Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Morning News: Iowa St Handles Texas, Providence Comes Up Just Short, George Washington/Providence And Indiana/Iowa

If you missed it, here's the video of what happened in Assembly Hall yesterday.
Iowa State Handles Texas This was always going to be a competitive game, but at home the Cyclones were definitely expected to win. And they were in control all night, holding onto a small lead for almost the entire game and never being particularly tested. With their big front line, Texas was inevitably going to control the glass here, but they struggled to score in and around the paint, finishing only 34% on two-pointers. Iowa State was sharp offensively, finishing with 21 assists to only 6 turnovers.

Texas has won the rebounding battle in 10 of their 13 games, but they lack consistent scorers offensively. When they have lost this season, it's been because they weren't getting easy shots. They are now 2-5 when finishing with an eFG% under 44.5%. When above 44.5%? They're 18-1. Iowa State, on the other hand, puts up points against everybody. They've scored at least 70 points in every game this season, and are averaging 81 points per game in Big 12 play.

In the end, these two teams are really just playing for seed. Neither is likely to really challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title, but both are likely going to finish with something in the 3-7 seed range. At this point, Iowa State has the better resume, and with a relatively easy remaining schedule they should get to at least 11-7 in conference play. Texas has three difficult road games remaining, but at 9-4 they shouldn't finish worse than 11-7 themselves.

Providence Comes Up Just Short Against Villanova This is a mentally crushing loss for Providence. They had multiple chances to pull away in this game, and even had an excellent shot at the end of the game to send this to a third overtime. In the end, it was Ryan Arcidiacono who got to play hero, even if it took him a few chances. Villanova went with the Arcidiacono Iso at the end of regulation and both overtimes, and he performed badly two times before coming through on his third chance.

Even in a loss, Bryce Cotton continues to be amazing. He had 22 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds here, while playing the full 50 minutes. With only a six man rotation, Providence can't afford to sit Bryce Cotton. In 14 Big East games so far this season, he has sat for a grand total of three minutes while playing six overtime periods. If you do the math on that, that's an average of 41.9 minutes per game in conference play. In fact, four of Providence's five starters played at least 47 of the 50 minutes in this game. It's just hard to win consistently when you get zero production from your bench.

With four of their final five regular season games at home, Villanova should finish the regular season well. They still have an outside case for a 1 seed if they can win the Big East tournament. Providence, on the other hand, has lost five of seven and has dropped to 7-7 in conference play and 6-9 against the RPI Top 100, and are now 62nd in RPI and 57th in the Sagarin PURE_ELO. This home game at Villanova was the one that they really needed. They'll probably need to win three of their final four regular season games to have a realistic at-large chance heading into the Big East tournament.

George Washington Picks Up A Big Win At Richmond George Washington tipped off this game in the Field of 68, but teetering extremely close to the bubble. This win helps ease those concerns. George Washington's offensive attack has been balanced all season long, and it was balanced here, with five different players scoring between 10 and 16 points. Their defense has been better (only the fourth time in their last 11 games that they've allowed more than 1 PPP), but the offense carried them.

This is George Washington's 20th win of the season, and are a solid 3-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 9-6 against the RPI Top 100. Their RPI is 32nd and their Sagarin PURE_ELO is 36th. They can now easily afford a loss on Saturday at St. Louis as a 3-1 finish will probably earn them an at-large bid.

Richmond is 7-4 in Atlantic Ten play, but they're just 6-8 against the RPI Top 100 with no really premier wins (UMass, St. Joe's and Dayton are their three best wins). Their Sagarin PURE_ELO is 69th, which combined with their weak set of wins means that they'd definitely be an NIT team if the season ended now. Their home game at VCU on March 2nd is a crucial opportunity for a quality victory. They probably need to win four of their final five games to be in good shape for an at-large bid.

Indiana/Iowa Game Postponed This was just bizarre, as a big piece of metal fell from the ceiling of Assembly Hall onto the seats. Obviously it's really good that this happened when nobody was in the arena. As far as this game goes, the two schools are still trying to come up with a makeup date. Like the Duke/North Carolina game and a whole bunch of other games that have been postponed due to bad weather, it's hard to find a date that doesn't disadvantage at least one of the teams. There just isn't a lot of give in these schedules. But both of these teams absolutely need this win to stay on pace for their goals (a share of the Big Ten regular season title for Iowa and an at-large bid for Indiana), so whenever it gets played it'll be one to watch.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

They still have an outside case for a 1 seed if they can win the Big East tournament. Providence, on the other hand, has lost five of seven and has dropped to 7-7 in conference play and 6-9 against the RPI Top 100, and are now 62nd in RPI and 57th in the Sagarin PURE_ELO.