Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tickets Punched: #10 - #12

Three more championship games were held last night, with Butler preventing Wright State from stealing a a bid, and Oakland and North Texas getting in via their only possible means.  So, time for fourth installment of my series looking at the offensive and defensive comps for the auto-bid winners.  Previous posts can be found here.



You can see that this year’s Butler team is fairly similar to last year’s – they shoot better from 2 but worse from 3, and the turn the ball over slightly less but also rebound slightly less.  Overall, the differences are mostly a wash.  Their comps, for the most part, didn’t do a whole lot in the postseason, but the offenses weren’t to blame for their losses – the only case where an offense scored under 1 point per possession in a season-ending loss was 2007 Xavier, but that was against a great Greg-Oden-led Ohio State defense.


Here’s the main difference between last year and this year for the Bulldogs – they’ve cloned last year’s Final-Four-quality Michigan State defense (96 is a very high similarity).  Yes, they’re doing it against a weaker schedule, but they’re dominating that weaker schedule, as you can see from the fact that their adjusted Def Eff nearly matches that of the 2009  Spartans.



As you can see from the rather low-magnitude “Std Dev from Ave” numbers, Oakland is a balanced offensive team, with few obvious strengths or glaring weaknesses.  They do get a few more effective possessions than most (above average rebounding and low turnovers), which is a good sign for a low seed, but they don’t shoot very many 3’s, and tend to miss when they do.


Here we’re running into a problem with my similarity score system – only the efficiency numbers are adjusted for opponent strength, so a team with Oakland’s weak schedule ends up being similar to much better defensive teams that put up similar raw numbers against tougher schedules.  I plan to address this in the offseason, but for know we’ll just have to run with it.  You can still see that Oakland looks like a worse version of the St. Mary’s team that I profiled earlier – another team that defends the perimeter well, and allows very few assists, but doesn’t force turnovers.  They should be susceptible to guards that can penetrate and get to the rim.



These guys look like the poor man’s Kansas State – they couldn’t afford offensive rebounding lessons, apparently.  But they get to the line nearly as much, and they’ve played two games this year in which they shot the same number of free throws as field goals (winning both).  And that’s about all they bring to the table, offensively.


Yet another low assist rate, low 3pt rate, low turnover defense.  The only comp that made the NCAA tournament was 2009 California, and their defense got shredded in the first round by Maryland.  I’d be immensely surprised if the same thing doesn’t happen to North Texas.

OK, I’m finally caught up through today.  The finals of the Northeast and Big Sky conference tournaments are tonight, so I should be back tomorrow with two more profiles.

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