Monday, November 16, 2015

Morning News: Is Valparaiso A Bubble Team? Also, Cincinnati Annihilated Robert Morris, And AJ Hammons Is Out

Valparaiso did whatever they wanted against Iona
Is Valparaiso A Bubble Team? We knew coming into the season that Valparaiso was a heavy favorite in the Horizon League, but Iona was also the heavy favorite in the MAAC. I had picked them as my favorite, as had just about everybody else... And Valpo just stomped them here. Valparaiso led by as many as 21 points in the first half, in part because of 7-for-14 three-point shooting in the first half, but more because they shut down Iona's offense. The Gaels hit just 31% of their two-pointers, and finished with just 0.73 PPP overall. The 0.73 PPP were the worst offensive performance by Iona since they also had 0.73 PPP against Florida State on November 26, 2009.

The question coming out of this game is whether Valparaiso is a legitimate bubble team. Certainly it's too early to take the computer ratings too seriously, but Pomeroy has Valpo 28th and their Sagarin PREDICTOR is 45th. The problem is that the Horizon League will do them no favors. With the way the Selection Committee thinks, there will be no chances for "quality wins" and plenty of chances for "bad losses". They get Rhode Island on Tuesday, and then Oregon and Oregon State later this month, but other than that they won't have a realistic chance for an RPI Top 50 win. They're going to need a gaudy win-loss record to earn an at-large bid.

Cincinnati Annihilates Robert Morris Cincinnati beating Robert Morris isn't much of a story, but the score of this game makes you wake up and pay attention. Cincy hit 46% of their threes, which isn't really sustainable, but they also dominated the glass (a 16-to-6 offensive rebounding advantage) and forced a ridiculous 29 turnovers. We know Cincinnati can play defense, but they're scoring this year also, averaging 1.32 PPP over their first two games. You don't want to draw too many conclusions after just two games, but Cincy has looked the best of any AAC team thus far.

Mysterious AJ Hammons Situation AJ Hammons, who has been a double-digit scorer per game in all three of his Purdue seasons as well as a defensive rock, has not seen the floor for Purdue this season. And at this point, it's a mystery exactly why. Purdue is insisting that it's a team rule, and not an NCAA rule that he has broken, so he could return any game.

The good news for Purdue is that even without Hammons they've looked great so far. Caleb Swanigan looks like a star, and Isaac Haas looks like a Big Ten quality starter as well, so Hammons is almost a luxury item at this point. And Purdue insiders reading through the tea leaves think that Hammons will be able to return to the team soon. So most likely this will not be a significant problem for Purdue in the long run, but it's something to keep an eye on.

1 comment:

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