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
Premium Article Udoh's Plus-Minus (02/28)
<< Previous Column
Tuesday Truths (02/21)
Next Column >>
Tuesday Truths (03/05)
Next Article >>
Hot or Not (02/29)

February 28, 2012
Tuesday Truths
Penultimate Edition

by John Gasaway

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 157 teams in the nation's top 14 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis. For a tidy little homily on why this stuff is so very awesome, go here.

ACC: Duke would be a very weak No. 1 seed...make that "historically weak"

Through games of February 27, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP - Opp. PPP)

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  North Carolina   12-2   69.7    1.08    0.94    +0.14
2.  Duke             12-2   66.0    1.12    1.00    +0.12
3.  Virginia          8-6   59.5    0.99    0.91    +0.08
4.  Florida St.      10-4   66.7    1.02    0.95    +0.07
5.  Miami             8-6   65.2    1.04    0.98    +0.06
6.  Clemson           7-7   63.2    1.03    0.98    +0.05
7.  NC State          7-7   67.3    1.03    1.01    +0.02
8.  Maryland          6-8   67.4    0.99    1.04    -0.05
9.  Virginia Tech    4-10   61.4    0.96    1.03    -0.07
10. Georgia Tech     3-11   62.4    0.93    1.05    -0.12
11. Wake Forest      4-10   64.9    0.93    1.07    -0.14
12. Boston College   3-11   65.4    0.87    1.05    -0.18

AVG.                        64.9    1.00

Duke's showing up in a lot of mock brackets as a No. 1 seed, and while Kansas' win in OT over Missouri in Lawrence on Saturday bumped the Blue Devils off the top line in a few projections, at the moment this vexing Duke/KU decision looks like it could go right down to the wire. The lofty esteem in which Mike Krzyzewski's team is held is entirely understandable. Along with North Carolina, the Blue Devils sit atop their venerable major conference. Coach K's men sport a 25-4 record, and can claim the proverbial "good" wins over the likes of the aforementioned Tar Heels, Michigan State, Kansas, and Michigan, to name but a few. And now the strange part. Teams with a resume that good are almost always better than Duke happens to be this year. The lowest major-conference per-possession scoring margin we've seen from any No. 1 seed since the Great Villanova Seeding Debacle of 2006 was the +0.12 posted by Syracuse in 2010. That Orange team was indeed a smidge overrated, but at least they achieved that margin in a league that was significantly tougher than this year's ACC in terms of Pomeroy rating. (This year's ACC has a very good shot at being the weakest league to produce a No. 1 seed since the 2008 C-USA.) None of which means Duke receiving a slot on the top line would be history's greatest injustice. Roy Williams is a big boy, and if he wanted that slot he should have suggested to his players that they avoid counterproductive measures such as scoring points for Duke. I am here merely as a consigliere for your bracket. Any "1" next to the Blue Devils' name next month should carry an additional label: caveat emptor.

Big 12: The most incredible streak of all

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Kansas           15-2   66.0    1.12    0.93    +0.19
2.  Missouri         12-4   64.9    1.14    1.04    +0.10
3.  Baylor           12-5   65.8    1.10    1.01    +0.09
4.  Iowa St.         11-5   66.5    1.06    0.98    +0.08
5.  Kansas St.        8-8   66.3    1.00    0.97    +0.03
6.  Texas             8-8   65.8    1.05    1.03    +0.02
7.  Oklahoma St.     7-10   65.9    1.01    1.07    -0.06
8.  Texas A&M        4-12   61.9    0.92    1.02    -0.10
9.  Oklahoma         4-12   66.5    0.96    1.08    -0.12
10. Texas Tech       1-16   64.0    0.83    1.07    -0.24

AVG.                        65.4    1.02

Unbiased observers agree the only thing more amazing than the streak of consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles won by Kansas -- eight and counting -- is our own streak here at Basketball Prospectus of consecutive days without a pun on Bill Self's name. The site has now been live for 1,598 days, and in that time we have not gone there once. So today, in honor of the Jayhawks' remarkably lengthy reign atop their league, I've decided to bring down the curtain on our incredible no-pun run. Why deflect attention from what KU has accomplished by doing something that's so obviously even more impressive? No, it's time to bring this to a close. His name's just too big a target. Here goes:

Eugene, You Genius!

In non-pun news, note that KU and Missouri will get similar seeds in the NCAA tournament, but the Jayhawks are better at basketball. Then again scarred and traumatized fans in Lawrence rocking to and fro in the fetal position will be quick to remind you that being really good at basketball proved surprisingly immaterial to the final chapters written by this program in 2010 and 2011. Duly noted.

Big East: Why observers consistently underrate Syracuse's offense

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Syracuse         16-1   65.0    1.10    0.94    +0.16
2.  Marquette        13-3   69.2    1.08    0.98    +0.10
3.  Georgetown       12-5   62.2    1.02    0.93    +0.09
4.  Notre Dame       12-5   59.1    1.04    0.97    +0.07
5.  Louisville       10-6   67.2    1.01    0.96    +0.05
6.  Cincinnati       10-6   64.0    1.04    0.99    +0.05
7.  S. Florida       11-5   59.8    0.99    0.96    +0.03
8.  Seton Hall        8-9   65.4    0.99    0.97    +0.02
9.  West Virginia     7-9   63.0    1.05    1.04    +0.01
10. Connecticut       7-9   64.0    1.00    1.01    -0.01
11. Pitt             4-12   63.9    0.98    1.05    -0.07
12. Rutgers          5-11   65.2    0.95    1.03    -0.08
13. Villanova        4-12   69.5    0.99    1.07    -0.08
14. Providence       3-13   64.9    1.03    1.12    -0.09
15. St. John's       6-10   67.9    0.97    1.08    -0.11
16. DePaul           2-14   71.9    0.98    1.12    -0.14

AVG.                        65.2    1.02

Sometimes I wonder whether Jim Boeheim's predilection for a defensive scheme that most programs don't employ causes needless misunderstandings. The fact that Syracuse plays a lot of zone defense seems to lead to an assumption that, as long as the talent is there (as it almost always is in the Carrier Dome), a given year's Syracuse team is more or less similar to what we've seen in the recent past. But this is emphatically not the case in 2012 on offense. No Orange team in recent memory has come anywhere near this group in one very important respect:

2012  15.0
2011  19.4
2010  20.7
2009  20.4
2008  21.5
2007  21.0

What you have there are the Orange's turnover percentages in Big East play in each of the last six seasons. This year Syracuse is giving the ball away on just 15 percent of their possessions, meaning the excellence of their offense is largely cumulative and elusive to the naked eye. (No one ever said, "Wow, great turnover-less possession!") But until we start talking about this team in the same hushed tones of low-low-turnover awe usually reserved for Wisconsin (the Orange are taking better care of the ball in-conference this season than the Badgers have thus far in Big Ten play), this offense will continue to be underrated. A useful first step would be as follows: Next time you see Kris Joseph, think to yourself, "Jordan Taylor."

Big Ten: My Cole Aldrich Theory of Big Men Who Stay One Year Too Long

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Michigan St.     13-3   62.2    1.10    0.90    +0.20
2.  Ohio St.         11-5   65.4    1.09    0.91    +0.18
3.  Wisconsin        10-6   58.0    1.03    0.98    +0.05
4.  Michigan         11-5   58.6    1.05    1.01    +0.04
5.  Indiana           9-7   65.5    1.10    1.07    +0.03
6.  Purdue            9-7   63.7    1.09    1.09     0.00
7.  Northwestern      7-9   60.9    1.07    1.11    -0.04
8.  Minnesota        5-11   63.0    1.00    1.04    -0.04
9.  Illinois         6-10   63.8    0.98    1.04    -0.06
10. Iowa              7-9   66.1    1.03    1.10    -0.07
11. Penn St.         4-12   62.5    0.97    1.08    -0.11
12. Nebraska         4-12   61.7    0.92    1.09    -0.17

AVG.                        62.6    1.04

I thought Jared Sullinger would be better than he's been this year. Sure, defenses are collapsing on him because his teammates are making fewer threes than they did last year (bearing in mind last year's Buckeyes were insane from the outside), but we've seen NBA-track big men on teams that struggle from the perimeter before and they at least looked...engaged? Interested? Busy? Sulllinger by stark contrast is currently rocking that weird Cole-Aldrich-circa-2010 lethargy. His season totals are suitably amazing, of course, but they're about what they were last year and I did think we'd see even better and more amazing results this season. Besides, those totals are heading in the wrong direction. In his last two games Sullinger's 8-of-17 from the field with 12 boards in 60 minutes. Is he injured? Fatigued? Both? I don't know. In non-Sully news, Michigan State has been a stupendous sublime surprise, and I anticipate having the opportunity to dwell on that topic at granular length over the next few weeks. Conversely the way Ohio State's playing I feel like I better make any comments sooner rather than later.

Pac-12: Washington is reliably underrated, unless they're overrated

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Cal              13-4   66.6    1.08    0.94    +0.14
2.  Arizona          12-5   65.1    1.05    0.94    +0.11
3.  Colorado         11-5   66.1    1.00    0.92    +0.08
4.  UCLA              9-7   65.4    1.05    0.97    +0.08
5.  Washington       13-3   68.8    1.03    0.96    +0.07
6.  Oregon           11-5   66.9    1.08    1.03    +0.05
7.  Stanford          9-8   65.4    0.99    0.97    +0.02
8.  Washington St.   6-10   64.2    1.06    1.09    -0.03
9.  Oregon St.       5-11   70.1    1.05    1.09    -0.04
10. Arizona St.      5-12   61.7    0.91    1.06    -0.15
11. Utah             3-13   61.5    0.87    1.04    -0.17
12. USC              1-15   62.2    0.83    1.01    -0.18

AVG.                        65.3    1.00

The post-Kevin-Love Pac-10/12's been a pretty reliable analytic citizen. It will reliably produce one or perhaps two really good teams per year, and every other team will be reliably wretched. Casual observers will reliably guffaw, "Bah! The Pac-10/12's terrible!" and Tempo-Free Nation will reliably counter with, "Actually, Team X is a really good team trapped in an arid waste land where they can gain no 'good win' purchase in your hoops weltanschauung." Team X is often Washington, and often the Huskies are (mis-) slotted in the 7-11 range in March and shipped East, where they play a top team into the 40th minute before losing. This year, however, Lorenzo Romar's team decided to shake things up. They're overrated! Actually, that's not true. They would be overrated, if anyone were talking about U-Dub and their perch atop the Pac-12 standings. Winning 13 of 16 games while outscoring your opponents by such a slim margin is unusual. If the Huskies were asked to play this season a thousand times (and, by gar, one of these years we should do that to a team) they'd most often net 11 wins from that level of performance, and the next most common figure would be 10. Meanwhile Romar's men have rather quietly moved from the most bubbly part of the bubble to, apparently, a somewhat more secure footing in the field of 68. Assuming they reach said promised land they'll likely draw more or less the same seed as Cal, but don't be fooled. The Bears have been this league's best team, even if they didn't look that way (and they most certainly did not) on Sunday in Boulder.

SEC: Kentucky's amazing, incredible, stupendous year quantified, part XLV

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Kentucky         14-0   62.6    1.19    0.94    +0.25
2.  Vanderbilt        9-5   63.3    1.11    0.99    +0.12
3.  Florida          10-4   62.9    1.11    1.01    +0.10
4.  Alabama           8-6   63.4    1.00    0.94    +0.06
5.  Tennessee         8-6   64.2    0.98    0.94    +0.04
6.  LSU               7-7   64.6    0.97    1.01    -0.04
7.  Mississippi St.   6-8   63.4    1.04    1.09    -0.05
8.  Ole Miss          6-8   64.1    0.99    1.04    -0.05
9.  Georgia          4-10   60.7    0.97    1.04    -0.07
10. Arkansas          6-8   69.1    1.00    1.08    -0.08
11. Auburn           4-10   62.5    0.91    1.01    -0.10
12. South Carolina   2-12   62.6    0.94    1.11    -0.17

AVG.                        63.6    1.02

Every now and then you'll hear it said that today's modern fan, what with their Otis elevator safety brake and self-scouring steel plow, has all the most advanced basketball knowledge at their fingertips. Nonsense! When I hear Kentucky discussed in 2012, I feel like it's still 2005. (Back when people still used rebound margin.) When I hear Kentucky discussed in 2012, all I hear about is defense. But take a gander at those numbers up there. Alabama and Tennessee (Tennessee!) have played effectively the same level of defense, and no one's doing wing-span posters of Nick Jacobs or Kenny Hall. Conversely no SEC team is even in the same hemisphere as UK when it comes to offense. Therefore, I am declaring March as National Kentucky's Offense is Even Better Than its Defense Month. There will be public-service announcements, K-12 outreach, and I understand First Lady Michelle Obama has shown some very serious interest in my Month. My agent also booked me for a gig on "Sesame Street," where I'll be doing a bit with Elmo, Tully, and Prairie Dawn on KOEBTDM. This is big. I think it's the extra day in February that's giving me the time to get this ball rolling, but I need your help. Spread the word!

A-10: Surprisingly feisty and laptop-confounding Rams of Rhode Island, I salute you!

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Saint Louis      10-4   64.3    1.05    0.92    +0.13
2.  St. Bonaventure   9-5   65.6    1.08    0.97    +0.11
3.  Temple           11-3   66.8    1.13    1.03    +0.10
4.  Xavier            9-5   67.9    1.06    1.01    +0.05
5.  Dayton            8-6   66.5    1.10    1.05    +0.05
6.  La Salle          7-7   69.5    1.05    1.01    +0.04
7.  Saint Joseph's    9-6   65.5    1.04    1.01    +0.03
8.  UMass             8-6   73.9    0.98    0.98     0.00
9.  Richmond          6-9   64.1    1.03    1.04    -0.01
10. GW                5-9   63.4    1.02    1.07    -0.05
11. Charlotte         5-9   68.1    0.96    1.01    -0.05
12. Duquesne          6-8   66.8    0.98    1.04    -0.06
13. Rhode Island     3-11   67.2    0.97    1.09    -0.12
14. Fordham          3-11   65.5    0.94    1.14    -0.20

AVG.                        66.8    1.03

Last week I said the A-10's "shaping up as a two-team race." It still is, but both teams lost on Saturday. Temple journeyed to Philly (har!) and lost 72-62 to Saint Joseph's. Somewhat less congruently, Saint Louis journeyed to Rhode Island and dropped a 64-62 decision to the hitherto hapless Rams. Even with that hiccup, laptops will continue to seriously dig the Billikens, and Rick Majerus' team is indeed undervalued by most ambulatory bipeds you'll run across. But one thing the stationary hard drives might be glossing over a bit too cavalierly is that SLU's might is heavily if not exclusively concentrated on one side of the ball. I like good D as well as the next laptop, but a dash of scoring now and then helps instill confidence in a team's March prospects. In short, whether or not there's really a new Xavier in this post-Xavier league remains an open question here at the luxe Google-style corporate campus of Tuesday Truths.

Colonial: Apparently bad losses do matter

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Drexel           16-2   60.6    1.08    0.92    +0.16
2.  VCU              15-3   65.5    1.03    0.88    +0.15
3.  Old Dominion     13-5   64.7    1.00    0.87    +0.13
4.  George Mason     14-4   67.7    1.02    0.94    +0.08
5.  Georgia St.      11-7   63.5    0.96    0.89    +0.07
6.  Delaware         12-6   66.7    1.02    0.98    +0.04
7.  Northeastern      9-9   62.4    0.98    1.01    -0.03
8.  Hofstra          3-15   65.2    0.96    1.02    -0.06
9.  James Madison    5-13   64.9    0.98    1.06    -0.08
10. William & Mary   4-14   61.9    0.97    1.07    -0.10
11. UNC-Wilmington   5-13   67.0    0.96    1.08    -0.12
12. Towson           1-17   62.0    0.80    1.06    -0.26

AVG.                        64.3    0.98

There's not even a hint of a whisper of an echo of a shadow of a chance, apparently, that Drexel can get into the NCAA tournament without winning the Colonial's automatic bid. If they do get to the field of 68 they project to be one notably robust No. 13 seed, or thereabouts. If they don't? They'll be kicking themselves all offseason long about that neutral-court loss to Norfolk State back on November 18. In non-Dragon news, VCU had an amazing if overlooked season for a team that said goodbye to the balance of its Final Four-era rotation. You'll be hearing Shaka Smart's name often in the coming weeks, even if the Rams don't go dancing.

C-USA: As long as they're not playing a home game against UTEP, Memphis is really good

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Memphis          11-3   65.2    1.11    0.91    +0.20
2.  Tulsa            10-4   62.1    1.05    0.95    +0.10
3.  UCF               9-5   62.2    1.06    1.00    +0.06
4.  Southern Miss    10-4   63.6    1.05    1.01    +0.04
5.  Marshall          8-6   64.1    1.04    1.03    +0.01
6.  UAB               8-6   60.4    0.99    0.98    +0.01
7.  UTEP              7-7   61.7    0.98    0.98     0.00
8.  Rice              7-7   65.6    0.95    0.98    -0.03
9.  Tulane           3-11   63.7    0.96    1.03    -0.07
10. East Carolina    3-11   64.6    1.00    1.08    -0.08
11. SMU              3-11   59.7    0.92    1.01    -0.09
12. Houston           5-9   65.1    0.96    1.11    -0.15

AVG.                        63.2    1.01

After suffering a thoroughly puzzling 60-58 loss at home to UTEP on February 18, Memphis returned to late-season form last week, thrashing East Carolina at home and, much more impressively, Marshall on the road. Josh Pastner's team is currently being projected as a No. 8 seed, which is far too low for Good Memphis ("We're hitting 56 percent of our twos!") but, of course, is also far too high for Bad Memphis ("We can't even beat UTEP!"). Suffice it to say if present trends continue such a seed would set up a fascinating round of 32 collision with some unlucky No. 1 seed. And, to repeat a line I've used before, unless that round of 32 opponent happens to be either Kentucky or Kansas, I for one would classify Will Barton in advance as the best player on the floor. In non-Tiger news, Southern Miss being waved right on through to the field of 68 and ticketed with something in the neighborhood of a No. 9 seed is...noteworthy.

Horizon: Why Rob Jeter won't be humming "Hakuna Matata" anytime soon

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Cleveland St.    12-6   62.9    1.08    0.95    +0.13
2.  Valparaiso       14-4   62.9    1.05    0.99    +0.06
3.  Detroit          11-7   65.0    1.06    1.02    +0.04
4.  Youngstown St.   10-8   63.3    1.04    1.01    +0.03
5.  Butler           11-7   63.8    0.96    0.94    +0.02
6.  Milwaukee        11-7   64.2    0.99    0.97    +0.02
7.  Green Bay        10-8   65.8    1.03    1.02    +0.01
8.  Wright St.       7-11   61.4    0.93    0.96    -0.03
9.  UIC              3-15   62.2    0.96    1.08    -0.12
10. Loyola           1-17   59.0    0.92    1.09    -0.17

AVG.                        63.0    1.00

The Horizon tournament gives its top seed the luxury not only of being waved through to the semifinals but also of playing that semifinal game on their own home floor. (Assuming they win in the semis they get to play the title game there too.) That sounds great for the top seed in theory, but in practice it requires some logistic agility from all parties. You don't know who that top seed is until late February, of course. This year it's Valparaiso, but had it been Milwaukee, as it was last year, a very interesting situation would have arisen. The Panthers play their home games at U.S. Cellular Arena, and this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the place is booked for Disney on Ice. Reports that league officials had a contingency plan in place to combine the two events could not be confirmed, but, oh, the possibilities. Imagine Valpo star and Horizon POY Ryan Broekhoff taking it strong to the rim, only to be denied by Pumbaa and Timon. In non-The Walt Disney Company and Affiliated Companies news, any noise made by the Horizon in the field of 68 will come squarely under the heading of a rather sizable surprise. Then again I would have said the exact same thing 365 days ago.

Missouri Valley: The Shockers' path to a very nice seed

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Wichita St.      16-2   65.4    1.15    0.94    +0.21
2.  Creighton        14-4   65.4    1.15    1.05    +0.10
3.  Evansville        9-9   66.3    1.08    1.04    +0.04
4.  Missouri St.      9-9   62.5    1.01    0.99    +0.02
5.  N. Iowa           9-9   62.3    1.03    1.01    +0.02
6.  Drake             9-9   66.0    0.99    1.00    -0.01
7.  Illinois St.      9-9   64.3    1.04    1.05    -0.01
8.  Indiana St.      8-10   64.5    1.00    1.04    -0.04
9.  S. Illinois      5-13   65.1    0.97    1.09    -0.12
10. Bradley          2-16   67.1    0.90    1.10    -0.20

AVG.                        64.9    1.03

It's Arch Madness, baby! The MVC tournament tips off Thursday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, and the brackets present Wichita State with a fair degree of seed-deflating risk. To extend their current eight-game winning streak all the way to the NCAA tournament, the Shockers will need to win three games on a neutral floor against opponents very likely to be drawn from Nos. 2-8 above. (Conversely in the Horizon WSU would simply need to win two games on their home floor. Thems the breaks.) On the plus side, win all three and, who knows, Gregg Marshall's team could find themselves in the oh-so-snooty top 16 lines in March (emphasis on the "M") Madness. In other Arch news, Creighton will also be waved through to the field of 68 no matter what transpires in St. Louis. Having two members pre-slotted like that is no small matter for the Valley, which hasn't put multiple teams into the Dance since 2007.

Mountain West: Never a dull moment with Steve Alford or his teams

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  New Mexico        8-4   65.5    1.05    0.91    +0.14
2.  UNLV              8-4   68.3    1.05    0.97    +0.08
3.  San Diego St.     8-4   64.9    1.00    0.97    +0.03
4.  Wyoming           5-7   59.7    0.97    0.97     0.00
5.  TCU               7-5   65.9    1.05    1.07    -0.02
6.  Colorado St.      6-6   65.0    1.01    1.03    -0.02
7.  Boise St.         3-9   64.2    0.93    1.03    -0.10
8.  Air Force         3-9   62.8    0.89    1.01    -0.12

AVG.                        64.5    0.99

Just seven short days ago I said "New Mexico had an amazing week," and so they did, winning by 10 at San Diego State, and then destroying UNLV in Albuquerque by the score of 65-45. Well, in a way the Lobos followed that up with still another amazing week -- where "amazing" is understood as synonymous with terms like "catastrophic," "baffling" and "inexplicable." Steve Alford's team journeyed to distant and inscrutable Fort Collins, where they were handed a 71-63 defeat courtesy of the Colorado State Rams. That's life on the road, surely, but worse was to come, in the form of the Lobos' 83-64 loss at TCU. Meaning over their last two games UNM has scored just 0.89 points per trip while allowing 1.08. (Gasaway's EXCLUSIVE patented amazing team-similarity-score says:...Texas Tech!) The good news for fans in Albuquerque is that their team ends the season with home games against Air Force and Boise State. The bad news for millions of people trying to fill out brackets is that home games against Air Force and Boise State aren't likely to be very helpful as we try to figure out what is up, present-tense, with what was alleged to be the Mountain West's best team.

West Coast: Someone besides Gonzaga won the regular season

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Saint Mary's     14-2   65.0    1.17    1.00    +0.17
2.  Gonzaga          13-3   66.9    1.09    0.93    +0.16
3.  BYU              12-4   73.8    1.07    0.94    +0.13
4.  Loyola Marymount 11-5   66.9    1.04    0.99    +0.05
5.  San Francisco     8-8   70.9    1.07    1.04    +0.03
6.  San Diego         7-9   66.7    1.01    1.07    -0.06
7.  Portland         3-13   67.8    0.94    1.09    -0.15
8.  Pepperdine       4-12   63.1    0.92    1.08    -0.16
9.  Santa Clara      0-16   68.2    0.99    1.17    -0.18

AVG.                        67.7    1.03

The words contained in that headline haven't been spoken in 12 years, so it's kind of a big deal. Congratulations to Saint Mary's, and, even more so, to the Zags and Mark Few on their incredible Wooden-esque run. Looking ahead, the Gaels have what on paper would appear to be one of the best offenses this league has produced during the Great Gonzaga Hegemony, but in the past three weeks we've all seen Randy Bennett's offense look entirely mortal in losses to the aforementioned Bulldogs, Loyola Marymount, and Murray State. Right now I'm seeing both SMC and the Zags projected as No. 7 seeds or thereabouts, and that feels about right from this chair. BONUS essence-of-anticlimax note! Gonzaga beat Longwood last night 92-60, a game in which Few's starters averaged 17 minutes.

WAC: Dean Oliver's BPI was made for games like this

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  New Mexico St.    9-3   70.5    1.12    0.97    +0.15
2.  Nevada           11-1   63.3    1.12    1.01    +0.11
3.  Utah St.          6-6   61.8    1.08    1.05    +0.03
4.  Louisiana Tech    5-7   68.7    1.02    1.02     0.00
5.  Idaho             7-5   62.8    1.03    1.07    -0.04
6.  Fresno St.        3-9   60.3    1.00    1.05    -0.05
7.  Hawaii            6-6   71.2    1.04    1.09    -0.05
8.  San Jose St.     1-11   65.0    1.00    1.16    -0.16

AVG.                        65.5    1.05

New Mexico State grabs the per-possession lead this week, but take that impressive number with a grain of salt. To an unusual extent that impressive number was built on just one game: the Aggies' 115-73 victory at home over Hawaii last Thursday night. Take away the 42-point laugher and NMSU's margin for the conference season drops to a much more descriptive +0.11. Tempo-Free Nation's interest in the WAC dates back to a stretch where Utah State was hanging +0.20s on the league and thereby showing they deserved an opponent's fear in March. But in 2012 it doesn't look like there's any such team, and so it's unlikely that any such fear will be triggered next month.

John uses fewer decimal points on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. This free article is an example of the content available to Basketball Prospectus Premium subscribers. See our Premium page for more details and to subscribe..

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
Premium Article Udoh's Plus-Minus (02/28)
<< Previous Column
Tuesday Truths (02/21)
Next Column >>
Tuesday Truths (03/05)
Next Article >>
Hot or Not (02/29)

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 28, 2012
Premium Article Udoh's Plus-Minus: The New No-Stats Star

MORE BY JOHN GASAWAY
2012-03-05 - Tuesday Truths: Final Reality
2012-03-03 - Premium Article Not Your 2010 Duke: Great Offense, Average D
2012-03-01 - Premium Article No Rebound, No Cry: Bad Rebounding Not a Pro...
2012-02-28 - Tuesday Truths: Penultimate Edition
2012-02-23 - Premium Article High Seeds Beware: Five Sleepers
2012-02-22 - Made in the NCAA: The RPI's Birth, Triumph, ...
2012-02-22 - Premium Article Good and Lucky: Inside Notre Dame's Turnarou...
More...

MORE TUESDAY TRUTHS
2013-01-22 - Tuesday Truths: Gator-Bait Edition
2013-01-15 - Tuesday Truths: Too-Early Edition
2012-03-05 - Tuesday Truths: Final Reality
2012-02-28 - Tuesday Truths: Penultimate Edition
2012-02-21 - Tuesday Truths: Crunch-Time Edition
2012-02-14 - Tuesday Truths: The Corrective Edition
2012-02-07 - Tuesday Truths: Total-Domination Edition
More...

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