midwestbracket13

Tempo-free breakdown: The “second” round of the midwest regional

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? For my preview I chose to aggregate a variety of data focusing mainly on the Four Factors that determine Ken Pomeroy's projections. I've also been fascinated by a relatively new metric called Survival Analysis that has historically been a better predictor of succer than BPI, RPI and even Pomeroy.

Projected Locks

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T
at Lexington, KY
Thursday at 6:50 p.m.
TBS

A lot of people are really high on Louisville, and because people love finding that contrarian angle, even if it's senseless, some aren't so hot on the Cardinals. Whoever you believe, there's just no way that they fall this early, and the numbers agree more than with any other matcup out of the midwest regional. NCA&T is the lowest-ranked team in Pomeroy's charts to make earn a tournament berth. This is a safe bet.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 1 Louisville 49.5/44.0 18.7/27.6 38.4/33.7 38.8/33.7 94.7 98.0
No. 16 N.C. A&T 45.6/44.7 22.2/23.4 30.0/32.9 43.0/41.0 5.3 2.0


No. 4 St. Louis vs. No. 13 New Mexico State
at San Jose, Calif.
Thursday at 2:10 p.m.
TNT

St. Louis is the consensus dark house out of the midwest, and it's hard to argue against a team that won the A-10 tournament with wins over Charlotte, Butler and VCU. The Billikens allowed those three opponents to score 167 points on 205 possessions (0.81 ppp) in back-to-back-to-back games.

NMSU won the WAC Championship without having to face Denver or Louisiana Tech. Plus, starting forward Tyrone Watson is still questionable after an ankle inury sidelined him on March 7. The Billikens and the Aggies split the four factors, but SLU is a very safe pick in this round.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 4 St. Louis 50.7/45.6 17.6/23.4 28.1/28.3 44.7/35.6 75.2 78.0
No. 13 New Mex St. 50.0/45.3 21.8/18.7 36.4/29.8 47.9/30.8 24.8 22.0


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Albany
at Phildelphia, Penn.
Friday at 12:15 p.m.
CBS

Duke fell to 15th-seeded Lehigh in last season's tournament, but they're not likely to let that happen again. Lehigh was 72 on Pomeroy than, and Albany now sits at 148. Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly both will be in action for the Blue Devils, and Mason Plumlee will be there destroying the glass. This is an easy choice.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 2 Duke 54.4/45.7 15.6/20.9 29.4/32.9 37.7/31.4 84.2 94.0
No. 15 Albany 49.8/47.9 21.2/19.9 31.7/28.3 40.3/27.4 15.8 6.0

Not Projected Locks, Not Projected Upsets

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 14 Valparaiso
at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Thursday at 12:15 p.m.
CBS

Despite the fact that only about 80 minutes of road separate MSU and Auburn Hills, I'm hesitant to call this 14-3 matchup a lock. Valparaiso's heavy dose of experience and leadership has Tom Izzo worried, especially considering the luck that seems innate to Head Coach Bryce Drew.

The Spartans didn't have any losses during the season that could be labeled as bad, and a loss to the Crusaders would easily count as their worst. But their four factors numers are remarkably close. Neither seems to have a clear advantage on paper. MSU may be battle-tested behind a great Big Ten schedule, but Valpo ranks as the most experience D-I team in the nation according to Pomeroy's numbers. Can experience trump talent?

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 3 Michigan St. 50.7/45.0 20.5/19.7 35.5/28.3 36.7/32.6 72.1 80.0
No. 14 Valparaiso 56.1/46.0 22.0/19.2 31.6/27.3 42.3/37.5 27.9 20.0

No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 10 Cincinnati
at Phildelphia, Penn.
Friday at 2:45 p.m.
CBS

Doug McDermott is the hands-down best shooter out of the midwest, but if Cincinnati can shut him down, the Bearcats have a real shot. There seems to be little consensus on who wins this one, and the four factors offer no help. These teams split the defensive and offensive metrics, and who doesn't love a little Cashmere Wright?

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 7 Creighton 59.1/45.9 18.8/16.2 29.2/27.0 33.6/25.8 60.7 64.0
No. 10 Cincinnati 46.2/43.1 19.5/20.1 38.8/29.9 36.2/32.1 39.3 36.0


No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon
at San Jose, Calif.
Thursday at 4:40 p.m.
TNT

Everyone loves to share their opinion on Oregon's low seeding, but I'm not sure I'm sold. California beat Oregon twice this season. How? Defense.

The Pokes boast the 10th-most efficient defense in the nation, and I can't see Oregon's 122nd-most efficient offense changing that. If you care about momentum, well, Oregon has it. I want to commit to Oklahoma State on this one, but the the micro-level numbers make that difficult.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 5 Oklahoma St. 48.9/44.5 18.1/21.5 31.8/30.7 40.8/35.1 63.6 62.0
No. 12 Oregon 49.1/46.3 21.3/22.3 36.0/27.7 39.0/32.7 36.4 38.0


Projected "Upsets"

No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Missouri
at Lexington, KY
Thursday at 9:20 p.m.
TBS

I use "upset" in the loosest, most technical seed-based sense here. CSU may feature an even more explosive offense than Mizzou, but the Rams bring little defense to the table. Just ask Boise State, which scored 1.3 ppp on CSU earlier this March.The Tigers have the upperhand when it comes to shot defense, turnover creation and defensive free throw rate.

Where Colorado State has an absolutely undeniable advantage is its experience. All five starters are seniors. Still, Pomeroy chose the Tigers and so am I.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 8 Colorado St. 48.9/48.2 16.7/16.9 41.8/23.3 43.3/36.6 51.2 47.0
No. 9 Missouri 51.3/45.9 19.3/17.5 39.6/28.3 35.1/28.8 48.8 53.0

No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 11 St. Mary's
at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Thursday at 2:45 p.m.
CBS

I do not like Josh Pastner, but this isn't personal. The numbers prove that St. Mary's is an odd 11-seed. Their last three losses came to the now top-seeded Gonzaga.

The Tigers haven't seen a team like SMU all season, and I think it's the last team they see all season.

  The four factors (Off./Def.)    
  eFG% TO% OR% FTRate Survival Pomeroy
No. 6 Memphis 53.2/45.6 20.8/22.0 36.3/30.7 37.9/35.0 52.1 40.0
No. 11 St. Mary's 54.3/47.2 18.3/17.8 36.9/24.8 37.4/36.9 47.9 60.0

 

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