The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 29, 2012

NCAA Tournament–Final Four 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—Semifinal Round

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Superdome—New Orleans

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

 

Game 1: Kentucky vs. Louisville – 6:09 PM EDT

Game 2: Kansas vs. Ohio State – Approximately 8:49 PM EDT

 

Game Previews

 

#1S Kentucky (36-2) vs. #4W Louisville (30-9)

 

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

 

 

Orlando Antigua- Assistant Coach

 

Kenny Payne – Assistant Coach

 

John Robic – Assistant Coach

 

 

Results

 

Opponent

UK

Opp

Marist

108

58

(n)Kansas

75

65

(n)Penn State

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

at Auburn

68

53

at Tennessee

65

62

Arkansas

86

63

Alabama

77

71

at Georgia

57

44

at L S U

74

50

Tennessee

69

44

at South Carolina

86

52

Florida

78

58

at Vanderbilt

69

63

Ole Miss

77

62

at Mississippi State

73

64

Vanderbilt

83

74

Georgia

79

49

at Florida

74

59

(n) L S U

60

51

(n) Florida

74

71

(n) Vanderbilt

64

71

ncaa Western Kentucky

81

66

ncaa Iowa State

87

71

ncaa Indiana

102

90

ncaa Baylor

82

70

 

Statistics

Player

G-GS

Min

Avg

FG-Att

Fg%

3 FG-Att

3Pt %

Ft-Att

Ft%

Anthony Davis

38-38

1206

31.7

202-319

.633

3-20

.150

136-191

.712

Doron Lamb

38-33

1179

31.0

164-348

.471

73-155

.471

116-140

.829

Terrence Jones

36-32

1052

29.2

170-339

.501

16-48

.333

98-153

.641

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

38-37

1187

31.2

152-313

.486

13-50

.260

139-184

.755

Marquis Teague

38-38

1236

32.5

136-330

.412

24-77

.312

83-116

.716

Darius Miller

38-11

989

26.0

137-290

.472

54-143

.378

51-65

.785

Kyle Wiltjer

38-0

451

11.9

69-158

.437

34-79

.430

22-27

.815

Sam Malone

6-0

13

2.2

3-6

.500

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

Eloy Vargas

31-1

195

6.3

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

38

7600

200.0

1045-2143

.488

217-574

.378

652-897

.727

Opponents

38

7600

200.0

843-2248

.375

210-667

.315

407-586

.695

 

 

               
Player

Reb O

Reb D

Tot

F-DQ

Ast

TO

Blk

Stl

Pts

Anthony Davis

113

272

385

74-1

43

35

175

50

543

Doron Lamb

14

91

105

69-0

56

39

2

19

517

Terrence Jones

93

165

258

85-3

51

60

64

46

454

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

101

186

287

92-5

73

82

36

39

456

Marquis Teague

16

81

97

85-1

183

105

11

36

379

Darius Miller

35

66

101

83-0

82

55

11

31

379

Kyle Wiltjer

25

44

69

44-0

16

27

17

4

194

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

49

57

106

9

         
Kentucky

469

1011

1480

564-10

510

428

326

231

2959

Opponents

457

754

1211

718-x

404

445

124

207

2303

 

 

               
Player

Scoring

Rebounding

         
Anthony Davis

14.3

10.1

         
Doron Lamb

13.6

2.8

         
Terrence Jones

12.6

7.2

         
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

12.0

7.6

         
Marquis Teague

10.0

2.6

         
Darius Miller

10.0

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

77.9

38.9

         
Opponents

60.6

31.9

         

 

Louisville Cardinals

#

NAME

POS

HT

WT

Yr

HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)

1

Angel Nunez

F

6-07

190

Fr

Washington Heights,N.Y.(Notre Dame Prep)

2

Russ Smith

G

6-00

160

So

Brooklyn,N.Y.(Archbishop Molloy/South Kent)

3

Peyton Siva

G

6-00

180

Jr

Seattle,Wash.(Franklin)

4

Rakeem Buckles

F

6-07

215

Jr

Miami,Fla.(Monsignor Pace)

5

Chris Smith

G

6-02

195

 Sr

Millstone, N.J. (Manhattan)

10

Gorgui Dieng

C

6-11

235

So

Kebemer,Senegal(Covenant/Huntington Prep)

11

Luke Hancock

F

6-06

200

Jr

Roanoke,Va.(George Mason)

12

Zach Price

C

6-10

235

Fr

Louisville,Ky.(Jeffersontown)

14

Kyle Kuric

G/F

6-04

195

Sr

Evansville,Ind.(Memorial)

15

Tim Henderson

G

6-02

185

So

Louisville,Ky.(ChristianAcademy)

21

Jared Swopshire

F

6-08

200

Jr

St. Louis,Mo.(IMGAcademy)

22

Elisha Justice

G

5-10

175

So

Dorton,Ky.(ShelbyValley)

23

Kevin Ware

G

6-04

185

Fr

Conyers,Ga.(RockdaleCounty)

24

Chane Behanan

F

6-06

245

Fr

Cincinnati,Ohio(Bowling Green)
 

 

 25

Wayne Blackshear

G/F

6-05

225

Fr

Chicago,Ill.(Morgan Park)
 

 33

Mike Marra

G

6-05

200

Jr

Smithfield,R.I.(NorthfieldMt.HermonSchool)

44

Stephan Van Treese

F

6-08

235

Jr

Indianapolis,Ind.(LawrenceNorth)

 

Coaches

 

 

 

Rick Pitino – Head Coach

 

 

 

Richard Pitino – Associate Coach

 

 

Wyking Jones – Assistant Coach

 

 

 

Kevin Keatts – Assistant Coach

 

 

Results

Opponent

UL

Opp

UT MARTIN  

83

48

LAMAR  

68

48

at BUTLER 

69

53

ARKANSAS STATE 

54

27

OHIO 

59

54

LONG BEACH STATE 

79

66

VANDERBILT  

62

60

IUPUI  

90

60

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON 

80

58

MEMPHIS 

95

87

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 

69

62

WESTERN KENTUCKY 

70

60

GEORGETOWN  

68

71

at KENTUCKY  

62

69

at ST. JOHN’S  

73

58

NOTRE DAME  

65

67

at Providence College  

59

90

DEPAUL  

76

59

at MARQUETTE  

63

74

at PITT  

73

62

VILLANOVA  

84

74

at SETON HALL  

60

51

RUTGERS 

78

66

CONNECTICUT 

80

59

at WEST VIRGINIA 

77

74

SYRACUSE  

51

52

at DEPAUL  

90

82

at CINCINNATI  

56

60

PITTSBURGH 

57

54

SOUTH FLORIDA  

51

58

at SYRACUSE  

49

58

(n) SETON HALL  

61

55

(n) MARQUETTE 

84

71

(n) NOTRE DAME  

64

50

(n) CINCINNATI 

50

44

ncaa DAVIDSON  

69

62

ncaa NEW MEXICO 

59

56

ncaa MICHIGAN STATE 

57

44

ncaa FLORIDA 

72

68

 

Statistics

Player 

GP 

Min.

Avg 

FG-Att

Pct 

3FG-Att

Pct.

FT-Att

Pct.

Kyle Kuric

37-35

1341 

36.2 

162-383

.423 

75-229

.328 

72-90

.800 

Russ Smith

38-7

811 

21.3 

145-404

.359 

41-133

.308 

109-142

.768 

Chris Smith

39-37

1076 

27.6 

119-291

.409 

66-166

.398 

74-100

.740 

Chane Behanan   

39-36

1005 

25.8 

142-277

.513 

6-34

.176 

80-136

.588 

Gorgui Dieng  

39-39

1272 

32.6 

142-266

.534 

1-2

.500 

72-107

.673 

Peyton Siva

37-37

1172 

31.7 

117-290

.403 

16-67

.239 

86-117

.735 

Mike Marra

2-0

25 

12.5 

5-8

.625 

1-4

.250 

1-2

.500 

Rakeem Buckles

11-1

149 

13.5 

16-37

.432 

2-5

.400 

10-18

.556 

Jared Swopshire

38-2

505 

13.3 

45-115

.391 

5-24

.208 

33-48

.688 

Wayne Blackshear   

14-1

91 

6.5 

9-36

.250 

5-18

.278 

5-9

.556 

Angel Nunez

12-0

55 

4.6 

8-21

.381 

6-16

.375 

2-4

.500 

Mark Jackson

3-0

12 

4.0 

2-4

.500 

1-1

1.000 

0-0

.000 

Stephan Van Treese   

3-0

20 

6.7 

1-3

.333 

0-0

.000 

2-4

.500 

Tim Henderson

11-0

57 

5.2 

4-11

.364 

3-7

.429 

3-6

.500 

Kevin Ware

20-0

105 

5.3 

8-27

.296 

0-5

.000 

4-12

.333 

Elisha Justice

24-0

122 

5.1 

10-26

.385 

1-11

.091 

2-3

.667 

Zach Price

19-0

82 

4.3 

4-13

.308 

0-0

.000 

4-15

.267 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total………. 

39 

7900 

202.6

939-2212

.425 

229-722

.317 

559-813

.688 

Opponents…… 

39 

7900 

202.6

829-2184

.380 

216-713

.303 

497-746

.666 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player 

Reb O

Reb D

Reb Tot

Fl-DQ

Ast

TO

Blk

Stl

Pts

Kyle Kuric

41 

113 

154 

78-0

45 

38 

19 

46 

471 

Russ Smith

26 

69 

95 

108-3

75 

87 

85 

440 

Chris Smith

40 

102 

142 

56-0

75 

43 

34 

378 

Chane Behanan   

115 

174 

289 

75-2

32 

70 

18 

32 

370 

Gorgui Dieng  

130 

221 

351 

130-5

40 

77 

124 

45 

357 

Peyton Siva

19 

99 

118 

112-5

208 

128 

64 

336 

Mike Marra

0-0

12 

Rakeem Buckles

18 

24 

42 

20-0

15 

44 

Jared Swopshire

30 

79 

109 

41-0

17 

22 

13 

128 

Wayne Blackshear   

11 

17 

8-0

28 

Angel Nunez

1-0

24 

Mark Jackson

1-0

Stephan Van Treese   

5-0

Tim Henderson

7-0

14 

Kevin Ware

10 

14 

12-0

21 

20 

Elisha Justice

15-0

12 

23 

Zach Price

15 

18-1

12 

 

53 

33 

86 

 

10 

 

 

 

Total………. 

499 

973 

1472 

690-16

525 

550 

189 

348 

2666 

Opponents…… 

503 

908 

1411 

731-x

444 

607 

137 

277 

2371 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player 

Scoring

Rebounding

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Kuric

12.7 

4.2 

 

 

 

 

 

Russ Smith

11.6 

2.5 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Smith

9.7 

3.6 

 

 

 

 

 

Chane Behanan   

9.5 

7.4 

 

 

 

 

 

Gorgui Dieng  

9.2 

9.0 

 

 

 

 

 

Peyton Siva

9.1 

3.2 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Marra

6.0 

2.5 

 

 

 

 

 

Rakeem Buckles

4.0 

3.8 

 

 

 

 

 

Jared Swopshire

3.4 

2.9 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne Blackshear   

2.0 

1.2 

 

 

 

 

 

Angel Nunez

2.0 

0.7 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Jackson

1.7 

1.0 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephan Van Treese   

1.3 

2.0 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Henderson

1.3 

0.8 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Ware

1.0 

0.7 

 

 

 

 

 

Elisha Justice

1.0 

0.4 

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Price

0.6 

0.8 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total………. 

68.4 

37.7 

 

 

 

 

 

Opponents…… 

60.8 

36.2 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PiRate Criteria

UK

Pts

UL

Pts

Scoring Margin

17.3

8.7

7.6

3.8

Field Goal % Margin

11.3

5.7

4.5

2.3

Rebounding Margin

7.0

4.2

1.5

0.9

Turnover Margin

0.4

0.2

1.5

0.8

Steals

6.1

 

8.9

 

R + T *

8.70

3.5

5.08

2.0

Strength of Schedule ^

.5716

2.2

.5880

3.8

Road W-L #

90.0

4.5

73.7

2.5

TOTAL

UK:

29.0

UL:

16.1

 

Prediction: Kentucky 73  Louisville 66

Kentucky will take advantage of the size difference and force Louisville to take too many shots outside of their comfort zone.  The Wildcats will hold Louisville under 40% from the field, and they will control the boards to keep the Cardinals from getting many second chance shots.

 

Louisville must try to force Kentucky to turn the ball over, and the Cardinals will have to apply pressure while at the same time trying to force the ball out of the paint.  While the Cats may turn the ball over a little more than they normally do, Kentucky will get some easy stuff shots and close-in crips to counter.

 

 

#2MW Kansas (31-6) vs. #2E Ohio State (31-7)

 

Kansas Jayhawks

 

No.       Player                           Pos      Ht         Wt        Yr        HomeTown(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 CrowleyHS/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./CheyenneHS

 

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./IMGAcademy

 

22         Merv Lindsay                 G          6-07      195       FR       MorenoValley,Calif./CanyonSpringsHigh School

 

23         Ben McLemore              G         6-05      185       FR        St. Louis,Mo./ChristianLifeCenter[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./IMGAcademy[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

Florida Atlantic

77

54

South Florida

70

42

Long Beach St.

88

80

Ohio State

78

67

(n) Davidson

74

80

at Southern Cal

63

47

Howard

89

34

North Dakota

84

58

Kansas State

67

49

at Oklahoma

72

61

at Texas Tech

81

46

Iowa State

82

73

Baylor

92

74

at Texas

69

66

Texas A&M

64

54

at Iowa State

64

72

Oklahoma

84

62

at Missouri

71

74

at Baylor

68

54

Oklahoma State

81

66

at Kansas State

59

53

Texas Tech

83

50

at Texas A&M

66

58

Missouri

87

86

at Oklahoma State

70

58

Texas

73

63

vs.Texas A&M

83

66

vs. Baylor

72

81

ncaaDetroit

65

50

ncaa Purdue

63

60

ncaa North Carolina State

60

57

ncaa North Carolina

80

67

 

Statistics

Player

gp-gs

min

avg

fg-fga

fg%

3fg-fga

3fg%

ft-fta

ft%

Thomas Robinson

37-37

1169

31.6

247-482

.512

7-14

.500

154-226

.681

Tyshawn Taylor

37-36

1230

33.2

215-446

.482

57-148

.385

131-192

.682

Elijah Johnson

37-36

1190

32.2

137-322

.425

65-194

.335

32-46

.696

Jeff Withey

37-37

902

24.4

109-199

.548

0-0

.000

123-155

.794

Travis Releford

37-36

1138

30.8

113-226

.500

24-77

.312

63-98

.643

Conner Teahan

37-2

784

21.2

67-181

.370

50-147

.340

26-31

.839

Kevin Young

36-0

410

11.4

47-96

.490

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……….

37

7425

200.7

976-2051

.476

214-621

.345

576-834

.691

Opponents……

37

7425

200.7

783-2061

.380

222-658

.337

490-685

.715

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Reb-O

Reb-D

Reb-Tot

Fl-DQ

a

to

blk

stl

pts

Thomas Robinson

105

333

438

104-2

71

101

34

41

655

Tyshawn Taylor

7

77

84

75-0

174

128

6

50

618

Elijah Johnson

14

100

114

87-2

134

65

2

54

371

Jeff Withey

77

153

230

93-1

28

44

129

22

341

Travis Releford

60

97

157

77-0

67

37

7

43

313

Conner Teahan

24

55

79

62-1

38

36

1

27

210

Kevin Young

48

58

106

57-0

23

27

14

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……….

426

966

1392

647-7

564

480

209

274

2744

Opponents……

397

786

1183

686-x

413

510

119

242

2278

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Scoring

Rebounding

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Robinson

17.7

11.8

 

 

 

 

 

Tyshawn Taylor

16.7

2.3

 

 

 

 

 

Elijah Johnson

10.0

3.1

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Withey

9.2

6.2

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Releford

8.5

4.2

 

 

 

 

 

Conner Teahan

5.7

2.1

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Young

3.6

2.9

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

2.7

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

74.2

37.6

 

 

 

 

 

Opponents……

61.6

32.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio State Buckeyes

NO

NAME

POS

HT

WT

CLASS

HOMETOWN

0

Jared Sullinger

F

6-9

265

SO

Columbus,OH

1

Deshaun Thomas

F

6-7

225

SO

Fort Wayne,IN

2

Jordan Sibert

G

6-4

185

SO

Cincinnati,OH

3

Shannon Scott

G

6-1

180

FR

Alpharetta,GA

4

Aaron Craft

G

6-2

190

SO

Findlay,OH

10

LaQuinton Ross

F

6-8

225

FR

Jackson,MS

12

Sam Thompson

F

6-7

190

FR

Chicago,IL

14

Alex Rogers

G

6-2

195

JR

Cincinnati,OH

15

J.D. Weatherspoon

F

6-6

215

SO

Columbus,OH

23

Amir Williams

C

6-11

220

FR

Birmingham,MI

30

Evan Ravenel

F

6-8

260

JR

Tampa,FL

32

Lenzelle Smith, Jr.

G

6-4

205

SO

Zion,IL

44

William Buford

G

6-6

220

SR

Toledo,OH

55

Trey McDonald

C

6-8

225

FR

Battle Creek,MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Coaches  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Thad Matta – Head Coach  
 

Dave Dickerson – Associate Head Coach

 

 
Jeff Boals – Assistant Coach  
Chris Jent – Assistant Coach  
                       

 

Results

Date

OSU

Opp

Wright State

73

42

Florida

81

74

Jackson State

85

41

North Florida

85

50

VMI

107

74

Valparaiso

80

47

Duke

85

63

Texas-Pan American

64

35

at Kansas

67

78

USC-Upstate

82

58

at South Carolina

74

66

Lamar

70

50

Miami (O)

69

40

Northwestern

87

54

at Indiana

70

74

Nebraska

71

40

at Iowa

76

47

at Illinois

74

79

Indiana

80

63

at Nebraska

79

45

Penn State

78

54

Michigan

64

49

at Wisconsin

58

52

Purdue

87

84

Michigan State

48

58

at Minnesota

78

68

at Michigan

51

56

Illinois

83

67

Wisconsin

60

63

at Northwestern

75

73

at Michigan State

72

70

Purdue

88

71

(n) Michigan

77

55

(n) Michigan State

64

68

ncaa Loyola (Md.)

78

59

ncaa Gonzaga

73

66

ncaa Cincinnati

81

66

ncaa Syracuse

77

70

 

Statistics

Player

gp-gs

min

avg

fg-fga

fg%

3fg-fga

3fg%

ft-fta

ft%

Jared Sullinger

36-35

1084

30.1

223-420

.531

16-38

.421

172-224

.768

Deshaun Thomas

38-38

1201

31.6

240-453

.530

49-138

.355

81-109

.743

William Buford

38-38

1285

33.8

199-479

.415

59-168

.351

90-109

.826

Aaron Craft

38-38

1215

32.0

111-219

.507

21-61

.344

91-128

.711

Lenzelle Smith, Jr

38-38

958

25.2

86-181

.470

29-77

.377

53-87

.609

Evan Ravenel

38-3

383

10.1

46-85

.541

0-0

.000

41-59

.695

J.D. Weatherspoon

25-0

157

6.3

29-47

.617

0-2

.000

18-31

.581

Jordan Sibert

24-0

273

11.4

24-79

.304

13-50

.260

10-18

.556

Sam Thompson

38-0

401

10.6

34-69

.493

1-14

.071

12-22

.545

LaQuinton Ross

9-0

35

3.9

5-15

.333

2-8

.250

6-7

.857

Amir Williams

28-0

188

6.7

19-36

.528

0-0

.000

10-28

.357

Shannon Scott

36-0

382

10.6

20-71

.282

1-18

.056

2-9

.222

Trey McDonald

13-0

38

2.9

1-6

.167

0-0

.000

0-0

.000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

38

7600

200.0

1037-2160

.480

191-574

.333

586-831

.705

Opponents……

38

7600

200.0

815-2006

.406

231-710

.325

408-585

.697

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Reb-O

Reb-D

Reb-Tot

Fl-DQ

a

to

blk

stl

pts

Jared Sullinger

110

219

329

106-1

44

69

36

42

634

Deshaun Thomas

98

107

205

61-0

34

46

9

15

610

William Buford

33

154

187

68-0

103

81

9

32

547

Aaron Craft

22

104

126

94-2

178

82

7

95

334

Lenzelle Smith, Jr

51

125

176

74-0

76

46

5

34

254

Evan Ravenel

31

51

82

69-1

9

28

8

10

133

J.D. Weatherspoon

16

11

27

8-0

4

8

4

6

76

Jordan Sibert

5

28

33

21-0

18

14

1

11

71

Sam Thompson

10

30

40

34-0

27

19

14

7

81

LaQuinton Ross

0

4

4

5-0

1

3

0

0

18

Amir Williams

27

35

62

23-0

2

8

23

4

48

Shannon Scott

4

34

38

47-0

60

36

2

18

43

Trey McDonald

3

3

6

3-0

1

4

0

0

2

Team

45

50

95

3

 

3

 

 

 

Total……….

455

955

1410

613-4

557

447

118

274

2851

Opponents……

315

802

1117

717-16

383

562

109

187

2269

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Scoring

Rebounding

 

 

 

 

 

Jared Sullinger

17.6

9.1

 

 

 

 

 

Deshaun Thomas

16.1

5.4

 

 

 

 

 

William Buford

14.4

4.9

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Craft

8.8

3.3

 

 

 

 

 

Lenzelle Smith, Jr

6.7

4.6

 

 

 

 

 

Evan Ravenel

3.5

2.2

 

 

 

 

 

J.D. Weatherspoon

3.0

1.1

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Sibert

3.0

1.4

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Thompson

2.1

1.1

 

 

 

 

 

LaQuinton Ross

2.0

0.4

 

 

 

 

 

Amir Williams

1.7

2.2

 

 

 

 

 

Shannon Scott

1.2

1.1

 

 

 

 

 

Trey McDonald

0.2

0.5

 

 

 

 

 

Team

 

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

Total……….

75.0

37.1

 

 

 

 

 

Opponents……

59.7

29.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

PiRate Criteria Scores

PiRate Criteria

KU

Pts

OSU

Pts

Scoring Margin

12.6

6.3

15.3

7.7

Field Goal % Margin

9.6

4.8

7.4

3.7

Rebounding Margin

5.6

3.4

7.7

4.6

Turnover Margin

0.8

0.4

3.0

1.5

Steals

7.4

 

7.2

 

R + T *

8.04

3.2

12.74

5.1

Strength of Schedule ^

.5858

3.6

.5890

3.9

Road W-L #

71.4

2.0

72.2

2.0

TOTAL

KU:

23.7

OSU:

28.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prediction: Ohio State 75  Kansas 69

We expect this game to stay close for most of the 40 minutes.  These teams are evenly matched, and Ohio State enjoys only subtle advantages in this game.  The Buckeyes are a tad better at rebounding and turnover margin, and we show OSU with about five extra scoring opportunities in this game

 

 

 

* 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 CBS Sports.

 

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

Advertisements

March 21, 2011

PiRate Ratings Sweet 16 Preview

Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament PiRate Criteria Ratings

Team W – L Pts FG% Reb TO Stl R+T SOS Road% PiRate #
Arizona 29-7 8.7 2.5 3.6 -0.1 5.2 4.52 55 63 4
Brigham Young 32-4 14.1 4.0 3.0 3.5 8.0 9.72 58 86 18
Butler 25-9 7.8 1.5 2.9 1.7 6.0 5.35 54 65 4
Connecticut 28-9 7.7 3.5 4.8 0.3 6.5 5.27 60 75 11
Duke 32-4 17.1 7.1 3.1 2.7 7.3 7.83 58 79 17
Florida 28-7 9.1 4.2 6.0 0.3 5.9 6.42 60 78 15
Florida State 23-10 7.3 7.7 4.6 -0.8 8.5 5.34 54 61 5
Kansas 34-2 17.1 11.8 7.9 0.8 7.8 9.40 59 95 23
Kentucky 27-8 12.2 6.9 4.0 1.5 5.3 5.91 60 60 16
Marquette 22-14 7.0 2.9 2.7 2.1 7.3 6.38 57 44 3
North Carolina 28-7 9.0 4.7 6.5 0.7 6.1 7.52 60 65 16
Ohio State 34-2 18.0 7.6 4.9 4.8 7.1 13.08 58 88 23
Richmond 28-7 9.2 6.0 -1.9 2.1 6.0 1.12 52 81 3
San Diego State 34-2 13.2 7.1 6.9 1.6 6.2 9.28 58 95 19
V C U 25-11 3.9 2.0 2.1 -0.6 8.3 0.90 54 65 -1
Wisconsin 25-8 9.9 1.8 3.8 2.1 3.5 5.56 57 53 9

 All Times EDT

Number in (Parentheses) indicates PiRate Criteria Rating

For a detailed explanation of the PiRate Criteria Rating, click on the following link:

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/bracketnomics-505-2011-edition/

PiRate Criteria Numbers Updated To Reflect 1st Three Round Results

Thursday, March 24, 2011

7:15 PM on CBS 

West Regional @ Anaheim

#2 San Diego State 34-2 (19) vs. #3 Connecticut 28-9 (11)

Connecticut faces the first team in the tournament that has the defensive capacity to slow down Kemba Walker.  If Walker has a below-average game, the Huskies’ shooting percentage will head too far south, because UConn does not shoot all that well.

 

The Aztecs can make life miserable on opposing shooters, so if they contain Walker, SDSU has the advantage at the other four positions on the floor.  Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas remind us somewhat of former UCLA greats Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe.

 

The Aztecs’ eventual downfall may come when they are exploited by a defense that forces them to beat them from outside.  Connecticut just may be able to pull that off, so this game cannot be considered a slam dunk for the #2 seed Aztecs.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 67  Connecticut 61

 

7:27 PM on TBS 

Southeast Regional @ New Orleans

#2 Florida 28-7 (15) vs. #3 Brigham Young 32-4 (18)

This one should be interesting, as Florida tries to get revenge for a first round overtime loss to BYU last year.

 

We did not have much faith in the Cougars after Brandon Davies was dismissed for the season.  BYU recovered in the second and third rounds, and the 22-point win over Gonzaga was quite impressive.

 

Still, we discount the Cougars by three points with the absence of Davies.  This makes this game a tossup in our eyes. 

 

Florida is playing inspired ball, but we still do not believe the Gators are on par with their prior two national champion teams.  Offensively, the Gators spread the ball around, and all five starters typically score double figure points.  Defensively, they are underneath, and they frequently find ways to pressure the ball out front.  However, the top defender, Kenny Boynton, may not be 100% in this game.  He has an important assignment.

 

That assignment happens to be guarding Jimmer Fredette.  If Fredette tops 30 points without taking 30 shots to do so, the Cougars could easily give the Mountain West Conference a second team in the Elite Eight.

 

We are split on this game, and we did not come to a conclusion which way to go.  So, we will stick with the higher-rated PiRate Criteria score and go with the Cougars.

 

Prediction: B Y U 82  Florida 78

 

9:45 PM on CBS

West Regional @ Anaheim

#1 Duke 32-4 (17) vs. #5 Arizona 29-7 (4)

With Kyrie Irving back in the fold, Duke has the best eight-deep roster in the nation.  We believe the Blue Devils are the third best team in the Sweet 16 with Irving back.  He scored 25 points in the two games in Charlotte in just 41 minutes, and he picked up some rebounds as well.

 

The Blue Devils’ only thing close to a liability is their defense at forward.  Kyle Singler, Miles Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly have trouble against sneaky fast opponents.

 

Arizona’s forwards have that quickness.  Derrick Williams is as important to the Wildcats as Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette are to their teams.  Jesse Perry only averages seven points per game, but he can take it to the basket against a slower defender.

 

Arizona’s weakness is their defense against power offense.  Duke’s slower forwards as well as center Mason Plumlee can take advantage of the Wildcats’ defensive deficiencies. 

 

Coach K deserves to be compared with John Wooden.  Wooden’s UCLA teams won four games in the NCAA Tournament to win the championship in a field of 22-25 teams.  Krzyzewski’s have been forced to win six in a field of 64, 65, and 68.  We believe he is worth an extra five to 10 points, and we will select Duke to make it to the Elite Eight.

 

Prediction: Duke 77  Arizona 68

 

9:57 PM on TBS

Southeast Regional @ New Orleans

#4 Wisconsin 25-8 (9) vs. #8 Butler 25-9 (4)

Pick against Butler at your own risk.  If the Bulldogs can beat Pittsburgh, there is no reason to believe they cannot return to the Final Four.

 

We did not believe Wisconsin could make it to the Sweet 16 either.  As many readers know, we have ties to U Dub, and this group of Badgers did not look strong enough to us to make it to the second week of the tournament.

 

The PiRate Criteria indicates that Wisconsin is the favorite, but with our internal numbers that we do not advertise, we rate this game as a 50-50 affair.

 

Butler has the experience in close games.  They keep finding a way to win.  However, Wisconsin is one of those tough teams that can neutralize what has been working for Coach Brad Stevens’ Bulldogs.

 

This game could very well come down to the final few possessions, and the winner may struggle to top 55 points.  We do not see any more than 100 field goal attempts, and as few as eight players could score points in this game.

 

Matt Howard can force Wisconsin to bring a big man outside, and that will allow Andrew Smith to work with a little more clearance inside.  If Shelvin Mack keeps his hot streak going, Butler can win this one.

 

If Howard is not on target, and the Badgers do not have to respect his outside shooting ability, Coach Bo Ryan’s team will pack it in, control the boards, and then work patiently to set up Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer.  The tandem could score 40 points with the rest of the team adding just 15, and it could be enough to win this game.

 

Prediction: Wisconsin 55  Butler 54

 

Friday, March 25, 2011

 

7:15 PM on CBS

East Regional @ Newark

#2 North Carolina 28-7 (16) vs. #11 Marquette 22-14 (3)

We do not believe the Tar Heels are Final Four candidates this season.  No matter which team wins the game in the adjacent bracket, we see the Tar Heels losing in the Elite Eight.  However, the margin should be slim.

 

This is the Sweet 16 game, and Coach Roy Williams’ team is more than talented enough to advance to Sunday.  With the outside shooting of Kendall Marshall and Leslie McDonald combined with the take-it-to-the-hoop skills of Harrison Barnes and John Henson and the mandatory doubling down on big center Tyler Zeller, North Carolina will score a lot of points in this game.

 

Marquette’s only hope is for three players to be hot from the field, because Buzz Williams’ Golden Eagles will have to outscore North Carolina to win this game.

 

Marquette cannot go head-to-head inside and win this game.  They will have to hit 50% from the field to keep this game close.  From among Jimmy Butler, Darius Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder, and Dwight Buycks three of these players will need to score 15-25 points each.  We see the Golden Eagles coming up short in this one.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 82  Marquette 79

 

7:27 PM on TBS

Southwest Regional @ San Antonio

#1 Kansas 34-2 (23) vs. #12 Richmond 29-7 (3)

Richmond apparently was seeded a few spots to low.  The Spiders have shown that the Atlantic 10 Conference is just below the top six or seven conferences in the nation and well above the average mid-major league.

 

Chris Mooney’s team can shoot the ball and prevent the opponent from shooting the ball.  With an inside-outside punch in big forward Justin Harper and sharpshooting guard Kevin Anderson, Richmond can score points consistently, albeit at a slower pace. 

 

Two things will do the Spiders in Friday night.  They are vulnerable against power teams and teams that can get on the boards for offensive rebounds.  Xavier and Old Dominion showed the blueprint for beating Richmond.

 

Kansas can take that blueprint and build a super foundation.  The Jayhawks are the best passing team in the tournament, and Coach Bill Self’s big men know how to move and get open to receive those passes.  Marcus and Markieff Morris can hit the boards at both ends, and Brady Morningstar and Tyshawn Taylor know how to get the ball to them.  KU will advance to play for a spot in the Final Four on Sunday.

 

Prediction: Kansas 73  Richmond 62

 

9:45 PM on CBS

East Regional @ Newark

#1 Ohio State 34-2 (23) vs. #4 Kentucky 27-8 (16)

This is the first contest in the tournament where both teams are rated worthy of making the Elite Eight. 

 

Ohio State has actually moved a couple of percentage points ahead of Kansas for the top overall Criteria score.  The Buckeyes are strong where Kentucky is strong, but Coach Thad Matta’s team also has strength were Kentucky has been vulnerable.  Tough perimeter defense forced George Mason to wilt in the Round of 32, and in William Buford, Jon Diebler, and David Lighty, Ohio State can cut off the perimeter game of most teams. 

 

With the great Jared Sullinger roaming the low post and baseline areas, Kentucky has to dedicate a big man to roam with him.  That will be the Wildcats’ downfall Friday night.  If Terrence Jones is forced to guard Sullinger, expect Josh Harrellson to have a hard time defending the paint against Ohio State’s quicker forwards and slashing guards.  If Harrellson goes out to guard Sullinger, he will have a hard time guarding the nation’s top big man.  Coach John Calipari will have to pick his poison.

 

Kentucky will need a great night from Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb.  If the two players and Darius Miller do not combine for 50 points, Kentucky will be heading back to Lexington, and the sports fans in the Commonwealth can turn their attention to Uncle Mo and the first Saturday in May.

Prediction: Ohio State 76  Kentucky 69

 

9:57 PM on TBS

#10 Florida State 23-10 (5) vs. #12 Virginia Commonwealth 25-11 (-1)

This game guarantees that one double-digit seed will make it to the Elite Eight, and Kansas fans must be quite happy about it.

 

We have two teams that have found a new gear in their engine at the most opportune time.  VCU was not even supposed to be in this tournament after failing to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.  Instead, the Rams just became the first team to win three NCAA Tournament games in less than a week since Texas Western in 1966.  Texas Western went on to upset Kentucky and win the National Championship.  VCU is not Texas Western.  That TWU (Now UTEP) team was rated in the top five in the nation.

 

Florida State has not been to the Final Four since Hugh Durham took the Seminoles to the 1972 National Title game.  This team is not in that FSU team’s league.

 

So, what do we have here?  Florida State is a team that in most years would have been fortunate to win one game.  VCU is a team that in most years would probably be playing this week for a trip to Madison Square Garden and the NIT semi-finals.

 

VCU has a negative PiRate Criteria score, but it is moving close to zero.  Still, we cannot recall a negative criteria score making it to the Elite Eight.

 

Note: Both FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton and VCU Coach Shaka Smart are being mentioned as possible candidates for the vacant Tennessee job.

 

Prediction: Florida State 65  Virginia Commonwealth 60

 

Coming Saturday Morning: We will preview the Southeast and West Regional Final games.

March 14, 2011

2011 PiRate NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:01 pm

1. Which teams meet the upper range criteria in every category?  That means they outscored their opponents by eight or more per game; their field goal percentage was greater than 7.5% better than their opponents; they outrebounded their opponents by five or more per game; they forced at least three more turnovers per game than they committed; and they stole the ball 7.5 or more times per game.

 

ANSWER—No teams this year meet all the perfect criteria described above.  Six teams come close to meeting the perfect criteria, but all fall short in at least one statistic.  This means there is no clear-cut favorite—only six teams that most closely resemble the great champions of the past.  Of the six, three come from power conferences.  These three are Kansas, Ohio State, and Syracuse.

 

Kansas fails to meet the turnover margin requirement, but the Jayhawks surpass all the other qualifications.  Ohio State comes up a tad bit short in field goal percentage margin, rebounding margin, and steals per game, but just misses in all three.  Syracuse misses in rebounding and turnover margin, but they Orangemen do not miss by much. 

 

2. Which teams can be immediately eliminated due to a negative R+T rating?  Which teams have an incredibly low R+T Rating (<2.0)?

 

ANSWER—Three teams can immediately be eliminated due to negative R+T Ratings.  It comes as no surprise that Alabama State and Texas-San Antonio, two teams facing off in the First Round in Dayton, have negative R+T ratings.  The third team is Michigan.  The Wolverines were outrebounded by 1.9 boards per game, and they only had a +1.4 turnover margin with just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Five other teams finished with R+T ratings less than 2.0.  This usually means one and done for these teams, unless they have outstanding FG% margins or cupcake opponents with worse criteria numbers.  Those five teams are: Penn State, Richmond, St. Peter’s, UCLA, and UCSB.

 

3. Which teams are capable of winning it all?

 

ANSWER—We separate the contenders from the pretenders by looking at the total PiRate Criteria score and then looking to see if the high criteria scoring teams receive merit on every individual statistic.

 

Last year, Duke was head and heels better than the other 64 teams.  The Blue Devils had the highest score overall, and they satisfactorily rated in every PiRate category.

 

No teams appear to be as strong this year as the Blue Devils were last year, but nine teams meet most of the minimum requirements to be considered Final Four contenders this year.

 

It should come as no surprise that the top two teams, Ohio State and Kansas, rank at the top in the Criteria.  Kansas actually has the highest score of the 68 teams, a score of 23.  The Jayhawks outscored their opposition by 17.2 points, shot 11.7% better from the field than their opponents, and outrebounded their opponents by 7.8 boards per game.  These stats are worthy of a powerhouse.  However, KU enjoyed just a 0.9 turnover margin and stole the ball 7.9 times per game, giving the Jayhawks an R+T Rating of 9.5.  We tend to look for teams with an R+T Rating in excess of 10, so KU is not a great favorite to go all the way. 

 

Ohio State’s total Criteria score is 21, good for second best.  However, the Buckeyes enjoy an R+T Rating of 13.2, which is a number we really like in a Final Four contender.  This number correlates to 13 extra scoring opportunities that their opposition does not receive.  OSU outscores their opponents by 17.3 points per game, shot 6.9% better from the field than they allows, outrebounded their opponents by 4.9 per game, had a turnover margin of +4.8, and stole the ball 7.2 times per game. 

 

San Diego State comes in third with 19 total criteria points.  BYU, Pittsburgh, and Texas come in next with 18 points; the Panthers have an R+T rating above 10.  The other three teams with PiRate Criteria scores showing themselves to be strong contenders for a Final Four berth are Syracuse, Purdue, and Duke

 

Florida, North Carolina, and UNLV are actually almost in a statistical tie with Duke, meaning those three are dark horse candidates for the Final Four.

 

Overall, this is the weakest field by far in the six tournaments where we have ranked the teams according to our criteria.  Looking back, this could be the weakest field since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. 

 

North Carolina State, Kansas, and Villanova won national titles in the past with less than stellar numbers.  We do not have all the statistics from those years, so we cannot really calculate criteria numbers for those three champions.  Could this be a season in which one team gets hot for six games and comes from out of the pack to win it all?  It could happen, but we are sticking with this mechanical system and going with its results.  Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Texas appear to be the best PiRate Criteria matches to past Final Four teams, and they are the quartet we officially pick to make it to Houston.  Syracuse becomes the wildcard team that could sneak into the mix.

 

Here is a look at the First Four Round One games and the 32 second round games.  The number in (parentheses) represents the PiRate Bracketnomics criteria number.

 

First Four Round

 

#16 Texas-San Antonio 19-13 (Elim) vs. #16 Alabama State 17-17 (Elim)

At first, we thought this was highly ironic, but upon further review, we consider it sort of a compliment.  These two teams both must be eliminated based on negative R+T ratings.  Of course, one of them must win this game so that they can advance to a 25-point or more loss in the next round.

 

Most of you filling out your brackets do not have to worry about these games in Dayton.  You get to turn in your choices after these games have been played.

 

UTSA has better criteria numbers after you factor out both teams’ R+T numbers. 

 

Prediction: Texas-San Antonio 64  Alabama State 55

 

 

#12 U A B 22-8 (2) vs. #12 Clemson 21-11 (1)

If you have been following the “experts” since the pairings were announced Sunday evening, then you know that these two teams do not belong in the tournament in their opinion.  It is not our mission statement to declare which teams should and should not have been included in the Big Dance, but we will tell you that Harvard and Saint Mary’s enjoyed Criteria scores several points better than these two teams, while Colorado and Virginia Tech had equal numbers to these two.

 

This game should be as close as the criteria scores show.  UAB has a one-point advantage in the criteria, but the Blazers just do not excel in any stage of the game.  Clemson’s strong point is forcing turnovers by way of steals, and that leads to a lot of cheap baskets.  Cheap baskets pay off big time in the NCAA Tournament, so we will take the Tigers in this one.

 

Prediction: Clemson 74  UAB 67

 

#11 Southern Cal 19-14 (-1) vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth 23-11 (-1)

The winner of this game is going home two days later.  Neither team merits inclusion in the Big Dance this year. 

 

Southern Cal has no apparent weakness according to the PiRate Criteria.  In fact, they have a great resume—for an NIT team.

 

The Trojans outscore their opponents by four points per game, and they outshoot them by 3.3%.  They have a small rebounding margin of 1.2, and they have an even smaller turnover margin of 0.6.  They average six steals per game and have a R+T rating of 2.1.  On top of these modest numbers, their schedule was average.

 

VCU is much in the same boat as USC with two exceptions.  They have a negative turnover margin, but they also average 8.5 steals per game.

 

The only other difference in these teams is their records away from home.  USC won only 41% of their games, while VCU won 60%.

 

This one is quite tough to pick, but we will go with the Trojans due to their superior inside talent.  We expect USC to win the rebounding edge by at least five.

 

Prediction: Southern Cal  65  V C U  60

 

#16 UNC-Asheville 19-13 (-5) vs. #16 Arkansas-Little Rock 19-16 (-13)

Obviously, we have two teams that would not even merit NIT bids had they lost in the championship games of their conference tournaments.  UALR has one of the lowest Criteria Scores in the seven years we have been calculating this data.

 

UNC-Asheville actually has a couple of positive Criteria stats.  Their R+T is 5.5, which had it come against a more difficult schedule, would have made them worthy of becoming a possible team to watch in the Round of 64.

 

We will go with UNCA here, as schedule strength is about the same for both teams.

 

Prediction: UNC-Asheville 69  Arkansas-Little Rock 59

 

 

Second-Round Games

 

East Regional

 

#1 Ohio State 32-2 (21) vs. #16 UTSA (Elim)/Alabama State (Elim)

This game will be over quickly.  There will be no scare, not even for two TV timeouts.  The second highest Criteria score versus one of the teams with an R+T Rating of “Eliminate.”

 

The Buckeyes outscored their opponents by more than 17 points per game.  Their strength of schedule was 13 points better than UTSA and 16 points better than Alabama State. 

 

We will go under the theory that UTSA will be the opponent in this game.  Using our Criteria Rating, Ohio State figures to be 30-40 points better than UTSA.  Coach Thad Matta will definitely empty his bench early in this game, so the Buckeyes may “only win” by 25-30. 

 

Prediction: Ohio State 78  Texas-San Antonio 50

 

#8 George Mason 26-6 (8) vs. #9 Villanova 21-11 (5)

George Mason is the higher seed in this game, so if they win, it cannot really be considered an upset.

 

Villanova was on course to be a four-seed when the Wildcats were 16-5 and contending for the Big East Conference regular season title.  The Wildcats could not compete down low against the more physical teams in their league.

 

George Mason has a higher PiRate Criteria Score, but it is not an insurmountable advantage.  The key stat for this game is the R+T Rating.  For GMU, it is 6.8.  For VU, it is 4.9.  Considering that Villanova played a harder schedule, these numbers basically cancel each other out, thus making this a tossup game.

 

There are two variables to consider here.  George Mason performed much better on the road, and Villanova is banged up a bit.

 

Prediction: George Mason 66  Villanova 62

 

#5 West Virginia 20-11 (6) vs. #12 UAB (2)/Clemson (1)

We believe the Mountaineers will be facing Clemson in this game, but the prediction will hold up if they play UAB. 

 

West Virginia is not as good this season as last season, and the Mountaineers will not advance to the Final Four, or even the Elite Eight.  They are liable to be out by the end of the weekend.  However, they are strong enough to get into the Round of 32. 

 

The Mountaineers best attribute is that they put up decent numbers against one of the toughest schedules in the country.  Of the NCAA Tournament teams, only Georgetown played a tougher schedule.  They will have to limit turnovers, or else this game will be close and go down to the wire.  We believe Coach Bob Huggins will be able to keep the pace at a level he likes and not allow Clemson (or UAB) to force the Mountaineers into enough mistakes to turn the tide.

 

Prediction: West Virginia 69  Clemson 62 (Or UAB 58)

 

#4 Kentucky 25-8 (14) vs. #13 Princeton 25-6 (-2)

Princeton has pulled off the big upset in the past, and they came within a missed jumper at the buzzer of becoming the only #16 seed to beat a #1 seed.  However, that was two decades ago.  The Tigers have not been to the NCAA Tournament in seven years, and that big win over UCLA was 15 years ago. 

 

Kentucky is not the type of team that will allow Princeton’s style of play to affect their style of play.  The Wildcats should actually play better than their norm with fewer mistakes. 

 

We believe that Princeton will actually crumble under relentless man-to-man pressure and turn the ball over enough times in the opening minutes of the game to allow the Wildcats to open a quick double-digit lead.  This group of Cats tends to fiddle around a little once they get a quick double-digit lead and then play uninspired ball until the opponent makes a run.  Then, they go on the attack at the right time and put the game away.

 

Adolph Rupp had a team just like this in 1958.  They were called “The Fiddlin’ Five.”  They were also called National Champions.  We won’t go so far as to put UK into this category, but we will advance the Wildcats into the next round and then into the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 72  Princeton 59

 

#6 Xavier 24-7 (8) vs. #11 Marquette 20-14 (3)

If you are looking for a tough, hard-fought game with two Midwestern teams, then tune into this game Friday evening.

 

If the Musketeers were a little more competent at forcing turnovers, they could be a dark horse candidate to advance to the Elite Eight.  XU shoots the ball well and plays well on defense when it comes to preventing a lot of easy shots.  They do well on the boards, and against a team that cannot exploit their ball-handling and ball-hawking deficiencies, they will hold their own inside.  The only other possible problem for the Musketeers is a lack of depth, but in the NCAA Tournaments, TV timeouts are longer.  It is hard to wear a team down with such long breaks every four or so minutes.

 

Marquette does not have enough depth to take advantage of Xavier’s lack of depth, so this factor will become a non-factor.  The Golden Eagles got to this tournament due to their ability to put the ball into the basket.  Marquette needs to shoot better than 46% to win, while Xavier is adept at holding teams under 45% as a rule.

 

Prediction: Xavier 71  Marquette 65

 

#3 Syracuse 26-7 (17) vs. #14 Indiana State 20-13 (-4)

Syracuse has been getting very little national exposure since their 18-0 start ended with an 8-7 finish.  The Orangemen are a team to watch in this tournament.  If not for a pedestrian 71% winning percentage away from the Carrier Dome, we would have them as one of the top four teams in this tournament.

 

Coach Jim Boeheim’s team outscores their opposition by 10.3 points per game; they outshoot them by 7.6%, and they outrebound them by 3.6 boards per game.  Their turnover margin is +1.9, and they averaged almost nine steals per game.  Their R+T Rating is 7.6, and their Strength of Schedule is somewhere between above-average and very good.  This is the Criteria Score of a team that will advance to the Sweet 16 and compete for an Elite Eight and Final Four berth.

 

Indiana State needs the return of Larry Bird to win this game.  They are too perimeter-oriented.  The Sycamores do not have the beef down low to contend in the paint, and even though Syracuse plays a 2-3 zone, teams rarely beat the Orangemen by firing up 25 long-range bombs.

 

This one smells like a blowout.

 

Prediction: Syracuse 81  Indiana State 62

 

#7 Washington 23-10 (13) vs. #10 Georgia 21-11 (2)

Washington is one of those teams that can play with anybody in this tournament—when they are playing up to their potential.  The Huskies could also exit in the first round if they play like they did the weekend they went to Oregon and Oregon State.

 

Georgia is much more consistent, but their best effort will not defeat the Huskies’ best effort.

 

Washington lacked the seasoned experience this season, and it showed when they ventured away from Seattle.  The Huskies lost to weaker opponents because they lacked the composure to win on foreign courts.  That changed when they arrived in Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament.  Isaiah Thomas took over command of the team and led them to the tournament title.  This makes UW a scary and dangerous team capable of returning to the Sweet 16.

 

Georgia must really dominate the glass in this game, because we believe they will turn the ball over too many times against UW’s pressure man-to-man defense.  It is our opinion that the Bulldogs will play a little timidly at the start of this game and find themselves in a hole.

 

The Bulldogs had trouble against Alabama’s defense, and Washington is similar but with a much better offense.

 

Prediction: Washington 78  Georgia 70

 

#2 North Carolina 26-7 (15) vs. #15 Long Island 27-5 (-1)

 

Long Island is just the type of team that can forget that their opponent is a dynasty program that chews up and spits out little programs like this.

 

Teams from Brooklyn don’t intimidate easily, especially when they are led by a trio of Texans.  So, LIU will not be intimidated, but will they be talented enough to make a game of this contest?

 

That’s the rub.  They lack the defensive ability to slow down the Tar Heels, while Coach Roy Williams’ team will be able to hold the Blackbirds under their scoring average.  The big problem for LIU will be holding onto the ball, and we could see North Carolina forcing 20 turnovers in this game.  When the Tar Heels force more turnovers than they commit, they are almost unbeatable.  This game could be interesting for a short time, but it will eventually get out of hand.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 88  Long Island 70

 

West Regional

 

#1 Duke 30-4 (15) vs. #16 Hampton 24-8 (-8)

Duke has nothing to worry about here.  This will be like one of their November/December home games where they quickly put the cupcake away with a barrage of power and speed.  You know the type: a 37-point win over Princeton; a 34-point win over Miami of Ohio; a 52-point win over Colgate.

 

Hampton got to the Dance using an aggressive defense and three-point shooting barrage on offense.  Duke will not be affected by the defensive pressure, and they will cut off the open shots from the outside.  It will be a mercy killing, and it will be quick.  Look for the Blue Devils to be up by more than 15 points before the halfway point of the first half.  By the time Coach K empties the bench, the Blue Devils should be up by 25-30 points.

 

Prediction: Duke 81  Hampton 61

 

#8 Michigan 20-13 (Elim) vs. #9 Tennessee 19-14 (10)

Michigan is the highest-rated team that fails to meet our R+T Rating requirement, so the Wolverines are automatically tabbed as a first-round loser.

 

Coach Jim Beilein has been in a similar position before.  He guided a West Virginia team with not-so-flashy Criteria numbers to the Elite Eight, where they forced Louisville to come from 20 points down to rally for the victory.  That WVU team had one of the worst negative rebounding numbers of any team in Elite Eight history, but that team made few mistakes and had a nice turnover margin.

 

This Michigan team was only outrebounded by two a game, but they do not create enough extra possessions with their miniscule turnover margin of 1.4 and their average of just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Tennessee has been up and down, and the Volunteers are not going to make a repeat run to the Elite Eight this year.  However, Coach Bruce Pearl’s troops will control the boards in this game and maybe force more turnovers than they commit.  We figure that Tennessee will have 10 more opportunities to score in this game, and that is too many for the Wolverines to make up with their three-point shooting.

 

Prediction: Tennessee 74  Michigan 69

 

#5 Arizona 27-7 (3) vs. #12 Memphis 25-9 (-1)

Memphis was not going to earn an at-large bid this season had they failed to win the Conference USA Tournament.  They received an ideal first round opponent, and the Tigers actually have a fighting chance to pull off yet another classic #12-seed over #5-seed upset.

 

Arizona needs to pound the ball inside and rely on numerous offensive rebounds to win this game.  Other teams might be able to exploit Memphis’s poor ball-handling skills, but the Wildcats do not have the defensive acumen to take advantage here.

 

Memphis will try to make this an up-tempo game where they can neutralize Arizona’s height advantage inside.  It has a chance of working, but Arizona probably has too much power inside and just enough quickness to stop the Tigers’ transition game.

 

Prediction: Arizona 76  Memphis 69

 

#4 Texas 27-7 (18) vs. #13 Oakland 25-9 (3)

This has become a popular upset pick in the media.  Oakland has generated a lot of positive press, and many “experts” are calling for the upset in this game.  We are not one of them.  Not only do we believe the Longhorns will take care of Oakland with relative ease in this game, we believe Texas is a force to be reckoned with in the next two or three rounds. 

 

Let’s look at Texas’ Criteria Rating.  At 18, the ‘Horns rate as our sixth best team in the tournament.  They have a 13.5 point scoring margin, a 7.1% field goal margin, a 6.6 rebounding margin, and a 1.2 turnover margin.  Their only Achilles Heel is a low amount of steals resulting in a R+T Rating of 8.3.  Had that number been above 10, we would be selecting Coach Rick Barnes’ team for the Final Four.

 

Oakland won this year with strong rebounding and an excellent ability to force their opponents into bad shots.  Center Keith Benson is a future NBA player, but he is not enough to propel the Golden Grizzlies into the next round.

 

Prediction: Texas 77  Oakland 65

 

#6 Cincinnati 25-8 (9) vs. #11 Missouri 23-9 (10)

On paper, this looks like the best game of this round between a team with contrasting styles.

 

Cincinnati is one of the top defensive teams in the tournament.  The Bearcats are tough inside, and they have quality depth to continue playing hard in the paint. 

 

Missouri uses the “40 minutes of Hell” approach that Coach Mike Anderson learned under his mentor Nolan Richardson.  The Tigers press full court and run the fast break as often as they get the chance.  They are perimeter-oriented and can score a lot of points in a hurry.

 

When we try to decide tossup games, we look to the all-important defense and rebounding stats, since that is what wins close games in the Big Dance. 

 

Missouri is vulnerable in both of these crucial areas.  They have given up a lot of cheap baskets this year when teams solved their press.  The Tigers were outrebounded by 1.7 boards per game.

 

Cincinnati owns a +2.7 rebounding margin, and the Bearcats held onto the ball quite competently.  We believe Coach Mick Cronin’s crew will advance.

 

Prediction: Cincinnati 68  Missouri 65

 

#3 Connecticut 26-9 (9) vs. #14 Bucknell 25-8 (-4)

Ask Kansas Coach Bill Self if it is wise to underestimate Bucknell.  The Bison know how to hold onto the ball and work for intelligent shots.  Give them an opening, and they can bury you with a high field goal percentage.

 

Connecticut did the unthinkable by winning five games in five days.  Their defense does not get the merit it deserves, because Kemba Walker gets more attention for his offensive antics.  The Huskies actually held teams under 40% from the field.

 

Coach Jim Calhoun knows how to prepare a team for tournament action.  He will have UConn ready for this game, and the Huskies will not overlook the Bison.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73  Bucknell 58

 

#7 Temple 25-7 (5) vs. #10 Penn State 19-14 (-1)

Temple’s score must be tempered by the fact that they are a wounded team coming into this tournament.  Two starters suffered injuries late in the season, and one is out for the remainder of the year, while the other may or may not be ready to play.  We must throw out Temple’s score of “5” in the PiRate Criteria, because 40% of the key players that produced that number will either not play or be greatly less effective.

 

Penn State is a lot like Southern Cal in this tournament.  The Nittany Lions have the look of a strong NIT team.  Aside from a so-so record against a strong schedule, they really have little to offer outside of one star player. 

 

We believe this Keystone State rivalry game will be close, and it could come down to the last shot.  Because the Owls are limping, we will go with the Big Ten representative.

 

Prediction: Penn State 59  Temple 56

 

#2 San Diego State 32-2 (19) vs. #15 Northern Colorado 21-10 (-6)

Most of you reading this probably cannot remember Texas Western University, but you may have scene the movie where the Miners were too quick for Kentucky and pulled off the big upset to win the 1966 National Championship.  Maybe some of you remember the Long Beach State 49ers ascension into the top 10 under Jerry Tarkanian and then Lute Olson.  Still more can remember when Tark the Shark moved to UNLV and turned the Runnin’ Rebels into a national power.

 

San Diego State is the next Western team to fit this bill.  The Aztecs are legitimate contenders to advance deep into this tournament.  They have few exploitable weaknesses, and they are the best team West of the Rockies.  Coach Steve Fisher knows how to get teams ready for tournament play, as he has three Final Fours on his resume and one National Championship.

 

SDSU’s PiRate Criteria numbers are flashy.  Their scoring margin is 13.3 points per game.  Their FG% margin is 7.1%.  They outrebound their opposition by almost seven per game, and they force 1.6 more turnovers than they commit.  Their one weak spot is a pedestrian 6.2 steals average.  If they run up against a more powerful team inside, they could have trouble getting enough extra scoring opportunities.

 

Northern Colorado will not be one of those teams that can cause trouble for the Aztecs.  The Bears are a good rebounding team, but their rebounding prowess came against a schedule that rates 10 points weaker than San Diego State’s schedule.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 73  Northern Colorado 51

 

Southwest Regional

#1 Kansas 32-2 (23) vs. #16 Boston U 21-13 (-11)

Kansas is a team on a mission.  The Jayhawks will not allow a repeat of what happened last year, and that extra incentive should be enough to send KU to Houston.

 

Kansas has the top PiRate Criteria Score this year.  They meet the basic requirements that most prior National Champions have met—scoring margin: 17.2; FG% margin: 11.7; Rebounding margin: 7.8; Turnover Margin: 0.9; Steals per game: 7.9; R+T Ratings: 9.5.

 

How do you beat this year’s KU team?  Kansas State and Texas pulled it off by matching up well inside and going head-to-head with them in the paint.

 

Boston U has the second lowest PiRate Criteria score of the 65 teams that have positive R+T Ratings.  The Terriers are way overmatched in this game, and they will have to be glad they just made it here.

 

Prediction: Kansas 90  Boston U 62

 

#8 U N L V 24-8 (15) vs. #9 Illinois 19-13 (1)

If our ratings are worth their salt, then this game should not be all that close.  UNLV may be just the third best team in the Mountain West, but the MWC was better overall this year than the Pac-10.  Third best in the MWC makes the Runnin’ Rebels one of the dozen or so teams capable of making a two weekend run.

 

Coach Lon Kruger has taken two different teams to the Elite Eight (Kansas State and Florida).  His teams play intelligently without being flashy.

 

UNLV went 24-3 against teams not named Brigham Young or San Diego State.  They are not particularly strong on the boards, and this will eventually be their downfall.  The Rebels shoot the ball brilliantly, and they alter enough opponent shots to force a lower field goal percentage.  They also take care of the ball and do not make a lot of floor mistakes.

 

Illinois is an inconsistent, underachieving team.  This can be dangerous for the prognosticator, because it is difficult if not impossible to predict which schizophrenic state will appear for each game.

 

The Illini are not particularly strong on the glass or at taking care of the ball, and that is a recipe for disaster when the opponent is as good as UNLV.  Even if Illinois comes out playing their best basketball, it may not be enough to beat UNLV playing their typical game.

 

Prediction: U N L V  72  Illinois 64

 

#5 Vanderbilt 23-10 (5) vs. #12 Richmond 26-7 (2)

Here is another game getting a lot of attention due to its upset potential.  Historically, the #12 seed produces the a lot of great upsets.

 

This game could go either way.  Both teams have exploitable weaknesses, and it just so happens that both teams’ have the assets capable of exploiting the other’s weaknesses.

 

Let’s start with Vanderbilt.  The Commodores are not particularly strong on the defensive perimeter.  Worthy opponents have been able to beat them off the drive and get a lot of open inside shots.  This weak perimeter defense has also led to frontcourt players having to help, thus leaving open holes near the basket.

 

Richmond’s offense is a modified version of the Princeton Offense.  The Spiders have the talent to get open shots inside and in the five to ten-foot range.

 

Richmond cannot rebound against more physical teams.  The Spiders make up for their rebounding liabilities by seldom throwing the ball away.

 

Vanderbilt has an excellent physical presence inside with three beefy players that can rebound the ball on offense and defense.

 

So, which team gets the edge in our PiRate Ratings?  We always look to defense in rebounding in tossup games.  Vanderbilt holds the rebounding edge, while Richmond holds the defensive edge.  It is basically a wash, so we have to look elsewhere.  While Richmond has been much better away from home, Vanderbilt’s schedule is seven points more difficult.  We’ll go with the power conference team, but not by much

 

Prediction: Vanderbilt 70  Richmond 67

 

#4 Louisville 25-9 (12) vs. #13 Morehead State 24-9 (3)

This should be an interesting game, but in the end the big brothers are going to defeat their little brothers in this battle of two Bluegrass State teams.

 

40 years ago this week, another little brother upset a big brother on their way to a surprise appearance in the Final Four (later vacated).  In 1971, Western Kentucky did not just upset Kentucky, the Hilltoppers ran the Wildcats off the floor.  Can there be a repeat two score later?  No!

 

Coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals are vulnerable on the boards, and Morehead State has the nation’s best rebounder in the nation in Kenneth Faried.  However, the Eagles do not have enough talent or depth to keep up with Louisville.  They may emerge with a slight rebounding edge in this game, but it will not be enough to make up for all the open shots the Cardinals will get.

 

Louisville is going to run into trouble when they meet up with a team that can rebound and play credible defense.  That would be Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Until then, they have a relatively easy route to the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Louisville 78  Morehead State 62

 

#6 Georgetown 21-10 (8) vs. #11 Southern Cal (-1)/Va. Commonwealth (-1)

Last year, we discussed Georgetown’s vulnerabilities and the probability that they would fail to make it past the first weekend.  We expected the Hoyas to fall as a favorite in their second game, but they were a one and done team.

 

This year’s team is not much better than last year’s Hoya team, but they received a much more favorable draw.

 

Coach John Thompson III’s Hoyas once again have a rather low R+T Rating thanks to a turnover margin of -1.9 and a low amount of steals per game.  They will exit from the tournament in the next round unless there is a monumental upset in their pairing.

 

Neither USC nor VCU has the talent to take advantage of Georgetown’s deficiencies.  The three teams combined have a R+T rating below Purdue’s.

 

One additional note: The Hoyas will be a tad bit better than their Criteria Score in the tournament.  Chris Wright suffered a hand fracture in the middle of the schedule, and he is expected to be near 100% for the tournament.  You have to add maybe one point to their Criteria Score, but that is not enough to put them over the top in their second game.

 

Prediction: Georgetown 69  Southern Cal 61 (or VCU 60)

 

#3 Purdue 25-7 (16) vs. #14 St. Peter’s 20-13 (-7)

If only… Purdue fans will never know just how good their team might have been with Robbie Hummel joining JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore playing together.  This would have been the best Boilermaker team since Rick Mount led Purdue to the Championship Game against UCLA in 1969.

 

The Boilermakers no longer have that one glaring weakness that Gene Keady’s teams had and thus prevented Purdue from getting past the second round.  This team does well on the boards like most of those past Purdue teams, but they are particularly strong when it comes to forcing turnovers and taking advantage by converting steals into points.  It is the way many teams go on runs that put opponents out of commission.

 

St. Peter’s just barely avoided being immediately eliminated with a negative R+T Rating.  They squeaked by at 0.1.  It might as well be a negative number, as the Peacocks were outrebounded by 0.4 per game and had a turnover margin of -0.9 against a schedule that was four points below average and seven points weaker than the schedule Purdue faced.

 

Prediction: Purdue 73  St. Peter’s 56

 

#7 Texas A&M 24-8 (8) vs. #10 Florida State 21-10 (2)

The Big 12’s third best team has enough talent to challenge for a Sweet 16 berth.  We’ll leave the next round for another time and talk about this game.

 

The Aggies have no glaring weakness, and they have a few strengths, namely rebounding and defense (which wins games in the NCAA Tournament).  They are much like Kansas Lite.  A&M was not a team of surprises during the regular season.  They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and failed to upset the teams better than they were.  We expect the trend to continue.  They are better than the Seminoles.

 

Florida State does not take good care of the ball, and that costs them in confrontations against good opponents.  The Seminoles do not play particularly well away from Tallahassee, and they should be making a quick exit from the Dance.

 

Prediction: Texas A&M 73  Florida State 65

 

#2 Notre Dame 26-6 (11) vs. #15 Akron 23-12 (-9)

This is the best Irish team since Digger Phelps led Notre Dame in the late 1980’s.  Throw in the fact that this team has a chip on its shoulders following a first round exit last year, and the Irish have to be considered the Sweet 16 favorite in their four-team pairing this weekend.

 

The Irish finished the regular season with a scoring margin of 10.4 points per game.  Down the stretch, they went 7-2 against teams in this tournament.  The Selection Committee placed Notre Dame in a bracket that should provide a very memorable Sweet 16 contest against one of their most bitter arch-rivals.

 

Akron has a big seven-foot center, but the Zips do not rebound the ball all that well.  Zeke Marshall, the aforementioned big man, concentrates his efforts on blocking shots, and he frequently is not in position to rebound the ball.  So, the blocked shot frequently turns into a made basket off an offensive rebound.  The Zips did not fare well on the road this year, and with a considerably weaker schedule than average, this does not bode well.

 

Prediction:  Notre Dame 81  Akron 57

 

Southeast Regional

#1 Pittsburgh 27-5 (18) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (-5)/U A L R (-13)

One of us here at the PiRate Ratings might be dating himself, but he sees a lot of the 1962 Cincinnati Bearcats in this year’s Pitt team.  The Panthers have a dominating inside power game that will pulverize any finesse team that cannot hit 10 three-pointers.  Neither UNCA nor UALR has a remote chance to make this game a close contest.

 

Pitt outscored their opposition by 13.1 points per game.  This stat looks even better when you factor in that they compiled this gaudy stat playing in a league that produced 11 NCAA Tournament teams.  The Panthers outshot their opponents by 7.6%, and they totally dominated the glass with a 10.4 rebounding advantage.  If you are thinking the way to beat them is to play a packed in zone, think again.  Ashton Gibbs can bury you from outside with his near 50% three-point accuracy, and Brad Wannamaker can still get the ball inside to one of the bruisers waiting to punish you with a thunder dunk.

 

Only a negative turnover margin prevents the Panthers from being there with Kansas as a co-favorite for winning all the marbles.

 

Pitt’s cupcake opponent will have to be happy with winning their First Four game, because they will be humiliated in this game.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 78  UNC-Asheville 54 (or UALR 48)

 

#8 Butler 23-9 (7) vs. #9 Old Dominion 27-6 (10)

This is the second best matchup in this round, and the winner will put a scare into Pittsburgh in the next round and even have a decent shot at the upset.

 

Butler is now the hunted rather than the hunter.  The Bulldogs will not sneak up on anybody this year.  More importantly, they are not as talented as they were last year.  The Bulldogs fared much better on the road last year than this season.  However, down the stretch, Butler started to look like a team proficient enough to get past the first weekend once again.

 

Old Dominion has the talent to advance past the first weekend as well.  The Monarchs are a miniature version of Pittsburgh, the team they would face in the next round should they win this game.

 

ODU is the nation’s number one rebounding team with a +12.2 margin.  The Monarchs’ schedule was not outstanding, but it was on par with several teams from the so-called power conferences, and they finished 6-4 against teams in this tournament.  This is a better ODU team than the one that upset Notre Dame in the first round last year, and this game should be one you do not want to miss.

 

 

Prediction: Old Dominion 72  Butler 70 in overtime

 

#5 Kansas State 22-10 (9) vs. #12 Utah State 30-3 (14)

This is the one game where a number 12 seed winning would not really be all that much of an upset.  Utah State should have been a top eight seed in this tournament.  If we were conspiracy buffs, we would say that the Selection Committee searched for a team that the Aggies do not match up with all that well and placed them in this spot to verify their actions.

 

Kansas State does not take care of the ball well enough to advance very deep into this tournament, but their first game opponent cannot take advantage of that weakness.

 

Utah State has dominated their opponents by forcing them to play a patient half-court game with very little scoring in transition.  They prefer to work the ball patiently for a good shot and then force opponents to take a low-percentage shot.  Thus, the Aggies outrebound their opponents, but they do so by forcing more bad shots than by out-leaping their opponents.

 

Kansas State has the talent to force Utah State to play at a quicker tempo and force them to defend one-on-one.  Jacob Pullen is a poor man’s (and smaller) Derrick Rose.  He can break down most opponents off the dribble, and he should be able to force USU to resort to some type of combination defense to keep him from going wild.

 

What scares us most about Utah State is that they had two opportunities to show they are deserving of their lofty ranking.  They lost to BYU and to Georgetown, and they never really threatened to pull of the upset in either game.

 

This is one game where we are going to go against our own chalk.  Kansas State’s schedule was seven points tougher, and the Wildcats can exploit the Aggies’ weaknesses.

 

Prediction: Kansas State 70  Utah State 63

 

#4 Wisconsin 23-8 (7) vs. #13 Belmont 30-4 (9)

This game has become the most-picked upset special around the nation.  Belmont is being compared with Butler of last year.  The Bruins are lofty of all this attention-gathering admiration, but Wisconsin is not the Washington Generals.

 

Belmont has the highest scoring margin in the nation at 18.4 points per game.  The Bruins outshot their opposition by 5.7% per game, and they took a lot of three-point attempts.  They outrebounded their opponents by 3.9, and they had an eye-popping 5.3 turnover margin.  They share the top steals per game average in this tournament with Missouri at 9.7, and their R+T Rating is the best in the tournament at 16.2 (three better than number two Ohio State).

 

Of course, these statistics were compiled against inferior competition.  Belmont’s schedule strength is nine points below the national average and a dozen below their first round opponent.  Against the opponents that made it to this tournament, they were 1-3.  They beat Alabama State by 13.  The three losses were on the road to in-state rivals Tennessee (twice) and Vanderbilt, but they led in the second half of those games.

 

The last time Belmont was in the Big Dance, the Bruins came within a missed last shot of sending Duke home.   

 

Wisconsin was not expected to be this good in 2011.  This was supposed to be a minor rebuilding season for the Badgers.  The Badgers usually run Coach Bo Ryan’s Swing Offense with great efficiency, rarely turning the ball over.  They outscored their opponents by 9.9 points per game, and they outshot they outrebounded them by 3.8 boards per game. 

 

The Badgers have been a hot and cold team this year.  When they have been hot, they have been nearly unbeatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  When they have been cold, they have been easily beatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  They finished the season as cold as ice, so the Badgers must be considered a slight underdog in this game.

 

Prediction: Belmont 74  Wisconsin 70

 

#6 St. John’s 21-11 (9) vs. #11 Gonzaga 24-9 (13)

Here is a game where we believe the seedings should be switched.  Gonzaga has been here enough times to be considered a regular in the NCAA Tournament, like Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and Connecticut.  This makes a baker’s dozen consecutive appearances in the Big Dance for the Bulldogs. 

 

In past years, Gonzaga had a big scorer that could take over games.  Adam Morrison comes to mind.  This year, the Zags are more difficult to prepare for, because they are more team-oriented.  There is not a big star on the roster, but all five starters are capable of taking the team on his shoulders with a hot night.

 

In their nine-game winning streak to close the season, Gonzaga eliminated Saint Mary’s from the Dance party with two victories.  The Bulldogs scoring margin in those nine games was 76-58.  This is a good team playing its best ball of the year, and we expect Coach Mark Few to win yet another NCAA Tournament game.

 

St. John’s comes into the tournament minus one of its stars.  Starting forward D. J. Kennedy went down for the season with a knee injury in the Big East Tournament, and the Red Storm is now suspect in the paint.  Their Criteria Score of nine should be discounted by two to three points.  It is enough to take this contest from tossup status to near-comfortable status for Gonzaga.

 

Prediction: Gonzaga 74  St. John’s 66

 

#3 Brigham Young 30-4 (18) vs. #14 Wofford 21-12 (-1)

So, you didn’t get a chance to see Pete Maravich play at LSU in 1968, 1969, or 1970, eh?  We must admit that nobody will ever be the collegiate equal for Maravich, but Jimmer Fredette may be the closest thing to him.

 

Throw out the floppy socks and floppy Beatles haircut and throw out some of the most unbelievable passes in the history of the game (so unbelievable that Maravich’s teammates frequently could not see them coming), and Fredette is not that far behind Maravich.

 

The sports nation will be turning its eyes to this game just to see if Fredette can make a run at a single game scoring mark.  If we remember correctly, Notre Dame’s Austin Carr set the mark back in 1970 with 61 points against Ohio U in a regional qualifier game.

 

BYU may have been a strong Final Four contender had Brandon Davies not loved his girlfriend so much.  The Cougars averaged 8.7 fewer points per game once Davies was suspended. 

 

Wofford will not be able to take much advantage of Davies’ absence.  The Terriers fared well in all PiRate Criteria categories, but they did not meet even the minimum “numbers to look for” in any category, and their schedule strength was five points below the norm. 

 

Prediction: Brigham Young 75  Wofford 63

 

#7 U C L A 22-10 (-3) vs. #10 Michigan State 19-14 (1)

If only this were a few years ago.  Neither of these historically dominating teams is going to make waves in this year’s tournament, and the winner will be around for just one more game.

 

UCLA would be a national title contender if Kevin Love had stuck around for four years.  Imagine Love as a senior on this team.  Can you say Bill Walton-like numbers?  Alas, the Bruins must get by with a couple of well above-average forwards instead of the best three-man tandem in the nation.

 

The Bruins have the worst turnover margin of any team in this tournament.  At -3.4, UCLA would need to dominate on the boards, and while they usually win that battle, it is anything but dominating.

 

Michigan State’s one asset year in and year out under Coach Tom Izzo has been their rebounding acumen.  For most teams, a +4.3 edge on the boards would be considered outstanding, but in East Lansing, this is considered a down year. 

 

Neither team has done all that well away from their home court this season, and there really is only one stat where one team stands out ahead of the other.  MSU’s schedule was four points tougher than UCLA’s schedule.  That’s our spread for this game.  

 

Prediction: Michigan State 64  UCLA 60

 

#2 Florida 26-7 (15) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara 18-13 (-10)

The Gators looked like a potential Final Four team in the last month, at least when they were not playing Kentucky.  UCSB is not Kentucky. 

 

Florida tends to commit too many floor mistakes to win four games in this year’s tournament.  They have enough talent to get through the first weekend, but we do not see the Gators extending their stay after that.

 

UCSB upset Long Beach State to get here, and the Gauchos are one of the weakest teams in the tournament according to our Criteria Score.  With negative rebounding and turnover margins, they just barely escape automatic elimination with a R+T rating of 0.3. 

 

Prediction: Florida 76  U C S B  54

 

 

 

Our Bracket

 

You have seen the 32 teams that we believe will win the second round games.  Here is how we fill out the rest of our bracket.

 

Third Round Winners

Ohio State over George Mason

Kentucky over West Virginia

Syracuse over Xavier

North Carolina over Washington

Duke over Tennessee

Texas over Arizona

Connecticut over Cincinnati

San Diego State over Penn State

Kansas over UNLV

Louisville over Vanderbilt

Purdue over Georgetown

Notre Dame over Texas A&M

Pittsburgh over Old Dominion

Kansas State over Belmont

Gonzaga over Brigham Young

Florida over Michigan State

 

Sweet 16 Winners

Ohio State over Kentucky

Syracuse over North Carolina

Texas over Duke

San Diego State over Connecticut

Kansas over Louisville

Purdue over Notre Dame

Pittsburgh over Kansas State

Florida over Gonzaga

 

Elite 8 Winners

Ohio State over Syracuse

Texas over San Diego State

Kansas over Purdue

Pittsburgh over Florida

 

Semifinal Winners

Ohio State over Texas

Kansas over Pittsburgh

 

National Championship

Kansas over Ohio State

March 24, 2010

Sweet 16 Preview

 

From Sweet to Elite

Advanced Level Bracketnomics

 

Hello PiRate Basketball fans.  Our system worked well, but the idiots (us) in charge of the data didn’t have the guts to play all the upsets.  We still have nine teams alive, and our top-rated teams according to our system are still there, except for Kansas. 

We told you in the first round that Georgetown and Vanderbilt were the most ripe for upset bids based on their R+T scores just barely above zero.  We were there on other double-digit ups as well.

Before we preview the Sweet 16 games, let’s refresh you on the PiRate formula components.

Scoring Margin—We look for teams with a minimum scoring margin of 8 points per game, give precedence to teams with double-digit scoring margins, and develop huge crushes on teams with scoring margins of 15 or more points per game.  We award one point for as little as a 5-point scoring margin, 3 points for 8 or more, and 5 points for 10 or more. 

Teams with a negative margin who have made it to the Sweet 16 are eliminated and are automatically picked to lose the next game (unless of course there is a rare instance of their opponent also qualifying for elimination.)

Field Goal % Margin—We look for teams that have a +7.5 or better difference in field goal percentage versus opponents’ field goal percentage.  We give special consideration to teams with double-digit field goal percentage margins, and if we see a team hitting better than 48.0% and yielding less than 38.0%, we circle that team in red because they are going to be tough to beat if they are a member of one of the Big Six conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, or SEC).  We award one point for FG% margins of 5.0 or more, 3 points for margins of 7.5% or more, and 5 points for double-digit margins. 

Like above, teams arriving at the Sweet 16 with a negative field goal margin are eliminated.

Rebound Margin—This is actually part of a multiple statistical entry, as we combine it with turnover margin as well.  However, we do separate rebounding because offensive put backs are vitally important in the Big Dance.  We are looking for teams with a +5.0 or better rebounding margin.  We award one point for a rebounding margin of 3.0 or better and 3 points for a margin of 5.0 or better. 

Teams with a negative rebounding margin receive -2 points, but they are not eliminated yet.

Turnover Margin & Steals Per Game—Teams with negative rebounding margins can make up for it with exceptional turnover margins, especially if they get a lot of steals that lead to great fast break opportunities.  We don’t award points solely on turnover margin and steals; we incorporate those stats into a multi-statistical formula we call “R+T.” 

R+T is a formula that applies weighted advantages to steals and turnover margin, while adding rebounding margin into the equation.  Rebounding margin is already factored into the formula by itself, but it receives fewer awarded points.  This stat balances out the rebounding with the scoring and field goal margin, and it allows us to look at the number of extra scoring opportunities a team normally receives. 

The Formula for R+T is:  R+ (.2S*1.2T), where R is rebounding margin, S is steals per game, and T is turnover margin.  Whenever this stat is negative, this team is immediately eliminated.  If this stat is less than one, don’t figure on this team staying around in the Dance.  All four teams that fell below one in R+T lost in the first round, including heavy favored Georgetown and Vanderbilt.  We award the result of the R+T in points.

Power Conference & Strength of Schedule—We give extra weight to teams that are members of the Big Six conferences.  We give a little weight to the teams from the top of the mid-majors (such as Missouri Valley, West Coast, Colonial, and Mountain West).  We deduct for teams from the lower conferences (such as America East, MAAC, Big West, and Patriot). 

We look at the strength of schedule as produced by cbssports.com, and multiply that number by 100.  50.00 is a mid-point, so if that number is 52.37, we consider that schedule to be 2.37 points stronger than average.  If the number is 46.28, then that schedule is 3.72 points weaker than average.  This is incorporated into our criteria.

Record Away From Home—Every team is playing on a neutral floor, so we throw out the home won-loss records.  A team that is 26-9 overall, but 17-0 at home is actually a .500 team away from home.  Likewise, in some rare instances a team might be 22-10 with a home record of 14-6 and a record away from home of 8-4.  Winning two –thirds of one’s games away from home would make this team more likely to beat the 26-9 team on a neutral floor, all else being equal.

Before the first round, our formula picked Duke as the overall favorite based on their 34.4 PiRate score.  The Blue Devils no longer own the top score after the first two rounds.  Their criteria score fell a little, while another team elevated just enough to post a higher score.  The new leader in the clubhouse is none other than Kansas State.  This surprised us all here, but the Wildcats were impressive in wins over North Texas and BYU.  Their defense was stifling, and their offense, while not spectacular, clicked in spurts.  KSU controlled the boards in both games as well.

The Wildcats have had few great moments since in the last 20+ years.  This team is starting to bring back memories of the glory days in the Little Apple when Tex Winter introduced his triple-post (triangle) offense and Jack Gardner had the Cats running and gunning.

Of the 16 teams remaining, five come from conferences outside of the Big Six conferences, but each of the quintet’s PiRate criteria scores reveals that they belong in the Sweet 16.  None of the five (none of the entire 16) have scores in single digits.

Now, it’s time to look at the eight, Sweet 16 games, using these criteria.  The number you see in (Parentheses) after the team is their PiRate Criteria Score.  All of these scores have been update to reflect their two wins in the Big Dance.                                                                            

 

East Regional

 

#1 Kentucky (29.22) vs. #12 Cornell (14.56)

The Wildcats are the one team that also qualifies in the 48-38% field goal margin.  John Calipari no longer officially owns any Final Four appearances to his name, after the NCAA upheld the vacating of all Memphis wins during Derrick Rose’s playing career (his U Mass team had to vacate that appearance as well).  So, we can say he is still looking for his first official visit to the Final Four.  We don’t know with 100% certainty if the Wildcats will make it there, but we are safe in saying they will be one of the Elite 8.  Cornell cannot stop DeMarcus Cousins inside unless they totally sell out on the perimeter.  John Wall and Eric Bledsoe will make the Big Red pay for that tactic, and then Patrick Patterson will break their backs if he hits a three.

Cornell might stay close through one or two TV timeouts, but this game should get out of hand before halftime.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 88  Cornell 64

 

#2 West Virginia (29.08) vs. #11 Washington (21.93)

West Virginia wins ugly.  The Mountaineers don’t look pretty, but they keep pounding at opponents until they see an opening.  Then, like a crafty boxer, they exploit that opening and grab the lead on points.  They rarely record a knockout, but they are great at keeping the lead once they get it in the final half.

Washington does look pretty when they play.  Lorenzo Romar’s teams vaguely resemble many of the great UCLA teams from the past.  With Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas providing a great one-two punch, it is hard to stop the Huskies from scoring 70 or more points.

West Virginia doesn’t usually win games if they give up more than 75 points.  Coach Bob Huggins will devise a game plan to force UW’s big threats to work harder for open shots, and Washington will not reach 75 points in this game.

Prediction: West Virginia 73  Washington 66

 

South Regional

 

#3 Baylor (26.04) vs. #10 St. Mary’s (15.47)

This looks like a classic mismatch between a power team from a power conference and a team that should be just glad to have made it this far.  It could be, but we like the way St. Mary’s plays, and we think Coach Randy Bennett is possibly the next Lute Olsen if he so chooses to move on to a school from one of the Big Six conferences.

This will be a great battle between big men.  Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh and St, Mary’s Omar Samhan should balance each other out.  Samhan is a little better offensively, but Udoh is a little better defensively.  Samhan is the more likely to get in foul trouble.

Baylor has more potent weapons in LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter, but the Gaels have more depth.  We just don’t see the Bears running away with this game.  We will pick them to advance.

Prediction: Baylor 78  St. Mary’s 71

 

#1 Duke (30.48) vs. #4 Purdue (15.37)

Credit must be given to the Boilermakers for making it this far without Robbie Hummel.  They played hard and won a couple of tough games.  Unfortunately, Purdue goes up against one of the big boys.  This is their final game of the season.

Duke may have fallen a notch in winning their first two games, but having to play the play-in winner lowered their strength of schedule.  Emptying the bench may have artificially lowered their criteria score, and we still think Coach K is sitting pretty with his club in a great bracket.

Prediction: Duke 81  Purdue 67

 

Midwest Regional

 

#2 Ohio State (22.24) vs. #6 Tennessee (21.16)

These may not be the two best teams left in the Big Dance, or even in this regional, but they may be the two best-coached teams.  Buckeye head guy Thad Matta has definitely produced a better record than his talent on hand should have produced, and Volunteer coach Bruce Pearl has squeezed every last drop of juice out of his big orange.

Two years ago, when Ohio State was the top-rated team, Tennessee built up a 20-point lead against OSU, before the Buckeyes chipped away and came back for the win in this same round.  Vol center Wayne Chism can remember that game well.

We look for this to possibly be the most entertaining game of this round, but we have to go with the Big Ten in this one.  Tennessee is having to go with players that would be considered bench-warmers at Ohio State for almost one quarter of the available playing time.  Pearl will either have to play five reserves for their usual 48 combined minutes per game or go with his top seven until they drop.  Either way, it tips the scale in favor of Brutus.

Prediction: Ohio State 69  Tennessee 63

 

#5 Michigan State (20.92) vs. #9 Northern Iowa (13.76)

This is another game where we have to discount a team for the loss of a player.  Spartan star guard Kalin Lucas is out for the rest of the year with a ruptured Achilles tendon.  He is the Spartans’ leading scorer, leader at getting to the foul line, leading passer, and best perimeter defender.  Losing him is almost like losing Magic Johnson. 

One thing MSU still has in its favor is a brutalizing inside force with a three-headed rebounding monster.  Raymar Morgan, Draymond Green, and Delvon Roe will see to it that Northern Iowa will not get many second-chance points.

Northern Iowa is primed to exploit MSU’s misfortune, but we expect the Panthers to come out flat following the huge upset over Kansas.  Jordan Eglseder is going to need help inside as the Spartans attempt to force their offense to score inside the paint.  Adam Koch cannot afford to risk foul trouble, so we see some difficulty here for NIU.  We also do not believe that Ali Farokhmanesh will drain threes all night in this game.  We can see him going 2 for 9.

It’s rather obvious that this is going to be a very low-scoring game, at least until the final minutes when one team may be getting a dozen trips to the foul line.

Prediction: Michigan State 56  Northern Iowa 51

 

 

West Regional

 

#1 Syracuse (27.88) vs. #5 Butler (19.35)

Quickness over brute force strength should be the difference in this game.  Syracuse has been flying a little bit under the radar so far, and the Orangemen are about to reveal to the rest of the nation that they are an Elite 8 team. 

Butler cannot be overlooked, as the Bulldogs are now the best team in the Hoosier state.  However, Butler doesn’t have the horses to exploit the cracks in the SU 2-3 matchup zone.  We see the Bulldogs going through stretches where they cannot score, and you can’t beat Syracuse that way.

A ‘Cuse win should set up the best Regional Final of the four, regardless of their opponent on Saturday.

Prediction: Syracuse 74  Butler 60

 

#2 Kansas State (31.21) vs. #6 Xavier (18.37)

Xavier has become a household name in the Big Dance, so it’s no longer much of a surprise to see the Musketeers advancing in this tournament.  They just happened to get the wrong team in the Sweet 16, because we just cannot see them matching up inside against the purple and white.  Kansas State can bring two wide-bodies off the bench, and the Wildcats’ guards can hit the glass as well.

The storyline of this game is that KSU will hold Xavier under 40% from the field and rarely give the Musketeers an offensive rebound.  Teams just don’t win in the Sweet 16 unless they can either control the boards of shoot a high percentage.

We look for the Wildcats to set up the game of the tournament in the West Regional Finals on Saturday.

Prediction: Kansas State 77  Xavier 61

 

Check back with us Saturday before game time for a preview of the Elite 8 Regional Final games.

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.