Peppers at 10, which seems low.
|MATCHUP||TIME (ET)||NAT TV||LOCATION|
|#3Miami||#2Villanova||LIVE||CBS||KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky|
|MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - SOUTH REGION - SWEET 16|
|#3Texas A&M||#2Oklahoma||7:37 PM||TBS||Honda Center, Anaheim, California|
|MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - WEST REGION - SWEET 16|
|#5Maryland||#1Kansas||9:40 PM||CBS||KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky|
|MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - SOUTH REGION - SWEET 16|
|#4Duke||#1Oregon||10:07 PM||TBS||Honda Center, Anaheim, California|
|MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - WEST REGION - SWEET 16|
if young metro don't trust you... pic.twitter.com/mPHHbmknAz
— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) March 19, 2016
Even though it was an admittedly mediocre year in the Big Ten (largely due to Rutgers dragging everyone down, the lower half of the conference being really shaky, and Iowa imploding again), the league managed to place seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. Three teams remain as we head into the Sweet 16 / Elite 8 weekend – Maryland takes on top overall seed Kansas late tonight; Indiana and Wisconsin landed in the same region and play North Carolina and Notre Dame respectively.
Let’s take a moment to remember the teams who have fallen (in chronological order):
With less than five minutes left in their first-round contests against Arkansas-Little Rock, the Boilermakers led by 14 – and eventually lost in double OT. The shaky Purdue backcourt turned the ball over 18 times, the offense was held to under a point per possession, and UALR’s best player put up a ridiculous line: 31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. Soon to be overshadowed by bigger and more improbable upsets, Purdue’s utter collapse down the stretch was mostly forgotten. Ultimately, they were unable to adequately leverage their size advantage against Little Rock, and their season was over – a decent enough season, but one that probably fell short of expectations.
The Spartans entered the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country: MSU was the consensus betting favorite to win the national championship, boasted a senior national player of the year candidate, and have a coach who’s practically synonymous with March success. That coach said this MSU team was good enough to win the national championship. They probably were.
And the the 15-seed Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders put up 90 on them en route to a historic upset win. Not only was the 1.32 PPP tallied by MTSU the highest, by far, that the Spartans had allowed this season, it was also the Blue Raiders’ best – against anybody. They jumped out to an early 15-2 lead (in the 2/15 game, oddly enough) and were able to continue their torrid pace just long enough to hold off the Spartans, seemingly rebutting every MSU run with a huge bucket of their own. The undersized underdogs wound up going 11-19 from three and four of their starters finished with at least 15 points. State’s seniors played well – especially Matt Costello, who feasted against MTSU – but their careers ended far short of the Final Four most assumed they’d return to.
It was the biggest upset of this
Izzo March and, even though Middle Tennessee State ran out of gas against Syracuse, this one should go down as one of the all-time greats. Schadenfreude ist die schönste freude, or so they say.
Deep down, we all knew that this team wouldn’t last long – though I do think that the three post-season wins in must-win games (Northwestern, Indiana, Tulsa) indicated a theretofore hidden level of resilience that few thought was there. After a stretch of the team’s best basketball, the defense finally collapsed against Notre Dame in the second half; Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, the ostensible cornerstones of the team, combined for 19 points on 29 shot equivalents against the Irish. Ice cold three-point shooting did Michigan in – right down to a late Irvin would-be equalizer from deep after an aimless possession in crunch time.
It was a tough year with some bad breaks, but ultimately the team still did play its way into the tournament. It’s hard not to think about what could have been with Caris and Spike healthy. Now for a long summer of watching Xavier Simpson highlight videos and hoping Moritz Wagner beefs up and learns not to foul all the time.
After a thrilling overtime win in the first round against Temple (the worst at-large selection on Kenpom by a wide margin), Iowa went out with a whimper, getting annihilated by Villanova in the Round of 32. Ultimately, a core that had been building for years managed to fall apart in the last month of the season again. I watched them lose to an abysmal Illinois team in person, and the aura around the Hawkeyes was indelible. What a remarkably depressing team.
[After the JUMP: looking at the teams who are still alive]
This might be the most Harbaugh-like thing that I've seen someone not Jim Harbaugh do.
They're taking advantage of a loophole that allows you to declare and go to the pre-draft combine, if invited. Kids have up to 10 days after the combine to withdraw their name and come back to school.
You still cannot hire an agent. But you can do this up to three times.
It's legal. It's within the rules. It's something Harbaugh would do if he coached college hoops.
My original bracket is terrible. Anyone else need a 2nd chance?
Group: MgoBlog Community
U of M basketball great, Cazzie Russell, will be honored at the 20th Annual Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast.
It is being held in conjunction with the Final Four and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Convention in Houston on the weekend of April 2 - 4.
2016 Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award Winner Cazzie Russell
Russell grew up in Chicago and was the Chicago Sun-Times Boy’s High School Player of the Year in 1962. He went on to earn All-America honors at the University of Michigan while leading them to three consecutive Big Ten championships and two Final Four appearances, losing to defending National Champion UCLA under John Wooden. In 1966 he was named College Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 30 points a game. Russell was the first player taken in the 1966 draft by the New York Knicks and had a 12-year career in the NBA where he won the NBA championship in 1970 with the Knicks and was named an all-star in 1972 with the Golden State Warriors. He went on to coach in the CBA and most recently at the Savannah College of Art and Design for 13 seasons. He is currently an associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia.
FREQUENCY OF SEEDS AND PERFORMANCE
It occurred to me that it might be interesting to do a high-level survey of the seeding of both the Final Four as well as the tournament champions and then look at ways we can check expectations (i.e., that the higher seeds should go to the better teams overall) versus results (i.e., the actual seed of the champion).
As some of you may be aware, seeding as only been a thing since 1978, so this was a constraining factor in the data collection, but there is definitely enough there to see some interesting phenomena in the data. A couple things that I did not know, just as examples:
- As much as we talk about 5-12 matchups in the tournament, a #12 has never made it to the Four. An #11 seed has made it, however (three times).
- Only once since the tournament was seeded did all the #1 teams survive to the Final Four (2008)
- Only three times since the tournament was seeded did no #1 teams make it to the Final Four (1980, 2006 & 2011)
There are other interesting tidbits you can glean from it, of course, but something that is just as interesting, or so I believe, is some of the other trends buried in the data.
First, here’s the seed count for all 152 teams which have graced seeded Final Fours in the NCAA tournament:
It should look exactly like you might expect, which is the point here. Indeed, by the time you get out to the 4-seed, you are at 82.24% of all teams that have played in a Final Four game, which in 152 games leaves only 27 instances where a team has been lower than the 4-seed (in the case of some years, multiple seeds were lower than that, of course)
Days later, as we know, three of these teams are gone – two in the Final Four and one in the NCAA Championship Game. Here’s the seeding frequency of those that won it all:
As you can see, truly quizzical endings to the NCAA Tournament have been a sparse exception statistically, with only four of them ending with a champion that was seeded as lower than a #4, and of course, one of them is that Villanova team (at #8) that made what some have argued is the quintessential Cinderella run some 30 years ago.
What about any sort of performance metric though? I wasn’t sure how to approach it – we’re just talking about the seeding, after all, so we have to make an assumption that one of the four #1 seeds is the best of the best, or at least that they are deemed such by how they are seeded and what they actually do in the tournament. The expectation then might be that all four of them should make it to the Final Four, but that only happened once to date for as we also know, there are far too many variables in a basketball game, human and technical – the countless upsets in tournament history are a testament to that.
Something that I thought was interesting was to look at the average seeding of the Final Four teams through the years and then build a frequency chart with those averages:
There you see the sole time all participants at this stage of the tournament were #1 seeds, but look at how many times the average has been less than 2.00 – only 10 times. Here’s part of the reason:
In 30 of the tournaments since seeding began, the Final Four has seen only one or two of the #1 seeds make it, although as you saw earlier, a #1 seed has won on 21 occasions.
Another assumption we have to consider is seeding as an indicator of projected performance, which is one that we all make typically when doing brackets, but team performance is taken into consideration as well when the committee does lays out the 64 and 4 as well. Taking a shot in the dark regarding how we can use this to look at the performance of the committee as well as the winners versus their seeding, I subtracted the champion’s seed from the average of the corresponding year and got this frequency chart:
The overall results are interesting – we find that in 26 of the 38 tournaments which have employed seeding, the champion’s seed has fallen above the average seed of the Final Four, which I would argue is “overperforming” in that, well, a higher seed beat the average quite simply. This includes all 21 occurrences of a #1 winning the tournament, but also some outliers – 5 instances where a non-#1 seed won and still outperformed the average seed of the Final Four – 1979, 1980 and 1997, where a #2 won, and 2006 and 2011, where a #3 won.
Here’s another chart where you can see how rare the Cinderella story is as well – that -5 belongs to 1985’s Villanova team, with an average seed in the Final Four of #3 and Villanova winning it all at #8. It happened again in the 1980s, however – the value -3.5 is 1988’s result, where the average seed was 2.50 and the tournament was won by a #6. Of course, there’s 1983 as well and that improbable run by North Carolina State at a value of -3.00. These are the examples of the unlikely becoming possible, where a team was probably seeded below their actual potential – misjudged, if you will. Other interesting note – only twice has the average seed of the Final Four matched the seed of the champion – in 2004 (#2 won) and in 2008 (#1 won).
You will note, however, that 22 of these 38 results fall between 0 and 2, meaning that in nearly 60% of the tournaments – at least this is how I read it – the Final Four results versus the champion seed fall fairly close or almost right on the default expectation. In other words, slightly more than half the time, they appear to get it right in the end despite all the chaos that seems to happen in earlier rounds in some years.
A moment of Zen, courtesy of the movie "Crazy People":