Home Unfiltered Articles Players Baseball Prospectus
Basketball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Click here for Important Basketball Prospectus Premium Information!

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Preview (02/26)
Next Article >>
The List (02/26)

February 26, 2008
Conference Check
Forward Thinking Edition

by John Gasaway

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

Through games of February 25, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession
Opp. PPP: opponent points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP - Opp. PPP)

ACC: Miami Will Test the RPI's Value this Year

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM   
1.  North Carolina   75.6    1.12    0.97   +0.15
2.  Duke             76.5    1.12    0.98   +0.14    
3.  Clemson          68.4    1.09    1.01   +0.08
4.  Maryland         72.1    1.05    1.04   +0.01
5.  Georgia Tech     72.6    1.06    1.07   -0.02
6.  Wake Forest      72.4    1.02    1.04   -0.02
7.  Miami            70.0    1.04    1.07   -0.03
8.  BC               69.3    1.07    1.10   -0.03
9.  Virginia Tech    72.8    0.96    1.01   -0.05
10. Florida St.      68.3    0.97    1.04   -0.07
11. Virginia         69.5    0.99    1.06   -0.07
12. NC State         67.8    0.99    1.13   -0.14

Having won back-to-back home games against Duke and Maryland in the past seven days, Miami is now ideally positioned to be the perfect RPI test case for 2008. Put simply, while the Hurricanes have a great RPI (23), they're just not a very good team. They've been outscored by 19 points over 12 games by an ACC that, to say the least, isn't terribly formidable this year. (Note also that Miami only had to play the conference's best team, North Carolina, once in those 12 games, and that game was in Miami.) Should an RPI-inflating road win at Mississippi State way back on December 13 really be enough to get this team into the dance at the expense of a plucky mid-major? I'll be open to persuasion if the 'Canes can win tomorrow night at Clemson.

Big 12: A Clear Top Three...and Then What?

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Kansas           69.1    1.14    0.93   +0.21
2.  Kansas St.       70.3    1.11    0.99   +0.12
3.  Texas            64.7    1.10    1.00   +0.10
4.  Baylor           73.4    1.07    1.07    0.00
5.  Texas Tech       69.2    1.01    1.02   -0.01
6.  Texas A&M        62.7    1.02    1.04   -0.02
7.  Oklahoma St.     65.3    1.00    1.02   -0.02
8.  Missouri         70.8    1.02    1.08   -0.06
9.  Nebraska         65.2    0.96    1.03   -0.07
10. Oklahoma         64.4    1.00    1.08   -0.08
11. Iowa St.         67.8    0.91    1.00   -0.09
12. Colorado         61.0    0.97    1.11   -0.14

If the season ended today, the Big 12 would be one tough knot for the selection committee to untangle. Let's start with the easy part. Kansas and Texas are Kansas and Texas. Kansas State is faltering at the moment, but the Wildcats have enough impressive performances in their recent past to merit a mid-range seed. After those three teams, though, it gets messy. Take Texas A&M. What do you make of a team that beat Texas by 17 but lost at home to Nebraska? Move to the head of the class if you replied: "Why, that team's wildly inconsistent, John!" In terms of game-to-game variation in conference play, the Big 12's most unstable and erratic entities are the Aggies' offense and the Longhorns' defense. Frankly, the variation in A&M's offense is a much bigger concern for Mark Turgeon than are the wild swings in D for Rick Barnes. At least Barnes has an excellent offense to fall back on. Turgeon, on the other hand, will be forgiven if, in late February, he's still unclear about which side of the ball he's supposed to rely on for his Ws.

Big East: Yes, We're Headed for Another Syracuse Controversy

    
                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Louisville       67.1    1.07    0.90   +0.17
2.  Georgetown       63.0    1.05    0.93   +0.12
3.  Marquette        69.2    1.07    0.97   +0.10
4.  West Virginia    64.2    1.05    0.97   +0.08
5.  Notre Dame       73.3    1.09    1.03   +0.06
6.  Connecticut      67.9    1.08    1.03   +0.05
7.  Pitt             63.9    1.07    1.03   +0.04
8.  Syracuse         69.7    1.02    1.02    0.00
9.  Villanova        68.9    1.01    1.02   -0.01
10. Cincinnati       64.8    0.98    0.99   -0.01
11. DePaul           67.0    1.02    1.08   -0.06
12. Seton Hall       69.7    1.03    1.10   -0.07
13. Providence       67.2    1.02    1.09   -0.07
14. S. Florida       63.6    0.99    1.10   -0.11
15. St. John's       65.8    0.89    1.01   -0.12
16. Rutgers          67.0    0.87    1.06   -0.19

The Orangemen are again right on the borderline. Which will it be: a bid, or Jim Boeheim doing yet another round of aggrieved TV spots starting at 7 p.m. Eastern on Selection Sunday? At least this year the 'Cuse has the very good fortune of ending the year with a couple of home games against good teams. If Boeheim's young crew can win in the Carrier Dome against Pitt and, especially, Marquette, they'll have done as much as they can to make everyone forget their loss at South Florida on February 13. (Yes, Connecticut almost lost in Tampa as well. Duly noted.)

Big Ten: Now, Finally, We'll Find Out about Ohio State

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Wisconsin        60.9    1.07    0.92   +0.15
2.  Indiana          64.6    1.09    0.98   +0.11
3.  Purdue           64.7    1.05    0.95   +0.10
4.  Michigan St.     64.0    1.05    0.96   +0.09
5.  Ohio St.         63.8    1.01    0.92   +0.09
6.  Minnesota        66.4    1.02    1.02    0.00
7.  Illinois         62.5    0.99    1.00   -0.01
8.  Michigan         63.8    0.97    1.05   -0.08
9.  Iowa             59.6    0.92    1.00   -0.08
10. Penn St.         62.0    0.99    1.14   -0.15
11. Northwestern     62.1    0.95    1.18   -0.23

Indiana hosts the Big Ten's lone bubble team, Ohio State, tonight. The Buckeyes look surprisingly good on paper in part because Thad Matta's team has benefited from a back-loaded schedule. Now it's time to pay up. OSU has four games left, three of which will be against superior opponents: the Hoosiers, Purdue and Michigan State. Ohio State has been one of the best two-point shooting teams in the country the past couple months (among major-conference teams, only USC and Florida have posted higher 2FG percentages in-conference) and, as seen here, the Buckeyes' defense has been excellent. Only problem: as always in the Matta era, OSU is shooting a lot of threes, only this year they're not falling. That will need to change against the schedule Ohio State faces the rest of the way.

Pac-10: File Under "Extreme Statistical Oddity"

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  UCLA             65.1    1.13    0.95   +0.18
2.  Stanford         62.8    1.06    0.94   +0.12
3.  Washington St.   58.4    1.10    1.02   +0.08
4.  USC              65.0    1.04    0.99   +0.05
5.  Arizona          63.3    1.09    1.07   +0.02
6.  Oregon           63.8    1.10    1.11   -0.01
7.  Washington       67.8    0.99    1.01   -0.02
8.  Arizona St.      62.5    0.99    1.02   -0.03
9.  Cal              67.4    1.09    1.14   -0.05
10. Oregon St.       65.7    0.87    1.17   -0.30

Amaze your friends! Try this simple trick: rank every Pac-10 team "1" through "10" according to their performance in-conference. Ready? Now, as seen here, there's less difference between 1 and 9 than there is between 9 and 10. True story.

As to how many of those nine will get into the tournament, most brackets right now say six, though personally I'd be more comfortable drawing that line just below Arizona. Then again, Oregon will have every opportunity to burnish their tempo-free credentials, finishing the season with a road game at Oregon State and home games against Arizona State and Arizona. It's where you finish that matters, particularly in this conference, where everyone plays everyone home and away. Keep that in mind when I post the last one of these for the season: you can set your watch by the Pac-10's tempo-free stats. That doesn't mean tournament performance will match conference performance exactly. It does mean conference performance will tell you exactly how surprised you should be by the inevitable tournament surprises.

SEC: Any Three-Peat Will Have to Start with a Bid

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Tennessee        72.6    1.11    0.96   +0.15
2.  Mississippi St.  67.0    1.03    0.94   +0.09
3.  Arkansas         68.9    1.04    0.99   +0.05
4.  Vanderbilt       68.0    1.05    1.02   +0.03
5.  Florida          69.2    1.10    1.09   +0.01
6.  Kentucky         63.2    1.02    1.02    0.00
7.  Alabama          68.9    1.03    1.06   -0.03
8.  Georgia          67.2    0.97    1.02   -0.05
9.  Ole Miss         69.8    1.05    1.10   -0.05
10. South Carolina   64.5    1.04    1.11   -0.07
11. Auburn           68.6    1.07    1.14   -0.07
12. LSU              66.4    0.98    1.07   -0.09

As with the Pac-10, in the SEC we find a high-scoring team with no defense whatsoever currently in the mix for its conference's final bid. In the Pac-10, that team is Oregon. In the SEC, it's Florida. Big difference: two of the the Gators' final four regular season games are against the two best teams in the conference. In between road games at Georgia and Kentucky, Billy Donovan's young team will host Mississippi State and Tennessee. It's not too much to say that Florida's season will be defined by those two home games.

John Gasaway is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Preview (02/26)
Next Article >>
The List (02/26)

RECENTLY AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
State of Basketball Prospectus: A Brief Anno...
Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition
Easy Bubble Solver: The Triumphant Return
Premium Article Bubbles of their Own Making: Villanova, Temp...
Tuesday Truths: Crunch Time Edition

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 26, 2008
The List: Week of February 25, 2007
Prospectus Preview: Tuesday's Games to Watch

MORE BY JOHN GASAWAY
2008-03-07 - The Winehouse Factor: Measuring Inconsistenc...
2008-03-03 - Conference Check: End-Game Edition
2008-02-29 - Four-Point Play: All About Mo
2008-02-26 - Conference Check: Forward Thinking Edition
2008-02-24 - Kelvin's End: What Jim O'Brien Really Means
2008-02-22 - Remember Kansas?: The Jayhawks Are a True Re...
2008-02-19 - Conference Check: Under the Radar
More...


Basketball Prospectus Home  |  Terms of Service  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us
Copyright © 1996-2014 Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.