Sports 56 WHBlog Q

March 4, 2009

Mostly CBB Miscellany (3/4)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter Edmiston @ 11:35 am

This is my favorite month of the sports calendar because it’s the absolute apex of college basketball season.  Now comes the conference tournaments, now comes the NCAA Tournament, now comes March Freaking Madness!  So I’m pumped.  A lot of the talk of late has centered around Memphis and its rightful seed.  There are those who feel the Tigers have done enough to deserve a number one seed, there are those who don’t think the Tigers should be higher than a 3, and there are those somewhere in between.  I’m in the latter category.  I think the Tigers are worthy of a 2, not a 1, but they’re certainly better than a 3.

Of course, all of this hand-wringing and knashing of teeth is largely irrelevant since there’s a ton of parity in the sport this year.  Whether the Tigers end up as a 1 or a 2 (no way they’re a 3), it’s all about the matchup.  The Tigers would match up best with a team that doesn’t defend the perimeter well.  Pittsburgh and Oklahoma, for example, would not be bad matchups for the Tigers especially given the increased physicality Shawn Taggart and Robert Dozier have been showing of late.  Neither the Panthers nor the Sooners are a particularly great perimeter defensive team and would be susceptible to Tyreke Evans’ athleticism.  Taggart and Dozier would have to be on their games, of course, but they are better suited to the Tigers than UConn or UNC.

The bad news for the Tigers: the past five NCAA champions have all been in the top 12 in both adjusted offense and adjusted defense (by the way, the adjusted part refers to the adjustments made to equalize strength of schedule and pace discrepancies).  Let’s take a look at the Top 12 in those departments as of right now (courtesy of Ken Pomeroy’s essential ratings):

Adjusted Offense:

  1. North Carolina
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. UCLA
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Duke
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Arizona
  8. Florida
  9. Marquette
  10. Gonzaga
  11. Arizona State
  12. Oklahoma State

Adjusted Defense:

  1. Memphis
  2. Louisville
  3. Purdue
  4. Connecicut
  5. Illinois
  6. West Virginia
  7. Kansas
  8. Stephen F. Austin (!)
  9. Florida State
  10. Duke
  11. Washington State
  12. Missouri

Look those two lists over…only one team appears in both.



Unfortunately, that’s what the evidence tells us.  This does not take into account Duke’s propensity to lose in the tournament, so we’ve still got that going for us, which is nice.  Here are the teams who are close to being in the top 12 in both: Connecticut (Offense: 15, Defense: 4), Kansas (Offense: 18, Defense: 7), and Missouri (Offense: 19, Defense: 12).  Contrary to popular belief, defense alone does not win championships.  At some point, you have to be able to score.  Incidentally, the Tigers are 41st in adjusted offense.

For a detailed and informative account of what it’s like to actually be on the selection committee for the NCAA Tournament, read this article from Kyle Whelliston at Mid-Majority about his weekend in Indianapolis on the mock selection committee just a couple of weeks ago.  It will give you a great perspective on why Bracketology is even more pointless than you already suspected it was (and it was absolutely pointless to begin with).  It’s a bit long but well worth it.

Bonus Links:

  • Granny shot + halfcourt make + $77,777 + Matt Devlin = this clip
  • Watch the first episode of “The Haney Project: Charles Barkley” here – this is truly a great concept for a show: the worst golfer in the world meets the best teacher in the world.  It’s good, too.
  • According to BusinessWeek, Memphis is only America’s 15th Most Unhappy City!  Yeah!
  • This isn’t a link, just a request: I don’t want to hear any more about Memphis always taking their C-USA opponents’ “best shot”.  Everyone gets everyone’s best shot.  Just because SMU gives it their “best shot” doesn’t mean they don’t still suck.  It’s overused and it doesn’t mean anything.  Thank you.

A reminder – we’ve got all kinds of tournament coverage on Sports 56 WHBQ over the next month: the C-USA tournament (every game not involving Memphis), the SEC Semifinals and Finals, the SEC Women’s Final, the NCAA Women’s Championship Game, and the ENTIRE NCAA Tournament from start to finish!  If you’re a college hoops fan (and why wouldn’t you be?), you simply need to stick with Sports 56 from now on.


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