The only one of these past comps to make the tournament was 2009 Mississippi State, and their offense was shut down in the first round by Washington. The conventional wisdom is that teams who are weak inside (below average OReb% and 2P%) tend to do poorly when push comes to shove. If true, that wouldn’t bode well for Ohio.
Again, kind of weak inside. Their strength seems to be defending the perimeter, which may be moot against first round opponent Georgetown, who don’t shoot very many 3’s.
Their propensity to slow it down could have worked in their favor against some impatient opponents, but their first round draw is Cornell, who themselves play at a relatively slow pace. 2009 Maryland was the only comp here that went to the tourney, and their offense performed fine in their second round loss to Memphis; it was the defense that faltered.
This is a fantastic group of comps – a national champion, and three other teams that performed well in the tourney. 2008 Texas A&M held eventual Final Four team UCLA under 1 point per possession in their season ending loss, as did 2009 Xavier against near-Final-Four team Pittsburgh. 2008 Wisconsin did well until they ran into the Stephen Curry buzz saw, and everyone knows how 2007 Florida turned out. I’ll be curious to see if Temple’s defense can match these prior performances.
John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, etc. Actually, take a closer look at these comps. 2004 Mississippi State - #2 seed, upset in 2nd round. 2008 Syracuse - #4 seed, upset in 1st round. 2008 Syracuse – missed NCAA tournament. It’s not a very illustrious group for a team that’s considered a legitimate title threat.
Here’s Kentucky’s true strength – you are not getting an easy look inside, nor are they fouling you to prevent those looks.
The stereotype of Duke recently is that they’re soft, but they apparently battle well inside for offensive boards. Of course, that 2P% is a glaring confirmation that at least part of the stereotype has a basis in reality.
Anybody reading this should know how Duke plays D – a tight, pressuring man-to-man that extends out to the perimeter. You are not getting many good looks against these guys.
Normally that big fat red mark in offensive rebounding would be a concern, but this is one of the teams for whom it would matter least, as they shoot very well from both 2 and 3, plus they don’t give away possessions with silly turnovers (which means they less need to earn “extra” ones via the boards).
Looks like they play fundamentally sound defense; they box out well and don’t commit stupid fouls - which is important given how reliant they are on their starters 345th of 347 teams in bench minutes.
That wraps up the Tickets Punched series. I’m not going to cover the at-large invitees, simply because I have no time, and you probably already know a lot about most of them. It’s been informative for me, as I’ve uncovered a few teams who are better sleeper picks than I realized – Houston is one that comes to mind. Next up on the agenda is previews of some of the 1st round games where the similarity-based prediction doesn’t agree with the standard Pomeroy picks. Those should start going up tonight or tomorrow, and will include a guest post over at UFR for the KC-area teams.
Don’t be a wallflower! Email me with condemnations or even something positive…