TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
Conference partcipation (teams per conference) in the NCAA Tournament began as follows:
Seven teams: Big 12
Six teams: Big Ten, ACC, Atlantic 10, Pac 12
Four teams: American Athletic Conference, Big East
Three teams: SEC
Two teams: Mountain West, West Coast Conference
One team: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NEC, Patriot, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Sun Belt, Summit League, WAC
After one week, we're down to the following:
Three teams: Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC
Two teams: American Athletic Conference, Big 12
One team: Mountain West, Atlantic 10, ACC
Zero teams: Big East, America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NEC, Patriot, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Sun Belt, Summit League, WAC
Final thought: What stands out to me is that all three SEC teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen while the ACC, Big 12, and Big East combined only had three total teams survive the weekend.
Earlier today I wrote a diary which looked at how John Beilein has performed as a coach when his team gets 4-7 days of rest. Now I look at how John Beilein has performed as a coach in the tournament when compared to other coaches and the norm.
As many pundits such Nate Silver have pointed out, John Beilein is the best at outperforming his seed level. This was evident last year and back in his Richmond days when the No. 15 Spiders took down a No. 2 seed. But what does that actually look like?
John Beilein is 9-4 in the NCAA Tournament while at Michigan and he was 5-2 at West Virginia. He went 1-1 at Richmond bringing his combined tournament record to 15-7 or a .681 win percentage. Of course, some of those losses were with a stacked deck. Can anyone blame Richmond for losing a second round game in 1998? Can anyone blame John Beilein for losing to Duke on a missed floater, or losing to Louisville after last year's run?
By adjusting for what the expected outcomes are, John Beilein is solid in the NCAA tournament when favored to win or in a close matchup. He is also .500 when expected to lose. Yes. On the biggest stage, coach B is .500 when his team is expected to lose! Amazing.
Let's start at how I came to this conclusion
Richmond: 1-1 in games where he was expected to lose (15 seed).
West Virginia: 2-0 in games he was expected to win (vs. Northwestern State, Southern Illinois) and 1-0 in toss up games (his No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 Providence) and 2-2 in games where his team was the clear underdog.
Michigan: 4-1 when expected to win (the loss being against Ohio) and 2-0 in toss up games (Clemson, Tennessee). He is also 3-3 in games where his teams were expected to lose such as games vs. Oklahoma, Duke, Kansas, Syracuse, Florida and Louisville. In fact that may be generous as many expected Michigan to fold against VCU last year. That could have been considered a tossup.
Spanning his three schools, coach B is 6-1 in games he was expected to win, 3-0 in tossup games and 6-6 where his team was an underdog. Based on Ken Pom rankings, you can make the case that this is a tossup game. Based on the seeds, you can say No. 11 Tennessee is a clear underdog. But even if you classify Michigan as the underdog, remember, coach Beilein is 6-6 in the NCAA Tournament in games he is supposed to lose with wins over top seeds and blue blood programs.
No matter how much love is given to Tennesee's big men or their tournament play as of late, Beilein has beaten better teams with far less. And for that, you have to feel pretty excited about his tournament odds.
By the way, his .681 win percentage is just slightly south of Izzo's .688 conference game winning percentage. And if you are wondering what the best percentage is in the tournament? Well, that belongs to coach K. He's right around .750.
With Michigan having made the Sweet 16, and having played against 5 of the other teams still alive, I was curious to see how each team stacked up against each other in head to head match-ups. Below is the list of the remaining teams and their record against other Sweet 16 teams. This is followed by the teams that they beat and those that they lost to.
EDIT: Stanford corrected
When Beilein Has a Week to Prepare…
A wise man once said, When John Beilein has a week to prepare, there will be subs and it will be crazy. And looking at Michigan’s past games, that’s not really how the games go. Below, I take a look at how Michigan has performed against quality opponents with 4-7 days rest and prep-time. I have removed teams such as Long Beach State and Coppin State because it really does us no good to quantify.
2014 Non-Conference Games
Iowa State on the road with five days rest. Michigan loses 77-70.
Duke on the road with four days rest. Michigan loses 79-69
Arizona at home with seven days rest. Michigan loses 72-70.
Stanford at a neutral site with seven days rest. Michigan wins 68-65.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 1-3 in games after significant rest. However, we know that wasn’t the same Michigan team. Also, two road games and three contests versus the remaining Sweet 16 in which Michigan was 1-2.
2014 Conference Games
At Minnesota with five days rest, Michigan wins 63-60
At Nebraska with four days rest, Michigan wins 71-70
At home vs. Penn State with four days rest, Michigan wins 80-67
At Wisconsin with four days rest, Michigan wins 77-70
At home vs. Iowa with four days rest, Michigan wins 85-67
At home vs. Purdue with five days rest, Michigan wins 75-66
Against Wisconsin on four days rest, Michigan loses 75-62
At home against MSU on seven days rest, Michigan wins 79-70
At home vs. Indiana on four days rest, Michigan wins 84-80
Nuetral site vs. Illinois on six days rest, Michigan wins 64-63.
For those of you keeping score at home, Michigan went 9-1 in conference when they had four or more days of rest. Overall, Michigan was 10-4 this season when having four or more days of rest, with a record of 4-2 vs. teams that remain in the Sweet 16 and 5-3 against teams that have made the tournament.
At this point the results are pretty inconclusive. While Michigan tends to win more often than not when they have extra rest, they’ve also won more games in general this year. There have also been outliers this year such as Duke and Wisconsin where the team has had significant rest and looked bad and quick turnarounds vs. MSU where the team has looked good.
Let’s look at some other games to see if we can note any more trends.
Previous tournament games under coach Beilein:
2014 vs. Wofford on five days rest, Michigan wins by 17
2013 vs. North Dakota State on 5+ days rest, Michigan wins by 13
2013 vs. Kansas on six days rest, Michigan wins in OT by two.
2013 vs. Syracuse on five days rest, Michigan wins by two
2012 vs. Ohio on 5+ days rest, Michigan loses
2011 vs. Tennessee on 5+ days rest, Michigan wins by 30
2009 vs. Clemson on 5+days rest, Michigan wins by 3
Again, we find Michigan with a winning record in tournament games with significant rest. Here, Michigan has gone 6-1 in the NCAA Tournament under coach Beilein when they have had a few extra days to prepare. However, there are once again outliers where Michigan doesn’t perform well such as there game against Ohio. On the other hand, there are games on minimal rest such as last year’s contests vs. VCU and Florida where Michigan rolls.
Moreover, when Michigan beats Kansas by two after a furious comeback, is that a win because John Beilein has prepared well? Or rather because Kansas faltered and Trey Burke hit a wild shot? One can make the argument that Michigan stayed close because of great gameplanning by the coaches. It is all up to interpretation.
And while these results are a bit inconclusive because of the varying factors involved in such analysis (road games, top-ranked opponents, injuries, etc.) the results do favor Michigan’s chances a bit when they have extra time to prepare. Overall Michigan is 16-5 this season and in the NCAA tournament over many years under John Beilein when they have significant rest. While 16-5 isn’t a sure bet to win, that’s damn good considering the teams that were played. Wofford may be the only cupcake on that list. And for every South Dakota State, there are a few blue bloods.
Needless to say, Michigan with an extra day this week (six days off vs. Tennessee’s five) certainly favors Michigan but having a good coach favors them a bit more.
It seems to be a game by game issue that we misexecute an inbounds play when the other team presses ... I know that it is due to being young, being pressured, and making mistakes but shouldn't Beilein and Co. have a few set in bounds plays to get the ball securely in the right person's hands. It seems like we scramble until the ball can get into anyone's hands. And, its cost us timeouts and possessions.
Is it a lack of execution or a problem of good defense for the other team?