Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tournament Overview: Big XII

Despite being a slight underdog in a potential head-to-head matchup in the conference finals, Missouri has a better chance of winning the championship than does Kansas. How's that possible? The Tigers match up much better against their five other possible finals opponents--the ones they'd match up with 57% of the time--than do the Jayhawks.

In Wednesday's first round games TAPE likes Nebraska over Baylor by less than a point (65.3 to 64.5 in 64.7 possessions). This matchup is about as even as it gets, with the Bears holding slight edges in shooting, rebounding, and getting to the line but giving it all back with turnovers.

Colorado-Texas is the biggest mismatch in the first round of any BCS conference tournament. TAPE likes the Longhorns to win 83.3% of the time by a margin of nearly 13 points (70 to 57.1 in 62.6 possessions) while dominating every facet of the game.

Travis Ford's resurgent Cowboys are 10-point TAPE favorites over Iowa State (77.1 to 67.3 in 69.5 possessions). Fun fact: Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair's offensive rebound rate (23.7%) is almost as high as Oklahoma State's (26.8%) and is higher than Iowa State's (23.0%).

The nightcap could turn into a free throw exhibition for the Aggies. A&M went to the line almost 26 times a game in conference play, and the Red Raiders' opponents averaged 28 free throws per game. TAPE thinks A&M will shoot 29 free throws--but make just 20 of them--on their way to a 6-point victory (77.4 to 71.2 in 70.3 possessions).

The table of all possible matchups:

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