’t consistently keep Babe Ruth from hitting one into the seats, and that’s why it will take two or two and a half defenders to keep Hansbrough from beating Villanova.

 

Hansbrough is like a loyal employee who always shows up for work on time, always does his job as well as helping others, and never complains when he doesn’t get a raise.  He may not be the most naturally talented big man in Tar Heel lore (James Worthy-Sam Perkins-Tom Lagarde-Bob McAdoo, etc.)

 

North Carolina has a major advantage here.

 

Bench Play

North Carolina

Ed Davis (6-10, 215 Fr. F)-6.6 ppg/6.6 rpg/51.4% fg/1.8 bpg/19 mpg

 

Bobby Frasor (6-3, 210 Sr. G)-2.7 ppg/1.9 rpg/1.4 apg/17 mpg

 

Villanova

Corey Fisher (6-1, 200 So. G)-10.7 ppg/2.2 rpg/78.8% ft/2.8 apg/1.3 spg/24 mpg

 

Corey Stokes (6-5, 220 So. G)-9.5 ppg/3.4 rpg/84.8% ft/1.0 apg/23 mpg

 

Antonio Pena (6-8, 235 So. F)-5.3 ppg/4.2 rpg/48.5% fg/18 mpg

 

While neither team can go 10-deep, the reserves that do play are good enough to start for most teams.  In Villanova’s case, the two Coreys are really starters and not reserves.  They enter the game after the opening tip, but they play the bulk of the minutes at their positions.

 

North Carolina’s Davis is a future NBA player as soon as he can add some bulk.  Frasor is the type of pesty player who can stick the dagger in the opposing team with a well-timed trey after the defense has played competently for 25-30 seconds.

 

We’ll call this a wash.

 

PiRate Criteria

North Carolina had the second best criteria score of the 65 teams in the field, so the Tar Heels were selected to make it all the way to the last game.

 

Villanova has teetered on the brink of qualifying as a superior team.  After the regional semifinal and final rounds, the Wildcats statistical gains have elevated their criteria score to 11, which now gives them superior status.  Still, they trail UNC by six in this category.

 

The strengths of schedule are nearly equal, as UNC gets one additional point here.

 

Prediction

North Carolina is clearly the better team.  It doesn’t mean Villanova has no chance, because a really good team can defeat a great team under certain conditions.

 

We believe this game will remain close throughout the first half, and Villanova could go to the locker room with a small lead.  The Tar Heels have too many quality options for the entire roster to have an off game.  Coach Roy Williams will figure out how to get his hot players the ball in the second half, and UNC will go on a run and put this game away by taking a double digit lead in the final 12 minutes. 

 

North Carolina 78 Villanova 66

 

Tune in here Sunday Night for a preview of the Championship Game.

March 27, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament: The Elite 8–March 28-29, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Elite 8

 March 28-29, 2009

 

We’ve decided to combine the Saturday and Sunday games into one blog since this is being compiled late Friday night after the games have ended.

 

It’s not quite the Big East Tournament part two, but it looks like there will be two and as many as three Big East teams headed to Detroit.

 

Our Sweet 16 picking brought an end to our chances of hitting the national champion for a fourth consecutive season.  We missed that pick, although we did mention that we thought Missouri should be the true favorite in that game and that they could easily run out to a quick double-digit lead in the game.  We also must admit that our mentor and originator of this blog told us to watch Missouri knock Memphis out, and we didn’t listen as much as we should have.

 

So, which teams left in the tournament still possess all the PiRate Criteria necessary to win it all?  In the East, Pitt easily qualifies.  Villanova now qualifies if you factor in their win over Duke, since their points per game margin reached 10.0 following the easy win.  In the Southeast, North Carolina qualifies, but Oklahoma just misses.  In the Midwest, Louisville qualifies but not Michigan State.  In the West, Connecticut and Missouri both qualify.  Seven of the eight remaining teams qualify, and the one that misses does so by a mere one point. 

 

Of the original 11 teams we listed as super teams possessing the statistical criteria similar to past champions, five have made it to the Elite 8 round. 

 

Our record for the Sweet 16 was just 5-3, bringing the three round total to 43-13.

 

 

(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]

 

East Region @ Boston

 

Pittsburgh (14) vs. Villanova (9) [Pittsburgh 2]

Game Time: Saturday, 7:00 PM EDT

These teams played just once during the regular season with Villanova winning by 10 at home.  In that game, Pitt’s Dejuan Blair sat on the bench with foul trouble for much of the night.

 

With Blair staying out of foul trouble this time, we think the Panthers will advance to their first Final Four.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 72 Villanova 64

 

South Region @ Memphis

 

North Carolina (17) vs. Oklahoma (9) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Sunday, 5:00 PM EDT

What a great match between two dominant big men we have here!  Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin are two of the top five college players in the game. 

 

Griffin may end up with the better numbers in this game, but Hansbrough has a much better supporting cast.  The Tar Heels will advance yet again to another Final Four.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 85 Oklahoma 73

 

Midwest Region @ Indianapolis

 

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

Game Time: Sunday, 2:20 PM EDT

The Two games on this side of the bracket provide us with great studies in contrast.  A quick, full-court team will take on an inside banger team that has some decent outside shooting.

 

Four of Louisville’s five losses came to teams that can bang the ball inside and get plenty of offensive rebounds.  Connecticut, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and UNLV all play a game similar to Michigan State.  The Spartans are capable of holding the Cardinals under 45% shooting and take 55% of the rebounds.  Capable yes, but we don’t think it will happen.  Rick Pitino will guide UL back to the Final Four.

 

Prediction: Louisville 70 Michigan State 63

 

West Region @ Glendale, AZ

 

Connecticut (14) vs. Missouri (12) [Connecticut 1]

Game Time: Saturday, 4:30 PM EDT

We think this will be the best game of the four in this round.  Missouri looked every bit as good as the 1994 Arkansas team that won the NCAA Championship, a team with current Tiger coach Mike Anderson on the bench as an assistant.

 

On the other hand, UConn looks every bit as good if not better than the two Husky teams that won national titles.

 

We don’t think Mizzou will be able to force all that many turnovers in this game, and if they only pick up 8-10 steals, it will not be enough.  They need 12-15 steals to have a chance to win this game.

 

Connecticut’s inside game will be too strong for MU, and we think it will force the Tigers into foul trouble. 

 

Prediction: Connecticut 86 Missouri 74

March 25, 2009

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

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Sweet 16

 March 26-27, 2009

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]

 

East Region @ Boston

 

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

Game Time: Thursday, 7:27 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 74 Xavier 64

 

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

Game Time: Thursday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Duke 77 Villanova 70

 

South Region @ Memphis

 

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

Game Time: Friday, 7:27 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Oklahoma 82 Syracuse 75

 

 

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

Game Time: Friday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: North Carolina 85 Gonzaga 74

 

Midwest Region @ Indianapolis

 

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

Game Time: Friday, 7:07 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Louisville 69 Arizona 64

 

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

Game Time: Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Kansas 72 Michigan State 67

 

West Region @ Glendale, AZ

 

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

Game Time: Thursday, 7:07 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73 Purdue 60

 

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

Game Time: Thursday, Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prediction: Memphis 77 Missouri 75

 

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

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