Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts On Day Three

You might be wondering how I can have any thoughts on Day 3 when the games don't start for almost five hours. The answer is that I don't. But I'm going to be out for the next bunch of hours and there's a decent chance I'll miss much of the first game. So I'm going to set this post up so people who want to chat about the games can chat. And I'll be posting in the comments section as soon as I can.


As always with the second round of the Tournament, there are no bad teams left, so there should be no more bad games. But a couple of games stand out for me. One is the Villanova/Saint Mary's game, where Villanova is going to have to play better than they have for the past few weeks to escape a red hot Saint Mary's team. Both of the games involving 3 and 11 seeds should be interesting, as both 11 seeds (Washington and Old Dominion) are very dangerous, and at least one of the three seeds (New Mexico) has serious flaws and never should have gotten a 3 seed. I picked New Mexico to the Sweet 16, but when picking the lines for today I switched and took Washington. So I guess either way I'll be right... and wrong.

The final game of interest, of course, is the BYU/Kansas State game. BYU played poorly in round one, but the question is whether that was nerves or if they really are just going to struggle the rest of this Tournament. Perimeter defense and defensive rebounding will be keys for BYU.

Enjoy the games!

61 comments:

Jeff said...

Villanova struggled yet again today, only this time they were playing a team good enough to knock them out. I thought Tennessee also looked impressive in taking care of Ohio.

The one surprising result of today was that Butler seemed to get significantly better with Matt Howard on the bench in foul trouble. Murray State seemed to get out of their game, trying too hard to push the ball into the paint while Butler was really struggling to handle Murray State's guards.


Butler/Syracuse will be an interesting game because Syracuse will just torch them inside. And Butler's three-point shooting will allow them to score over the top of the Syracuse zone. Of course, Syracuse has to just get there first, but their path is easier with the Gonzaga upset.

Jeff said...

The Kansas offense looks downright awful. Sherron Collins is just firing up threes and making stupid passes without even attempting to probe the defense. If I were Bill Self I'd bring Collins to the sideline, yell at him for a few minutes, and then bring him back in. He's hurting the team right now.

I'd rather let Xavier Henry run the offense right now if I was Kansas.

Justin said...

Uh yea, I'm sure most of America is holding their breath and hoping hoping Kansas can pull it together. Where I'm at, we have the Bayolr ODU game. Baylor looked solid first half but let ODU back into it. Looks like Baylor is starting to get serious now.

Jeff said...

I've just never seen this from Kansas all year. Even when they've struggled (like against Cornell) it never looked like they were psychologically out of the game. Their shots just weren't dropping.


But they looks so afraid against Northern Iowa. So many possessions of three or four passes around the perimeter leading to a 25-footer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock - it's just awful offensive execution.

Justin said...

Well like you said that NIU's defense is pretty good and that if they played from behind they were in trouble. Apparently their defense maybe better than anticipated and sounds as though they are now causing Kansas to panic. ODU is not goin away from Baylor. Right after I wrote the last post, I looked up and saw New Mexico is down at the half. What the heck is happening here??

Jeff said...

I figured that Baylor/ODU game would be close and last night I flipped to picking Washington over New Mexico, so those results aren't that wild. But this Kansas result would be crazy.

One thing I do like over the last five minutes is that Kansas seems to have picked up their focus and intensity. It used to bother me all season how much Kansas players would preen and point to themselves after every made basket. And right now I see no celebrations, I see a team backed up against the wall sensing its own mortality that is trying to rise to the challenge.

As I typed that the lead dropped to five. I still think Kansas comes back and wins this thing.

Jeff said...

Unbelievable game! Why didn't Kansas press earlier? Not only did the press start forcing turnovers, but it changed the entire team's mentality, increasing the aggressiveness of the offense.


Down 1 now, 42.8 seconds to go...

Jeff said...

Unbelievable. Biggest shocker in the Tournament in several years. Too much partying by Sherron Collins this week - what a horrible way to end his career.

Justin said...

My bracket along with most of america's is now.....busted.

Anonymous said...

Tak:

I am stunned. Kansas was passive the entire game, tried to turn it on in the last 5-10 minutes, and found out it's not that easy...

Huge props to N. Iowa- they were making some great shots in the first half. Ali Farokhmanesh is unbelievable....

That's the civil side of me...what i really want to say is screw kansas, they fucking messed up everything...wtf was up with collison, he literally had one good play in the 2nd half..what an embarassment, i can't believe i pinned my hopes on such a pussy ass team, i want to meet the guy who saw this coming...

Jeff said...

The thing with that Faroukhmanesh shot is that it was stupid. You should never ever shoot a 3 pointer when you're all by yourself with no teammates on your side of the court, you're winning, and there are 20 seconds left in the game. There was a greater than 60% chance he hands the ball right back to Kansas with 20 seconds left down 1. And it's not like Faroukhmanesh was some star distance shooter either: he was 36.8% on the year, and was 3-for-9 for the game before hitting that one.

But that's what the NCAA Tournament is about. UNI could never have won a Best of 5, or even a Best of 3 series. But on any given day, anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen Bill Self under so much pressure. And I think it carried over to his team. Self reflected on the Bucknell loss which occurred in...Oklahoma City. He said it was the toughest loss of his career by far. Well, this one will be tougher.

2 minutes into BYU-KSU and I think BYU is going to win.

DMoore said...

Complete and utter bracket carnage everywhere you look.
Best Tourney Start Ever.


Seriously, on what day is a 2 seed falling (Villanova) and a 3 seed getting blown out (New Mexico) NOT the big story of the day?

We have 6 teams into the sweet sixteen so far, and they include a 5 seed, 6 seed, 9 seed, 10 seed and 11 seed. Only Baylor (3 seed) is supposed to be there.

Anonymous said...

Tak:

No doubt that UNI wouldn't win a series... hell, 2 more minutes and I think Kansas takes it..it's why i hate march madness and love it...

Will said...

Team Mormon is DOMINATING right now

Jeff said...

If BYU can play like that for another 37 minutes then it will save the day a bit for my bracket. The way to think about this Kansas lost is that basically everybody picked them to win it all. So nail the rest of the bracket and you're still alright.

Anonymous said...

i can't remember anything like this, i remember when my cinci bearcats lost in the second round as a 1 seed w/ steve logan, and how much that hurt, i cant imagine the #1 overall seed being schooled like that by a bunch of midwest white boys...that was awesome...i dont even care about my bracket anymore...this is why i love march...u gotta bring it 100% every game, and if not ur done...some people don't like the 1and done system because any other day, Kansas wins and continues their march to cutting down the nets, but if you want to be called the best team in america and national champions, you have to bring it every night a prove u can beat teams...Jeff, is this year just lackluster as far as truly great teams? or are the mid-majors just stronger than usual? either way...i love college basketball

Anonymous said...

PS...if you're not getting the game you want in your region, you can go to http://mmod.ncaa.com and watch every game for free

Jeff said...

I think what we're seeing here is a combination of three things.

1) The disparity in some teams between resume and ability is larger than I can remember. Sagarin and Pomeroy both clearly had Washington as better than New Mexico, but New Mexico was the 3 and Washington was the 11 because their resumes were so disparate. BYU would be a 2/3 instead of a 7 if we were going off ability instead of resume.

2) I think we had a very strong crop of 13/14 seeds this year. It seems like every conference has one team that is just really pesky. Ohio is a really good 14 seed. Siena is an unbelievable 13 seed. And so on.

3) Weak top of the bracket. Kansas was a very good team that just had an awful day. But other than that? We've got some of the worst 1 and 2 seeds I can recall seeing. Nobody is dominant. Think about how good that Michigan State team was last year that only got a 2 seed. Or think about that unbelievable crop of 2 seeds we had back in 2007 - I'd take all of them over any team this year other than maybe Kansas.

Justin said...

Well Jeff, I now have to ask you....who is the favorite to win it all now. Whether we're goin by stats, ability, or even how they've played in tourney play....who is going to win it all now that the overall favorite is out.

Jeff said...

I have to say that Ohio State has to suddenly be one of the favorites. Think about how wonderful this all worked out for them, with both Georgetown and Kansas getting knocked out, and if they get to the Final Four they could end up playing a team like Kansas State or Butler.

I think the legitimate title contenders right now are, in no particular order, Ohio State, Duke, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

BYU is stumbling all of a sudden...uh oh

Justin said...

Well I hope BYU is one of those teams too that Ohio State may end up playin in the final four since thats who you went with as well myself.

Anonymous said...

Fredette is getting shut down...shots arent falling, and BYU is overmatched down low...and they're in foul trouble...not lookin good...

Jeff said...

BYU can't buy a call from the refs, and they're letting it affect them psychologically. And Kansas State can't miss right now.

You have to figure at some point Jimmer's going to get going.

Anonymous said...

with their foul trouble down low...and fredette owned by pullen, u still like their chances?

Jeff said...

Well a half can't go much worse than that. Fredette has had his biggest performances this year against the best teams he's played (Arizona, SDSU, UNLV, New Mexico, Florida), so I can't fathom he won't pick it up in the second half.

And if Jacob Pullen has 20 more points on only 8 more shots in the second half, well... they'll deserve to win.

Anonymous said...

Here's my Kansas theory: Spent the whole year being the smarter, more fundamental team than the similarly athletic Big 12. Self (and Collins) didn't know how to turn the switch to being the more athletic but 'dumber' team quick enough.

Stirge said...

Jeff, I can't believe you didn't see the Northern Iowa result coming...

But seriously, I agree with those who say this is without a doubt one of the best tournaments ever. My brackets are a mess, but I think I still have a legitimate chance to win some money on one of them. But, who knows.
Jeff, I woul add Syracuse and Baylor to the list of legitimate title contenders this year.

Jeff said...

The Onuaku injury is holding me back with regards to Syracuse. He won't play tomorrow, meaning they could potentially lose to Gonzaga.

And even if they move to the second weekend and Onuaku plays, how effective will he be? You never want to be transitioning a key player back into the lineup in the second week of the NCAA Tournament.

This Syracuse team is really, really thin and one-dimensional without Onuaku.

I'm not sure about Baylor either. Presuming they need to go through something like Duke, Kentucky/WVU and then Ohio State... I just don't like their odds to survive that. Obviously their chances look a whole lot better than they were before Villanova and Kansas went down, but I'd keep them in the tier below Duke/WVU/Kentucky/OSU.

Anonymous said...

man, i hate calipari and kentucky, but the way kentucky's playing...idk, they look awfully scary...then again, they almost lost their conference championship to mississippi state...who knows, this 2nd round game was supposedly going to be a tough one for them, not the case

Anonymous said...

yea, not happening for BYU tonight...

Jeff said...

The thing that would worry me about Kentucky is that they're just a little bit too impressed with themselves. They're very young, and just haven't really experienced close games against elite teams. If the choice is Kentucky vs the Field, I'm definitely taking the field. This first weekend has been a little bit too easy for them. They've got to stay focused this week in practice, because the second weekend will be much more difficult.


And don't give up on BYU yet. Fredette still hasn't gotten going, and Jacob Pullen has to eventually start missing shots. BYU's rebounding has been better this half, so if they can get Fredette going then they'll be in decent shape.

Anonymous said...

friggen pullen and clemente are shooting out their minds this game...its ridiculous...will they please miss a friggen shot...holy crap...what happened to the law of averages lol

Jeff said...

I know, it's unreal. Between this crazy shooting display, that Georgia Tech 24-for-25 free throw performance and the Kansas game, this is my worst bracket in years.

It drives home the point that even when you have an average and a couple of standard deviations, you've still got a 5% chance that something really crazy is going to happen.

Jeff said...

Is this a good time to point out that Kansas State is averaging 6.7 made three pointers per game, at a 35.7% rate?

Anonymous said...

theres still 7 and a half left, but they have to make their move now and get some stops, they cant stop them at all....

Anonymous said...

Great, the one year that I get help in my bracket is the one year that its your worst year doing a bracket.....thats okay....i still enjoy the statistical analysis....I hadnt won a bracket doing it my way so who knew

Jeff said...

This is the year that a lot of secretaries are going to win their pools because they picked the teams with the prettiest uniforms.

Anonymous said...

BYU has forced their turnovers, they havent been capitalizing at all..

Anonymous said...

Well crap....those secretaries were the some of the ones that I targeted to play because I knew it would be easy money.....go figure

Jeff said...

"Anonymous said...

BYU has forced their turnovers, they havent been capitalizing at all..
"
--------------------

This second half is precisely why I picked BYU to win this game. They turnovers are something like 10-to-2. BYU has taken care of the defensive boards and hasn't committed a lot of fouls.

But every time they've got a big shot to cut down the lead to 5 or 6 they miss, and it seems like every single time it's K-State coming the other way and hitting a big shot. Just one of those days....

Justin said...

I think the Pullen 3 maybe the dagger....I dont want to sound stereotypical but these white boys are just too slow for this more athletic k-state team....obviously that isnt the case always(see Norther Iowa) but they just dont have the speed and athleticism.....which I wonder if the same theory may occur if Wisonsin wins tomorrow and plays Kentucky

Anonymous said...

like another poster said, while ur picks arent panning out this year, i still enjoy the analysis you provide and it fosters a lot of intelligent and rational basketball conversation that is seriously lacking on other sites, so don't feel too badly about the picks and all...i'll still be coming back...

Jeff said...

Now is also a good time to point out that Kansas State is 26-for-28 at the line (93%) after hitting 66.4% at the line on the season.


Kansas State is winning the offensive rebounding battle by three, and the turnovers are even. The difference in the game is 3-point shooting and free throw shooting.

If I told you in advance that turnovers and rebounds would be even, and the difference was 3-point shooting and free throw shooting, what are the odds the winner wouldn't be the team that has the best combination of free throw shooting and 3-point shooting we've seen in a Tournament team in more than five years?

Jeff said...

Jacob Pullen hit 7-for-12 on 3pointers and 11-for-11 at the line.

It's depressing to nail a 2/7 game correctly (that BYU's good ball handling and boxing out skills would allow them to keep the turnover and rebounding battles even against the athletically superior Kansas State team, which they did) and still lose it because Jacob Pullen went Stephen Curry on us...


Unless you're a K-State fan, of course. Then you're excited about escaping BYU.

Anonymous said...

jacob pullen and clemente went like NBA Live Created Player on us and was ridiculous

JimmerKiller said...

GO Mizzou!

JimmerKiller said...

Hey Jeff can missouri pull it out tomorrow?

Jeff said...

Sure Missouri can win. That press always has the potential to force 25 turnovers. But it will take something close to that to beat a very good and experienced West Virginia team. Missouri doesn't have anywhere near the athletes or the scorers that West Virginia has.

John said...

"It's depressing to nail a 2/7 game correctly (that BYU's good ball handling and boxing out skills would allow them to keep the turnover and rebounding battles even against the athletically superior Kansas State team, which they did) and still lose it because Jacob Pullen went Stephen Curry on us..."

LOL.. you've gotta be kidding me.

The rebounding battle wasn't even. K-State outrebounded BYU 42-33.

I told you on Wednesday that BYU frequently gets waxed on the glass when they face quality opponents. During the regular season, BYU won the rebounding battle in only 3 of their 9 games against NCAA tourney-bound teams.

BYU's inability to keep quality opponents off the glass proved to be their downfall in the tournament as both Florida and K-State both won the rebounding margin by 9.

This should not have been a surprise either. K-State ranked 5th in the nation in Offensive Rebounding Pct according to Ken Pom. Florida ranked 35th. To reach the Final Four, BYU would've had likely beat 4 great offensive rebounding teams -- Pitt ranks 52nd and Syracuse ranks 25th. Like most teams that shoot a lot of threes, BYU does get very many offensive boards -- they only rank 226th out of all 347 teams.

I also told you on Wednesday that BYU is very susceptible to bad shooting nights when they face quality opponents. During the regular season, BYU shot below 40% FG in 5 of 9 games against tourney-bound teams. So it shouldn't be a suprise that BYU shot 39% yesterday.

LOL at irrationally blaming BYU's loss on Jacob Pullen's 7-12 3pt shooting performance. Pullen is a great 3pt shooter, he's put on plenty of 3pt shooting displays this season -- 7-10 @UNLV, 6-9 @Alabama, 6-7 @Baylor, 5-8 vs Oklahoma St, 5-10 vs Baylor. The last two coming last week during the Big XII tournament.

Phil said...

John, good info about BYU's team this season.

Jeff said...

John, unfortunately you don't know how to calculate "winning the rebounding battle". Kansas State had more defensive rebounds partially because BYU just missed more shots.

Kansas State had four more offensive rebounds, and one more turnover. In other words, they had three extra possessions in the entire game. Out of 72 possessions in the entire game.

The scouting report on BYU/K-State is that BYU is clearly the better shooting team, and K-State could only win by getting more possessions through offensive rebounds and turnovers. I argued that because BYU is so good at taking care of the ball and defensive rebounding that they'd draw the possession numbers even, which they did.

If Kansas State only shot really well from the line and behind the arc, instead of putting on their greatest shooting performance anybody could remember, then they would have lost. In other words, I made the right call.


I don't know how you're trying to pretend that you expected a team that shot 66% at the line all year shot 27-for-30. How a team that hit 6.7 three pointers per game at a 35.7% rate got 7 from one player along.

The game was a statistical fluke. If Kansas State shot anywhere near what they normally would against an average team (and BYU's defense is one of the best in the nation) then they would have lost easily.

Jeff said...

By the way, that stat about BYU's shooting is a little bit deceptive. It's only true if you count things like a 39.6% shooting day against UNLV as "below 40%". This year they shot 43% against NCAA Tournament teams.


And besides, as I said, BYU shot well enough to win. All they needed was for Kansas State to shoot anywhere near average at the free throw line, or for Jacob Pullen not to have the greatest shooting day he's had in his entire career.

CLIN said...

Man, watching that byu game was just ridiculous. Pullen was shooting from 25 feet back and getting nothing but net constantly. It was just k st. day last night, what can ya do

Anonymous said...

BYU actually missed fewer shots than KSU and thus had more opportunity to defensive rebound. They obviously didnt.
KSU went 11-27 from three. If they went 10-27 instead, theyd be about at their average. I wouldnt consider their 3 point shooting to be that much of a shock. Their free throws on the other hand...
And they only shot about 42% from inside the arc. Not that great if you ask me.

Jeff said...

Actually, BYU did not miss more shots than Kansas State. I don't know where you got that from. And in addition, Kansas State shot twice as many shots behind the arc, which are the shots where you are much more likely to get offensive rebounds (because of long, funny bounces).

There's no question that on average BYU is a much better shooting team than Kansas State. If you were going to pick Kansas State to win you were counting on them to dominate the turnover and rebounding battle. They didn't, it was effectively a draw. So if you picked Kansas State then you picked wrong. It was just a statistical fluke.


But that's the point of a one-and-done Tournament. In a 7 game series you'd never see Georgia Tech beat Oklahoma State, you'd never see Northern Iowa beat Kansas, you'd never see Cornell beat Wisconsin and you'd never see Kansas State beat BYU. But in a one-and-done situation, anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

I said BYU missed FEWER shots than KSU. YOU said a few posts ago that BYU missed more shots.

Jeff said...

I read your quote backwards - doesn't matter because the misses were basically even (33 to 32). The point is that Kansas State had only four extra offensive rebounds (including one with 10 seconds left and the game over), and one more turnover. So they had three extra possessions.


If those two teams play ten times with the number of possessions that close, BYU would win 19 out of 20 times. The odds of BYU losing a game to Kansas State on three-point and free throw percentages were so dramatically low that it wasn't even worth considering when putting together a bracket. The only question was whether BYU would be able to fight even on the number of possessions - and they did.

Anonymous said...

I can see where youre coming from. If both teams shot their statistical averages, BYU would have won 80-78. This takes into consideration the number of posessions for each team. i do think you exaggerate when you say BYU would win 19 out of twenty of games with KSU having 3 more possessions, when BYU would only win this game on average by 2 points

Cameron said...

Da'Sean Butler was unbelievable taking care of the ball against that Mizzou press the whole game...and everytime Mizzou would appear to put a scare on WV and climb back within 4 points, he would make something happen. After watching that game, i think it's safe to say he will have a potentially good future in the NBA..and trust me, I never was a Da'Sean fan and didn't believe in him until now...he looks to be the answer to pulling KU out of this tournament...thoughts anyone?