Saturday, March 20, 2010

NCAA Second Round Preview: Sunday's Games


2:20, Milwaukee67.3 possessions
10 Georgia Tech28.7%65.350.124.533.223.4
2 Ohio St.71.3%72.251.716.527.528.1
It took a while, but it seems that just about everyone has come around to the fact that Evan Turner is the best player in college basketball this season. I still don't think there's an appreciation for just how good he is, though. PAPER calculates that Turner is 11.6 points per 40 minutes better than a BCS-average player. A team with ordinary BCS-level talent would go from the NCAA bubble to a 4- or 5-seed just by adding Turner to the lineup; with the talent on Ohio State's roster, Turner makes the Buckeyes a true contender for the National Championship.

2:30, Spokane69.3 possessions
5 Michigan St.40.8%71.747.
4 Maryland59.2%74.749.915.330.323.2
Maryland is an interesting case in perception. They were the first team out of the top 25 in both preseason polls, and moved into the top 25 as teams in front of them lost. Then they had a rough couple days in Maui and stopped even getting votes in the polls. Sometime in mid-December it became the common wisdom that the ACC was down, and then they suffered that fluke loss to William & Mary right before New Year's. The Terps were 4-1 in conference before they even started to receive votes again, and despite generally rolling through their schedule except for the aforementioned glitches, it wasn't until March 2, when the Terps were 11-3 and 20-7 overall, that they finally cracked the top 25 again. Maryland was a really good team that whole time, yet the people whose job it is to pay attention to college basketball apparently had no idea. Remember that the next time you look at those rankings.


12:10, Buffalo72.4 possessions
8 Gonzaga24.1%72.849.921.431.826.5
1 Syracuse75.9%81.956.218.030.926.3
What the hell is wrong with CBS? Since The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss are apparently too important to be preempted by basketball, they've left us only three game windows for Sunday afternoon games. Fine. Whatever. But why wouldn't they at least schedule two games in the noon slot so that we wouldn't have to keep track of four different games in the 2:30 slot? And why did they schedule games involving three Big Ten teams and two ACC teams in the same 2:30 window? Gonzaga-Syracuse is a decent enough matchup, but I don't think it's really one that cries out for a national exclusive.

2:50, Milwaukee64.1 possessions
6 Xavier57.0%68.548.215.331.628.8
3 Pittsburgh43.0%66.447.516.831.728.7
This comes a year too late for Lazy Sportswriter Story That Writes Itself #3 ("Mixed Emotions as Coach Prepares To Face Former Team") to apply, as Pitt alumnus Sean Miller up and left for Arizona a year ago.


2:40, Buffalo66.4 possessions
10 Missouri39.7%67.247.818.629.528.7
2 West Virginia60.3%70.447.423.847.629.4
I love it when the NCAA Tournament gives us these great clash-of-styles games. Watch West Virginia's turnovers and rebounds. If the Mountianeers can keep their turnover rate below 20%, they should win easily; similarly, if the Tigers can even do a passable job of keeping West Virginia off the glass, the upset could be theirs for the taking.

2:50, Jacksonville58.4 possessions
12 Cornell26.5%59.752.019.323.625.0
4 Wisconsin73.5%66.952.813.228.128.4
Whatever the opposite of a clash-of-styles is, this is it. Both teams are just going to bring the ball up the floor, run their stuff, take their best shot, and challenge the other guys to do the same at the other end. The question is: who's going to be Sandman Sims, and who's going to be Cliff Huxtable?


5:00, Spokane65.8 possessions
5 Texas A&M46.3%64.647.421.130.738.4
4 Purdue53.7%65.746.216.426.729.8
This is the only game of the day in which both teams project to score less than a point per possession. In fact, the only other team that projects to score less than a point per possession all day is Georgia Tech. So if you like offense, Sunday should be your day.

5:15, Jacksonville67.4 possessions
8 California29.9%
1 Duke70.1%78.650.915.237.531.5

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