Saturday, December 11, 2010

Texas A&M Stifles Washington's Offense

Texas A&M 63, #21 Washington 62
Texas A&M put on one of the finer defensive performances I've seen from any team this season. Remember, Washington came into this game averaging 95.5 points per game, nearly 7 more than any other team. Obviously that number is inflated by a soft schedule and the fast tempo Washington plays at (77.9 possessions per game, fifth in the nation), but Washington has been tremendous offensively even when you account for that (4th in the nation in Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency). By my calculation Washington had a raw offensive efficiency of 85 in this game (compared to a raw offensive efficiency of 122 coming in). They had 20 turnovers, and were held to not only 27% shooting behind the arc but also 45% on two-pointers. Nobody on Washington could get going at all. Texas A&M has a good claim to being a Top 25 team now with wins over Temple and Washington, and only a neutral court loss to Boston College. They will play Arkansas next Saturday, but really shouldn't be seriously tested again until they play Oklahoma State on January 12th. As for Washington, it remains to be seen if Texas A&M just played their best game of the season or if they found a flaw in Washington's game. I'm leaning toward the former rather than the latter - this Washington team is oozing talent and should continue to put up a lot of offense. They remain the favorite in the Pac-10. But they've struggled to get a big win, with their best wins this season coming against Virginia and Texas Tech (to be fair, those two wins were by a combined 72 points). Unless another Pac-10 team jumps into the Top 25 that means that Washington will head to Selection Sunday without a Top 25 victory, really damaging their chances at a 1 seed even if they completely dominate the Pac-10. They open Pac-10 play December 29th at USC.

Quinnipiac 73, Rhode Island 66
Rhode Island fans assumed that with Quinnipiac, New Hampshire and Lafayette coming up that it would be a cakewalk heading into Atlantic Ten play. Oops. And this wasn't a fluky result either - in fact, the two teams were nearly identical in every phase of the game. They both had 11 offensive rebounds, they both had 10 turnovers, and both shot nearly exactly 30% behind the arc and 47% on two-pointers. If there was a difference it was free throw shooting, where Quinnipiac hit 9-of-11, while Rhode Island hit 13-of-24. It's just a shocking disaster for Rhode Island. The Selection Committee can forgive one bad loss if you have some big wins to balance it, but Rhode Island now has two bad losses (they also lost to Illinois-Chicago) and don't have any real chance for a big win left (road games at Florida and Temple are the two best candidates). Rhode Island is now 6-3 with a Sagarin ELO_CHESS that will careen to nearly 100th when the new numbers come out tomorrow. If they're going to get back onto the bubble they're going to have to win a whole bunch of games in a row, including that road game at Florida on January 3rd. As for Quinnipiac, they now have a very nice win that can help them avoid a 16 seed if they can win the Northeast Conference. Both Sagarin & Pomeroy rate Quinnipiac as one of the three best teams in the NEC, so they should have a real shot at the automatic bid.

Old Dominion 74, Dayton 71
This game was way under the radar nationally (I doubt it even gets mentioned on Sportscenter), but it had a lot of implications. Both of these teams are fighting for a possible at-large bid (Old Dominion is favored to win the Colonial, but it wouldn't be a total shock if they get upset in the Colonial tournament), and this game also has implications for relative conference strength for the Colonial and Atlantic Ten. The A-10 has been off to a disappointing start this season and could have really used a quality win by a team like Dayton. The Colonial, on the other hand, has been off to a very strong start and is looking to strengthen its position as a potential multiple bid conference. Old Dominion is now 8-2 with wins over Clemson, Xavier, Richmond and Dayton, but they do have that bad loss to Delaware. They still have a game at Missouri remaining. Dayton has been more underwhelming with only a win vs Ole Miss to go with a loss to East Tennessee State. But in the A-10 there is much more room for error than the Colonial. Dayton can get back onto the bubble if they can go something like 11-5 or 12-4 in the A-10.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Rhode Island needs to get more help ro Delroy James if they want to be anywhere near the bubble. Thankfully they get a couple bodies back to help them out. The loss of Outrebridge (academics) & Wilson (broken foot) really hurt their depth. Thank goodness they moved Brooks (who is just awful) out of the starting lineup & moved in Malesevic. What has also hurt them is Akeem Richmond's 3 point shooting. The sophmore's percentage is down 10% from last year. Not good.

Just doesn't look like they have it this year.