Sunday, March 16, 2008

A #3 Seed

Wisconsin drew a 3 seed in the Midwest, which in my view is the weakest of the four regions. People are pissing and moaning that they deserved a #2 seed but I'd rather be a 3 in the Midwest than be a #2 out west, personally.

They're playing Cal-State Fullerton, better known for their baseball program than hoops. I always like to look at one key stat when scouting the really low seeds to see if they can pull an upset - 3 point shooting. In my opinion, the only way the low seeds can pull an upset is if they go crazy from distance.

CS-F has an RPI of 80. It looks like it has a couple of pretty good outside shooters (they shoot 38.6% from 3 point as a team), and are lead by a 5-11 4th year junior guard named Josh Akognon (19.9 ppg, 39.2% 3 pt, 90.4% FT) and a 6-4 5th year senior guard named Frank Robinson (16 ppg, 7 rpg, 34% 3 pt, 73.8% FT). I would say Flowers shadows Akognan and throw Krabby on Robinson to try to shut down those two. This is a guard oriented team, with the tallest guy who plays any meaningful minutes listed as 6-6 if ESPN.com can be believed. Should be interesting - one would think that Wisconsin will be able to impose its will on the inside with Landry and (to a lesser extent) Butch.

If UW gets past CS-F, they get a date with either Kansas State or USC. K-State is horrible on the road, so I'd expect USC to beat Beasley and K-State. If UW makes it to the Sweet 16, they'll likely get a date with Georgetown, the weakest of the #2 seeds in my opinion. That would be a really interesting game, matching the two top defensive clubs in the country against one another.

Of course, the various basketball analysts are already spitting out opinions as fast as they can type. An interesting contradiction from SI.com's Stewart Mandel, who says that this year, top seeds have greater separation from the rest of the field than is usually the case.

On the flip side, the bottom half of the at-large part of the bracket (six through 12) is as weak as I can remember.

Then, of course, in almost the next breath, Mandel picks a six seed, USC, to make the Final Four out of the Midwest. Makes sense.

Luke Winn of SI.com had an interesting item in his basketball blog:

That said, while Kansas may not have deserved a No. 1 seed, there's little doubt that, efficiency-wise, the Jayhawks are the best team in the country. John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus recently published a list of the top eight major-conference efficiency margins this season, and KU was at the top:

Rk. Team Pace PPP OPPP EM

1. Kansas 69.2 1.16 0.92 +0.24

2. Wisconsin 60.2 1.09 0.91 +0.18

3. UCLA 64.9 1.13 0.96 +0.17

4. Tennessee 71.5 1.12 0.97 +0.15

5. Louisville 67.0 1.06 0.91 +0.15

6. N. Carolina 74.7 1.13 0.99 +0.14

7. Duke 75.3 1.11 0.99 +0.12

8. Georgetown 62.6 1.04 0.92 +0.12

For some context, 75 percent of last year's Elite Eight teams were in the top eight nationally in major-conference efficiency margin -- and Kansas, which lost to UCLA in the quarterfinals, was ranked No. 1 then as well.

Now I have no idea what this means, but I guess it's impressive to be #2 on that list of teams. If this does mean anything, perhaps the Midwest region isn't that weak, since 3 of the top 8 teams on that list (Kansas, UW, Georgetown) are the top 3 sees in the region.

5 comments:

woz said...

The stats are broken down into average possessions per game, average points per possession, & oppenents average points per possession. The difference between your PPP and your OPPP is the efficiency margin, which is the basis for the rankings.

While these numbers do make sense, the author does make some additional points which I like. The numbers don't take into consideration quality of opponent. Essentially, since the Badgers play in a poor conference against some atrocious teams...their EM is inflated. By how much is another statistical question.

goldy said...

Wisconsin-Georgetown would be like a conference game for the Badgers.

You know what I really want to see? The Badgers play Memphis. I would love to see how the two contrasting styles match up.

Tony said...

When did goldy turn into Bill Packer?

Goldy said...

Note, my previous comment was slathered in sarcasm.

Goldy said...

Note, my previous comment was slathered in sarcasm.