Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Morning News: Wisconsin Destroys Iowa, Davidson Gets Hot Against Dayton, Florida Falls To LSU, And More

Bob McKillop plotting the destruction of Dayton's defense pregame.
Wisconsin Destroys Iowa Wisconsin will have games where they shoot better (they hit 41% of their threes here), but it's hard to imagine them otherwise playing much better. Everything they did was right all night. They committed a grant total of one turnover, and it came on a shot clock violation. They had a 16-to-1 assist/turnover ratio and scored 1.52 PPP. And it wasn't just on offense that they played well. Defensively they prevented easy baskets for Iowa, allowing them just four layups+dunks and holding them to 12 points in the paint. The majority of Iowa's shot attempts were two-point jumpers.
Adam Woodbury embraces his inner wrestling heel.

The silver lining for Iowa is that they only have to play a single game before they get their rematch shot in Iowa City. I think we all know that the game is going to be far more competitive the next time these two teams play. Iowa is now 4-2 in Big Ten play, and if they can knock off Wisconsin and get to 11-7 in conference play, that will certainly be good enough to go Dancing.

Even without Traevon Jackson, and despite the fact that Wisconsin's only regular season match-up with Maryland will be in College Park, Wisconsin is the favorite to win the Big Ten regular season title. But there's now serious doubt, and we can talk plausibly about Maryland stealing the title. A road win at Iowa on January 31st would go a long way toward insulating them against a possible road loss at Maryland.

Davidson Gets Hot Against Dayton Davidson looked to be inching into the tourney bubble conversation before an embarrassing 26 point loss at Richmond. But they bounced back in a big way, putting on an almost perfect offensive performance against Dayton here. They hit 12-for-23 behind the arc, finishing with a 62.1 eFG% and 1.24 PPP. Both of those are season highs allowed by Dayton's superb defense (Dayton hadn't even allowed an Atlantic Ten team to break 1 PPP before this game). Tyler Kalinoski led the way with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting with 6 assists and only 1 turnover.

Davidson is 13-4 and 4-2 in conference play, with this win to go with no particularly bad losses. Take RPI for what it's worth this early in the season, but Davidson's is now 38th. Their Sagarin ELO_SCORE is 33rd. To earn an at-large bid, Davidson will need to go 13-5 or 14-4 in conference play while finishing strong and doing well in the A-10 tourney.

Dayton slips to 15-3 and 5-1 in conference play, and like Davidson they mostly lack both good wins and bad losses. And similarly, a 13-5 or 14-4 conference record should be sufficient to earn them an at-large bid. They have a key home game coming up on Saturday against Richmond.

Florida Falls To LSU Florida couldn't hit a shot, and LSU couldn't miss a shot, here. Florida was 3-for-16 behind the arc while LSU went 8-for-13, the second straight opponent to hit over 50% of their threes against the Gators. Florida actually outscored LSU in the paint (34 to 30 points), but when outside shooting percentages are that disparate it's almost impossible to win.

The general impression in the media now is that Florida is not just out of the Field of 68 but they're dead in the water. I strong disagree. All they need to do is to get to 12-6 in SEC play and then win a game or two in the SEC tournament to get their RPI inside the Top 40, where they'll be almost a certain to earn an at-large bid. They're 3-2 in SEC play right now. Their upcoming schedule is tough, but it'll ease up in mid-February. They have a tough road game at Ole Miss up next.

LSU is 3-2 in SEC play with wins over West Virginia, Georgia and Florida to go with bad losses to Clemson, Missouri and Texas A&M. They're hanging in the vicinity of the tourney bubble, but they're going to have to win at least 11 SEC games, and might need to win 12. They need to avoid looking ahead with a tricky road game at Vanderbilt up next.

Nebraska Suffocates Minnesota As bad as Nebraska's offense is, their defense is arguably the best in the Big Ten. Minnesota was totally cut off from easy baskets here. A staggering 47 of their 52 attempted shots went into the scorebook as jump shots, and they scored a total of 0 fast break points and 10 points in the paint. Their 0.74 PPP was their lowest total since February 20th, 2013.

Minnesota is better than their 1-6 Big Ten record, of course. Five of their six losses have come by five points or fewer and they're only being outscored by 0.06 PPP. They're not playing well, of course, but they're not one of the worst teams in the conference. But they're going to have to get to at least 9-9 in conference play to have a real at-large chance, and even though their schedule is going to ease up that's still quite the hole to dig out of. They really can't afford another loss before they head on the road in mid-February to face Iowa and Indiana.

Nebraska is now 3-3 in Big Ten play, though their schedule is really tough the next two weeks. They're not a realistic at-large contender.

Southern Miss "Self-Imposes" Postseason Ban The Donnie Tyndall scandal has been festering for a few months now, but I doubt this self-imposed postseason ban will satisfy the NCAA. Because let's be honest, it's a bit rich for a team to pretend that their postseason ban is "self-imposed" when they're 324th in Pomeroy. They can't even use the "maybe they could've gotten hot in the C-USA tournament" argument since the C-USA tournament will only take the top twelve teams this season, and Southern Miss is awfully  unlikely to finish in the top twelve.

Doc Sadler is a good hire for Southern Miss, but the cupboard was left entirely bare for him. He might salvage the program, but it's going to take a minimum of a few years.

No comments: