Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tickets Punched: #4 - #6

An exploration of the NCAA automatic bid winners, continued.  Part 1 is here.



The red in this case is just due to a slower pace – not a negative thing, but I had to choose a color.  Northern Iowa’s offense is very deliberate – extremely low turnovers, slow pace, above average efficiency.  I can definitely see the Butler or Wisconsin comparisons.  Their problem is, they picked the mediocre-shooting 2004 Butler, instead of the decent 2007 or 2008 Butler.  They’ll hold onto the ball, but they won’t hit a ton of their shots, and they won’t get second chances on the ones they miss.


More Wisconsin and Butler, but in a possibly-even-better light.  UNI will make you miss.  Without fouling you.  And then they’ll grab the rebound.  Not shown here is the fact that their opponents get VERY few assists, and shoot slightly more 3’s than normal.  This leads me to believe that they’ll be a tough matchup for an impatient team, which might be steered into a game of one-on-one and jacked-up 3’s, with no second chances.



They can’t shoot 3’s, but luckily they mostly refuse to take them.  ODU’s strength is their defense; their offense just shows up, gets as close to the basket as they can, throws it up, and grabs the ball again when they miss.


Here’s where they shine.  They’re above average in every one of the Four Factors – their “weakness” is that they only force opponents to turn it over 22.8% of the time (52nd in the country).  That’s how they held teams like Dayton and Georgetown to under 1 point per possession.



When some of your closest comps are a severely disappointing Washington team, and a Tennessee team that saw one of it’s best player’s dismissed mid-year, you’re not quite a force to be reckoned with.  However, they don’t turn it over, and they don’t suck at anything.  I did a study a year ago on which attributes for low seeds were most helpful in predicting upsets, and being a team that takes more shots than your opponents – committing less turnovers and/or corralling more rebounds – was one of the biggest indicators.  Siena is at least above average in both of those key areas.


Siena is again better than average in the key indicators of rebounding and turnovers, so I’ll go ahead and agree with the experts in giving them a reasonable chance at an upset.  Here’s another team that is better than average in every one of the Four Factors.  It’s troubling, though, that Notre Dame and North Carolina – teams known specifically for having worse defenses than offenses – are 4 of their 5 comps.

OK, enough for tonight.  To be continued tomorrow.

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