Monday, March 14, 2016

Complete East Region Analysis

My Picks:
16. Florida Gulf Coast over 16. Fairleigh Dickinson
11. Tulsa over 11. Michigan

1. North Carolina over 16. FGCU
9. Providence over 8. USC
5. Indiana over 12. Chattanooga
4. Kentucky over 13. Stony Brook
11. Tulsa over 6. Notre Dame
3. West Virginia over 14. Stephen F. Austin
7. Wisconsin over 10. Pittsburgh
2. Xavier over 15. Weber State

1. North Carolina over 9. Providence
4. Kentucky over 5. Indiana
3. West Virginia over 11. Tulsa
2. Xavier over 7. Wisconsin

1. North Carolina over 4. Kentucky
3. West Virginia over 2. Xavier

1. North Carolina over 3. West Virginia


Avoid the urge to pick Kentucky: Everybody and their sister loves Kentucky to go far in the NCAA Tournament. But there are two big red flags. First of all, you want to pick teams that are balanced offensively and defensively. Teams that are Top 20 in both Pomeroy offense and defense have a great record in the NCAA Tournament compared to teams elite at one end vs the other. Kentucky is #1 in Pomeroy offense but only 70th defensively. The defense has improved later in the season, but Kentucky still has major problems on the defensive glass, and the Tar Heels are fantastic at crashing the glass and getting second chance points. That said...

Kentucky is a tough match-up for Indiana: John Calipari teams are always excellent at running three-point shooters off the three-point line. Kentucky's defense took a big step back this season in the paint, but they still led the SEC in defensive 3PA/FGA. Indiana relies heavily on hitting three-pointers, and Kentucky simply will not let those shots get off.

West Virginia loves their draw: We all know what "Press Virginia" does: They are Top Two in the nation in defensive turnover rate and offensive rebounding rate, while they are a terrible shooting team. Prevent turnovers and keep them off the glass and you'll beat them. Stephen F. Austin does neither of those two things well. Both Notre Dame and Tulsa can protect the ball, but neither can rebound well. There simply is not a "West Virginia kryptonite" team in this region. Even North Carolina and Xavier have trouble in those two areas.
Xavier picked the right year to play Wisconsin: Xavier relies heavily on offensive rebounds and drawing fouls, two things that Bo Ryan Wisconsin teams always excelled at preventing. This year? Not so much. Wisconsin will play that game close, but at this point I have to give the narrow edge to Xavier.

Tulsa advancing doesn't justify their inclusion: That said, Tulsa is playing their best basketball of the season the past few weeks, and they have a very generous draw against a weak/reeling Michigan team and a Notre Dame team that has stopped shooting the ball well (and which is once again poor defensively). They will have a great shot to make a Sweet 16, leading to a false narrative that they proved they belonged in (just like UCLA last season).

1 comment:

Ray said...

Hey Jeff--even though you don't have time to do the great write-ups as usual, has the same rigor and analysis gone into your picks? Absolutely understand if that's not the case, but figured I'd ask before using your bracket as one of my main sources.