Sunday, March 23, 2008

NCAA Predictions: Sunday, March 23

The predictions below are based on TAPE matchups which compare teams in 20 statistical rate categories to determine how they stack up against each other, and then applies those rates to a possession model to determine how many points each is likely to score against the other.
13 Siena        73                      7 Miami        69
12 Villanova 77 (71 poss.) 2 Texas 76 (66 poss.)

7 Butler 70 13 San Diego 63
2 Tennessee 73 (65 poss.) 12 W. Kentucky 70 (67 poss.)

10 Davidson 61 8 Miss. St. 65
2 Georgetown 69 (64 poss.) 1 Memphis 73 (71 poss.)

6 Oklahoma 62 9 Arkansas 76
3 Louisville 65 (65 poss.) 1 N. Carolina 86 (77 poss.)
  • All of Sunday's games--even the two games between double-digit seeds--have fairly clear favorites. Keep an eye on that Oklahoma-Louisville game, though; the line favors the Fightin' Pitinos by 7, but TAPE sees only a 3.44-point spread.
  • The Butler-Tennessee game will be an interesting struggle to control tempo. Tennessee plays at the 19th-fastest pace in Division I at 73.3 possession per 40 minutes, while only 8 teams in the nation play slower than Butler's 60.4. Even at 65 possessions, this one should have plenty of flow, as neither team turns the ball over all that often, neither fouls (or gets fouled) all that much, and both shoot the ball very well from the field. If you know someone who doesn't "get" why basketball is so fun to watch, this is the kind of game you want them to see.
  • Davidson's best chance for springing the upset on Georgetown is to get hot from outside, but the Hoyas' outstanding 3-point defense (.295 adjusted d3G%, 6th-best in D-I) should hold the Wildcats to around 31% from that range (and about 39% overall).
  • I've never spent any time in the Midwest, but it seems to be a strange and frightening place, where big, slow, white guys are as common as skilled swing-men, where set plays run after lulls of inactivity masquerade as offense and brute physicality pretends as defense, and where time-outs must, for reasons apparent to absolutely no-one, be taken on little stools hastily arranged by team managers 15 feet onto the court. I do not like this Midwest, and I am glad to only see it in brief glimpses in late November and mid-March.

No comments: