Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NCAA First Round Preview: West Region

12:15 PM Thursday, Louisville63.5 possessions
11Colorado St.48.8%68.952.321.433.232.2
6Murray St.51.2%69.351.619.733.232.1
Colorado State junior Pierce Hornung is the top offensive player in the nation, and second only to Kentucky's Anthony Davis in per-possession value, according to PAPER. An undersized power forward, Hornung has grabbed a ridiculous 17.75% of all available offensive rebounds, and has hit 68.25% of his two-point field goal attempts on the season. Foul trouble is Hornung's bugaboo, though, limiting him to participating in just 54% of the Rams' floor minutes.

1:40 PM Thursday, Portland68.6 possessions

2:45 PM Thursday, Louisville76.8 possessions
BYU entered their First Four game with Iona as a slight underdog, with a 48% chance to beat the Gaels for the right to face Marquette. By the time they were down 25 points with 4 minutes to play in the first half, that chance had dropped to just 1.4%.

4:10 PM Thursday, Portland67.1 possessions
12Long Beach St.31.0%64.846.721.431.023.2
5New Mexico69.0%

2:10 PM Friday, Omaha57.9 possessions
While Florida comes into the game with a well-deserved reputation as a strong three-point shooting team, Virginia actually has a slightly higher expected three-point percentage in this game than the Gators (36.6% to 35.1%) thanks to Virginia's stellar field goal defense and Florida's struggles with same.

4:40 PM Friday, Omaha66.5 possessions
15Norfolk St.3.6%

6:50 PM Friday, Columbus63.0 possessions
9Saint Louis46.4%62.946.118.830.825.4
Saint Louis lived in and around the top fifteen of the TAPE ratings for most of the season, but I haven't been able to figure out exactly why. I have a feeling that the system may overrate teams with strong defenses who play at a slow pace (Wisconsin, Virginia, and Saint Louis are all rated higher in TAPE than common sense would place them), and in the offseason I'll be revisiting this to find out if it's actually the case.

9:20 PM Friday, Columbus72.2 possessions
16Long Island2.9%66.544.422.728.429.3
1Michigan St.97.1%91.457.516.241.121.0
Draymond Green has been one of the most valuable players in the country for all four years he's been at Michigan State, but it wasn't until February of his senior season that he started to get the recognition he deserves. If there's anything that can be done on a basketball court to help his team win a game, Draymond does it.

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