Wednesday, March 19, 2008

South ACC Pod Preview

The conference's lone representative in the South region is 7th-seeded Miami. Despite being the higher seed, Miami is an ever-so-slight statistical underdog to St. Mary's (and both have lower than 1 in 5 odds against Texas).

2nd Round Sweet 16
97.53% 79.08%
49.75% 10.25%
St. Mary's 50.25% 10.43%
Austin Peay 2.47% 0.24%

Texas showed this season that the recruiting class in addition to that Durant guy last year had some seriously good players. You've all certainly heard about DJ Augustin, but just as integral to the team's success has been the development of Damion James. As a freshman, he showed the ability to be an inside presence on both ends of the court, but he gave little contribution away from the basket. This year he's taken on much more of the scoring load and showed reliable touch from outside - 44.1% from 3 on about 2 attempts per game. He and Connor Atchley are very, very tricky matchups because both can take their defender outside, as well as beat you down low. As a team, Texas has the second most efficient offense in the country largely by never turning it over and by relentlessly attacking the offensive glass (James in particular). Austin Peay also hangs on to the ball remarkably well, but unlike Texas, they're quite proficient in forcing TOs as well. The Governors lead the entire nation in steal percentage. Unfortunately, that's the only thing they do well on defense - they play the absolute worst fg% defense of any team in the tournament. On offense, Austin Peay shares the scoring load pretty well - all 5 starters score between 12-16 points per game. Todd Babington, who's hit 90 threes on the year, is the most likely to keep this interesting.

In the 7/10 matchup, a lot of people (and numbers, see above) see St. Mary's as the favorite and better team. However, they come into the NCAAs losing 3 of 5, and the offense isn't what it was earlier in the year. But the loss to Gonzaga notwithstanding, the defense is still very good. St. Mary's is one of the toughest teams in the nation to score against. Opponents can't score inside (44.2% from 2) or outside (30.3% from 3). Diamon Simpson and Omar Sahman do excellent work protecting the rim. Dwayne Collins will likely not have a career high in this one. On offense, the Gaels rely heavily on Patty Mills outside, and Simpson inside. By the way, just 2 seniors in the St. Mary's rotation - they'll be very good again next year. As for Miami, people have pointed out that they were outscored by conference opponents. Which is true. By 18 points, to be precise. Of course, as I pointed out before, Miami played the single toughest schedule in conference, traveling to almost all the difficult home venues and hosting almost all the best road warriors. Plus, Miami finished conference play on a 6-2 push (7-3 if you count the ACCT) that included two road wins and a win over Duke. Miami will be looking first and foremost (and second and next-most) to Jack McClinton to carry the offense. St. Mary's is a tough draw for the Canes, because their primary point of struggle is putting the ball in the basket - no one on the team shoots particularly well, and only a low turnover rate and an ability to get to and convert from the line made their offense even average. They scored just 49 points against Virginia Tech on Friday, and could struggle to crack 60 against St. Mary's.

Around the ACC - NIT Action

First the good - Maryland won @ Minnesota thanks to their defense. The Terps shot under 40% and turned the ball over a ton but still managed to pick up the win. Of course, the Gophers shot much, much worse - 13 of 37 from 2, and 8 for 30 from 3. Ugh. Next up for the Terps - a trip the 'Cuse.

And the bad - FSU lost in overtime to Akron. Another ugly game - it was tied at 51! going into the extra frame. Uche Echefu and Jason Rich recorded double doubles, although Echefu's (20 points, 10 rebounds) was much more helpful than Rich's (10 rebounds, 10 turnovers). In a 225 minute game (45 minutes x 5 players), FSU got a grand total of 34 minutes and 3 points from the bench. FSU lost this one because they simple couldn't hold on the ball - Akron got give-aways once out of every 3 possessions. Ugh.

CBI Action

In the new (lesser) tournament, Virginia snuck by Richmond 66-64. Singletary led the way with 18. I really don't have much to say about this. Quite frankly, I'm very disappointed to see three underwhelming performances from the ACC. If we're going to lay claim to being the best conference in the country, we can't go throwing three dogs out there on one night again.


Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, where are you pulling your probabilities from?

I noticed your posting was less frequent this season. Why in the world might that be?

Take care. Tell Alan I said hey.

Paul Rugani said...

Log5 formula off of Pomeroy's pythagorean winning percentages.

And yeah, the real world unfortunately got in the way of this pleasant diversion far more often than I would have preferred.