I think it’s funny that their top offensive comp is an old Zags team – apparently they’ve modeled themselves after the example of quality that’s closest at hand. The Gaels can shoot from inside and out, and take care of the ball. Their only subpar trait is that they don’t get to the line very much (not shown).
Here’s the part of St. Mary’s game that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, and where it’s hard to find a good comp for them. Not shown above is that only 22.6% of opposing FGA are from 3-point range, and only 38.0% of the baskets are assisted – both of those are super low. Combine that with the fact that they they force opponents to shoot poorly from 3, and my guess is that they put so much priority on getting out and guarding the perimeter that they are vulnerable to being beaten off the dribble.
Ugh. I’m guessing their name recognition will convince a few people to pencil them in as an upset pick, but these guys don’t seem to have the offense necessary to pull it off. That 2005 Georgia team is the worst Pomeroy-era major conference team, and Winthrop is 3 whole points worse. At least they don’t turn it over very often.
They’re obviously much better on defense, but they’re still not any great shakes. They don’t seem to have a real weakness to exploit – the closest would be interior defense, as they’re only 0.4 standard deviations better than average (against a weak schedule). But honestly, it shouldn’t matter.
Here’s a team that can’t shoot particularly well (average in both 2P% and 3P%), but they make the most of what skills they have by taking care of the ball and getting to the line. Their low rate of losing the ball to steals may keep opponents’ transition points down.
They’re a solid defense who only gives you one chance every time down, then snatches the board – and if that one chance is from 3, it usually won’t be an open look. There is a strange quirk to their low eFG% defense, though – they only block 5.4% of opponents’ shots. There are only 3 teams in the possible comps list that hold opponents under 48% eFG% yet block less than 6% of opposing shots – 2005 Ohio State, 2005 Wisconsin, and 2007 Butler. That Ohio State team failed to make the tourney, but Wisconsin and Butler each won some games before losing to the eventual champ.
So ends Part 3. A look at the teams who clinched on Tuesday should be up later tonight.