Friday, February 20, 2015

Morning News: Seth Davis, Purdue Wins In Assembly Hall, SMU Overcomes Temple, And Kyle Wiltjer Scores 45

At least his bad basketball analysis doesn't kill people.

Seth Davis Promotes His Mom's Hoax Cancer Cures If you didn't get a chance to read and spread around my Deadspin piece from yesterday, please do. As much fun as college basketball is, it's still just a game. CBS's top college basketball analyst is selling his mother's scam cancer remedies, and making money off of lying to desperate, sick people. The more we can embarrass and put pressure on him to stop, the better the world will be.

Purdue Wins In Assembly Hall I talked a few days ago about the fact that Indiana was 8-3 against Pomeroy Top 200 opponents when shooting over 40% on threes but just 3-5 when shooting under 40%. The Hoosiers shoot threes well in general, but they're very dependent on them to score offensively and their defense is a mess. Here? They hit just 31% of their threes and went down in a loss. Yogi Ferrell even had a great look at a game-winning three in the final seconds but missed. It was just that kind of day for them. Purdue shot poorly also, hitting an awful 2-for-18 on threes. But Purdue had a significant size advantage and was able to drop the ball down into the paint. AJ Hammons had 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting. A full 19 of Purdue's 24 made baskets were layups or dunks.
Jon Octeus!

Indiana drops to 8-6 in Big Ten play after this loss. If they can win three of four down the stretch to get to 11-7 they should be safely in the NCAA Tournament. If they end up 10-8 or 9-9, however, they're going to have to do work in the Big Ten tourney.All four of those remaining games are winnable, but all can easily be lost with a poor shooting day.

With this win, Purdue is now 10-4 in Big Ten play, which seems like a no-brainer NCAA Tournament bid. The media seems to agree:
I wouldn't be so sure, though. This isn't last season's Big Ten. A reasonable comp is the Georgia squad last season that went 12-6 in SEC play but missed the Tourney due to doing nothing in non-conference play. Purdue's non-conference performance was a debacle, which is why their RPI is still 59th. Conference play matters more than non-conference play, so even with those bad computer numbers you can make a reasonable case that Purdue would be in the Field of 68 if the season ended right now, but they have a long way to go. Even if they go 12-6 in Big Ten play they're going to need at least one win in the Big Ten tourney to get in. And considering their remaining schedule, it's very unlikely that they'll finish better than 12-6.

SMU Overcomes Temple Temple has been playing great basketball since adding Jesse Morgan, and they opened up a ten point lead in the second half here. But foul trouble started to hamper them, and Nic Moore stepped up when his team needed him most with two huge threes in short succession midway through the half. Temple, in contrast, hit just 1-for-10 behind the arc in the second half.
"Hey, get out of Bob Knight's way! Hey! Boys! Hey!"

SMU is tied in the loss column atop the AAC with Tulsa, though realistically they're the heavy favorite for the regular season title. Tulsa is fading, SMU has already beaten them in Tulsa, and SMU still has a game against Tulsa in Dallas. The question is, how big of a favorite is SMU in the AAC tournament? I still think it's wide open, with Temple and Cincinnati both very close, and I wouldn't want to bet against Ryan Boatright in a one-and-done tourney either.

Temple is just 1-5 against the RPI Top 50, but their RPI is 30th despite the slow start to their season. Their RPI is a little inflated, but that's balanced out by the fact that those non-conference losses will be discounted by the Selection Committee relative to what they've done the last couple of months. If they can go 3-1 down the stretch to finish 13-5 they should be in good shape on Selection Sunday.

Kyle Wiltjer Scores 45 Gonzaga winning this game wasn't a surprise, but Kyle Wiltjer scored a ridiculous 45 points on 15-for-22 shooting, including 7-for-10 behind the arc.  Wiltjer is quietly (considering he's on a Top 5 ranked team) having an All-American quality season. It's not just that he is scoring 17.4 points per game but that he does it efficiently, hitting 47% of his threes and having a 61.6 eFG% despite taking 33.2% of his team's shots while on the court.

The media is trying to drive a "The WCC is down" narrative as a way to discredit Gonzaga's case as a 1 seed, when the reality is that the WCC has never been rated higher. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate it the 7th best league in the nation, ahead of every league but the six major conferences. And while Gonzaga is part of that rating, and you can make a good case that going 18-0 in the Atlantic Ten would be harder than doing it in the WCC, the fact that the media dismisses Gonzaga's perfect WCC record like they're doing it in the Northeast Conference is ridiculous. Winning on the road at a team like Pepperdine or Portland is equivalent to winning at home against a bubble team like NC State or St. John's. The reason Gonzaga has been able to overcome every foe is that even when a team like Pacific hits 11-for-19 threes on their home court, Gonzaga can respond by getting 45 points out of Kyle Wiltjer. It's been awfully impressive.


Anonymous said...

Thought you might find this interesting:

Jeff said...

That is definitely interesting. Was that originally published there, or is that copy-pasted in? Who wrote it?

Anonymous said...

Written by Chris Rieman, who runs the UDPride site.

Todd Lucas said...

I wish more people understood your point about winning on the road. Indeed, winning @ Pepperdine is roughly equivalent to beating a bubble team at home. Even some of the talking heads on TV don't seem to get this.