The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 1, 2012

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Preview

Welcome back to the PiRate Ratings’ Bracketnomics.  A quick tutorial about Bracketnomics:  We have studied numerous statistical factors of all Final Four Teams from the 1950’s until 2011.  We isolated the statistical similarities of those teams and found certain shared statistical characteristics.  For the last eight years, we have been applying it to the NCAA teams trying to discover which ones shared these same statistics as the Final Four teams of yesteryear.  In five of the last seven years, we were pretty spot on with our selections.  For instance, in 2009, whenKentucky,Kansas, andOhioStatewere listed as the heavy tri-favorites, our system showed Duke to be the top-rated team.  We went with Duke even though the Blue Devils were not being highly considered.  Now admittedly, we did not seeButlercoming through to the Finals that year, or last year either, but we did rateButleras one to watch to get to the Elite 8.

If you want all the details behind our PiRate Criteria Score, please refer to our Bracketnomics 505, 2012 edition at: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/bracketnomics-505-2012-edition/

 

2012 PiRate Ratings Final Four Preview—Championship Game

Monday, April 2, 2012, 9:23 PM EDT

The Superdome—New Orleans

CBS Television—Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, and Steve Kerr

 

#1S Kentucky Wildcats (37-2) vs. #2MW Kansas Jayhawks (32-6)

Las Vegas Line: Kentucky by 6 ½

Over/Under: 137

 

In our founder’s lifetime, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have met in the World Series four times (1963, 1977, 1978, and 1981), splitting them two titles apiece.  The two greatest franchises have not gone to a seventh game since 1956.

 

This is what the sports public gets to enjoy Monday night.  Kansas and Kentucky are the two most fabled basketball powers in the NCAA.  However, this is the first time the Jayhawks and Wildcats have met in the National Championship.

 

The game’s inventor, James Naismith was Kansas’s first head coach.  He turned the reins over to Phog Allen.  Allen led KU to the voted National Championship in 1922 and 1923.  One of his players on those teams was Adolph Rupp.

 

Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Kansas Coach Bill Self have a history.  Self’s lone National Championship came over Calipari in his lone appearance in the finals when Kansas came from behind to beat Memphis 75-68 in overtime. 

 

We expect this game to rival that one in excitement.  If you are a basketball fan, this game should be one you will definitely watch. 

 

These teams met at Madison Square Garden on November 15, and Kentucky won 75-65.  After battling to a 28-28 tie, Kentucky scored 11 consecutive points on a layup by Jones, a dunk by Davis, a dunk by Jones, a three-pointer by Teague, and a two-point jumper by Teague, in a three-minute stretch.  The Wildcats then pulled away to a 17-point lead and maintained a double-digit spread until the final seconds.

 

The Rosters, Scores, and Statistics

 

Kentucky Wildcats

 

No.

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Hometown (Last School)

1

Darius Miller

G

6-08

235

SR

Maysville,Ky.(MasonCounty)

3

Terrence Jones

F

6-09

252

SO

Portland,Ore.(Jefferson)

4

Jon Hood

G

6-07

215

JR

Madisonville,Ky.(North Hopkins)

5

Jarrod Polson

G

6-02

185

SO

Nicholasville,Ky.(West Jessamine)

10

Twany Beckham

G

6-05

205

JR

Louisville,Ky.(MississippiState)

12

Ryan Harrow

G

6-02

175

SO

Marietta, Ga. (N.C. State)

13

Sam Malone

G

5-11

190

FR

Scituate,Mass.(Scituate)

14

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

F

6-07

232

FR

Somerdale,N.J.(St. Patrick)

20

Doron Lamb

G

6-04

210

SO

Queens,N.Y.(OakHillAcademy)

23

Anthony Davis

F

6-10

220

FR

Chicago,Ill.(Perspectives Charter)

25

Marquis Teague

G

6-02

189

FR

Indianapolis,Ind.(Pike)

30

Eloy Vargas

F

6-11

244

SR

Moca,Dominican Republic(Miami-Dade CC)

32

Brian Long

G

5-09

150

FR

Dumont,N.J.(River Dell)

33

Kyle Wiltjer

F

6-09

239

FR

Portland,Ore.(Jesuit)
 

Coaches and Staff

 

 
 

John Calipari – Head Coach

 

 

OrlandoAntigua- Assistant Coach

 

Kenny Payne – Assistant Coach

 

John Robic – Assistant Coach

 

 

Results

 

Opponent

UK

Opp

Marist

108

58

(n)Kansas

75

65

(n)PennState

85

47

(n) Old Dominion

62

52

Radford

88

40

Portland

87

63

St. John’s

81

59

North Carolina

73

72

at Indiana

72

73

Chattanooga

87

62

Samford

82

50

Loyola (Md.)

87

63

Lamar

86

64

Louisville

69

62

(n) Arkansas-Little Rock

73

51

South Carolina

79

64

atAuburn

68

53

atTennessee

65

62

Arkansas

86

63

Alabama

77

71

atGeorgia

57

44

at L S U

74

50

Tennessee

69

44

atSouth Carolina

86

52

Florida

78

58

at Vanderbilt

69

63

Ole Miss

77

62

atMississippiState

73

64

Vanderbilt

83

74

Georgia

79

49

atFlorida

74

59

(n) L S U

60

51

(n)Florida

74

71

(n) Vanderbilt

64

71

ncaaWestern Kentucky

81

66

ncaaIowaState

87

71

ncaa Indiana

102

90

ncaa Baylor

82

70

ncaaLouisville

69

61

 

 

Statistics

Player

G-GS

Min

Avg

FG-Att

Fg%

3 FG-Att

3Pt %

Ft-Att

Ft%

Anthony Davis

39-39

1245

31.9

209-327

.639

3-20

.150

140-197

.711

Doron Lamb

39-34

1214

31.1

168-357

.471

73-157

.465

118-143

.825

Terrence Jones

37-33

1085

29.3

173-347

.499

16-48

.333

98-156

.628

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

39-38

1210

31.0

156-319

.489

13-50

.260

140-188

.745

Marquis Teague

39-39

1269

32.5

140-338

.414

24-77

.312

83-116

.716

Darius Miller

39-11

1018

26.1

141-297

.475

55-147

.374

55-69

.797

Kyle Wiltjer

39-0

458

11.7

71-161

.441

35-80

.438

22-27

.815

Sam Malone

6-0

13

2.2

3-6

.500

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

Eloy Vargas

32-1

196

6.1

12-36

.333

0-1

.000

4-13

.308

Brian Long

12-0

17

1.4

0-1

.000

0-0

.000

2-4

.500

Jarrod Polson

11-0

31

2.8

0-2

.000

0-1

.000

1-4

.250

Twany Beckham

16-0

44

2.8

0-1

.000

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

 

 

               
Kentucky

39

7800

200.0

1073-2192

.490

219-581

.377

663-917

.723

Opponents

39

7800

200.0

867-2317

.374

214-678

.316

416-599

.694

 

 

               
Player

Reb O

Reb D

Tot

F-DQ

Ast

TO

Blk

Stl

Pts

Anthony Davis

115

284

399

76-1

45

38

180

51

561

Doron Lamb

14

92

106

70-0

57

43

2

19

527

Terrence Jones

95

170

265

87-3

51

60

66

48

460

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

101

190

291

95-5

74

86

36

39

465

Marquis Teague

16

83

99

89-1

188

107

11

37

387

Darius Miller

35

69

104

85-0

82

56

11

33

392

Kyle Wiltjer

26

44

70

44-0

16

27

17

5

199

Sam Malone

0

2

2

0-0

1

4

0

0

6

Eloy Vargas

20

36

56

25-0

2

6

10

3

28

Brian Long

1

1

2

0-0

0

0

0

0

2

Jarrod Polson

0

4

4

4-0

1

5

0

2

1

Twany Beckham

2

6

8

0-0

2

1

0

1

0

Team

50

57

107

9

         
Kentucky

475

1038

1513

578-10

519

442

333

238

3028

Opponents

476

775

1251

734-x

411

457

128

212

2364

 

 

               
Player

Scoring

Rebounding

         
Anthony Davis

14.4

10.2

         
Doron Lamb

13.5

2.7

         
Terrence Jones

12.4

7.2

         
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

11.9

7.5

         
Marquis Teague

9.9

2.5

         
Darius Miller

10.1

2.7

         
Kyle Wiltjer

5.1

1.8

         
Sam Malone

1.0

0.3

         
Eloy Vargas

0.9

1.8

         
Brian Long

0.2

0.2

         
Jarrod Polson

0.1

0.4

         
Twany Beckham

0.0

0.5

         
Team    

2.8

         
Kentucky

77.6

38.8

         
Opponents

60.6

32.1

         

 

 

 

Kansas Jayhawks

 

No.       Player                           Pos      Ht         Wt        Yr         Home Town (Last Team)

0          Thomas Robinson          F          6-10      237       JR        Washington, D.C./Brewster [N.H.] Academy

1          Naadir Tharpe                G          5-11      170       FR        Worcester, Mass./Brewster [N.H.] Academy

2          Conner Teahan              G          6-06      212       SR       Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst HS

4          Justin Wesley                F          6-09      220       SO       Fort Worth, Texas/North Crowley HS/Lamar

5          Jeff Withey                    C          7-00      235       JR        San Diego, Calif./Horizon HS

10         Tyshawn Taylor             G          6-03      185       SR       Hoboken, N.J./St. Anthony HS

15         Elijah Johnson               G          6-04      195       JR        Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne HS

20         Niko Roberts                 G          5-11      175       SO       Huntington, N.Y./Saint Anthony’s HS

21         Christian Garrett            G          6-03      170       FR        Los Angeles, Calif./IMG Academy

22         Merv Lindsay                 G          6-07      195       FR        Moreno Valley, Calif./Canyon Springs High School

23         Ben McLemore              G          6-05      185       FR        St. Louis, Mo./Christian Life Center [Texas]

24         Travis Releford              G          6-06      207       JR        Kansas City, Mo./Bishop Miege HS

25         Jordan Juenemann         G          6-03      195       SR       Hays, Kan./Hays HS

31         Jamari Traylor               F          6-08      215       FR        Chicago, Ill./IMG Academy [Fla.]

40         Kevin Young                  F          6-08      185       JR        Perris, Calif./Perris High School/Loyola Marymount

 

 

Coaches

 

Bill Self – Head Coach

Joe Dooley – Assistant Coach

Kurtis Townsend – Assistant Coach

Danny Manning – Assistant Coach

 

Results

Opponent

KU

Att.

Towson

100

54

(n) Kentucky

65

75

(n)Georgetown

67

63

(n) UCLA

72

56

(n) Duke

61

68

FloridaAtlantic

77

54

South Florifa

70

42

Long Beach St.

88

80

OhioState

78

67

(n) Davidson

74

80

atSouthern Cal

63

47

Howard

89

34

North Dakota

84

58

KansasState

67

49

atOklahoma

72

61

atTexasTech

81

46

IowaState

82

73

Baylor

92

74

atTexas

69

66

TexasA&M

64

54

at Iowa State

64

72

Oklahoma

84

62

at Missouri

71

74

at Baylor

68

54

OklahomaState

81

66

atKansasState

59

53

TexasTech

83

50

atTexasA&M

66

58

Missouri

87

86

atOklahomaState

70

58

Texas

73

63

vs.TexasA&M

83

66

vs. Baylor

72

81

ncaaDetroit

65

50

ncaa Purdue

63

60

ncaaNorth CarolinaState

60

57

ncaaNorth Carolina

80

67

ncaaOhioState

64

62

 

Statistics

Player

gp-gs

min

avg

fg-fga

fg%

3fg-fga

3fg%

ft-fta

ft%

Thomas Robinson

38-38

1204

31.7

255-500

.510

7-14

.500

157-232

.677

Tyshawn Taylor

38-37

1267

33.3

218-457

.477

57-151

.377

135-196

.689

Elijah Johnson

38-37

1218

32.1

143-331

.432

66-197

.335

32-46

.696

Jeff Withey

38-38

936

24.6

111-203

.547

0-0

.000

123-155

.794

Travis Releford

38-37

1176

30.9

118-233

.506

25-78

.321

67-102

.657

Conner Teahan

38-2

801

21.1

68-186

.366

51-151

.338

26-31

.839

Kevin Young

37-0

421

11.4

47-98

.480

3-9

.333

33-49

.673

Jordan Juenemann

15-1

47

3.1

8-18

.444

1-6

.167

2-6

.333

Justin Wesley

37-0

324

8.8

17-30

.567

0-0

.000

11-26

.423

Merv Lindsay

12-0

26

2.2

5-9

.556

1-3

.333

0-1

.000

Naadir Tharpe

32-0

175

5.5

11-38

.289

6-22

.273

1-2

.500

Niko Roberts

7-0

14

2.0

0-4

.000

0-1

.000

0-2

.000

Christian Garrett

7-0

15

2.1

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

Anthony West

1-0

1

1.0

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

38

7625

200.7

1001-2107

.475

217-632

.343

587-848

.692

Opponents……

38

7625

200.7

803-2120

.379

230-680

.338

504-700

.720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Reb-O

Reb-D

Reb-Tot

Fl-DQ

a

to

blk

stl

pts

Thomas Robinson

108

338

446

105-2

71

103

34

42

674

Tyshawn Taylor

7

80

87

76-0

183

133

6

51

628

Elijah Johnson

15

109

124

91-2

135

69

2

54

384

Jeff Withey

78

160

238

95-1

28

48

136

23

345

Travis Releford

62

101

163

78-0

68

37

7

45

328

Conner Teahan

25

55

80

64-1

40

36

1

27

213

Kevin Young

52

59

111

61-0

24

29

15

20

130

Jordan Juenemann

1

7

8

4-0

2

2

1

1

19

Justin Wesley

26

33

59

69-1

1

11

14

6

45

Merv Lindsay

0

3

3

3-0

1

0

1

1

11

Naadir Tharpe

3

7

10

12-0

21

22

0

7

29

Niko Roberts

0

2

2

4-0

3

2

0

2

0

Christian Garrett

1

1

2

0-0

1

1

0

0

0

Anthony West

0

0

0

0-0

0

0

0

0

0

Team

60

40

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

438

995

1433

662-7

578

497

217

279

2808

Opponents……

407

806

1213

703-x

424

522

126

249

2340

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Scoring

Rebounding

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Robinson

17.7

11.7

 

 

 

 

 

Tyshawn Taylor

16.5

2.3

 

 

 

 

 

Elijah Johnson

10.1

3.3

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Withey

9.1

6.3

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Releford

8.6

4.3

 

 

 

 

 

Conner Teahan

5.6

2.1

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Young

3.5

3.0

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Juenemann

1.3

0.5

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Wesley

1.2

1.6

 

 

 

 

 

Merv Lindsay

0.9

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

Naadir Tharpe

0.9

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

Niko Roberts

0.0

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Garrett

0.0

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony West

0.0

0.0

 

 

 

 

 

Team

 

2.6

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

73.9

37.7

 

 

 

 

 

Opponents……

61.6

31.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

PiRate Criteria Ratings

Criteria Stat

Kentucky

Pts

Kansas

Pts

Scoring Margin

17.0

8.50

12.30

6.2

FG% Margin

11.6

5.80

9.6

4.8

Rebound Margin

6.7

4.00

5.8

3.5

TO Margin

0.4

0.20

0.6

0.3

R + T *

8.40

3.40

7.98

3.2

Schedule  Strength ^

.5768

2.70

.5898

4.0

Road W-L% #

90.5

4.50

72.7

2.5

TOTAL

UK

29.10

KU

24.5

 

 

* R+T is the PiRate Ratings’ estimate of the margin of extra scoring opportunities per game for each team.  The formula is: (Rebounding Margin) + (0.2 *  Avg. Steals Per Game) + (1.2 * Turnover Margin).  The result shows how many more scoring opportunities the team gets than its opponents.  If the R+T is 10, that means a team averages 10 more scoring opportunities per game over its opponents.

 

^ Strength of Schedule is taken from the RPI ratings from Statsheet.com.

 

# Road W-L% includes true road games and neutral site games.

 

The Position Matchups

Point Guard: UK—Marquis Teague  KU—Tyshawn Taylor

Taylor had the better night at MSG, but Teague was playing in just his second collegiate game back on November 15.  This time around, Teague is the equal of the senior Taylor.  Taylor is a little better offensively, but his advantage will be neutralized to a great extent, because he will not be able to beat Teague to the basket and score with Jones and Davis waiting to send shots into the eighth row in the stands.

 

Advantage: Draw

 

Shooting Guard: UK—Doron Lamb  KU—Elijah Johnson

Lamb is a considerably better shooter with the ability to get open.  Johnson has a tendency to take unwise shots at times, the type that can turn into Kentucky fast breaks.

 

Johnson’s edge comes as a second point guard.  KU can reverse the ball to the opposite side, and Johnson is like a second assist specialist on the floor.

 

This will be one of three big keys in this game. 

 

Advantage: Kentucky, but very slight

 

Small Forward: UK—Michael Kidd-Gilchrist  KU—Travis Releford

Kidd-Gilchrist has a 25-pound weight advantage without giving away much in quickness to Releford.  Releford is a better defensive player than Kidd-Gilchrist, but the Wildcats only need him to stay out of foul trouble and keep the perimeter defenders from ganging up on the other two big men.

 

Advantage: Kentucky, but very slight

 

Power Forward/Center: UK—Terence Jones  KU—Jeff Withey

We had to do some changing here, because Withey will be assigned to Jones and not Davis.  This is an excellent matchup, but Jones is the better player.  Withey is probably the second best shot blocker in the nation, and he could swat away three to five shots in this game, but Jones will outshine him Monday night.

 

Jones did not have a great game against Louisville, while Withey played well against Ohio State.  We believe in the law of averages and think the unknown key in this game is that Jones is sitting on one big college finale.  We’ve seen this before.  Look for Jones to be the special factor in this game.

 

Advantage: Kentucky

 

Power Forward/Center: UK—Anthony Davis  KU—Thomas Robinson

Going back to the Yankees/Dodgers analogy, this is Sandy Koufax against Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson against Steve Garvey, and Mickey Mantle against Duke Snider.

 

Davis is the best player in the nation, while Robinson is maybe number three if not number two.  Both of them will be pressing at the start, and the other key will be if one gets a couple of quick fouls.  All in all, these two future NBA stars will put on a great show for the audience, but in the end, we do not expect the game to be decided here.  Both will have good but not great games.

 

Advantage: Draw

 

Bench: UK—Darius Miller, Kyle Wiltjer, Eloy Vargas  KU—Connor Teahan, Kevin Young, Justin Wesley

 

Miller and Teahan are almost sixth starters, as they play almost as much as the starting fives on their teams.  Wiltjer and Young play about 10-12 minutes per game, while Wesley and Vargas see minutes only to spell starters that have to come out for a break.  With the longer timeouts in these games, Wesley and Vargas are not going to see much action.  In fact, Wesley did not play for the first time this season Saturday night.

 

Because none of the bench players is going to be asked to do much, there will be no advantage here.

 

Advantage: Draw

 

Coaching: UK—John Calipari  KU—Bill Self

These two successful coaches have ties to the same school, and that school is Kansas.  Calipari was an assistant at Kansas during the Larry Brown era, and when he left to move to the top assistant position at Pitt, Self replaced him in Lawrence.

 

Self also served as an assistant at his alma mater, Oklahoma State under two former Kentucky coaches—Leonard Hamilton (an assistant under Joe B. Hall) and Eddie Sutton.

 

Both coaches know their stuff.  They motivate their players to play tenacious defense and to work the ball into the paint for close-in shots.  This type of play wins in the Big Dance.

 

Advantage: Draw

 

Prediction:  We mentioned three keys in this game.  The first key is at the 2-guard position.  Lamb is the type of player that does not feel pressure.  If he gets a hot hand from outside, it will be lights out for the Jayhwaks.  Johnson has to stick to Lamb and not give him open looks.  He also has to contribute with three or more assists, meaning Kansas will be able to reverse the ball and avoid Davis inside.

 

The second key is the matchup of the two superstars.  If one gets into early foul trouble, the other will break loose and control the game.  Because the officials will know they can affect the outcome by whistling one of the two, we do not foresee this being a problem.

 

It is the third key where we believe this game will be decided.  We do not believe Withey, with help from Robinson, will be able to stop Jones.  Jones is sitting on a great game, and he has one left to prove us.  Calipari asked him to step down as the go-to guy, and he will motivate Jones to go out and prove that he can still carry the ‘Cats.

 

Only one team can beat Kentucky, and that is Kentucky.  The Wildcats will consider this a disappointing season if they lose.  They won’t.  We chose Kentucky at the start to win this tournament, and we were successful in picking three of the final four with Ohio State and Kansas.  We have to stick with the one we predicted three weeks ago.

 

Kentucky 72  Kansas 66

April 1, 2011

PiRate Ratings Final Four Viewing Guide and Preview, Saturday, April 2, 2011

UNCLE!!!  Yes, we cry uncle.  Our PiRate Criteria failed to predict a Final Four team for the first time since we began predicting for the media six years ago.  In backtests, it isolated at least one Final Four every year back to the advent of the 64-team tournament.

 

PiRate Criteria Rating in (parentheses)

All Games on CBS Television and Westwood One Radio

 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Final Four Site: Reliant Stadium, Houston

 

6:09 PM EDT—Virginia Commonwealth 28-11 (1) vs. Butler 27-9 (6)

 

Virginia Commonwealth Rams–Starters in Bold

No. Name Pos. Class Ht Wt PPG RPG Other
5 Juvonte Reddic F Fr 6-09 225 3.5 1.9 0.5 Stl, 11.2 min
10 Darius Theus G So 6-03 190 3.1 1.5 2.1 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 15.4 min
12 Joey Rodriguez G Sr 5-10 175 10.5 3.3 81.6% FT, 5.1 Ast, 1.5 Stl
20 Bradford Burgess G Jr 6-06 225 14.3 6.2 42.8% 3pt, 1.1 Stl
21 Jamie Skeen F Sr 6-09 240 15.4 7.4 51.6% FG, 1.6 Ast
23 Rob Brandenberg G Fr 6-02 170 5.1 1.7 13.9 min
30 Troy Daniels G So 6-04 195 2.1 0.8 26 G, 4.8 min
31 Toby Veal F Jr 6-08 235 2.4 2.2 29 G, 9.9 min
32 Brandon Rozzell G Sr 6-02 185 11.8 2.3 40.4% 3pt, 1.5 Ast. 1.4 Stl
33 D. J. Haley C Fr 7-00 250 1.1 1.6 53.1% FG, 7.8 min
34 David Hinton F So 6-09 235 0.7 0.2 18 G, 3.7 min
50 Ed Nixon G Sr 6-04 210 7.1 2.6 1.9 Ast, 1.2 Stl
     
Head Coach Shaka Smart  
Assistant Will Wade  
Assistant Mike Rhoades  
Assistant Mike Jones  
     
Team Stats VCU Opp  
Points Per Game 71.8 66.7  
Field Goal % 43.6 44.4  
3-point % 37.0 33.5  
FT % 71.6 67.4  
Rebounds Per Game 32.3 36.1  
Turnovers Per Game 11.3 14.7  
Steals Per Game 8.3    
R + T (*) 2.97        
SOS 55    
Road Win % 68    
PiRate Criteria # 1    
 

(*) R+T= [R+({.2S}*{1.2T})], where R is reb. margin, T=Turnover margin, S=Steals per game

If turnover margin is negative, then adjust it to: R+T= [R+({.2S}+{1.2T})]

 

Butler Bulldogs–Starters in Bold
No. Name Pos. Class Ht Wt PPG RPG Other
1 Shelvin Mack G Jr 6-03 215 15.9 4.3 3.6 Ast
2 Shawn Vanzant G Sr 6-00 172 8.1 3.2 42.0% 3-pt, 1.7 Ast
3 Zach Hahn G Sr 6-01 176 5.0 1.1 85.7% FT
4 Erik Fromm F Fr 6-09 220 0.8 0.5 26 G, 3.4 min
5 Ronald Nored G Jr 6-00 174 5.3 3.1 2.5 Ast, 1.2 Stl, A+ defender
11 Alex Anglin G/F Sr 6-05 177 0.7 0.7 18 G, 4.3 min
20 Chrishawn Hopkins G Fr 6-01 165 1.6 0.5 20 G, 6.1 min
22 Grant Leiendecker G Sr 6-05 182 1.2 0.3 15 G, 2.3 min
23 Khyle Marshall F Fr 6-07 210 5.9 3.8 52.4% FG, 15.2 min
30 Emerson Kampen C So 6-09 189 0.0 0.1 15 G, 1.9 min
32 Garrett Butcher F Jr 6-07 209 1.6 1.3 29 G, 7.4 min
33 Chase Stigall G So 6-04 195 3.9 1.7 16.3 min
44 Andrew Smith C So 6-11 239 8.8 5.4 62.1% FG
54 Matt Howard F Sr 6-08 230 16.7 7.7 1.5 Ast, 1.1 Stl
     
Head Coach Brad Stevens  
Assistant Matthew Graves  
Assistant Terry Johnson  
Assistant Micah Shrewsberry  
     
Team Stats Butler Opp  
Points Per Game 72.1 64.5  
Field Goal % 44.3 42.7  
3-point % 35.5 32.6  
FT % 72.7 66.8  
Rebounds Per Game 34.7 31.5  
Turnovers Per Game 11.1 12.6  
Steals Per Game 5.9    
R + T (*) 5.32        
SOS 55    
Road Win % 68    
PiRate Criteria # 6    
 
 

Virginia Commonwealth is the first team with a negative PiRate Criteria rating to win an Elite Eight round game.  The results of that game elevated their number into positive territory, but we still wonder about their rebounding difficulties.  VCU has won five games in this tournament, and four were not all that close.  The Rams have maintained a hot shooting touch from outside, and their 3-point percentage has been much higher in the postseason than it was during the regular season.

 

The VCU press has had its moments during the Big Dance as well, as a couple of opponents had trouble with it.  Can the Rams survive to the final round?  It is possible, but we tend to believe that their shooting prowess will eventually regress to the norm.  The Rams are overdue for a bad outside shooting game, and in a baseball domed stadium, the sightlines will not be like anything they have seen before.

 

Butler has the experience here.  They are the most seasoned of the teams left, and the Bulldogs can no longer be considered a Cinderella team.  In fact, we tend to see Butler very much like a 21st Century version of Marquette during the Al McGuire years.  This team can continue to be a serious player in the national tournament scene. 

 

Butler will be able to handle the VCU press.  They will inbound the ball quickly and return it quickly to the inbound passer who will have an opening to break the press with numbers.  The Bulldogs can run when they need to, and a couple of easy baskets and/or fouls early could force VCU to panic.  The Butler perimeter defense will cover the VCU shooters tightly, and Nored will make life miserable for any opponent trying to shoot from outside.

 

This is a must-see game.  It should be close, and we do not see Butler pulling away to win by a big margin.  VCU could still have a chance to win with one quick spurt, and the Rams are capable of going on a quick spurt.  Ask Kansas about that.

 

Prediction: Butler 65  VCU 61

 

Approximately 8:49 PM—Kentucky 29-8 (18) vs. Connecticut 30-9 (11)

 

Kentucky Wildcats–Starters in Bold
No. Name Pos. Class Ht Wt PPG RPG Other
1 Darius Miller G Jr 6-07 225 11.1 4.6 44.9% 3-pt, 86.4% FT, 1.7 Ast
2 Stacey Poole G Fr 6-04 195 0.3 0.5 16 G, 2.8 min
3 Terrence Jones F Fr 6-08 244 15.8 8.7 1.9 Blk, 1.1 Stl
4 Jon Hood G So 6-07 202 0.8 0.7 33 G, 4.8 min
5 Jarrod Polson G Fr 6-02 185 0.4 0.1 17 G, 1.8 min
12 Brandon Knight G Fr 6-03 185 17.3 3.9 4.2 Ast
20 Doron Lamb G Fr 6-04 195 12.3 2.0 48.1% 3-pt, 1.7 Ast
30 Eloy Vargas F Jr 6-11 250 1.5 1.9 7.7 min
34 DeAndre Liggins G Jr 6-06 210 8.8 4.1 40.2% 3-pt, 2.5 Ast, 1.2 Stl
55 Josh Harrellson F Sr 6-10 275 7.6 8.8 61.4% FG, 1.5 Blk
                 
                 
                 
                 
     
Head Coach John Calipari  
Assistant John Robic  
Assistant Orlando Antigua  
Assistant Kenny Payne  
     
Team Stats UK Opp  
Points Per Game 75.4 63.7  
Field Goal % 46.3 39.3  
3-point % 40.0 32.8  
FT % 71.6 72.2  
Rebounds Per Game 37.4 33.7  
Turnovers Per Game 10.7 12.0  
Steals Per Game 5.4    
R + T (*) 5.38        
SOS 61    
Road Win % 64    
PiRate Criteria # 18    

 

Connecticut Huskies–Starters in Bold
No. Name Pos. Class Ht Wt PPG RPG Other
1 Enosch Wolf C Fr 7-01 260 1.0 0.9 7 G, 3.7 min
2 Donnell Beverly G Sr 6-04 190 1.8 1.3 8.8 min
3 Jeremy Lamb G/F Fr 6-05 185 11.1 4.3 1.5 Ast
4 Jamal Coombs-McDaniel F So 6-07 210 5.8 2.7 81.5% FT
5 Niels Giffey G/F Fr 6-07 210 2.2 1.3 9.5 min
10 Tyler Olander F Fr 6-09 225 1.5 1.8 9.8 min
13 Shabazz Napier G Fr 6-00 170 8.0 2.4 3.0 Ast, 1.6 Stl
15 Kemba Walker G Jr 6-01 172 23.9 5.3 81.8% FT, 4.5 Ast, 1.9 Stl
21 Kyle Bailey G Sr 6-03 170 0.0 0.0 6 G, 1.0 min
22 Roscoe Smith F Fr 6-08 205 6.5 5.2 1.2 Blk
23 Benjamin Stewart F Jr 6-05 205 0.5 0.5 4 G, 1.0 min
34 Alex Oriakhi F/C So 6-09 240 9.6 8.6 1.6 Blk
35 Charles Okwandu C Sr 7-00 255 2.9 2.7 1.3 Blk
                 
     
Head Coach Jim Calhoun  
Assistant George Blaney  
Assistant Andre LaFleur  
Assistant Kevin Ollie  
     
Team Stats U Conn Opp  
Points Per Game 73.3 65.7  
Field Goal % 43.5 40.0  
3-point % 33.7 32.9  
FT % 76.0 68.9  
Rebounds Per Game 39.4 35.1  
Turnovers Per Game 11.3 11.7  
Steals Per Game 6.4    
R + T (*) 4.91        
SOS 61    
Road Win % 77    
PiRate Criteria # 11    

 

Connecticut won five games in five days at the Big East Tournament and parlayed that into four more wins in the NCAA Tournament.  The Huskies have a chance to begin and end the season with separate double-digit game winning streaks.  In Kemba Walker, U Conn has the best player in the Final Four, but one player cannot do it alone.  The Huskies are anything but a one person team.  They can pound it inside with Alex Oriakhi and Charles Okwandu, and when Walker drives the lane, Jeremy Lamb is frequently open outside.  This Connecticut team is not as strong as the two national championship teams from Calhoun’s past, but the Huskies have enough talent to win a third for Calhoun.

 

Kentucky is the one team left in the tournament with a PiRate Criteria rating similar of past national champions.  Their 18 rating is actually better than Indiana in 1981, North Carolina State in 1983, Villanova in 1985, Kansas in 1988, and Arizona in 1997.  The Wildcats have very little depth with only seven players used unless the game is a major blowout.  With the extra long timeout lengths, this should not be a factor at all this weekend.  Although none of the players have Final Four experience, every game Kentucky plays is about as pressure-packed as a Final Four game.  We believe the Wildcats will not be affected or intimidated in this game.  However, the weird sightlines could make their outside shooting game suffer. 

 

These two teams met in Hawaii in November, and Connecticut won 84-67.  In that game, the Huskies quickly opened a 20-point lead in the first half and went to the locker room at the half up 50-29.  Connecticut couldn’t miss, while Kentucky couldn’t buy a basket.  Knight and Liggins were a combined 0-10 from three-point land, and Josh Harrellson did not score.  Walker scored 29 points for the winners, while Oriakhi recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

 

This game will have a much different look.  This season, Kentucky has dominated teams that they have already played during the season.  They are 7-0 against teams that they played a second or third time.  We see this trend continuing.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 72  Connecticut 66

March 26, 2011

PiRate Ratings Elite Eight Preview For Saturday-Sunday, March 26-27, 2011

It hasn’t been pretty for our PiRate Criteria Ratings this year.  We are down to one team left in our Final Four bracket, but at least it is the team we picked to win it all.  Kansas is our last hope, but if the Jayhawks can get by Virginia Commonwealth, they will be two wins away from keeping our successful record of picking the national champion before the tournament begins intact.

 

We are shocked that a team with a negative PiRate Criteria score is still around, and even more surprised that the team has had to win one extra game to get to this point.  We are almost as shocked to see Arizona in the Elite Eight with a score of just four points, and we are semi-surprised to see Butler back in the Elite Eight with a rating of four.  The Bulldogs’ 2010 PiRate Criteria score was 10 points higher than it is today, and they were actually favored to beat Syracuse in the Sweet 16 by our ratings.

 

PiRate Criteria Rating in (parentheses)

All Games on CBS

 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

4:30 PM EDT—Southeast Regional Final @ New Orleans

#2 Florida 29-7 (15) vs. #8 Butler 26-9 (4)

Position Florida Butler
Coach Billy Donovan Brad Stevens
Center (32) Vernon Macklin 6-10 Sr.–11.2/5.4  58.4% FG (44) Andrew Smith 6-11 So.–8.9/5.4  62.2% FG ***Probable***
Forward (23) Alex Tyus 6-8 Sr.–8.9/6.1 (54) Matt Howard 6-8 Sr.–16.8/7.8  44.4%  3pt
Forward (25) Chandler Parsons 6-10 Sr.–11.5/7.8  3.8 ast (33) Chase Stigall 6-4 So.–4.0/1.8
Guard (1) Kenny Boynton 6-2 So.–14.1/1.4  82.1% FT (1) Shelvin Mack 6-3 Sr.–15.6/4.3  3.6 ast
Guard (11) Erving Walker  5-8 Jr.–14.8/3.0  3.4 ast (2) Shawn Vanzant 6-0 Sr.–8.1/3.1  42.3% 3 pt
6th (4) Patric Young 6-9 Fr. F/C–3.4/3.8  56.8% FG (23) Khyle Marshall 6-7 Fr. F–5.8/3.7
7th (5) Scottie Wilbekin 6-2 Fr. G–2.5/1.5  1.7 ast (5) Ronald Nored 6-0 Jr.–5.3/3.0  2.5 ast

 

PiRate Criteria Stats

 

Team Florida Butler
Pts 9.1 7.8
FG% 4.2 1.5
Reb 6.0 2.9
TO 0.3 1.7
Stl 5.9 6.0
R+T 6.42 5.35
SOS 60 54
Road% 79 67
PiRate # 15 4

 

Can Butler do it again?  It does not appear highly probable, but then the Bulldogs have made a science out of making the improbable probable. 

 

If the Bulldogs are to have any chance in this game, big man Andrew Smith must be able to play at close to 100%.  Smith sprained his ankle in the Sweet 16 win over Wisconsin, and after he exited the game, Butler almost blew a 20-point lead.  It is the emergence of Smith as a key player that has fueled Butler’s long winning streak.  He has led the team in both steals and blocked shots in the winning streak.

 

When Smith is patrolling under the basket, Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack get more open looks.  The duo will need to combine for 40+ points in this game, and they will need to connect on better than 50% of their two-point shots and better than 40% of their three-point shots for Butler to advance to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.

 

When Florida won the National Championship in 2007, their toughest game may have been their Sweet 16 game against Butler.  That Gator team benefitted from having five starters that could score 20 points in a game.  Coach Donovan’s club moves the ball quickly and the players without the ball keep their defender occupied.  Not the most consistent team defensively, the Gators tend to play in spurts.  At times, they are tough on opponents, and at times, opponents get a lot of open looks. 

 

To beat Florida, the key is to penetrate the perimeter defense and take a lot of shots in the 5-10 foot range.  Butler may lack the quickness to get into that inside zone, especially if Smith is not able to occupy 1 ½ defenders.

 

The Southeastern Conference was supposed to be down again this year, and the early NCAA Tournament exits of Tennessee, Georgia, and Vanderbilt supposedly proved this point.  However, the SEC could very well place two teams in the Final Four this year.

 

Prediction: Florida 69  Butler 60

 

7:05 PM EDT—West Regional Final @ Anaheim

#3 Connecticut 29-9 (11)  vs. #5 Arizona 30-7 (4)

Position Connecticut Arizona
Coach Jim Calhoun Sean Miller
Center (35) Charles Okwandu 7-0 Sr.–2.9/2.8 (23) Derrick Williams 6-8 So.–19.5/8.4  60.2% FG/60.3% 3pt
Forward (34) Alex Oriakhi 6-9 So.–9.7/8.7  1.6 Blk (33) Jesse Perry 6-7 Jr.–6.4/4.4
Forward (22) Roscoe Smith 6-8 Fr.–6.5/5.2  1.2 Blk (44) Solomon Hill 6-6 So.–8.1/4.6  78.0% FT
Guard (3) Jeremy Lamb 6-5 Fr.–10.9/4.3  79.6% FT (21) Kyle Fogg 6-3 Jr.–8.1/1.8  2.6 Ast
Guard (15) Kemba Walker 6-1 Jr.–24.0/5.4  4.5 ast/1.9 stl (12) Lamont Jones 6-0 So.–9.7/1.6  2.5 Ast/82.8% FT
6th (13) Shabazz Napier 6-0 Fr. G–7.9/2.3  3.1 Ast (3) Kevin Parrom 6-6 So. G/F–7.8/3.4  2.0 Ast/42.2% 3pt
7th (4) Jamal Coombs-McDaniel 6-7 So. F–6.0/2.7  81.5% FT (42) Jamelle Horne 6-7 Sr. F–6.2/3.3  40.8% 3pt

PiRate Criteria Stats

 

Team Connecticut Arizona
Pts 7.7 8.7
FG% 3.5 2.5
Reb 4.8 3.6
TO 0.3 -0.1
Stl 6.5 5.2
R+T 5.27 4.52
SOS 60 55
Road% 76 67
PiRate # 11 4

 

Two teams with one dominant player and a host of above-average complimentary players should make for an interesting game.  Unfortunately, the teams’ key players will not face off against each other, as Walker is the play-maker for UConn, and Williams is the big man for ‘Zona.

 

On closer inspection, we took a look at Connecticut’s season in three parts.  The Huskies looked like a Final Four team in two of those three parts.  They began the season 10-0, including a blowout win over Kentucky in Hawaii.  They had a lackluster 11-9 middle.  Then, they caught lightning in a bottle, winning five games in five days to take the Big East Tournament title and won three games in the Big Dance to come into this game riding an eight-game winning streak.  Once again, they have looked like a Final Four team.

 

Arizona entered this tournament with a 4-3 mark in its final seven games.  The Wildcats narrowly escaped with wins over Memphis and Texas in the first week, but then they blew defending champion Duke off the floor Thursday night.  They dominated the Blue Devils inside and forced Duke to beat them from over the top.  Duke could not get enough good outside shots in the second half, and Arizona cruised to an easy win.

 

We believe that Connecticut’s backcourt is not that far from Duke’s in total talent, but the Huskies are much stronger inside where it counts.  Connecticut should win the battle of the boards in this game and pound on Derrick Williams enough to throw him off his game.  Arizona has overachieved getting to this point.  The Wildcats will be back in 2011-12 as a top contender for the Final Four, but they will have to settle for Elite Eight this year.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 74  Arizona 66

 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2:20 PM EDT—Southwest Regional Final @ San Antonio

#1 Kansas 35-2 (23) vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth 27-11 (-1)

Position Kansas Virginia Commonwealth
Coach Bill Self Shaka Smart
Center (21) Markieff Morris 6-10 Jr.–13.6/8.2  59.6% FG/42.1% 3pt (21) Jamie Skeen 6-9 Sr.–15.1/7.3  1.1 Blk
Forward (22) Marcus Morris 6-9 Jr.–17.1/7.4  57.7% FG (20) Bradford Burgess 6-6 Jr.–14.4/6.2  42.3% 3pt
Forward (14) Tyrel Reed 6-3 Sr.–9.7/3.1  80.2% FT (50) Ed Nixon 6-4 Sr.–7.2/2.6  1.9 Ast
Guard (12) Brady Morningstar 6-4 Sr.–7.3/2.2  3.3 Ast/42.2% 3pt (32) Brandon Rozzell 6-2 Sr.–11.8/2.3  1.4 Stl
Guard (10) Tyshawn Taylor 6-3 Jr.–9.1/1.9  4.6 Ast (12) Joey Rodriguez 5-10 Sr.–10.6/3.2  5.1 Ast/81.8% FT
6th (32) Josh Selby 6-2 Fr. G–8.2/2.3  2.2 Ast (23) Rob Brandenburg 6-2 Fr. G–5.2/1.8
7th (00) Thomas Robinson 6-9 So.–7.8/6.6  60.1% FG (10) Darius Theus 6-3 So. G–3.1/1.6  2.1 Ast

PiRate Criteria Stats

 

Team Kansas V C U
Pts 17.1 3.9
FG% 11.8 2
Reb 7.9 2.1
TO 0.8 -0.6
Stl 7.8 8.3
R+T 9.4 0.9
SOS 59 54
Road% 95 66
PiRate # 23

-1

 

This looks like an even bigger mismatch than Kansas’s Sweet 16 game, but VCU plays a feisty brand of basketball and can pull games out at the end with their pressure and herky-jerky style of play.

 

We anointed Kansas as our pick for the National Champion when the brackets came out two weeks ago, and the Jayhawks are the final power team we have left in the tournament.  KU possesses the same criteria as most of the past national champions.  The last team not to meet our minimum criteria that eventually won the national championship was this very same Kansas team in 1988.  We believe that on Sunday, the Jayhawks will restore some normalcy to this season’s Big Dance and prove to be the one Fred Astaire among a bunch of wannabes.

 

Kansas will not wilt under the pressure defense applied by VCU.  In fact, it will lead to a bunch of easy looks and a high shooting percentage.  The Jayhawks pass the ball like teams from the past, and they know how to hit open shots.  With Josh Selby possibly coming out of his shooting slump, we just cannot see another team defeating them this season.

 

For VCU, their real challenge will begin after the season ends.  Shaka Smart is certain to be in the mix in a number of vacant coaching jobs.  Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and others will be interested.

 

Prediction: Kansas 77  VCU 62

 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5:05 PM EDT—East Regional Final @ Newark

#2 North Carolina 29-7 (16) vs. #4 Kentucky 28-8 (16)

Position North Carolina Kentucky
Coach Roy Williams John Calipari
Center (44) Tyler Zeller 7-0 Jr.–15.6/7.2  54.0% FG (55) Josh Harrellson 6-10 Sr.–7.5/8.8  1.6 Blk/61.2% FG
Forward (31) John Henson 6-10 So.–11.9/10.1  3.3 Blk (3) Terrence Jones 6-8 Fr.–15.9/8.7  1.9 Blk/1.6 Ast/1.1 Stl
Forward (40) Harrison Barnes 6-8 Fr.–15.6/5.8  1.4 Ast (34) DeAndre Liggins 6-6 Jr.–8.7/4.2  2.5 Ast/1.1 Stl
Guard (1) Dexter Strickland 6-3 So.–7.4/3.1  2.2 Ast (1) Darius Miller 6-7 Jr.–11.1/4.6  1.7 Ast
Guard (5) Kendall Marshall 6-3 Fr.–6.2/2.1  6.2 Ast (12) Brandon Knight 6-3 Fr.–17.2/3.8  4.2 Ast/79.9% FT
6th (2) Leslie McDonald 6-4 So. G–7.1/2.2  (20) Doron Lamb 6-4 Fr. G–12.4/2.0  1.7 Ast
7th (25) Justin Knox 6-9 Sr. F–4.5/3.2  (30) Eloy Vargas 6-10 Fr. F/C–1.6/2.0

 

PiRate Criteria Stats

Team N. Carolina Kentucky
Pts 9 12.2
FG% 4.7 6.9
Reb 6.5 4
TO 0.7 1.5
Stl 6.1 5.3
R+T 7.52 5.91
SOS 60 60
Road% 66 61
PiRate # 16 16

 

What we have here is the basketball equivalent of the Dodgers versus the Yankees.  Two of the top programs of all time face off for the second time this season.  In December, North Carolina edged the Wildcats by a deuce in Chapel Hill.

 

The Criteria score shows this game to be a tossup, but all five of us at the PiRate Ratings believe Kentucky is the clear-cut choice in this game.  John Calipari is on the verge of getting his third different school into the Final Four.  His teams always play better against an opponent once they have faced that opponent.  Against Florida, they learned after the first game how to slow down the Gators.  They learned how to stop them cold after the second game, and in the event they see them a fourth time, they will repeat it again.  That is getting a bit too far ahead.

 

North Carolina lacks the quickness to stop the Kentucky penetration, and if the Blue Mist hits at least 35% of their three-pointers in this game, they will advance to the Final Four.

 

North Carolina has a decided depth advantage, but the Tar Heels are not as deep as they once were.  With the longer time outs in this tournament, Kentucky can get by with six key players.

 

We see this game as one of spurts.  The Tar Heels will have two or three spurts, but Kentucky will have three or four.  We believe that UK will take the lead for good with five or six minutes left in the game.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 78  North Carolina 72

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