Michigan alum and fan, Jonathan Chait, playfully takes down Nate Silver with better statistics--along with MSU, Tom Izzo and Barack Obama--and reinforces just who is the best college basketball coach.
Really a great read about the 89 team and the coaching change. Quotes from many former players, dynamics between Bo and Frieder, etc...
Whole thing is worth a read.
in the final game of the season, there at the Georgia Dome, we saw one of the finest title games in years. It was free-flowing and high-scoring, low on turnovers and rife with scoring runs. As much as anything else, it was a showcase for two bench players who became stars. The night belonged to Spike Albrecht, the tiny Michigan freshman, at least until it belonged to Luke Hancock, the sweet-shooting Louisville junior.I traveled to Ann Arbor and Louisville to re-watch the game with its two standouts. Nearly a year after the wild first half that made them famous, both remember almost every last detail from that night. Both are entering this tournament with increased roles on altered teams that are once again peaking right on time for March Madness. Both could return to the Final Four this month. But both know that even if they lead their teams in scoring on the way to a national title, they will never experience another night quite like April 8, 2013.
My excuse to post the Trey Burke GIF
Last season, as the Michigan basketball team entered the NCAA Tourney as a four seed, we took a look at historically how the fours have fared in tournaments past. The analysis produced this incredibly scientific chart (since adjusted to include 2013 tourney results).
|1 Seed||2 Seed||3 Seed||4 Seed||Other|
|Final Four Appearances||47||25||14||13||17|
* - this 14% represents all Seeds higher than 4 that have made it to the Final Four, so while this number appears high, it's coming out of a much larger pool of participants. When you factor in the total pool, only about 1% of Seeds higher than 5 make it to the final weekend, with only about 0.1% of those teams winning it all (1985 Villanova, 1988 Kansas)
Yes, the answer was discouraging and as it turned out, almost irrelevant as Michigan proceeded to go on an epic run that saw them become just the 3rd four seed ever to make it to the Finals and then came damn close to winning the whole shebang. Through that assessment though, we came across a strange statistical anomaly that this season proves presciently relevant.
|Final Four Appearances||25|
What’s up with that? While 2 seeds make the Final Four at about half the rate of the one seeds, they win titles at less than a quarter of the rate as the ones. If you like nice, statistical symmetry, you’re probably experiencing one of those involuntary facial tics right about now. Why have 2 seeds historically fallen flat in the Final Four? Let’s have a look.
Diving deeper into the numbers the winning percentage for the Top 4 Seeds in the past 29 tournaments since 1985 for the Semi-Finals and Finals break down like this.
So in the Semi-Finals, the 2 Seeds don’t do too poorly; batting around .500. Plus, of the thirteen 2 Seeds that didn’t advance to the Finals, 10 of them lost to a 3 seed or higher, so it’s not like there are upsets galore grinding them up. Still, when we look at their winning percentage in the Finals? Woof. 2 Seeds have not fared well in the title game of years past. The big reason for this seems obvious, 6 of those 8 losses came against a 1 Seed. The other two losses were delivered by a 3 Seed, which judging by the numbers we’re showing, the discrimination between 2 and 3 seems to be much finer than 1 and 2.
As for those lucky four winners, 3 of those wins all were earned by defeating a 3 Seed. Only one 2 Seed since 1985 has taken home the Championship by defeating a 1 Seed (1986 Louisville over Duke)
So the math here draws some pretty reasonable conclusions. First, the Final Four is averaging just under a 2 Seed per season, so that’s nice. Year-to-year, you can expect at least one 2 Seed to advance to the final weekend. Second, if you are a 2 Seed, hope that the tournament gods deliver you from the evil of the 1 Seed, because you just don’t beat them much. The good news for Michigan this year is that there seems to more parity amongst the Top 16, which means 1 Seeds could be ripe for falling. Of course, that parity affects the entire Top 16 equally, and Michigan’s path seems particularly difficult with Duke sitting out there at the 3 Seed.
Still, compared to last season, the data delivers better news. It’s much better to be a 2 Seed than a 4 Seed (LOLSparty), so here’s to hoping we get to enjoy another deep and entertaining tourney run.
BIG TEN TOURANMENT STUFF: THOSE THREE GAMES
You can’t really get a whole lot out of three games in the conference tournament that you probably didn’t figure out during the course of the regular season, but for those interested, I thought at least a brief mention of the statistics from those games might be in order. I don’t think I will get terribly comprehensive because, well, Big Ten Tournament basically, but my hope is that you at least know some of the numbers from the tournament.
The four factors in those three games (I know, averages…..sample size…three games….season…grumble grumble):
Average eFG% - being a pretty good 3-point team saves you on this statistic typically, but we only bested our opponents by a slim margin. Michigan averaged 52.77% and those we played averaged 52.11%
OREB% - we’ve talked about this one a lot this year, and it didn’t improve much in the conference tournament. We don’t get a lot of offensive rebounds, it seems. Our offensive rebound percentage, as is typical for this team, lagged behind at 24.78%, compared to 35.62% for our opponents
Free Throw Rate – playing a typically clean game helps us keep this low whereas we enjoy more opportunities at the line on average, and that was the case in the Big Ten Tournament. Our free throw rate was 33.99%, whereas our opponents managed 24.57%
Turnover Rate – this battle was more or less a draw in those three games with the slight nod going to the teams we played actually. Our TOV% was 14.55% and our opponents averaged 14.22%. That’s despite having fewer total turnovers, but also one or two fewer possessions in a couple games.
We also averaged 1.13 for an assist / turnover ratio, which again – sample size – but it is significantly below the conference season average of 1.68, and indeed, our average points per possession, which typically sits around 1.20 or so, was 1.10 in the tournament.
In graphic form (we are the blue line, of course):