Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Bad Week for the Mighty Edition

Three reasons why Big East basketball is so good: Louisville 79, UConn 78 in double-OT; Georgetown 69, Villanova 66; Marquette 76, Syracuse 70…three excellent games this past Saturday, six NCAA tournament teams.

If you needed more proof, the 93-78 humiliation, an unranked St. John’s threw down on Duke on Sunday should do it.

Opponents are shooting 47.8 percent from 3-point range during Syracuse’s four-game slide.

Wisconsin entered the Penn State game averaging 17 free throws a game, shot just three in their upset loss.

In their 71-64 loss at Mississippi State, Florida allowed only four Bulldogs to score.

Last week, the Top 25 had a record of 22-20.

18 teams in last week’s AP poll had at least one loss at some point during the week. Other than Missouri, Minnesota and Purdue, they lost to lower ranked or unranked teams.

Ten teams ranked in the AP Preseason Top 25 are unranked going into February.

Over his last four games, UConn’s Kemba Walker has made 17 of his 74 attempts, or 23%.

In Xavier’s victory at Richmond, Tu Holloway was 17 of 17 from the foul line. Xavier is 7-0 in league play.

An interesting stat I have been noodling around is points scored per field goals attempted. I don’t know of anyone who tracks this, so you have to do your own homework. My rough guess is anything under 1.5 is inefficient.

This stat is a two edged sword…perimeter players benefit from the three-point shot, while post players have a better chance of drawing fouls and take higher percentage shots. Great ball handlers who are likely to get fouled in late game situations have a most favorable opportunity to exceed the 1.5 threshold.

Players who jack up a lot of shots and fall below 1.5 are especially ought to be prone to lousy tournaments. As a rule there are far fewer possessions in the Tournament…therefore less opportunities for shots (both bad and good looks).

I’ll be testing this metric when filling out my bracket this March, especially in games I feel are close to toss-ups.

For Duke, only Ryan Kelly exceeds 1.5 in ACC play. Smith (1.25), Singler (1.16), Curry (1.42) and Dawkins (1.21) could have long nights in March. Looking at those numbers goes a long way to explaining the beat down Duke got from St. John’s.

Check it out with your favorite team…it’s an eye-opener.

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