Mar 30, 2007


Had a little situation come up. Sorry for lack of posting.
Enjoy the weekend. Great games ahead.

I'll be posting about once a month after the tourney.

Mar 20, 2007

Ahhh, March

What a weekend. Yes, some days were better than others, but really, can you beat the past 4 days?? Had a great time at the Spokane regional.
Got to see the Winthrop upset and the absolute domination of Texas from USC, along with spending 11 hours in the arena on Friday watching basketball.

Here's a brief recap of the picks:

Pitt - Wright St. - 120 o/u
79 - 58 over

Wazzu - Oral Roberts - 120 o/u
70 -54 over

Butler - Old Dominion - 123 o/u
57-46 under
Nevada - Creighton - 133 o/u
77-71 over (ot game) was at 118 at the end of reg.

Boston College - Texas Tech - 136 o/u
84-75 over

Arizona - Purdue - 136 o/u
63 -72 under

So, overall for the first round, ended up at 4-2, with a 1 point loss, and an OT saver.
By the way, in case you were wondering, yes, the Tennessee-Long Beach St. game covered the over of 170 points.
Salukis barely covered the over with their Holy Cross game. Yes, the over was at 109.
For the first round, here's the Vegas numbers (based on lines from Thursday) for games featuring teams seeded 3 through 14
16 teams covered their spreads(yes, lots of blow outs) vs. 7 underdogs staying close and 1 push.
11 games covered the over vs. 13 games under.

Obviously the Kansas and Florida games covered their overs.

Preview and other oddities coming today or tomorrow.

Mar 15, 2007

And it begins....

Well, I think we've all beaten the brackets to death. Time to play out the damn thing.
Good luck.

I'll be in Spokane for the regional this weekend starting tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have some PC access in order to post some tempo-free oddities from the greatest first two rounds of any sporting event.

Just for the hell of it, out of my 20+ brackets, my true "money" Final Four has:

Tex A&M

With Kansas beating A&M in the final.

The reality? Kansas bombs in the 2nd along with Florida losing to Jackson St. Can't wait!! I don't like Florida, but it's too scary to lay it all on U-dub or the Ducks or Maryland. I've seen all of them too much. I think next I just won't watch any games. Oh wait....

Mar 14, 2007

These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty

Just when you think the tempo-free world is ascending ever closer to that utopia we all clamour for, the USA Today let's out a giant turd on the pavement.

In today's age, we've got the Blue Ribbon giving every conceivable tempo-free stat on each team's sheet.

You've got pretty much every writer and talk-head over at ESPN at least mentioning some stat from time to time (big thanks to Fraschilla and Glockner)

Hell, even the Sports Guy Simmons has gotten into it, referencing the Wonk in continuing his week-long berating of the Big Ten's pace. (I had to agree on the Big Ten's variance of pace vs. other conferences. Quality of play? We'll see)

But, then the USA Today decides to take us back a few decades, with
this piece
of analysis.

What they did was essentially total up the 3pt%, 2pt% and FT% of a player, and rank them based on that. It's about the same as looking in your wallet, seeing that you have a third of your bills in 1's, a 3rd in 5's and a 3rd in 50's, but just comparing the number of bills that you have vs. your friend's wallet.

Using this "perspective", which player is the better overall shooter?

Player A
70% 3pt shooting
30% 2pt shooting
60% FT shooting

Player B
30% 3pt shooting
40% 2pt shooting
90% FT shooting

In this article's eyes, these two players are equal shooters. There is no weight given to the fact that a 3pt is worth, well duh, 3 points and that a free throw only gives you 1 point.
One other troubling fact, is that there is no weight given based on the player's frequency of each type of shot; it's not a blended average.

A better picture of quality shooters is this piece over at Ken Pom, as effective Field Goal % blends in the frequency of each shot with it's given point total.

Obviously that one stat doesn't tell the whole picture, but at least it's closer to being *accurate.

*still trying to figure out what that means

Tale of an Upset

Well, we took care of solidifying your Final Four and your Champion with Tempo-Free validity. Now let's try and squeak in some of those pesky early round upsets. Take a look below at all of the 1st and 2nd round upsets involving a team at least 4 seeds below beating the higher seed. You can see, more or less, the "Davids" hold a fairly solid efficiency margin and shoot well enough and they hang onto the ball a good amount of the time. The "Goliaths" aren't anywhere near as efficient as our averages for Final Four teams. Overall, I can't say that the data can really "open up any doors", but it's just interesting to see the stats associated with a "giant-killer" and with a pretender.

Averages for 2004, 2005 and 2006



12Texas A&M65.21.070.870.251%20%30%47%47%27%32%
14Northwestern St.
11Wisconsin Milwaukee70.31.060.940.1249%20%37%49%49%22%28%
2Ohio St.
11George Mason64.
6Michigan St.
11George Mason64.
3North Carolina72.
10Wichita St.


12Wisconsin Milwaukee70.31.110.940.1751%20%36%47%47%24%33%
12Wisconsin Milwaukee70.31.110.940.1751%20%36%47%47%24%33%
4Boston College65.81.150.930.2149%20%40%47%47%21%33%
7West Virginia64.31.160.970.1953%18%28%51%51%23%34%
2Wake Forest701.250.960.2956%20%40%50%50%20%30%
10North Carolina St.641.160.930.2353%19%31%49%49%23%35%


2Mississippi St.

Mar 13, 2007

How Does Vegas Know So Much?

They're up by a dozen. There's 15 seconds left. The score is sitting nicely at 75-63. The over/under was at 139.5. You like your spot on that $20 under bet. The rest of the sportsbook like's their spot too. The leaders are slowly just bringing the ball up, the game is sealed. There's no way they're taking a shot, and there's no way that you're losing your bet. You start walking towards the counter to claim your reward, when you hear the groans. The screams. The "what the $%#@ are they doing?". You turn and look as the leading team is just finishing a wide open lay-up, for no reason, except to give you the betting equivalent of a kick in your balls for the next 24 hours.

Ahhh, Vegas and March Madness. A marriage that hopefully has many years ahead of it. Like all relationships, it has its quarrels, it's money issues, it's offspring (see: the 100+ betting insight websites).

Well, let's just throw a few picks out there, utilizing some handy tempo-free stats and some second-guessing from myself.
I look at pace, shooting %, offensive and defensive efficiency and the spread between the "strength" of each team to determine the most likely pace of the game if there's a large spread.

Some games that jump out to cover the over:

Pitt - Wright St. - 120 o/u
Wazzu - Oral Roberts - 120 o/u
Butler - Old Dominion - 123 o/u
Nevada - Creighton - 133 o/u
Boston College - Texas Tech - 136 o/u
Arizona - Purdue - 136 o/u

Games that I would watch just to see if they could touch the over.

Tennessee - Long Beach St.
Both teams run in the 72 possession a game range, and averaging 1.15 and 1.10 ppp respectively with a bad defense on the part of LBS (1.05 ppp allowed). Vegas is calling 170 as the over. Let's see it.

Maryland - Davidson
Almost the exact same pace and stat discrepancy as the Tennessee game. Over under is at 156 however because Davidson also carries some weight on D.

Some other interesting Vegas line notes:

- No confidence in Wazzu. Only 6 point favorites in their 3-14 game as opposed to Texas A&M being a 13.5 point favorite. I don't have historical spreads, but I would venture to guess that that's pretty damn low for a 3 seed. And you know what, it's not even that far off. Two 2000 point scorers for Oral Roberts? Yikes
- Arkansas is actually the favorite at a few books. I've got them listed here as 1 point underdogs. I believe Montana was a 12 seed favorite last year, correct?
- Staying true to form, 3 of the 4 8-9 games are favored by the 9 seed.
- Southern Illinois - Holy Cross game over/under is at 109, and I still don't think they'll hit it. They both run in the low 60's, and aren't all that great on offense, but have solid defensi. 40-38, here we come!

Good luck to all you Vegas venturers this week.

I'm sure I'll go 0 for 6 on the first round.

By the way, great story here from ESPN writer Gene Wojciechowski from the offices of the Las Vegas oddsmakers.

Mar 12, 2007

Stop with the insanity!!

Just a quick thought on people's arguments over bubble teams:

Answer: Who have you played, who have you beaten and who did they beat.

This answer can be applied to the following five rants/complaints for bubble teams:

1. History. "Winning 20 games and 10 games in conference guarantees a bid every year". Unbalanced league and non-conference schedules make this point moot
2. "My team is over .500 in conference". See response to question 1.
3. "My team is on a roll right now"
4. "Our conference had 6 teams last year, there's no way there should be less this year"
5. "Our conference had 2 teams in the final four last year, there should be a lot more from our conference this year because of that"

No question you can make valid arguments on who Syracuse, Drexel, Missouri St., Florida St. etc have beaten compared to the likes of Illinois, Stanford, Arkansas, etc. Just please, stop with those 5 reasons for excluding or including a team in the tournament.

Statistical salutations to follow later today. On with the greatest 3 weeks of the year! ******updated******** Well, here's some quick thoughts actually:

See previous posts below for previous year's quick snapshot of tempo-free bran flakes.
Here's how the top 5 seeds look this year:

2007 NCAA Tournament Bracket Tempo-Free Snapshot

1North Carolina731.230.840.3955%19%39%46%46%22%30%
1Ohio St.
3Texas A&M65.61.20.860.3456%19%34%43%43%22%30%
3Washington St.
4Southern Illinois61.81.090.870.2152%22%32%48%48%24%29%
5Virginia Tech64.41.150.910.2451%16%34%48%48%22%34%
5Southern California67.81.120.910.2153%21%30%45%45%21%34%

And seeds 6 through 12:

6Notre Dame71.11.210.930.2854%18%37%47%47%21%31%
7Boston College64.71.190.970.2253%21%38%49%49%18%37%
7Nevada Las Vegas661.120.930.1951%16%35%48%48%23%35%
8Brigham Young68.61.160.970.1955%19%36%49%49%19%29%
9Michigan St.
10Georgia Tech68.31.190.910.2755%22%41%50%50%24%32%
10Texas Tech65.71.120.960.1651%17%29%52%52%23%36%
11Virginia Commonwealth65.81.1510.1552%17%36%51%51%24%32%
11George Washington67.71.050.940.1151%20%36%47%47%25%35%
12Old Dominion67.11.080.930.1450%18%35%47%47%21%29%
12Long Beach St.721.11.050.0552%19%35%51%51%22%34%

And not to be left out, seeds 13-16

13New Mexico St.
13Holy Cross63.31.010.930.0851%19%27%49%49%21%34%
14Oral Roberts67.31.060.970.0949%23%35%47%47%23%33%
14Miami Oh59.21.040.950.0953%22%30%45%45%20%32%
14Wright St.
15Texas A&M Corpus Chris68.
15Weber St.66.211.04-0.0448%23%32%48%48%22%38%
15North Texas70.20.991.03-0.0450%24%33%49%49%26%35%
16Central Connecticut64.61.021.04-0.0347%22%35%50%50%20%37%
16Eastern Kentucky620.991.03-0.0451%21%30%54%54%27%45%
16Florida A&M68.20.981.11-0.1349%23%33%54%54%22%36%
16Jackson St.70.80.951.12-0.1745%20%33%60%60%27%35%

Mar 9, 2007

Save the Children, Cover your Eyes!! Oh the Humanity!

ACC Bracket? It just got demolished. Pac10? Down goes Frazia!! March is starting off pretty strong. Thank you's go to those early low-major conference championships that started the month off right. If the past 2 weeks are any indication, this tourney is shaping up to be one of the most highly-contested, wide-open fields in a long time.

To continue our look back at potential bracket-busters from the "power" conferences:

Florida St. followed suit with the rest of the ACC, knocking off it's "higher" seeded rival. Of course, I failed to really single out Al Thornton as being the biggest key to the team who might carry this team into the tourney himself. How'd they look tempo-free style?
Well, we asked them to launch more three's, which they didn't exactly do, but they did shoot 43.8% on their way to 55% efg and 1.06 points-per-possession on offense. Their D, as expected didn't exactly "lock-down" the Tigers, allowing the same 55% efg and 1.05 points-per-possession in this 63 possession game. In fact, when you look at the stats, they got beat in almost every area. But it was the clutch performances from Thornton that obviously sealed the deal. Let's see what they change for UNC's explosive defense.

Missouri blew any hope that they had of stealing a bid in their 97-83 loss to Baylor yesterday. Well, they held Baylor to only 9 offensive rebounds for a 23% offensive rebounding rate, a strong improvement from their season average, but it didn't matter as Baylor just lit up the nylon. They shot 71% efg, going 60% from beyond the arc on their 15 attempts. Oh, they also had 32 free-throw attempts, but only sank 20 of those. Baylor's 1.23 ppp vs. Missouri's 1.05 ppp powered them to the 14 points victory in this extremely fast 79 possession game. Game balls go to Curtis Jerrells and Henry Dugat, who combined for 56 points on 21 of 28 shooting, going 6 for 8 from the 3-pt line. They also both hauled in 10 boards and dished out 8 assists.

We asked the Hogs to limit their turnovers, and reap the benefits of their stellar shooting. Did they answer the call? With vengeance!!! Only giving away the ball a lowly 4 times in a 64 possession game, good for a 6% turnover rate! The shooting department kept up their bargain, hitting 54% efg on their way to a 1.29 ppp average vs. The Gamecocks .82 ppp. Even with the good shooting, they rebounding 41% of their misses and kept South Carolina at a 26% offensive rebounding rate. Balanced scoring (4 were in double digits) was led by Darian Townes 16 points in only 22 minutes of play on 9 shot attempts, good for a 1.53 ppws. A match up with Vandy looms today, a team they beat by 15 just a week ago.

Washington took care of business yesterday, but came up short against a solid Washington St. Cougars squad. Almost eerily, they allowed their average of 55% efg and of course, limited Wazzu's second chances, only giving up a 24% offensive rebounding rate. But, they couldn't shoot as well (48% efg) and turned it over 22% of the time vs. Wazzu's expected 13% in this Wazzu-pace dictated game of 63 possessions. Wazzu finished at 1.18 ppp vs. Washington's 1.02 average. Balanced scoring by Wazzu (double digits for 4 guys) was led by Taylor Rochesties 20 points on 9 shots and 7 for 7 free throw shooting. Watch for a deep NIT run from this young, but athletic crew.

Mar 7, 2007

Looking back

Taking a quick look back at what we were hoping for from Providence tonight.

Turnovers? Well, they were slightly under their season in-conference average of 24%, turning it over 15 times in this 67 possession game for a 22% rate. Sharaud Curry was the biggest instigator, coughing it up 6 times in 34 minutes of play.
Obviously, the turnovers were somewhat of a moot point as West Virginia shot the lights out, hitting 54.8% of their 31 attempted three's on the way to a 64.8% efg shooting average and 92 points in the average-paced game. They also took care of the ball, only giving it up 8 times during the game.

The Mountaineers poured in an astounding 1.37 points-per-possession vs. the Friars highly respectable 1.18 ppp.

Providence's post-season journey now resides in the NIT. West Virginia probably still will need a victory over Louisville to bump back into the picture.

MWC 2007 Tempo Free Stats

Mountain West!!

Final 2007 Tempo Free Stats

I finally was able to work with the data on this one.

Yes, I was just as amazed as you probably were to see how "poorly" (all-relative) Air Force shot in-conference compared to their early season run of incredible shooting. I double checked the numbers just to make sure. If you want to check it out, see the conference numbers.

For a great stats/links database, check out this site

Tempo (possession per 40 minutes)

1. Wyoming69.2
2. San Diego State69.1
3. TCU67.6
4. New Mexico67.5
5. Colorado State67.5
6. BYU66.5
7. UNLV66.4
8. Utah65.4
9. Air Force59.3

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)

1. BYU1.18
2. UNLV1.09
3. Utah1.07
4. Air Force1.07
5. New Mexico1.06
6. Colorado State1.05
7. Wyoming1.02
8. San Diego State0.99
9. TCU0.93

Effective FG %

1. BYU59%
2. Colorado State55%
3. Utah54.8%
4. Air Force53.5%
5. New Mexico52.3%
6. UNLV50.4%
7. Wyoming49.2%
8. San Diego State48.1%
9. TCU46.8%

2-pt Shooting %

1. BYU54.4%
2. Colorado State54.1%
3. Air Force52.5%
4. Wyoming51.9%
5. Utah51.4%
6. San Diego State49.4%
7. UNLV48.1%
8. New Mexico48.1%
9. TCU44.4%

3-pt Shooting %

1. BYU45.7%
2. Utah40.7%
3. New Mexico38.9%
4. Colorado State38.1%
5. UNLV36.6%
6. Air Force36.4%
7. TCU34.4%
8. San Diego State29.8%
9. Wyoming28.9%

Turnover %

1. UNLV17.2%
2. New Mexico17.2%
3. Air Force17.7%
4. San Diego State18.8%
5. BYU18.9%
6. Wyoming19.9%
7. Utah22.8%
8. TCU23.9%
9. Colorado State25.2%

Offensive Rebounding %

1. UNLV32.8%
2. Colorado State32.6%
3. BYU32.2%
4. TCU30.3%
5. San Diego State28.8%
6. Utah27.7%
7. New Mexico27.1%
8. Wyoming25.7%
9. Air Force20.7%

Efficiency Margin

1. BYU0.14
2. Air Force0.1
3. UNLV0.05
4. San Diego State0.05
5. Colorado State-0.01
6. Wyoming-0.05
7. New Mexico-0.06
8. Utah-0.09
9. TCU-0.12

Defensive Numbers

Points per possession Allowed

1. San Diego State0.95
2. Air Force0.97
3. BYU1.03
4. UNLV1.04
5. TCU1.05
6. Colorado State1.06
7. Wyoming1.08
8. New Mexico1.13
9. Utah1.15

Effective Shooting % Allowed

1. San Diego State49%
2. UNLV49.6%
3. BYU49.9%
4. Wyoming50.3%
5. Air Force50.3%
6. Colorado State51%
7. TCU53.9%
8. New Mexico56.7%
9. Utah58.4%

2-pt Shooting % Allowed

1. UNLV45.8%
2. Colorado State47.3%
3. San Diego State48.3%
4. Wyoming50.2%
5. BYU50.5%
6. Air Force51.7%
7. TCU51.8%
8. Utah52.8%
9. New Mexico56.4%

3-pt Shooting % Allowed

1. Air Force31.9%
2. BYU32.3%
3. San Diego State33.4%
4. Wyoming33.7%
5. UNLV37.7%
6. New Mexico38%
7. TCU38.3%
8. Colorado State38.8%
9. Utah45.6%

Turnover % Forced

1. Air Force24.1%
2. San Diego State23%
3. TCU22.7%
4. UNLV21%
5. New Mexico20.6%
6. BYU18.6%
7. Colorado State18.2%
8. Wyoming17.4%
9. Utah16.8%

Defensive Rebounding %

1. Utah81.3%
2. Colorado State78.3%
3. BYU77.9%
4. Wyoming76.5%
5. TCU75.3%
6. Air Force74.9%
7. New Mexico74.6%
8. San Diego State72.3%
9. UNLV71%

All Stats Final

Pac-10 has finally been updated on their site. Their stats are now final along with the Big 12 courtesy of Okie St. and Nebraska finishing up on Monday.

Mar 6, 2007

Eric Maynor, MVP for a night

Talk about a guy just taking over a game for his team, Eric Maynor's last 2 minutes are right up there with the Reggie Miller's 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals 8 points in 8.9 second splurge.

Hopefully you caught it last night. The two steals, the and-1's, the clutch free throws. 9 straight points from the veteran guard to lead the team from a 5 point deficit in the last 2 minutes.

Played before the first sell-out crowd in CAA tourney history, this was a classic Monday night match-up.

The week is just getting warmed up....

Mar 5, 2007

Who's Busting Who??

As we get set for some major-conference tourney action, there's always the possibility of some meddling sub-par or below-bubble major to make a run and steal a bid from the Missouri St. and Drexel's of the world. Here's just a few snapshots of some teams that much like Michigan St, could greatly benefit from fixing just one or two glaring weaknesses in time for this weekend's slate of games.

Big East
Providence - Currently turning the ball over 24.1% of the time but they are shooting well (51.6 efg%) and aren't bad, just merely average on defense (1.02 ppp allowed). If they could bring their turnover rate down to average (20.4%) levels, they would be averaging 1.10 ppp vs. their current 1.03. Watch if Geoff McDermoott and Sharaud Curry can limit their give-aways. The road begins with an overrated Mountaineers squad, and then a hot-but-vulnerable Louisville team.

Big 12
Missouri - Overall, Mike Anderson's defense isn't all that bad, his team is just giving up far too many second chance points, allowing over 30% offensive rebounding for their opponents. They force a good number of turnovers (22.8%) and keep their opponents under 47% from 2-pt, but give up 38% on 3's. They shoot well (51.3% efg) and also hold onto the ball (19.1% to rate). Locking down the defensive boards could be a key that helps this young, undersized team make a run. A match-up against a hobbled-Durant can only help the cause.

Florida St - This team "might" be in, depending on who you ask. Of course, making a nice run in the toughest of tough ACC tourney-fields would help boost their chances on Sunday. Where can they improve? Their solid offense (1.10 ppp, 52.4% efg, 19.6% turnover-rate) is offset severely by a lack of defense (1.09 ppp allowed, 53% efg and only 19.5% turnover rate forced). This team can shoot the three (40% in-conference) and are also a great free-throw shooting team (5th best in the nation), two elements that are key come tourney time. Probably too late in the season to drastically improve your defense, but with 3-pt shooting like that, they might as well increase their 3-pt shot frequency from their current rate of 1 out of ever 3 shots. Maybe not Princeton levels, but closer. A tough draw in the tourney may be a blessing in disguise.

Arkansas - The hogs are in a similar spot as Providence, as they are a solid shooting team (52.1% efg) but just cough up far too many turnovers (23.2% of possessions). Their defense is actually better than average at .99 points-per-possession allowed and they hold opponents to under 46% efg shooting. This team, like the Seminoles, is probably looking in from the outside at the moment as far as NCAA position goes, but a strong run to the finals could pop them back in, and leave some other noteworthy teams out. Limit the bloodbath of turnovers (I'm looking at you Gary Ervin and Sonny Weems), and they may have a shot at making a run. Dropping the turnover rate to a respectable number of 19.9%, and their offensive efficiency rises from 1.01 to 1.05 points-per-possession. I think they will gladly take those three points in what should be a easier-than-expected draw to the finals.

Washington - A team that most pundits have labeled as a "bubble-bursting" Pac10 tourney team, this collection of young athletic folk could very easily piece it all together and make a run to the final. They rebound the heck out of the ball on the offensive end (36.1% rate, also 2nd nationally at 42.1%) and they only allow their opponents to get a measly 21.3% of their misses back. But, they're allowing 55% efg shooting and almost 1.10 points a possession on defense. Can the average (50.4% efg) shooting improve and can they clamp down on their opponents shots? Tune in on Wednesday to find out. They probably have the *easiest road to the finals of the 1st round Pac10 teams.

*all relative!! East-coast bias shmias.

Final stats are concluded

Well, besides the snow-ravaged Big 12 finishing up tonight.
Conference tourney outlooks will be posted tonight.