Seedwatch and Stuff: Argh

Seedwatch and Stuff: Argh

Submitted by Brian on March 12th, 2013 at 3:05 PM

two-or-three[1]Seedwatch

LIKE MAKE YOUR FREE THROWSSSSS

Michigan may have gone 1-1 last week, but it was a good 1-1 compared to results for various other teams like Miami (losers at home to KP#84 Georgia Tech), New Mexico (went down to Air Force), Kansas (annihilated by Baylor), and Florida (at Kentucky is the most understandable loss of this bunch, but it is still a loss). As a result, they have moved up a bit. Crashing The Dance still has them a three; the Bracket Matrix has them as the last #2, in an indistinguishable heap with Michigan State and Miami for two of the three final twos.

Michigan probably cannot salvage a one seed after the Indiana collapse. Even if Michigan ran off four wins in four days to win the BTT they would have a hard time passing the current anointed four of Duke, Indiana, Gonzaga, and Louisville. Duke and Indiana are pretty much out of the question; Gonzaga is extremely unlikely to lose; Louisville's run off seven straight wins after the wacky 5OT game against Notre Dame and was two games better in the BE than Michigan was in the Big Ten. Maybe if the league hadn't consigned the Big Ten championship game to a novelty that can flip seeds within the conference but do little else because it's so late, but… uh… they did.

The conference tournaments will decide whether Michigan's a 2 or 3, it looks like. The best result possible is a strong 2 that avoids Duke. I guess it is possible Michigan would fall to a 4 if they were to gack it up against Penn State again; barring that a 1-1 performance in Chicago will at least lock up a 3.

How much does this matter? Projected 6s according to the Bracket Matrix: UNLV, Butler, UCLA, VCU. Projected 7s: Colorado State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Memphis. Not much.

Projected ones: Duke, Indiana, Gonzaga, Louisville

Nonconference Watch

Florida_Arkansas_Bask_Jone_copy_r600l555090817460x18

i changed the pictures. run, BJ, run!

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Their season is over at 6-26 after being the third-worst defensive team in the country. Binghamton: January 19th. Season over at 3-27. Fourth-worst offensive team in the land.

Central won a couple games late but finished 4-12 in the MAC and went out in the first round of their conference tourney; done at 11-20. Bradley fulfilled its destiny to be .500 at something by losing their last three games to finish 16-16. Cleveland State is also done after getting blown out by Loyola Chicago and Illinois Chicago—be nice, Chicago—at 14-18.

Still alive: Eastern Michigan, which had a rematch against Northern Illinois in the MAC tourney opener that they won 45-44. They play Miami (not that Miami) tomorrow. Western won their division and plays the winner of that game for the right to play OHIO in the semi.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (24-7)

@ DePaul: W 81-66.

DePaul never had a chance, because they are DePaul. They finish the regular season Kenpom's #6 team and will be a team highlighted in every tempo-free-aware bracket preview because they'll have one of the biggest gaps between Kenpom projected ability and seed in the field. I'm with the skeptical committee: Pitt built their KP profile against nobody in the nonconference—other than Michigan their only KP100 opponents were #99 Lehigh and #75 Detroit—and anyone who can keep them from destroying the offensive boards will put their offense in considerable difficulty.

Pitt enters the last Big East tournament the four-seed. They've acquired the last double bye and will take on either Syracuse or someone real bad at basketball on Thursday during Michigan's game against Penn State.

SEEDWATCH: Up one to a five on BM; they're well ahead of the top 6, UNLV.  CTD has them a seven still. They're actually below Minnesota(!) over there.

Kansas State (25-6)

TCU: W 79-68. @ Okie State: L 76-70

Elsewhere in painful ways to blow a share of a conference title, K-State took on Okie State with a shot at going 15-3 in the Big 12 and tying Kansas. They led by four with five minutes left, whereupon OSU went on an 8-0 run before free throw time. Sad pandas. Let's be sad pandas together, eating bamboo and watching the Lifetime Movie Network.

K-State saw the Cowboys put up 63% from two, which was enough despite having a major possession advantage.

SEEDWATCH: Drops to a 4 on BM; a five on CTD.

North Carolina State (22-9)

Wake Forest: W 81-66. @ Florida State: L 71-67

You might have this image in your head of Florida State as a typical Leonard Hamilton outfit that grinds all up on you like a guy wearing Axe at the club and makes life extremely difficult for everyone. This would not be correct. They are 10th in the ACC in defense, yielding almost 38% of defensive rebounds to the opponent amongst other deficiencies. They are barely above .500 and lost to Mercer, South Alabama, and Auburn earlier this year.

NC State losing to them is not understandable except insofar as NC State is not actually all that good at basketball. All the stats are basically even; NC State was undone again by M-versus-Indiana level defensive rebounding (lost 55% of DREBs to FSU) and allowing 56% on twos.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: 11 minutes but not active against FSU, though he did have a block(!). 12 minutes against Wake.

SEEDWATCH: Still an 8 on BM; CTD now agrees. As mentioned, this team is probably the least fun potential matchup amongst all the 8-9 seeds for a one. If they, like, are trying they're good. I would hate Mark Gotfried if I was an NC State fan though.

Arkansas (19-12)

@ Missouri: L 93-63. Texas A&M: W 73-62.

Arkansas's massive home-road disparity ended their faint bubble hopes before their game against Missouri even got started. 9-9 in this SEC with one decent nonconference win against Oklahokma (that at home) isn't going to get it done.

But seriously though, I would like you to find a team with a crazier home/road split in conference play than the Razorbacks:

  • HOME: 9-0, double digit wins over Florida and Kentucky. Beat Missouri.
  • AWAY: 1-8, lone win against horrible Auburn. Annihilated by mediocre to terrible teams like A&M (69-51), South Carolina (75-54), and Vandy (67-49).

At home, Arkansas can play with anyone—beat anyone. On the road, they lose to SEC Penn State by 21. The Razorbacks get Vandy again to start the SEC tourney. Kenpom labels the location "semi-away." Semi-hide the semi-children, Arkansas is going to get semi-blown out.

SEEDWATCH: Thanks for playing. Enjoy your NIT home games.

West Virginia (13-18)

@ Oklahoma: L 83-70. Iowa State: L 83-74

Still not good at basketball.

SEEDWATCH: lollercoaster

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Yesterday; no games.

Tuesday

nyet

Wednesday

nyet

Thursday

Pitt versus Probably Syracuse, 2PM, ESPN
MICHIGAN versus Penn State, 2:30 PM, BTN
K-State versus Texas/TCU, 6PM, not televised
NC State versus Virginia Tech, 2:30PM, ESPNU

Friday

Maybe Pitt versus Probably Georgetown, 7PM, ESPN
Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Wisconsin, 1:30 PM, ESPN
Probably K-State vs Okie State/Baylor, 8:30PM, ESPNU
Probably NC State vs Virginia, 2:30PM, ESPN2

Saturday

Probably Not Pitt versus Probably Louisville Or Marquette, 8:30PM, ESPN
Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Probably Indiana, 12:40 PM, CBS
Maybe K-State versus Probably Kansas, 5PM, ESPN
Possibly NC State versus Probably Miami, 1PM, ESPN

Sunday

Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Probably OSU or MSU, 2:30PM, CBS
Probably Not NC State versus Probably Duke, 1PM, ESPN

Seedwatch & Stuff: Don't Lose To Penn State

Seedwatch & Stuff: Don't Lose To Penn State

Submitted by Brian on March 5th, 2013 at 12:23 PM

ghostbusters-3-logo3[1] Seedwatch

The moral of last week: don't lose to Penn State, you guys. Providing the Nittany Lions their only win of the conference season was sufficient to knock Michigan out of one-seed contention for now. Despite the Michigan State win, Michigan has fallen into a mass of teams duking it out for spots on the 2 and 3 lines on the Bracket Matrix, a hair behind Louisville and Florida for the final twos. This isn't a lag effect; brackets updated today are evenly split, with guy-whose-job-this-is Jerry Palm declaring Michigan a 3.

Crashing the Dance also has Michigan in the 3 range, though they're significantly closer to the last #1 seed than dropping to a 4. Kansas and Gonzaga are the main beneficiaries, with Miami hanging on the cusp of a one after a narrow defeat at Cameron. I still think Gonzaga's schedule should disqualify them from a one seed but since Michigan's not in line to replace them, whatever man.

Could Michigan get back in the conversation by winning their last two? It's not out of the question. Indiana is by far the #1 team in all these ranking systems and a win over them would at least vault them up to a solid 2. But they'd have to jump a half-dozen teams at this point, one of whom is the extremely-unlikely-to-lose Gonzaga. Getting back on the top line is not entirely out of the question, but it requires a closing streak that is, to put it kindly, unlikely.

Projected ones: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Miami

Nonconference Watch

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i changed the pictures. run, BJ, run!

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton: January 19th. Central Michigan: won! Against Northern Illinois, but still. IUPUI is done with the regular season and has a Saturday matchup with SDSU that will probably end them. Kenpom gives Binghamton a 1% chance of advancing past Stony Brook in the America East tourney, also on Saturday.

Cleveland State lost their final game and enters conference tourney play at 5-11; their season probably ends tonight. Bradley remains a 500-ish MVC team. Eastern Michigan beat Western in a 50-49 OT Wisconsin special. Both teams have a couple of games before their conference tourney kicks off.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (23-7)

USF: W 64-44. Villanova: W 73-64 (OT)

Crushing rebounding and defense against one of the worst teams in the Big East to start their week, then a home escape against 'Nova in which the stats are close to identical save a burst of OT scoring from the Panthers. With just DePaul left, Pitt is likely to enter the Big East tournament as the #4 seed.

The Panthers are going to be a trendy upset pick in the second round what with their sterling Kenpom numbers, but I've watched them enough to be wary of them against any team that can match their size and rebounding. If Pitt isn't crushing the glass it's hard to see them taking out a 2 or 3 seed.

SEEDWATCH: A strong six on Bracket Matrix; a seven on Crashing The Dance.

Kansas State (24-5)

@ Baylor: W 64-61

Scraped by the Bears thanks to excellent two-point D (38%) and a slight TO advantage in a game with lots of offensive rebounds and a swingy win graph:

image

That's some high leverage right there. May all tourney games not involving Michigan look like that.

K-State has a gimmie against Texas Tech tomorrow and then a season-ender against high-flying Okie State that could spring them to the three line if they perform reasonably in the Big 12 tourney. That one's on the road.

SEEDWATCH: Narrowly a 3 on Bracket Matrix; four on CTD. Jerry Palm says 4.

North Carolina State (21-8)

Boston College: W 82-64. @ Georgia Tech: W 70-57

Given NC State's defensive struggles this year two solid wins over not-great teams is actually a positive step. This is a team that lost to Maryland and Wake Forest, and BC and GT are hovering around 100 in the Kenpom rankings.

BC actually scored just over a PPP in their matchup but could not compete with an NC State team hitting 62% inside the arc and rebounding half their misses. GT shot horribly and turned it over 15 times; NC State got easy distance despite going 1/11 from three thanks to excellent twos and a lot of FTs.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: 16 minutes against BC, four points on three shots, 5 to 1 A:TO. 11 minutes, 8 points on five shot equivalents, 2 A, 0 TO.

SEEDWATCH: 7 on Crashing The Dance, 8 on Bracket Matrix. Drawing these guys in the second round as a 1 or 2 seed would be awful.

Arkansas (18-11)

@ LSU: L 65-60. Kentucky: W 73-60.

Arkansas keeps giving themselves hope at home—wins over UK and Florida—and then blowing it on the road—losses to LSU and Vandy. Their vague flutter towards a spot on the bubble comes down to winning at Mizzou and at home against A&M, plus a run in the SEC tourney.

Likely? No. But not impossible. Crashing the Dance has moved them up from the fringe bubble to Next Four Out territory, with Kentucky and Tennessee the last at large bids in and two more SEC teams (Ole Miss and Alabama) just in front of them. Lunardi also has them in Next Four Out. They've got a 10-20% shot at a bid.

SEEDWATCH: CTD next four out; no one has them in on the Matrix. 

West Virginia (13-16)

Baylor: L 65-62. @ Kansas: L 91-65

At least we won this coaching switch.

SEEDWATCH: exploding seeds that kill spiders like in Zelda or something

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t23[1] Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Yesterday; no games.

Tuesday

Illinois at Iowa, 7:06 PM, BTN
Ohio State at Indiana, 9PM, ESPN
Arkansas at Missouri, 7PM, ESPN

Wednesday

MICHIGAN at Purdue, 7PM, BTN
Minnesota at Nebraska, 9PM, BTN
Wake Forest at NC State, 9PM, ESPN3

Thursday

Penn State at Northwestern, 7PM, ESPNU
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 9PM, ESPN (rooting interest: meteor)

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Minnesota at Purdue, 12PM, BTN
Kansas State at Oklahoma State, 1:30, no tv(?!?)
Texas A&M at Arkansas , 2PM, ESPNU
Nebraska at Iowa, 2:21 PM, BTN
NC State at Florida State, 9PM, ESPN2

Sunday

Wisconsin at Penn State, 12PM, BTN
Illinois at Ohio State, 12:30, ESPN
Indiana at MICHIGAN, 4PM, CBS
Northwestern at Michigan State, 6PM, BTN

Seedwatch & Stuff: Down Goes Frazier-ish Teams

Seedwatch & Stuff: Down Goes Frazier-ish Teams

Submitted by Brian on February 26th, 2013 at 12:13 PM

one_fish_two_fish[1] Seedwatch

projection hazy, ask again later

An easier patch of schedule has stopped Michigan's losing business, stabilizing their seed. Meanwhile, two projected ones last week have gone down. Florida lost to Missouri on the road; Miami went down against Wake Forest for their first ACC loss.

The resulting brackets are uncertain about the top line for the first time in a while—Duke and Indiana are Bracket Matrix locks and then there is a ton of disagreement. Gonzaga, Michigan, Miami, Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, and even New Mexico get Bracket Matrix support, though a couple of those outliers are from dot blogspots (no offense to dot blogspots). Miami and the Zags get tentative nods in the hivemind. Crashing the Dance goes with Kansas and Florida, with Michigan in sixth.

On the other hand, Jerry Palm has dropped the Gators and 'Canes all the way to the three line and put them in a terrifying bracket featuring one-seed Michigan hypothetically staring down this gauntlet after an obligatory round one victory: VCU, Louisville, Florida. Yeesh.

Anyway, I'm eyeballing it and:

  • Gonzaga's good wins are against Oklahoma, KSU, and Oklahoma State. (They've played half of the Big 12.) They have losses against Illinois and Butler and have a super-easy conference schedule.
  • Kansas has a win against OSU, a sweep of KSU, a split against Okie State, and losses to MSU, Oklahoma, and TCU(!).
  • Florida has blowout wins over Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Marquette. They split with Mizzou and Arkansas, and lost to Arizona and K-State.
  • Arizona beat Miami, NCSU, and Florida in the nonconference schedule. They've got four Pac-12 losses and have not beaten a team headed to the tourney in conference save the OT opener against Colorado.
  • Miami beat MSU, NCSU and Duke. They swept UNC and beat Virginia. They lost to Arizona, Wake Forest, Indiana State, and Florida Gulf Coast. They had some injury early in the season that may have hampered them, but Florida Gulf Coast? Seriously?
  • Michigan beat Pitt, KSU, NCSU, split with OSU, lost at OSU, Indiana, Wisconsin, and MSU.
    If I'm the committee Michigan has the most understandable four losses—all these teams have four except the Zags—and has wins to go with anyone plus the attractive feature that no one battling it out for the #3 or #4 seed has beaten anyone they've lost to except Kansas. I am with Palm: if the season ended today they would be on the top line. It does not; Michigan will have to at least split the MSU and Indiana games to be projected a one before the Big Ten Tourney. Florida and Miami going down does give them some argument with a 3-1 record down the stretch.

Projected ones: Duke, Indiana, Michigan, Kansas

Nonconference Watch

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ark bid: remote possibility

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton: January 19th. Central Michigan: also January 19th. All of these are still unchanged since last week.

Cleveland State lost 50-41 to Wright State last week and is headed for a 5-11 Horizon record. Bradley remains a 500-ish MVC team. Eastern Michiganwas in Bracket Busters? What the…? Eastern is a .500 MAC team. I'm so confused. (By the way, remember that Ray Lee kid people unearthed as a possible late Burke replacement? He played eight games early and hasn't since. It looks like they're going to redshirt him.)

Western was also in Bracket Busters, winning against Pacific. They're nowhere near an at-large bid even now, but they'll win their division in the MAC.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (21-7)

Notre Dame: L 51-42. @ St John's: W 63-47.

Played a Wisconsin special against Notre Dame, which we're defining as a sub-60 possession game in which neither team cracks a PPP. Pitt didn't even get 80% of the way there as they went 0/8 from three and got pounded on the boards. Rule: if Pitt gets pounded on the boards, they are going to lose.

As per usual when Pitt loses a game like this, a long stretch where their offense dies is the culprit. After taking a 28-24 lead with just over 16 minutes left, the Panthers scored six points over the next ten minutes.

The St John's win was a decent one against a .500 BE team. Pitt's excellent shooting D a came up against a team that can't shoot or rebound, and that was it.

SEEDWATCH: Dropped a spot on both sites we track here, down to a five—a tenuous five—on the Matrix and a six on CTD. Palm has them a 7.

Kansas State (23-5)

West Virginia: W 71-61. @ Texas: W 81-69. Texas Tech: W 75-55.

Three comfortable wins over teams K-State should beat. K State grabbed their usual ton of OREBs in all, shooting well inside the arc and turning the ball over a lot… you get the idea. Their PPP was 1.2 over the course of these games thanks to a ton of free throws and the shooting from two.

SEEDWATCH: Still a four on BM; CTD actually moved them down to a five. Palm says four.

North Carolina State (19-8)

FSU: W 84-66. @ North Carolina: L 76-65.

Florida State can't score with these guys this year, especially when TJ Warren is going nuts with 31 points on 18 shot equivalents and eight(!) offensive rebounds amongst NCSU's 21(!) total; the Wolfpack got back 58% of their misses. Game over, man. Florida State is absolutely terrible at rebounding, if you're curious.

Then North Carolina got its revenge. Too many turnovers for the Wolfpack and some ugly free-throw shooting—CJ Leslie was 0/4—doomed them. This one lurched around wildly, with NC State surging from ten down to take a four-point lead in the first ten minutes of the second half. Four minutes after that lead was established, NC State decided they'd done enough scoring for one game. They were not correct.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: Back to the salt mines: ten minutes against FSU with two points and an assist; five minutes against UNC with one missed three, an assist, and two fouls to his credit.

SEEDWATCH: Five on CTD, Six on the Matrix.

Arkansas (17-10)

Georgia: W 62-60. @ Florida: L 71-54.

Arkansas remains on the bubble-bubble and could get on the bubble by winning out. A two point home win over Georgia does not suggest they are going to do that what with games against Kentucky and Missouri left.

SEEDWATCH: nyet.

West Virginia (13-12)

@ Kansas State: L 71-61. Oklahoma State: L 73-57.

Y'all be bad at basketball.

SEEDWATCH: poppy seed muffins that get you arrested for opiods.

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_tViewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Was yesterday. K-State beat Texas Tech by lots.

Tuesday

Indiana at Minnesota, 7PM, ESPN
Nebraska at Wisconsin, 9PM, BTN
Florida at Tennessee, 9PM, ESPN

Wednesday

MICHIGAN at Penn State, 6:30 PM, BTN
Purdue at Iowa, 8:36 PM, BTN

Thursday

Ohio State at Northwestern, 7PM, ESPN2
Gonzaga at BYU, 11PM, ESPN2

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Alabama at Florida, noon, ESPN
Kansas at West Virginia, 2PM, CBS
Penn State at Minnesota, 3PM, BTN
Nebraska at Illinois, 5:15 PM, BTN
Miami at Duke, 6PM, ESPN
Iowa at Indiana, 7:30, BTN
Arizona at UCLA, 9PM, ESPN

Sunday

Purdue at Wisconsin, 1PM, ESPN
Michigan State at MICHIGAN, 4PM, CBS
NC State at Georgia Tech, 6PM, ESPNU

Hoops Opponent Watch: Hewed Down

Hoops Opponent Watch: Hewed Down

Submitted by Brian on February 18th, 2013 at 2:31 PM

NOTE: these posts ballooned to 3500 words, so I'm chopping them in half. The Big Ten Power rankings will become a separate post running Tuesday since the Big Ten never plays on Monday; seedwatch, nonconference updates, and viewing guide will run today.

numbertwo[1] Seedwatch

Well, it finally happened. Going 1-3 in their tough stretch has moved Michigan out of the ranks of the one seeds in the circuits of computer formulas and minds of bracket projectors. The Matrix has Michigan fifth, on the verge of a top seed, but that has a lot to do with lag. The vast majority of 1 votes come from brackets that haven't been updated since Michigan got demolished by State. Almost everyone who's update since has moved them down a line.

The news is grimmer on Crashing The Dance, which has hurled Michigan all the way down to eighth. They're still a spot ahead of MSU. Miami is the main beneficiary, sliding up to the top line virtually everywhere after a narrow escape against Clemson yesterday.

Michigan still has the ability to play themselves back into a top seed. To be there by the end of the regular season they would probably have to win out; if they split their upcoming home games against MSU and Indiana they could probably wrest a one seed away by winning the league tournament. The bet here is they end up a 2.

Projected ones: Florida, Indiana, Duke, Miami.

Nonconference Watch

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[5]10488909large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_t1[5]cjleslielargerthanlife1_thumb7_t_thu[1][6]

ark bid: remote possibility

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton: January 19th. Central Michigan: also January 19th. All of these are unchanged since last week.

Cleveland State crammed in 3 games this week, two losses, and is a bad Horizon team. Bradley remains a 500-ish MVC team. Eastern is the same in the MAC. They're fourth nationally in block rate, though. They're sending back 17% of opponent twos! And 341st in defensive rebounding.

Western is going to win their division of the MAC but still cannot crack the KP 100 because they do things like lose to BGSU and not blow out that Northern Illinois team that infamously had four points at the half against Eastern.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (20-6)

@ Marquette: L 79-69

Pitt gave up 60% on twos and sent Marquette to the line 29 times; they also allowed the Fightin' Wades to rebound 48% of their misses. Result: 1.27 PPP allowed and defeat despite playing a lot better on offense than they usually do. That's an aberration from a usually very good Pitt defense. Marquette may be a team to keep an eye on in your brackets.

SEEDWATCH: Still a five on CTD; four on the Matrix, but they're a hair away from five as well.

Kansas State (20-5)

@ Kansas: L 83-62. Baylor: W 81-61

Reeling Kansas got off the mat in a big way in a game K-State was never really in. The usually stout Wildcat rebounding got destroyed 45%-18%, and Kansas shot 54% from two.

K-State then turned around and blew out a Baylor team that's on the bubble despite losing to Charleston and Northwestern; in that one it was an avalanche of Baylor turnovers that did them in, mostly late. A six minute scoring drought whittled away a large K-State lead to two seven minutes into the second half. From there, K-State blew the doors off.

SEEDWATCH: Status quo. Four on both sites.

North Carolina State (18-7)

Virginia Tech: W 90-86 (OT)

We have to stop complaining about bad luck ruining what could have been a truly impressive nonconference win for Michigan, I think. Yeah: the last two NC State outings have been a one point win over Clemson and an OT win over Virginia Tech. They're still a little short on the luck end of the ledger, but they are who they are right now, a team that can get in a one-point game with any-damn-body.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: Seems to have earned a bunch of playing time even with the healthy return of Lorenzo Brown. In 21 minutes he had 13 points on 8 possessions used. I take it back, McHobbit.

SEEDWATCH: Five on CTD, Six on the Matrix.

Arkansas (16-9)

@ Auburn: W 83-75. Missouri: W 73-71.

Hey, two wins in a week for Arkansas, one of them against a team headed for the tourney in Missouri, the other on the road, where Arkansas is horrible. Road wins this year for Arkansas include at Auburn, and at Auburn, and also at Auburn.

Arkansas is now on the bubble to get on the bubble. They'll have to go at least 4-2 down the stretch to get in the conversation. With one of those games at Florida, that's a tall order. NIT looks good, though.

SEEDWATCH: nyet. CTD has them 12 teams away from a bid; Bracket Matrix doesn't even know their name.

West Virginia (13-12)

@ Baylor: L 80-60. Texas Tech: W 66-64.

Bob Huggins looks like a ragecomic drawing. That is all.

SEEDWATCH: ain't no seed

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t[6]Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Notre Dame at Pitt, 7PM, ESPN
West Virginia at K-State, 9PM, ESPN

Tuesday

Indiana at Michigan State, 7PM, ESPN (I punt on rooting interest.)
Florida State at NC State, 9PM, ESPN2
Virginia at Miami, 9PM, ESPNU
Florida at Missouri, 9PM, ESPN

Wednesday

Minnesota at Ohio State, 7PM, BTN
Wisconsin at Northwestern, 9PM, BTN

Thursday

Penn State at Illinois, 8:15, BTN
Iowa at Nebraska, 9PM, ESPN2
Duke at Virginia Tech, 9PM, ESPN

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Miami at Wake Forest, 1PM, ESPN3
NC State at North Carolina, 4PM, ESPN
Arkansas at Florida, 7PM, ESPNU

Sunday

Illinois at Michigan, 1PM, ESPN
Michigan State at Ohio State, 4PM, CBS
Northwestern at Purdue, 6PM, BTN

Hoops Opponent Watch: Everyone Loses

Hoops Opponent Watch: Everyone Loses

Submitted by Brian on February 11th, 2013 at 4:01 PM

6905202-number-one-businessman-cartoon-character[1] The Status

Chaos! This feature doomed Florida the moment it declared the Gators a one-seed lock, and then things got weird. Indiana blew a lead against Illinois. Kansas lost to TCU(!) and followed that up with a loss to Oklahoma to establish their first three-game slide since the Cretaceous. Michigan went down to Wisconsin thanks to a half-court shot. Duke is the only projected one-seed from last week to make it through unscathed, and they ended up beating 10-13 Boston College by one measly point.

The top teams are coming back to the pack, changing what seemed like a simple matter of four teams for three spots into a much more open battle. Kansas is probably done at this point. That TCU loss is an anchor. Miami, Gonzaga, Arizona, and Syracuse are now in the conversation. While The Bracket Matrix's one-seed projections are unchanged from last week, Crashing The Dance's formula has put Miami on the one line at the expense of Indiana; Kansas has actually fallen to a terrifying three-seed to go with terrifying three-seed Louisville*.

The common thread here is that the Wisconsin loss has only burned up some of Michigan's lead. They're the top overall seed at BM, and tied for second at CTD. So, #1 it remains. The gaps are narrow enough now that a loss at Breslin would put them on the fringe, I think.

*[If there's any debate about whether getting a one seed is a big deal or a non-deal, here are CTD's projected threes: Kansas, Michigan State, Louisville, New Mexico. Here are the fours: Butler, Kansas State, Minnesota, Georgetown. It's a big deal to get the latter group in a hypothetical Sweet Sixteen matchup instead of the former.]

Projected ones: Florida, Indiana, Duke, Michigan, still.

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb10488909large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_t1cjleslielargerthanlife1_thumb7_t_thu

pitt rising

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton: January 19th. Central Michigan: also January 19th. Eastern is creating unwatchable .500 MAC basketball—they're 300th or worse in three of the four factors on offense—weekly. Cleveland State is 4-7 in the Horizon. Bradley is dipping a bit below a .500 MVC record.

Only Western seems to be a good low major at 7-3 in the MAC, though they lost to near KP300 opponent Ball State last time out. Kenpom still projects them to a 20 win regular season.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (20-5)

Seton Hall: W 56-46, @ Cincinnati: W 62-52

The Panthers seem to have figured it out and are cruising down the stretch, picking up quality win after quality win. They're on a seven-of-eight streak with the only loss by three at Louisville; in that stretch they've taken out Villanova, Syracuse, and Cincinnati.

The most recent Cinci game was a lot like the first: all towers and rebounding and bricks from long range. The teams combined to go 3/26 from three in the first matchup; in this one it was 8/33. Twenty-five of those came from the Bearcats; the teams split the makes evenly.

Pitt has a big game at Marquette this weekend and then a relatively easy glide path to the finish. They're looking at a 13-5 conference season, 12-6 at worst. Good win: confirmed.

SEEDWATCH: Five on both the matrix and CTD, up one from last week.

ODDITY: Every five seed on the matrix is from the Big East.

Kansas State (19-4)

@ Texas Tech: W 68-59. Iowa State: W 79-70.

Texas Tech is a lot worse than Penn State and victory is expected no matter where you play them. The main event this week was the Wildcats avenging their loss to Iowa State. That game was an offensive outburst: both teams shot well from the floor and rebounded half their misses; Kansas State got to the line and cut down on turnovers.

The Wildcats go to reeling Kansas tonight; win that and they a couple of Baylor games and Oklahoma State are the only thing standing between them and a two-seed.

SEEDWATCH: Four on both sites.

North Carolina State (17-7)

628x471[1] @ Duke: L 98-85. @ Clemson: W 58-57.

@ RIGHT: YOU CAN'T CHECK HIM

McHobbit got bunches of minutes again with Lorenzo Brown still recovering from injury—Tyler Lewis is his real name, and even with Brown healthy enough to go 32 minutes in the Clemson nail-biter, Lewis still pulled down 27. I may be forced to admit that the McDonald's All American guys did not make a huge mistake.

NC State remains NC State. They tore up Duke's defense to the tune of 1.2 PPP and lost by double-digits because Duke put up 1.4, shooting 64% from two and going to the line a whopping 41 times. It would be very frustrating to be an NC State fan this year. You're telling me you have Richard Howell and CJ Leslie and you can't play a lick of defense? That's on Mark Gottfried.

The Wolfpack then went out and ground out an ugly one against Clemson. They actually trailed by four with 19 seconds left but managed to put up five points in the allotted time.

This isn't a great team, but if they slide to a seven seed or something there is going to be a pissed off two-seed.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: 39(!) minutes against Duke, 13 points on 7 shots, 6 A, 0 TO! Duke fans taunted him about his dead grandmother, which sucks for him but also means he's arrived.

News was less good against Clemson: 27 minutes, hit a couple threes, no assists, 1 TO.

SEEDWATCH: Five on CTD, 6 on Bracket Matrix.

Arkansas (14-9)

Florida: W 80-69(!!!). @ Vanderbilt: L 67-49.

Last week:

.500 SEC continues apace. Florida looms this week. They gon' die.

I meant they were going to lose by 18 to Vandy, a 3-7 SEC team with a loss to Marist. And that they would beat Florida. What a weird team. These guys are still headed for the NIT. Beating Florida might help Michigan move above the Gators on the S-curve, at least.

SEEDWATCH: nyet

West Virginia (12-11)

Texas: W 60-58. @ TCU: W 63-50.

Completed ugly season sweep of Texas; beat up on one of the Big 12's two Penn States. They should not get used to this. They've got one game against Texas Tech left; the rest of it is brutal: Baylor, KState, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State.

SEEDWATCH: alternate universe maybe

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

1. Indiana (21-3)

indiana-mbk-0210[1]

LAST WEEK led Illinois 70-62 with three minutes left; lost. Cruised away from Ohio State at the Schott.

THIS WEEK IN EVOCATIVE WIN GRAPHS lolwut

image

THING It was Indiana's defense that betrayed them in that game? Or something? I watched it and I still don't know what the hell happened there. But Indiana put up a 49%/53%/93% shooting night and lost. Illinois hit a lot of tough shots, and one really easy one.

OTHER THING On the other hand, coming off that disappointment and casually rolling the Buckeyes on the road is probably the most impressive win of the season in the league. Indiana had a 17 point burst over the last five minutes of the first half that gave them a halftime cushion they would not relinquish. Ohio State could get no closer than six points the rest of the way.

OTHER OTHER THING They did this by shooting 61% from two against Ohio State! Oladipo and Zeller had crazy, crazy nights. Oladipo was 7/9 from two, hit a three, and 9/10 from the line. Zeller was 8/11 from both two and the line. OSU's two point defense is the thing that they are best at. Yeesh.

THING THEY ARE LIKE pretty scary thing

  

2. Michigan (21-3)

LAST WEEK Won epic knock-down, drag-out overtime game against Ohio State. Lost grim overtime stomper against Wisconsin thanks to half-court heave.

THING Efficient scoring inside the line is something of an issue. They hit 39% against OSU, and only got to the line 11 times. It was 43% against the Badgers and two free throws on 53 attempts.

While the percentages aren't horrible, the inability to get to the line means when the threes aren't falling—and they weren't in Madison—the vaunted Michigan offense sputters to well under a PPP.

Michigan is now 340th of 347 in drawing free throw attempts, and things have only gotten worse in conference play. This is not because Michigan takes an extreme amount of threes: they're only slightly above average at launching from behind the line. Why can't a team with Trey Burke on it get to the free throw line?

OTHER THING Michigan's ceded the #1 offense in the country to Indiana, so previous theories about Michigan's hyper offense making up for their defense no longer apply quite as nicely.

OTHER THIS WEEK IN EVOCATIVE WIN GRAPHS

image

Pain.

THING THEY ARE LIKE I don't even know man.

 

3. Michigan State (20-4)

LAST WEEK Revenge'd Minnesota at home; eased by Purdue on the road.

THING Happier than anyone about Indiana and Michigan missteps this week; now they're in serious contention. The issue: they are entering their inevitable Big Ten doom schedule, with five of the next six games against Michigan (2x), Indiana, OSU, and Wisconsin. If they make it through that on top of the league they'll have earned it.

ADRIEAN PAYNE THREE POINT SPECIALIST WATCH No attempts against Minnesota. 0/2 against Purdue. Still at 54% on the year.

OTHER THING Gary Harris seems fine, at least for now, but Travis Trice missed both of MSU's games last week, paving the the way for Russell Byrd playing time and Denzel Valentine backing up every spot between the one and the three. Byrd is now pushing into Ronnie Johnson territory after going 0/5 from three this week. Down to 18^. He's only taken nine threes.

THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES Payne and Nix tore Purdue apart, going 11 for 19 and 7/9 from the line with one TO. Minnesota was okay: 4/11, 9/10 from the line. Payne's free-throw shooting has taken off: 49% as a freshman to 70% to 79%.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Sneaky Bagginses.

4. Ohio State (17-6)

LAST WEEK Lost epic OT game against Michigan; lost not so epic game against Indiana.

THING Part of the reason Ohio State got blazed inside by the Hoosiers: Evan Ravenel fouled out in 22 minutes and Amir Williams picked up four fouls in 11 minutes, meaning for the vast majority of the game Ohio State was either playing with their bigs daintily trying to stay on the floor or fielding sophomore Trey McDonald. McDonald had DNP-CDs in seven of his previous eight games.

OTHER THING Deshaun Thomas KPOY Watch: up to seventh. TO rate has dropped under ten percent and he's still launching a third of OSU's shots; efficiency is only down a little over the last couple games.

OTHER OTHER THING I enjoyed Yogi Ferrell's line in his matchup with Craft: one shot, that a missed three, three assists, and a turnover. Clearly he was like "aw hell naw" and just dumped it to his teammates, and wisely so.

OTHER OTHER OTHER THING Craft fouled out, which I didn't even know was possible.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Still going with Deshaun of the Dead here, though LaQuinton Ross has been helping out more of late.

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FACT. Via Ace.

5. Wisconsin (15-7)

LAST WEEK Close game at OSU until that late run put it away. Had a ludicrously-fast-by-their-standards game at Illinois (70 possessions!) and dominated it.

THING if you watch these people on purpose you should seek medical attention for a broken brain. 

OTHER THING I don't even want to think about this team.

WISCONSIN PREVENTS THREE POINTERS WATCH Michigan was 5/18, which sounds like a relatively high number of attempts until you find out that they had 53 attempts inside the line. So, yeah.

RYAN EVANS FT WATCH One of five. Wisconsin is really benefiting from refs never calling fouls in any of their games, because they can't shoot free throws. In the Michigan game they met a perfect foil for their weakness. Michigan might have been better off fouling more on defense just to get the refs, like, paying attention.

THING THEY ARE LIKE bug people from Rigel.

 

6. Illinois (15-8)

LAST WEEK IT LIVES. Beat Indiana! Beat Minnesota! Totally going to the tournament with a sub-.500 Big Ten record, you guys!

THING If there was a hypothetical board for Most Justified Big Ten Court Rush Of The Decade, the post-Griffey layup hysteria slots in at an easy #2 behind Watford's three last year. Those two are so far ahead of the pack that I don't even know what #3 would be.

Peanut gallery: If I can get ten justified and unjustified court rushes, I will maintain these boards going forward. Help me out.

160547975JR006_INDIANA_ILLINOIS 
you too can have this happen for a reasonable fee

TYLER GRIFFEY WATCH I should sell STRUGGLING PLAYER WATCH spots to scufflers nationwide. Griffey not only set off the second most justified Big Ten court rush of the decade but added 12 other points against Indiana, including reasonable (2/6) shooting from three. (My favorite thing from the win over Indiana was Griffey's awkward hot-potato layup as he tried to get the ball out of his hand before the buzzer.) Then in the follow-up victory over Minnesota he put up 16 points on 4/7 shooting from three, hitting four FTs and acquiring three offensive rebounds.

You know what they say: as Tyler Griffey goes, so go the Illini.

NNANNA EGWU WATCH Four points and five rebounds as he fouls out in 19 minutes against Indiana, paving the way for Griffey's monster night (eight rebounds from him, too). Three rebounds in 21 minutes against Minnesota, but that DREB rate is hovering around 13 these days, ahead of several guards on the team.

OTHER EGWU WATCH Sam McLaurin is a statistical marvel even outstripping Egwu. He started and played 28 minutes against Indiana, acquiring one offensive rebound. In 24 against Minnesota, one of each variety. DREB rate: 6.6%. Kenpom, I need anti-leaderboards. I need to know if Sam McLaurin has a lower rebound rate than any player 6'8" or taller in the country.

THE ENNUI QUESTION Ennui? What ennui? With back to back wins over tourney-bound Indiana and Minnesota the Illini have five impressive scalps. They're not even on the bubble anymore.

They could get back on it—this is Illinois we're talking about here—if they lose to Purdue and Northwestern this week. Go 1-1 there and all they need to do to get to the magic 7-11 mark is not blow it in home games against Penn State and Nebraska. Assembly (Not That Assembly) is going to be bonkers for Wednesday's game against Purdue.

THING THEY ARE LIKE

ncb_e_michigan11_600[1]

Michigan finds out it's in the tourney, 2009

7. Minnesota (17-7)

LAST WEEK Lost at Michigan State by double-digits thanks to five-minute second-half scoreless streak and five-minute first-half scoreless streak; edged by Illinois at home.

THING Tubby Smith's substitution patterns drive me nuts. At one point in the Michigan State game he had all five starters off the floor. Twelve guys played against State, and hey surprise they were all awful. Elliot Eliason makes sense; he's your backup five. The other six players combined to post 40 minutes, 2 points on 1/4 shooting, 5 rebounds, one assist, and two turnovers.

If your bench is that terrible, it is insane to not have at least two of your high-usage guys out there at all times.

OTHER THING Remember when Minnesota seemed like a fun, interesting, uptempo outfit with a good offense? Since their loss to Michigan they've bested 62 points once, against Nebraska, and have lost games by scoring 48, 44, 50, and 53 points, all in games that featured fewer than 60 possessions. Keep them out of transition and you're good.

THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR Rebounded 47% of their misses against Illinois, held Illini to 27% two-point shooting. Rebounded 34% of their misses against Michigan State and held Spartans to 16% OREB.

NOBODY EXPECTS THE HOLLINS INQUISITION Four of five Minnesota blocks against Illinois were from Austin Hollins.

THING THEY ARE LIKE

groundhog-day-driving[1]

image 8. Iowa (15-9)

LAST WEEK Another crippling Amakerian defeat in a two-OT loss to Wisconsin at the Trohl Center*; bounced back to handle Northwestern at home.

*[HT: some guy on twitter I don't remember]

THING Iowa not getting in this year would be brutal on a level approximating Northwestern's Shurna-led near-misses except for the whole Northwestern Has Never Been To The Tournament thing. Iowa losses include this week's 2OT agony, an OT loss to Purdue, two games Iowa led at the one minute mark against State and Minnesota, and a near-ish miss versus Indiana.

THIS WEEK IN WHERE'S ROY DEVYN WALDO Where's Roy Devyn reached epic levels in the Wisconsin loss. In a 50-minute game Marble got 18, mostly early. He went 1-10 from the floor with no free throws, and ate bench. Iowa's offense couldn't do anything whatsoever in OT—a total of six points before the late flurry of free throws and free twos—and Marble stayed glued on the bench with the exception of one defensive possession… on which Marble lost a Wisconsin cutter and the Badgers got an easy two. Brutal.

Marble then went off for 21 points against Northwestern's get-healthy defense. The Hawkeyes have to be hoping that performance gets him settled.

ENNUIWATCH I thought about moving them below the line and did not. Kenpom still has them with a 50-50 shot at a .500 conference record, and you have to imagine that'll be good enough. They've got a quality win over Wisconsin and a bubble win over Iowa State. If they get to 9-9 they'll add one over Minnesota, Indiana, or Illinois. That would probably be enough.

They must have Thursday's game at Penn State, and then if they can beat Minnesota at CHA they'll be cooking. Kenpom has that one 68-67. Set a block of time from 2 to 4 aside for that one.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Probity.

 

henritheotterofennu_thumb1_thumb1_thHENRI LINE OF ENNUI

 

9. Northwestern (13-10)

LAST WEEK Lost solidly at Iowa.

THING it's about to get ugly for the Wildcats. A home game against Penn State is the only game Kenpom has them winning.

THING THEY ARE LIKE A sad otter.

 

 

10. Purdue (12-12)

LAST WEEK Beat Penn State on the road; didn't really stay in contact with Michigan State.

THING Oh for pants sake, Purdue: 0/10 from three against Penn State, 1/5 against Michigan State. They won that Penn State game because Purdue went 2/20.

AJ HAMMONS WATCH Kid has started to pile up free throws. In his last four games he's shot 12, 3, 12, and 9, hitting 81%. He's at 69% for the year thanks largely to one ugly outing against MSU. If he can keep this pace up, he… well, he can kick it out to wide open but completely hapless three-point shooters next year when DJ Byrd is gone.

RONNIE JOHNSON THREE POINTER WATCH nyet. Did go 2/8 from the line against Penn State.

THING THEY ARE LIKE

 

11. Nebraska (12-12)

LAST WEEK Beat Penn State handily to claim the crown of second-worst team in the league.

THING Andre Almedia blocked three shots against the Nittany Lions, and set off earthquake alarms in Tokyo doing so.

RAY GALLEGOS BOMBS AWAY WATCH A sixth game with more than ten 3PA, going 3/11 against Penn State.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Not Penn State, that's for sure.

image 12. Penn State (8-12)

LAST WEEK Lost to Purdue by 9, Nebraska by 14.

THING It's over. The two best shots the Nittany Lions had at a Big Ten win came and went this week without so much as a vaguely competitive game. Kenpom has two more Penn State games with a better than 10% chance of victory: Thursday against Iowa and the penultimate game at Northwestern. Chance of winless record now at 57%, and that seems low.

THING The only Penn State player with an ORTG greater than 100 is Tim Frazier.

THING THEY ARE LIKE GopherQuest.

 

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 Indiana, #1 MICHIGAN, #3 Michigan State, #4 Ohio State, #5 Wisconsin, #6 Minnesota

Probably In

#9 Illinois

Bubble

N/A

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

Iowa

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t[2]Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

K-State at Kansas, 9PM, ESPN

Tuesday

Kentucky at Florida, 7PM, ESPN
MICHIGAN at Michigan State, 9PM, ESPN

Wednesday

Nebraska at Indiana, 7PM, BTN
Syracuse at UConn, 7PM, ESPN
Miami at Florida State, 7PM, ESPN2
Purdue at Illinois, 9PM, BTN
North Carolina at Duke, 9PM, ESPN

Thursday

Northwestern at Ohio State, 7PM, BTN
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 7PM, ESPN
Iowa at Penn State, 9PM, ESPNU
Arizona at Colorado, 10PM, PACTEN
Gonzaga at St. Mary's, 11PM, ESPN2

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Pitt at Marquette, 1PM, CBS
Purdue at Indiana, 2PM, ESPN
Virginia Tech at NC State, 2PM, ESPN2
Duke at Maryland, 6PM, ESPN
Baylor at K-State, 7PM, ESPNU
Missouri at Arkansas, 7PM, ESPN2
Michigan State at Nebraska, 8PM, BTN

Sunday

Penn State at MICHIGAN, noon, BTN
Ohio State at Wisconsin, 1PM, CBS
Minnesota at Iowa, 2:06, BTN
Miami at Clemson, 6PM, ESPNU
Illinois at Northwestern, 7:30 PM, BTN

Hoops Opponent Watch: Dinged

Hoops Opponent Watch: Dinged

Submitted by Brian on February 5th, 2013 at 1:17 PM

images[1]The Status

It looks like four teams are racing for three spots on the one line. Those four teams are Duke, Kansas, Michigan, and Indiana. The reason there are only three spots: Florida. At this point I consider Florida in the barn with 0 SEC losses—maybe one. They'll be a one-seed. They're #1 overall on Crashing the Dance already and their path to a gaudy end-of-season record is considerably easier than anyone else's. Also they are destroying everybody.

On the good side of the ledger, the Big East continued to eliminate itself with Syracuse's loss to Pitt—a loss that happens to help out Michigan quite a bit—and Kansas dropping a game at home to Okie State drops them from the realms of the stone-cold  lock.

Those four teams are neck and neck right now; Duke's scheduling edge is evaporating as they trudge through an ACC that is a three-or-four bid league and lose to the other teams headed for the tourney. Kansas has relatively few big wins—OSU, and then K-State is probably their best—and won't be finding many more down the road. Michigan and Indiana are probably in the best shape as long as they can avoid being hewed down excessively by the Big Ten.

I'm keeping M on the one line since that seems to be the consensus. CtD has them third overall; the Bracket Matrix has them first. RPI remains steady at 7; their forecast is down to 9th. They've fallen behind Indiana in Kenpom. Indiana replaces Kansas by a nose.

Projected ones: Florida, Indiana, Duke, Michigan

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb10488909-large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_t[1]cj-leslie-larger-than-life1_thumb7_t

NC State why u no clutch, other than clutch maybe not existing

RPI-effect-only Teams

Last win for IUPUI: December 27th.  Binghamton's win against Maine was followed up with three losses; they're 3-19 on the year. Cleveland State beat UIC their last time out; before that they'd lost four straight. Central is 2-6 in the MAC. Eastern had that famous game against Northern Illinois last week; they lost against Kent State—with Ohio one of two teams within the KP100 in the MAC—this week. 

On the good side of the ledger, Western lost to the top two teams in the MAC to kick off their conference schedule and haven't lost since. They're now 6-2 and approaching the KP100. Bradley continues on their path towards a .500 MVC record.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (19-5)

@ Louisville: L 64-61. Syracuse: W 65-55. Seton Hall: W 56-46.

Pitt was four points away from a monster week (and day) but could not pull it out at the most ridiculously named arena in the entire universe. Instead they pick up a needed signature win and hold off an upset attempt from Seton Hall. The various seeding projection whatnots have generally moved Pitt up two to four lines, into the six-seed range. Amazing what one win can do for you when you've got a shiny record.

SEEDWATCH: Last six on CTD; a six on Bracket Matrix.

Kansas State (17-4)

Texas: W 83-57. @ Oklahoma: W 52-50.

K-State bounced back from a couple losses against the top end of the Big 12 with a blowout of Texas and a narrow win against Oklahoma. I saw most of the Oklahoma game, and it was the usual: ugly. Kansas State blarted out 0.87 PPP and found victory.

The difference was, uh, turnovers? Or something. Kansas State is not a very fun team to watch. I get mad at their point guard lots.

SEEDWATCH: Five on CTD and Bracket Matrix.

North Carolina State (16-6)

@ Virginia: L 58-55. Miami: L 79-78.

Glabdangit, NC State. Virginia is the Wisconsin of the ACC. They have in fact beaten Wisconsin in a 56 possession game that I recommend not watching should you come in contact with a copy of it. It is the Basketball Ring.

Anyway, they're a pretty tough out, especially on the road. NC State performed about as expected, and lost narrowly. Then they had a home game against surging Miami that they were winning until a tip in with under a second left. NC State has now lost four ACC games by a total of 7 points. The difference between the Wolfpack being the good win they are now and being a good win that looks like a great win is not much.

A game at Duke looms next; after that it's clear sailing, except this is a team that has lost to Wake Forest.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: McHobbit renaissance yo.

tumblr_m9jmni7rLX1qzytg1[1]

Lorenzo Brown, NC State's starting point guard, got injured, and now I can't talk nearly as much crap about McHobbit. His 15 minutes against Virginia were suboptimal—three shots, two assists, NC State collapsed to 0.87 points a possession. ORtg superficially high thanks to low usage in a low-scoring game; bad overall.

Against Miami it was a different story: dude was on the floor for 36 minutes, put up 16 points on 8 shots, and had 5 assists to 1 turnover. Well done, McHobbit. Well done.

SEEDWATCH: Six on Bracket Matrix, five on Crashing The Dance.

Arkansas (13-8)

@ Alabama: L 59-56. Tennessee: W 73-60.

.500 SEC continues apace. Florida looms this week. They gon' die.

SEEDWATCH: nyet

West Virginia (10-11)

Kansas: L 61-56. Texas Tech: W 77-61.

WVU had a surprisingly good outing against Kansas and then did what everyone does to Tech. Status quo.

SEEDWATCH: alternate universe maybe

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

300px-ConstructiconMaximus_toy2[1]1. Indiana (20-2)

LAST WEEK We need to invent a new word for what they did to Purdue, at Mackey. Something with connotations including flaying alive and evisceration. Then they had a solid home victory over Michigan.

THING About the last thing Indiana opponents need is to deal with yet another scoring threat. Unfortunately for them, Yogi Ferrell's early-season shooting woes are disappearing rapidly. While he still doesn't put it up much, in Indiana's five-game win streak he's 9/13 from 2 and 9/17 from three. He was nails at the free throw line late in the Michigan game, not that he really had to be.

OTHER THING It kind of goes without saying that Victor Oladipo continues his reign of terror. After assembling all of the hype machines after his dominating performance on national TV against Michigan State he put up 17 points on 12 shots against Purdue and 15 on 12 against Michigan. In those two games he added five more steals against just two fouls, and a couple of his misses against Michigan turned into spectacular Cody Zeller tip dunks after Oladipo drew help defense.

Even though Tim Hardaway Jr had a pretty good night against the Hoosiers it was clear Oladipo was on another level.

OTHER OTHER THING No, Jordan Hulls can't really check Nik Stauskas, but Stauskas couldn't shoot on Saturday night.

THING THEY ARE LIKE The Constructicons. Their powers have united and now they cannot be stopped moooohahaha.

2. Michigan(20-2)

LAST WEEK Routine 20-point win against Northwestern; could not defy Kenpom or Vegas at Assembly Hall in aforementioned game.

THING If you had to point to one thing that doomed Michigan it was three-point shooting. Before a late flurry after the game had been decided but for the ritual of fouling, Michigan was 4/18. Most of those were excellent looks from good shooters, but pre-flurry Hardaway and Stauskas were 1/8. Against a similarly elite outfit, ballgame.

OTHER THING Mitch McGary cracked 20 minutes for the first time in his career against Indiana and put up a great box score, but it's hard not to look at the early Horford foul that saw him eat bench and correlate it with IU's scoring blitz to open the game. While Michigan got their defense kind of figured out after the first ten minutes, maybe not having to throw the freshman out there at the beginning of the game would have helped.

OTHER OTHER THING If there was heroball from Burke against Indiana, it was necessary heroball.

THING THEY ARE LIKE The Autobot version of Destructor minus a leg or arm or something. I forget. There was one, right? Here's a picture of a damaged Optimus Prime.

op3[1]

 

3. Ohio State (17-4)

LAST WEEK Blew open a close game against the Badgers with a 13-0 run spanning a third of the second half. A 13-0 run against Wisconsin is the equivalent of a 20-0 run against human teams. OSU was then mildly threatened by Nebraska. Andre Almedia missed a putback that would have brought the Huskers within three points late.

THIS WEEK IN EVOCATIVELY CORRECT WIN PROBABILITY GRAPHS. Ohio State vs Wisconsin:

image

A dead heat until Ohio State decided to stop missing shots at the 13 minute mark; over seven minutes later when Wisconsin finally broke their run. No 1-3-1 turning point here, just a period of blazing heat.

THING A pattern emerges with that secondary scoring bugaboo: against bad defenses other guys get involved—Lenzelle Smith had 21 against Nebraska. Against good ones, it's Deshaun of the Dead again. He had 25 points in the low-possession Wisconsin outing; only Aaron Craft made it into double digits with him and the other three starters combined for seven points.

OTHER THING Deshaun Thomas KPOY Watch: up to ninth. Had a bad game against Nebraska (15 points, 20 shots, 0 A, 2 TO); had a great one against Wisconsin (25 on 17, 4 A, 1 TO).

THING THEY ARE LIKE Stupid Saturday morning cartoon theme continued:

images[1]

I expect several iseewhatyoudidthere.gifs in the comments.

4. Michigan State (18-4)

LAST WEEK Followed up last week's analyst-tizzy-inducing road loss to Indiana with home game against Illinois. Found themselves down ten at halftime, ruthlessly pulled it back right after halftime, and escorted the game to the finish.

THING That Illinois game was one of the weirdest of the year. Illinois shot their way to a ten-point halftime lead, and then MSU scored on almost literally every possession they had in the second half. They shot 16/18, rebounded both misses, and ended the game with a whopping 34 free throws to their credit, scoring 80 points in a 65 possession game… and winning by five.

Did Illinois annihilate from three? Not really: 9/25. It was hard to figure out how the game was close watching it live, and it's equally hard figuring it out in the box score afterwards.

ADRIEAN PAYNE THREE POINT SPECIALIST UPDATE. Just 1/3 against Illinois, bringing his recent spree down to… uh… 7/10. Had a relatively quiet game outside of that, with just eight points in 38 minutes.

Remember when Adriean Payne had tiny lungs that prevented him from playing more than 20 minutes a game? Yeah. That may not have been true.

OTHER THING Russell Byrd notched a seven-minute trillion. Alex Gauna and Matt Costello were single missed two pointers away from joining them.

These events (rather, non-events) happened after Travis Trice went out with a concussion in the first half; Gary Harris was somewhat limited with back spasms. If either condition persists there's going to be a guy on the floor who doesn't do much except pass it around the perimeter.

THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES This isn't going to work out when Illinois is dead set on fouling everything that moves. Payne and Nix combined for 4/7 shooting with 6 FTAs, 3 A, 3 TO.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Bald Bull: a challenge but extremely fragile.

image

artist's impression of Michigan State in the event of persistent Gary Harris back spasms

5. Wisconsin (15-7)

LAST WEEK Close game at OSU until that late run put it away. Had a ludicrously-fast-by-their-standards game at Illinois (70 possessions!) and dominated it.

THING Don't be fooled by the relatively close final score of that Illinois game. The Badgers had a 15 point lead when fouling time kicked in with two minutes left. Illinois whittled it down against the worst free-throw-shooting team in the conference but had already flatlined on the Kenpom win graph.

Note that the extended foul time is a major reason for all the possessions in that game.

OTHER THING Little-used backup guard Frank Kaminsky had his first outing of more than ten minutes since December and was Wisconsin's go-to guy down the FTA stretch. He had 14 attempts from the line, almost doubling his season total. He hit 12.

WISCONSIN PREVENTS THREE POINTERS WATCH This goes beyond skill and enters the realm of creepy: Illinois, the three-jackingest team in the conference, was 2/13. Ohio State was 3 of 5. Five!

Conference opponents are getting threes off at a 21% clip. That's #1, obviously. They're third nationally.

RYAN EVANS FT WATCH None against Ohio State. He shares this distinction with his teammates: Wisconsin acquire even one measly free throw. It was a different story in the extended Illinois game: Evans went 5 for 11.

THING THEY ARE LIKE A congressional bill banning gun scopes.

34edo5h[1]

6. Minnesota (15-5)

LAST WEEK Clubbed Nebraska. Edged a narrow home game against Iowa.

THING You can do this every week in this league, but wow Minnesota has a rough road coming up: @ MSU, Illinois, Wisconsin, @ Iowa, @ OSU, Indiana. All of those are losable and if you escape that .500 you're high-fiving each other.

OTHER THING I know Trevor Mbakwe is more of a garbage man than a guy you can go to in the post but man it seems like a huge waste when he's 2/5 from the floor in consecutive games. He just doesn't take many shots but it's weird that he was at 20% during his last healthy season and has dropped almost two and a half points this year.

THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR Had more offensive rebounds than Nebraska had defensive rebounds. Held the Huskers to four OREBs themselves. Rebounded 41% of their misses against Iowa but actually lost the board war thanks to a heroic effort from Team, which secured a whopping six OREBs for the Hawkeyes. Go Team.

Minnesota did acquire seven blocked shots against Iowa, though.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Sludge.

alt_sludge[1]

I think, anyway. The powerful dumb one.

7. Iowa (13-7)

LAST WEEK Amaker bubble team status: locked in. First it was the uninspiring win over Penn State to keep hopes alive, then a strong game against a good opponent (Minnesota) that still ends in defeat.

THING The rims scream for relief from your frequent three-pointers, Iowa. Have you no decency, at long last?

THIS WEEK IN WHERE'S ROY DEVYN WALDO Wow: 17 minutes, 0 points for Marble against the Gophers. He didn't even do much against Penn State other than miss a bunch of threes.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Turtleneck sweaters.

images[2]

8. Illinois (15-8)

LAST WEEK Continued stellar impression of 2012 Illini with losses against Michigan State and Wisconsin. Now 2-7 in the league.

THING Dying by the three continues apace. The Illini are dead last in three point shooting in conference play at 25%; they're third in launching them. They are dead last in eFG% D, tenth from two and tenth from three.

TYLER GRIFFEY WATCH Did not attempt a three. Doesn't even want to be around a basketball right now.

NNANNA EGWU WATCH One rebound in 25 minutes against Michigan State, and he fouled out. To be fair, the Illini only had 14 defensive rebounds for the game because Michigan State was hitting everything they threw up. Against Wisconsin, seven rebounds in 33 minutes, one offensive. Egwu also fouled out in this one.

This is progress! Egwu has passed point guard Tracy Abrams in DREB rate and has tied DJ Richardson.

OTHER EGWU WATCH Egwu backup and Coastal Carolina grad-year transfer Sam McLaurin has a DREB rate of 6.9. He is 6'8".

THE ENNUI QUESTION They can still make it to 7-11, 20-12 with wins over Butler, Gonzaga, and OSU. They just have to beat Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa, and then they've got four more swings at quality wins. They can do it. They'll get at least one more week above the line as games against Indiana and at Minnesota are not must-wins. Then they will probably lose to Purdue by 60, at which point I'll move them under the line.

THING THEY ARE LIKE WHO WATCHES THE WATCH WATCHERS

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HENRI LINE OF ENNUI

henri-the-otter-of-ennu_thumb1_thumb[1]9. Northwestern (13-10)

LAST WEEK Beat up by Michigan; beat up on Purdue.

THING The Michigan box score looks like Ohio State minus Deshaun Thomas: one guy over ten points, that Alex Olah with ten.

OTHER THING The Purdue box score looks like Ohio Stat with Deshaun Thomas: Reggie Hearn went off scoring 26 points on 17 shots. Some other guys helped marginally.

OTHER OTHER THING It's probably not good for Purdue's defense that 24 of Northwestern's 26 baskets were assisted. Or Northwestern's offense, honestly.

THING THEY ARE LIKE King of the Dwarves.

 

10. Purdue (11-11)

LAST WEEK Destroyed by Indiana. Destroyed by Northwestern.

THING AJ Hammons played about as well as it is possible to in a 37-point loss on your home floor: 30 points on 14 shots and five blocks in 28 minutes. Rebounding may have been an issue. He also played about as well as you can in a 15-point loss to Northwestern: 19 points on 19 shots, okay, but 7 OREB and 6 DREB plus three assists to two turnovers.

Hype about Hammons being the All Big Ten center next year: buying.

OTHER THING I know that hitting 9 of 19 twos doesn't seem that impressive but consider it in context: Purdue shot 33% from two against Northwestern. No one other than Hammons even approached 50%, and even though Purdue rebounded half its misses and had just eight turnovers they could only get to 1 PPP.

OTHER OTHER THING Purdue players other than AJ Hammons are bad at basketball.

RONNIE JOHNSON THREE POINTER WATCH One of two against Indiana brings him up to 16%.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Ohio State if Deshaun Thomas was a center and Aaron Craft was a small dog named Wuffles.

wuffles[1]

Vetenari's hand… Indiana? This is getting strained.

 

images[1]11. Nebraska (11-12)

LAST WEEK Blown out by Minnesota. Kept it interesting against Ohio State.

THING Ray Gallegos is the Annoying Ole Miss Guy of the Big Ten, except he's not a polarizing GIF machine with emotional problems. He put up 30 on Minnesota, taking just 17 shots to get there.  He then put up 11 on Ohio State on 14 shots.

He's taken double-digit three pointers in five games this year, has not launched fewer than four, and is averaging over eight attempts a game. He's hitting 31%.

THING THEY ARE LIKE what if Ole Miss played in the Big Ten

12. Penn State (8-12)

LAST WEEK Fairly competitive at Iowa, and was mercifully given the weekend off.

THING Penn State has a guy shooting 18% from three and a guy shooting 14 % from three who collectively have 80 attempts.

OTHER THING they're 340th at giving up free throws

OTHER OTHER THING they're pretty good at rebounding though!

THING THEY ARE LIKE a really depressing basketball team

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 Indiana, #2 MICHIGAN, #3 Michigan State, #4 Ohio State, #6 Minnesota

Probably In

#7 Wisconsin

Bubble

#13 Illinois

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

Iowa

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t[2]Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

was yesterday. Pitt beat Seton Hall by 10.

Tuesday

Purdue at Penn State, 7PM, BTN
Florida at Arkansas, 7PM, ESPN
K-State at Texas Tech, 8PM, ESPN3
Ohio State at MICHIGAN, 9PM, ESPN

Wednesday

Minnesota at Michigan State, 7PM, BTN
Iowa at Wisconsin, 9PM, BTN

Thursday

Indiana at Illinois, 7PM, ESPN
NC State at Duke, 9PM, ESPN3 (wow, lame)

Friday

nyet

Saturday

MICHIGAN at Wisconsin, noon, ESPN
Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 1:30, ESPN3
Kansas at Oklahoma, 4PM, ESPN
Northwestern at Iowa, 4:36(?) PM, BTN
Pitt at Cincinnati, 6PM, ESPN
Iowa State at K-State, 6PM, ESPN2
Michigan State at Purdue, 7PM, BTN
Penn State at Nebraska, 9PM, ESPNU

Sunday

Indiana at Ohio State, 1PM, CBS
NC State at Clemson, 1PM, ESPN3
Illinois at Minnesota, 6PM, BTN
Duke at Boston College, 6PM, ESPNU

Hoops Opponent Watch: Getting Some Distance

Hoops Opponent Watch: Getting Some Distance

Submitted by Brian on January 28th, 2013 at 4:29 PM

one[1]The Status

Prospective one-seeds started—or continued to—drop like flies this week. Duke got blasted at Miami; Syracuse lost at Villanova; Louisville is now on a three-game losing streak after dropping games to that same 'Nova team and Georgetown.

This is good news for Michigan in two ways: it gives them some wiggle room as the Big Ten inevitably piles defeat on them, and it helps get Florida on that one-line so Michigan can't face 'em until Atlanta. Yeah, maybe Florida isn't that good. I'd rather have someone else test that theory hypothesis. If you're thinking about a bet on sports you could do a lot worse than taking Florida and the points.

So with the Big East chaos and Florida's continued rampage in the SEC I'm moving the Gators onto the one-line. Kenpom projects them at 27-3 in the regular season, and while the terrible terrible SEC will be a drag it may not matter.

As for Michigan's numbers, Crashing the Dance has moved Michigan to second and projects the same one-seeds as I do below. M is the top overall seed at the Bracket Matrix. Their RPI has dipped to 7th; RPI forecast projects that is where they will finish. They're up to second on Kenpom, with IU, Louisville, and Duke nipping at their heels. Florida is far and away #1.

Projected ones: Michigan, Duke, Kansas, Florida

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb10488909-large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_t[1]cj-leslie-larger-than-life1_thumb7_t

BATS

RPI-effect-only Teams

Sweet hoppin' pickles, IUPUI and Binghamton are bad. IUPUI hasn't won in a month. Binghamton… OH MY GOD BINGHAMTON BEAT MAINE. Well done, Binghamton. Work that RPI for us. Uhn.

Fellow struggler EMU just got a lot of pub for holding Northern Illinois to four first-half points; they've actually leveled their MAC record at 3-3.  Cleveland State continued losing. Western swept the other MAC directional Michigans last week and is looking like the best team in the West division of that conference, but that's not saying much.

Bradley is going to be a .500 MVC team; Western has pulled well ahead of them on Kenpom.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (17-4)

@ Providence: W 68-64. DePaul: W 93-55

index.1[1]

relevant, I promise

Providence isn't good but they do show relatively well in Kenpom (66th) and hung in against Syracuse at home, so the relatively narrow win there isn't as bad as it looks. Also, Pitt was up 10 with two minutes left and Providence never pushed their win percentage past 5 after that.

Then the Panthers did what they do to all bad teams, obliterating them. If you're thinking about a bet on sports you could do a lot worse than taking Pitt to crush a bad team. In a frenetic, up-and-down affair Pitt held the Blue Demons to 28% from the field. DePaul's decided that if they can't be good they'll at least be fast. They're currently the #1 team in the country in adjusted tempo.

Tonight, a huge game for Pitt watchers as the Panthers take on reeling Louisville. The Cardinals have dropped well back in the race for Indianapolis in the second round, but still remain a threat.

SEEDWATCH: on the 9 line on Crashing The Dance. Bracket Matrix has them at 8.

BONUS BONUS BONUS: while perusing Big East scores to find out what happened in the Pitt-DePaul game, I discovered, well, this:

Vander Blue scored 13 points and played suffocating defense on the Big East's leading scorer to lead Marquette to an 81-71 victory over Providence Saturday in a game delayed several times because of a dive-bombing bat.

Play on, man. This ain't no tennis.

Kansas State (15-4)

Kansas: L 59-55. @ Iowa State: L 73-67

A very creditable performance against Kansas in which the Jayhawks struggled considerably more than Michigan did when they took on K-State earlier in the year. Michigan had a neutral court, granted.

In that game, K-State jacked a bunch of threes, kept Jeff Withey from recording a block, and held Kansas just under a point per possession. Their offense was rough, as it usually is, and they were considerably aided by a 62% effort at the line from Kansas.

The Wildcats then went out and lost to The Hoiberg Home For Lost Big Ten Boys, albeit narrowly and on the road. Iowa State shot 46%(!) from the free throw line and 50%(!) from three; Kansas State couldn't get an offensive rebound to save their lives and fell despite shooting a lot better than they usually do.

SEEDWATCH: a seven on Crashing The Dance; a six on Bracket Matrix.

North Carolina State (16-4)

@ Wake Forest: L 86-84. North Carolina: W 91-83

NC State's crap defense perforated wildly against a Wake Forest team that's lost to Nebraska (by 16!), Iona, Richmond, and Seton Hall already. NC State let those dudes shoot 51% from two, sent them to the line 33 times, and allowed them to grab almost 40% of their misses. NC State did all the things they usually did on offense, and lost.

NC State did that again against UNC, but this time kept their opponents off the boards and the free throw line, so they won. Richard Howell is officially nuts. He had 15 OREBs in two games last week.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: Total of six minutes, one missed shot, three assists, and no turnovers.

SEEDWATCH: 5 on Bracket Matrix; 5 on Crashing The Dance.

BONUS: Wake Forest features a player named "Arnaud William Adala Moto."

Arkansas (12-7)

Miss St: W 96-70, @ South Carolina: L 75-54

That press business is a feast or famine thing, eh?

.500 SEC team; NIT bid, usual.

SEEDWATCH: nope

West Virginia (9-10)

TCU: W 71-50. @ Okie State: L 80-66.

Results as expected—yeah, TCU is that bad. They're headed for a season around .500.

SEEDWATCH: lol

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

BOOM_HEADSHOT_by_WWEKane2TakerHrdyDX[1]1. Michigan(19-1)

LAST WEEK Eased by Purdue and Illinois, though Purdue kept it close in the first half with some torrid three-point shooting.

THING There's just one more game in this relatively easy stretch before the bear appears: @ IU, OSU, @ Wisconsin, @ MSU. Go 2-2 there and hold serve at home against MSU and Indiana late and they'll likely secure the title. Easier said than done.

OTHER THING Trey Burke is descending into some heroball business at times. In the Illinois game, Nnanna Egwu was repeatedly switched onto Burke; instead of trying to drive it was a lot of dribble dribble dribble questionable long two. Michigan would be better off if they moved the ball around more.

OTHER OTHER THING Here's a candidate for Most Frequently Repeated Sentence In Big Ten Basketball This year: "Nik Stauskas is not just a shooter™." Every time Stauskas puts the ball on the floor for a gliding layup or GAME… BLOUSES dunk or beauty touch pass assist, the color commentator says Nik Stauskas is not just a shooter even if we have been given ample evidence that he is not just a shooter already.

thatsracist.gif

OTHER OTHER THING Meet the new Nik Stauskas: Tim Hardaway, Jr. Hardaway is now 17/31 from three in Big Ten play.

OTHER CANDIDATES FOR MOST FREQUENTLY REPEATED SENTENCE IN BIG TEN BASKETBALL THIS YEAR

  • "DJ Byrd from way downtown."
  • "Steal by Victor Oladipo."
  • "DJ Byrd from Cleveland."
  • "Official time out to clean up Tom Izzo's froth."
  • "This game does not involve Purdue but DJ Byrd just attempted a three pointer in it despite being in Indiana."

THING THEY ARE LIKE boom headshot

OladipoMSU[1]2. Indiana (18-2)

LAST WEEK Clubbed Penn State again. Broke out a inadvisable 2-3 zone at home against Michigan State and survived MSU's unexpectedly frequent and effective three-pointers to avoid a second home loss in the league.

THING Good God, Victor Oladipo: 21 points on 12 shots, many of those generated from his six steals. Steals that lead to fast break dunks seem to be worth far more than the two points they generate—you've defeated an offensive possession and then grab a free two on the other end. They're big deals; Oladipo is kind of good at that.

And then that thing where Oladipo goes from the three-point line to the basket in Denard Robinson time. PLUS: three blocks! Three OREB! I am impress, Oladipo.

OTHER THING Wither Cody Zeller? His absence (two points) in the Penn State blowout was essentially irrelevant; a similar disappearance against MSU was rescued by a late drive to the bucket and charge taken. Still, just nine points and not much in the way of peripheral stat-itude for Zeller in this one. I'd still be a little concerned about his production if I was an Indiana fan.

OTHER OTHER THING Was the 2-3 zone an attempt to hide Jordan Hulls?

OTHER OTHER OTHER THING Yogi Ferrell's shooting numbers aren't great but he was a major part of Keith Appling having a miserable night. Appling couldn't check Ferrell and ended up fouling out.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Last year's Indiana team except Victor Oladipo is awesome.

 

shaun-of-the-dead-20090922010840810-000[1]

DESHAUN OF THE DEAD

3. Ohio State (15-4)

LAST WEEK Ran out to a huge lead versus Iowa, stopped scoring, almost gave it all back, yes this sounds familiar. Had no such problems against Penn State.

THING Iowa's defense was permissive enough to make the OSU box score look like an actual basketball team produced it instead of Deshaun Thomas and several undead people. Four Buckeyes hit double figures. Three managed it against Penn State, and Thomas was not Ohio State's leading scorer. Dios mio, man.

OTHER THING Thomas has still cracked the KPOY leaderboard. He's now tenth, and why not: despite jacking up almost a third of OSU's shots he's putting up excellent efficiency numbers and has a rock-bottom turnover rate. If he had gone to the NBA last year, OSU would be an NIT outfit. If you're looking for a Most Valuable Player that really emphasizes "valuable", he's it.

THING THEY ARE LIKE That scene at the end of Shaun of the Dead where Shaun and his zombie buddy are playing playstation—it's gonna be okay, you guys. Unless he eats me.

460x[1]4. Michigan State (17-4)

LAST WEEK Played Wisconsin game against Wisconsin, winning by two. Stayed in contact at Indiana thanks to blazing three-point shooting but never really threatened to take the lead.

THING Adreian Payne's three point shooting career:

  • Entirety of freshman and sophomore years plus the first 16 games of this season: 1/4
  • Last five games: 6/7

The miss was a desperation jack at the end of the Indiana game; he's hit every plausible three pointer he's attempted in January.

It's weird man.

OTHER THING ABOUT ADREIAN PAYNE He's looking kind of scary right now. It doesn't really show up in the box score outside of the three point shooting but he looks like a much better player. The charge Zeller took was one of those where the guy gets there after the guy with the ball takes off, and Zeller had forever because Payne leapt a thousand feet in the air from around the three point line. So… yeah, charge, but a really impressive charge.

50/50 he Puts It All Together around now and makes MSU into a real contender.

OTHER THING Michigan State had a huge nationally televised game and looked dumb; Indiana looked like Indiana.

THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES Against Wisconsin Nix and Payne combined to go 2/7 from the field with no FTAs, 3 assists, and four TOs, though these days who knows where Payne is shooting from.

Things were a bit better against Indiana: 8/14. No FTAs, but Nix had six assists, mostly on high-value open threes.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Flowers For Algernon Guy, but at what point on the cycle?

5. Wisconsin (14-6)

LAST WEEK Played two grim games with 50-some possessions in them, winning against Minnesota and losing to Michigan State.

THING They nearly won that game against Michigan State despite hitting 30% from both two and three and 39% from the free-throw line. Gross. Meanwhile, they didn't do much better against the Gophers—42%/32%/50%. If Wisconsin wants to play HORSE with Michigan that's a matchup Michigan will be fine with.

OTHER THING Wisconsin gave up only nine threes against MSU (19%) and 11 against Minnesota (24%). Preventing three-pointers is a skill. Unlike shooting free throws, it's one the Badgers have.

RYAN EVANS FT WATCH 3/6 last week. Sent to the line late in the Minnesota game, he barely scraped the rim on the first and flung it way too hard on the second, and was then lifted in the last few minutes. If you are trailing Wisconsin there are worse ideas than fouling him every time he touches the ball.

THING THEY ARE LIKE

luke_trash_compactor[1]

2001-a-space-odyssey-ape-monolith[1]6. Minnesota (15-5)

LAST WEEK Locked in a tight game with Northwestern until the Wildcats unleashed the zone, whereupon they looked upon it like it was a space monolith and withered. Had Wisconsin-style game at Wisconsin, losing by one in a 51 possession game.

We can declare the Gopher renaissance slightly overstated. They'll still be a team you do not want to draw in the tournament… unless you can run an exotic zone.

THING You kind of had to see Minnesota disintegrate in front of your eyes to believe it, but the win percentage graph from Kenpom does a pretty good job of communicating how baffled the Gophers were once Northwestern deployed the 1-3-1:

image

Take Michigan's game against Pittsburgh and multiply it by 10. It was amazing watching Minnesota turn it over against the guy at the top of the zone over and over again. Does Tubby coach offense? Seriously.

OTHER THING Also Austin Hollins fouled out with 12 minutes left in that game. I'm usually a zealot about not chaining your best players to the bench with foul trouble; even I wouldn't grumble at hiding a guy with four on the bench until eight minutes or so

THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR Rebounded 48% of their misses against Northwestern—Mbakwe had nine. However, got badly out-rebounded by Wisconsin en route to defeat.

OTHER TUBBY COACHING BITCH How the hell is this team 278th in defensive rebounding and first (by a mile) in offensive rebounding? They're last in the Big Ten in TOs surrendered, too. The Gophers look like a talented team with abnormally crappy coaching. A Michigan outfit featuring lots of Evan Smotrycz at the five finished 99th last year. There is no possible excuse for these Gophers to be bad on the defensive boards.

THING THEY ARE LIKE a dizzy King Kong who feels like he's about to throw up.

Tommy-Amaker-thumb-537x355-25910[1]7. Iowa (13-7)

LAST WEEK Fell behind by lots against OSU, almost caught up, lost by nine. Had grim, grim first half against Purdue that morphed into super fun second half and OT; lost.

THING Okay, my love affair with these guys is over. Nobody on this team can shoot even a little bit. Freshman PG Mike Gesell had to take over the scoring load against Purdue, and while he's a pretty good freshman he is no Stauskas. He had to do this because…

OTHER THING Roy Devyn Marble has evaporated in Big Ten play. This week he was 3/15 from two, 1/7 from three. He's shooting 29%/25% since the conference season kicked off, and even that Indiana game when he hit 12 free throws saw him miss 13 of his 14 shots from the field. About the only thing he's done right this year is hit some threes against Michigan.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Maybe I should have termed them a quintessential Amaker bubble team.

fatalism[1]8. Illinois (15-6)

LAST WEEK beat up on Nebraska, had every little run they made ruthlessly stomped out by Michigan.

THING Illinois is dying by the three. DJ Richardson scorched the nets for 30 points versus Nebraska, but only one of Illinois's 13 threes from the rest of the team went in and they scuffled to 32%. It was worse against Michigan, 23%. As the season goes along these things stop being anomalies and just become reality.

OTHER THING The last time Tyler Griffey hit a three, Michigan was #1 in the AP poll. Tyler Griffey had not yet been born.

NNANNA EGWU WATCH The rebounding has picked up. He secured a total of ten in the Michigan game. Unfortunately for the Illini, Egwu has started jacking up extremely inadvisable shots, perhaps as part of an attempt to impart a helpless fatalism into Illinois fans*.

*[A futile attempt since any Illinois fan who doesn't have it yet must be immune.]

THE ENNUI QUESTION Should I move them below the line? Mmm… not yet. They're 2-5 in the league but I assert they can make the tourney at 21-11, 8-10 in league play. Very few bubble teams are going to be able to stand up to wins over Gonzaga, Butler, and Ohio State.

Let's assume they win home outings against Penn State and Nebraska. Can Illinois win four of these games?

  • HOME: Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue
  • AWAY: MSU, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, Iowa, OSU

I think they can. Likely? No. As unlikely as Kenpom thinks? (~20 percent.) No. And hell, it might be tough to leave them out at 7-11. Last year a 22-14 South Florida team with one good win (@ Louisville) and losses to Penn State, Auburn, and Old Dominion got in. Above the line they stay.

THING THEY ARE LIKE the pointless destruction and creation of meaningless human life

HENRI LINE OF ENNUI

henri-the-otter-of-ennu_thumb1_thumb[1]9. Purdue (11-9)

LAST WEEK kept it close for a half against Michigan, whereupon their bullcrap threes abandoned them; was on the happy end of that fun Iowa-Purdue game.

THING AJ Hammons was a useless seven-foot lump against Michigan.

OTHER THING AJ Hammons was probably the best player on the court against Iowa, with apologies to Terone Johnson's double-double. While Hammons wasn't particularly effective on offense there was an obvious difference in Iowa's ability to get any shot worth having when he left the game.

OTHER OTHER THING Purdue's advancement is a bad thing for the league since they've got very little shot at an NCAA bid what with a loss to Eastern Michigan on the ol' record; honey Purdue don't care.

With DJ Byrd likely to be the only departure from this edition of the Boilers, a .500-ish Purdue will be eyeing large improvement and an NCAA bid next year. I project the rims at Mackey will experience a barrage of practice three-pointers heretofore unknown to man.

RONNIE JOHNSON THREE POINTER WATCH nyet

THING THEY ARE LIKE Something specifically designed to piss off Jim Delany. Garlic, then. Or rap. Like, early-90s rap that's about as offensive as bubbles. Bust A Move. Yes. Purdue is Bust A Move.

taito-bust-a-move[1]

not that bust a move

/furrows brow
/disapproves of loose women
/takes refuge in Bob Seger

 

250px-General_Chaos_cover[1]10. Northwestern (12-9)

LAST WEEK Picked up the Loki baton from Illinois, beating Minnesota by deploying the 1-3-1 in the face of the uncomprehending Gophers and then losing to Nebraska by lots.

THING Seriously, WTF, Northwestern?

OTHER THING Oh you were 6 of 29 from three.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Chaos.

11. Nebraska (11-10)

LAST WEEK DJ Richardson beat them by 20, with some help from the other Illini. And then they cruised against Northwestern. Life is weird.

THING For a guy who was supposedly out for the year, Brandon Ubel played a suspiciously large number of minutes against Northwestern: 39. Assertion: Brandon Ubel is not, in fact, out for the year.

THING THEY ARE LIKE corn quicksand

all_or_nothing_poster[1]12. Penn State (8-12)

LAST WEEK Crubberated by Indiana. Not quite crubberated by Ohio State, but basically.

THING they ain't winning a single game this year in the league you guys

OTHER THING it's at Nebraska or nothin'

OTHER OTHER THING okay maybe Purdue at home

OTHER OTHER OTHER THING and everybody knows neither of those is happenin'

THING THEY ARE LIKE movies my wife likes

hoo boy you should see some of these movies

 

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 MICHIGAN, #2 Indiana, #3 Michigan State, #4 Ohio State, #5 Minnesota

Probably In

#8 Wisconsin

Bubble

#13 Illinois

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

Iowa

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_tViewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Pitt at Louisville, 7 PM, ESPN
Kansas at West Virginia, 9PM, ESPN

Tuesday

Wisconsin at Ohio State, 7 PM, ESPN
Nebraska at Minnesota, 9PM, BTN
NC State at Virginia, 7 PM, ESPN2

Wednesday

Northwestern at MICHIGAN, 6:30 PM, BTN
Indiana at Purdue, 8:30 PM, BTN
Texas at Kansas State, 8PM, ESPN2

Thursday

Illinois at Michigan State, 7 PM, ESPN
Penn State at Iowa, 8PM, ESPNU
Arkansas at Alabama, 9PM, ESPN2

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Purdue at Northwestern, noon, ESPN2
Syracuse at Pitt, noon, ESPN
Miami at NC State, 4PM, CBS
Tennessee at Arkansas, 4PM, ESPN
Kansas State at Oklahoma, 6PM, ESPN2
Ohio State at Nebraska, 7 PM, BTN
MICHIGAN at Indiana, 9PM, ESPN

Sunday

Iowa at Minnesota, 1PM, BTN
Wisconsin at Illinois, 3:30 PM, BTN

Hoops Opponent Watch: Continuing Apace

Hoops Opponent Watch: Continuing Apace

Submitted by Brian on January 21st, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Note: due to creeping hacking lung death, this feature did not appear last week. We'll cover the last two weeks of games for everyone as a result.

image_thumb7_thumbThe Status

Michigan's split on the road against a tough pair of teams allows them to tread water at the top of the projections, as Duke suffered a loss to Michigan victim NC State and Louisville went down to Syracuse.

Michigan's actually crept upwards on RPIForecast, where they're now projected to finish seventh. They're down to fifth in actual right-now RPI. In 14 brackets updated since the Minnesota game, Michigan is a #1 in ten of them. They're up to third in Sagarin and fifth on Kenpom.

Projected ones: Michigan, Duke, Kansas, Louisville

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb_thumb10488909-large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_tcj-leslie-larger-than-life1_thumb7_t

dangit NC State

RPI-effect-only Teams

IUPUI, EMU and Binghamton continued losing to everyone, except EMU actually beat CMU. Those teams are KP300s, or almost, and will stay there. Cleveland State is muddling along at 2-3 in the Horizon. WMU opened conference play against the two best teams in the league (Akron and OHIO) by a wide margin, losing both; they rebounded to take out Toledo easily.

Bradley got blown out by Indiana State and Northern Iowa before rebounding to beat SIU narrowly. Disappointing week for them.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (15-4)

@ Georgetown: W 73-45. Marquette: L 74-67 (OT). @ Villanova: W 58-43. UConn: W 69-61

Pitt's schizophrenic start to the year seems to have settled down into the profile of a decent team that won't threaten Syracuse and Louisville at the top of the league. They remain jarringly erratic.

The Georgetown blowout is worthy of a top ten team—GT took Indiana to OT earlier this year and beat UCLA; their only other loss was by a point at Marquette. Getting blown out like that cost GT 22 spots on Kenpom. So… yeah. Big Time.

Then Pitt goes out and loses to Marquette at home. OT, yeah, but I watched that one and it was grim. Back to back wins over Nova and UConn have them at .500 in the league with a couple of easy wins on the docket before 'Cuse and Louisville back to back.

There is a massive disparity between most bracket projections and Kenpom. Pitt's a top ten team on Kenpom; they're currently a ten-seed to bracketologists.

Kansas State (14-2)

@ West Virginia: W 65-64. @ TCU: W 67-54. Oklahoma: W 69-61.

We know West Virginia; they are not good, and scraping by them by a point is a bit of a warning sign. TCU is one of the worst major-conference teams in the country—Northwestern held them to 31 points in a 24-point beating—so beating them is expected, even on the road.

Beating Oklahoma is expected, but that's a decent team and winning will push their Kenpom projection up a bit. They could be in the 5-6 seed range. They've got Kansas next in what should be the game of the year in the Big 12, not that it's saying much. Bracketologits have them a weak six seed at the moment.

North Carolina State (14-3)

Georgia Tech: W 83-70. Duke: W 84-76. @ Maryland: L 51-50. Clemson: W 66-62.

The Duke win is obviously huge, both for NC State and Michigan. They'll probably be ranked at the end of the year, and a neutral-court win over a ranked team will catch the committee's notice. The next two games did not build on that accomplishment much, with a road loss against Maryland and an uninspiring win against a mediocre Clemson team. They're still a three seed to the bracket people.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: Five minutes and four made free throws against GT, ten minutes over the next three games with no points.

Arkansas (11-6)

@ TAMU: L 69-51. Vandy: W 56-33. Auburn: W 88-80 (2OT). @ Ole Miss: L 76-64

Arkansas is not deviating from its path as a .500 SEC team that heads to the NIT.

West Virginia (8-8)

@ Texas: W 57-53 (OT). K-State: L 65-64. @ Iowa State: L 69-67. @ Purdue: L 79-52.

West Virginia had been playing somewhat better these days, beating a lame Texas team in Austin and then suffering two narrow losses, one to K-State that we're fine with. Would have been nice if they had managed to pull off a road win against The Hoiberg Home For Lost Big Ten Boys, which is also known as Iowa State.

Then they got obliterated by Purdue. I should just move these guys into the category of limited attention.

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

1. Michigan(17-1)

LAST WEEK Fell down by a billion early against OSU, tied it up, lost their minds late, ended up losing by three. Worked way to six-point halftime lead at Minnesota, blew doors off with 20-7 run to start the second half, and held off Minnesota's comeback.

THING Well, yeah, they're still up here with that impressive road win against one of the other contenders and Indiana's inexplicable home loss to Wisconsin. Sorry.

OTHER THING In the battle of leaping force versus surprisingly resilient object, the force won. Michigan's defensive rebounding collapsed as Minnesota picked up 47% of their misses. Michigan mitigated the damage by doing pretty well on the offensive boards themselves and winning the turnover battle.

OTHER OTHER THING Yeah, I got a lot of crap for not even mentioning this in the game post so like HOLY PANTS MICHIGAN DOES THIS SORT OF THING ON THE REGULAR YO

8398317065_bb8d5a46d4_o[1]

OTHER OTHER OTHER THING Nik Stauskas has met severe resistance thus far at the three-point line in the Big Ten, but his teammates are picking him up in a big way. Michigan now has six guys shooting at least 38% from deep: Stauskas is at 50%, Levert 43%, Burke is 40%, Hardaway and Robinson 39%, and Albrecht 38%. That's everyone who's taken a three except Matt Vogrich, now relegated to the bench.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Momentarily staggered assassins.

Evens-Sandbag-bunker[1]2. Indiana (16-2)

LAST WEEK Clubbed Penn State. Ran out to huge lead against Minnesota and held on to win by seven. Lost to Wisconsin at home in a grim 59-possession game that inexplicably did not end with Indiana fouling the pants off Ryan Evans and seeing if he could make some free throws. Kinda sorta struggled with Northwestern, eventually winning by nine.

THING Northwestern's 1-3-1 discombobulated the Hoosiers to some extent. Early in the second half they mostly missed bunnies and often got offensive rebounds off those missed bunnies; late they had significant problems generating shots. They turned the ball over only six times in the game, though, so the 1-3-1's goal was not met. I'm not sure Michigan would be wise to duplicate that.

OTHER THING Keeping Cody Zeller off the offensive boards is going to be a massive task for Michigan when the two teams face off. He can go quiet from the field because he does not like taking iffy shots, but he has a tendency to go GRAAAGH three or four times a game and put a tip dunk back in.

OTHER OTHER THING I dismiss the relatively close score against Northwestern; eight points in a 54 possession game is like eleven in a 74 possession game, and then no one's wagging their eyebrows about potential weaknesses.

THING THEY ARE LIKE sandbags

1027736[1]3. Minnesota (15-3)

LAST WEEK Participated in Big Ten's annual Illinois Dismemberment Potluck. Suffered brutally effective Indiana onslaught in first half of a game at Assembly, then damn near got themselves back in it. The Michigan game was a similar script, but less extreme: Michigan got out to a big lead, but not that big, and Minnesota came back, but not that much.

THING Man, Tubby Smith's line change thing is weird. Ten players got at least six minutes against Indiana; ten got at least four against Michigan. The backup brigade was brutal in the loss to Michigan, with seven turnovers and just two rebounds in 43 minutes. Given that

  1. Minnesota rebounds everything on the offensive end and
  2. Michigan scores everything in transition

Those turnovers were decisive.

Those guys were a little better against Indiana, at least. I still don't know what the hell Oto Osenieks is doing on the floor in Big Ten games.

OTHER THING As we're about to cover in This Week In Minnesota Intimidation Factor, a turnover for the Gophers is an unforgivable sin. If you're getting half of the shots that go up on the board, you might as well avoid turnovers and take longer, safer shots. In the context of their team, Minnesota's turnover rate of 22%—245th in the country—is pretty much the only thing keeping them from elite-elite.

In conclusion, jack it up, Gophers.

THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR 40% OREB against Indiana, 47% against Michigan. Mbakwe and Williams combined to block ten shots in those two games. Both of those OREB performances reduced their season average.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Super pissed off pogo stick superball men about to take it out on squirrels.

anchor[1]4. Ohio State (13-4)

LAST WEEK Beat Purdue at Mackey comfortably. Staved off slow-motion Michigan comeback to win by three at home. Dropped a narrow one at Breslin.

THING Shannon Scott may not perceive the passing of time accurately.

OTHER THING No, they have no secondary scoring still. A couple guys managed to get to nine points against Michigan; their top scorer outside of Thomas against Michigan State was Lenzelle Smith with six.

OTHER OTHER THING I'm still placing them above MSU due to the tendency of close winners of home games to lose the return trip; if we call that game even would you rather beat Michigan and get blown out by Illinois or get blown out by Minnesota and beat Iowa? Seems obvious to me.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Four anchors, one of whom is really good at defense, and a boat.

5. Michigan State (16-3)

LAST WEEK Came back to beat Iowa at CHA; had uninspiring wins against Nebraska and Penn State; squeezed it out against OSU.

THING It looks like State is going all-in on the dual-big lineup they scrapped earlier in the year. Payne had 32 minutes against OSU, Nix 35(!), and both played well. The major cost was a flurry of good three-point looks for Deshaun Thomas when Payne and Nix either could not communicate or could not get through screens effectively. Thomas was 6/11 from deep.

If MSU does the same thing against Michigan, GRIII's ability to match that production will be crucial. That and forcing the 20-ish turnovers MSU had been providing in games earlier this year.

THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES Not the best week for this one. Even if you set aside the Penn State game as meaningless, against OSU Nix and Payne absorbed 13 possessions with shots from the block and came away with 19 points; they had two assists and one turnover between them. As mentioned, they did have some difficulty guarding Thomas as a result.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Russell Crowe.

CALM DOWN BRANDEN DAWSON SRSLY

girl_robot[1]6. Wisconsin (13-5)

LAST WEEK Participated in the Big Ten's annual Illinois Dismemberment Potluck. Beat Indiana! On the road! Lost to Iowa, also on the road.

THING It's time for the annual obeisance to Kenpom after Wisconsin turns out to be pretty okay. We're sorry, Kenpom. You probably have Wisconsin too high but our bitching is less accurate than Beats Indiana On The Road.

OTHER THING Preventing three-pointers is a skill, and Wisconsin has it. In their win over Indiana they held Jordan Hulls to a single missed attempt. As a team Indiana launched just 12 attempts, five of them from Yogi Ferrell, a 24% shooter. In their loss to Iowa, the Hawkeyes hit just 2 of 10 attempts, with fully half of those coming from 29% shooter Mike Gesell.

On the year, Wisconsin is allowing just a quarter of their opponents' shots to come from behind the line—top ten nationally—and they're hitting just 30%. That is the biggest difference between Michigan and Wisconsin's Ds—Michigan cedes a lot of threes, and even though they're not going in that much they're still more effective than the foul-free twos Michigan allows.

OTHER OTHER  THING On the other hand, conference opponents are shooting 21% from three against these guys. Even if you're good, you're not that good. Regression to the mean will burn the Badgers here. Probably. I mean, if you can keep getting sub-30% shooters to launch half of your opponents' attempts you're going to be fine.

THING THEY ARE LIKE whatever robots find uncontrollably sexy.

7. Iowa (13-5)

LAST WEEK coughed up the lead late against Michigan State, crubberated Northwestern on the road, finally acquired that elusive victory over a tourney-level team by running out to a big lead against the Badgers and hanging on.

THING Bet they're pretty ticked off that Roy Devyn Marble had a really ill-timed ankle injury that held him out of the narrow MSU loss.

OTHER THING Aaron White may have put up the unlikely statline of the year. Against Wisconsin he got to the line 15 times (he made 13). I would like to know the last time Wisconsin gave up 15 free throws to one dude.

That's a big strength for White, BTW: his FTRate is top ten nationally and he hits 76% at the line. Anything they can do to get his usage up will help this team—he's a low-turnover guy, too. Good, good player.

OTHER OTHER THING Man, this is not a good shooting team. They've got two guys over 30% from three, Marble and freshman Anthony Clemmons. They've got just about everything else in the green on Kenpom, but hitting 30% as a team is 286th.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Evidence for Quintessential Beilein Bubble Outfit continues what with the near miss at quality win and current projection of a 20-11, 9-9 season that would have them squarely on the bubble—but probably the right side of it.

8. Illinois (14-2)

Ten Men Basketball Tournament Day 4 5zAxvVibFZPl[1]RIGHT: I THOUGHT YOU LEFT BUDDY

LAST WEEKs Followed up thumping victory over OSU with 17 point loss to Minnesota, 23 point loss to Wisconsin, and 14-point loss to Northwestern. The first and last there were at home.

The Champaign Room:

What was a bigger hoax? Manti Te'o's girlfriend or the Illini starting out the season 12-0?

Is it happening again?

THING yes, it's happening again

OTHER THING It's die by the three time for the Illini: they're hitting just 23% in conference play; opponents are hitting 43%. This means they are nowhere near as bad as they have seemed so far, because that is unsustainable at both ends.

NNANNA EGWU WATCH Probably had best rebounding outing of the year against the rampant Gophers, picking up nine (three on offense) and helping hold Mbakwe and company to just seven OREBs of their own.

The next game he was limited to 11 minutes with foul trouble, picked up one offensive rebound, and largely watched Wisconsin grab 55% of their misses. He only had 4 rebounds in 25 minutes against Northwestern, but Northwestern only had four rebounds anyway.

His DREB rate is now 11.1, still second-to-last on the team. The guy in last place? Sam McLaurin, his 6'8" backup.

THING THEY ARE LIKE last year's Illinois team

HENRI LINE OF ENNUI

henri-the-otter-of-ennu_thumb1_thumb[2]9. Purdue (10-8)

LAST WEEK never really threatened OSU in a ten point loss at Mackey; beat up fellow Henri Division participants Penn State and Nebraska, put the spurs to West Virginia in one of those weird late nonconference games.

THING The Boilers and Wildcats have clearly separated themselves from Penn State and Nebraska. The former two teams are inside the Kenpom 100; the other two teams are nowhere near it. Purdue easily swept those guys and Northwestern has a win over a tourney aspirant.

That might not do them much good over the rest of the year, but it's something.

OTHER THING You guys might as well get used to me pumping up AJ Hammons. The seven-foot freshman has 14 blocks in his last three games and is a major reason the best part of Purdue's team is their defense on twos. He's not very efficient on offense yet; if that comes, he'll probably be the league's best center next year as long as Zeller departs for the NBA.

RONNIE JOHNSON THREE POINTER WATCH 0/2 the last three weeks.

THING THEY ARE LIKE The kid picked third from last at kickball.

 

10. Northwestern (11-8)

LAST WEEK Cruised past Penn State at Bryce Jordan, got blown out by Iowa, participated in annual Big Ten Illinois Dismemberment Potluck, kinda gave Indiana a game at Assembly… kinda.

THING I'm not really seeing it for the Wildcats next year either. Crawford will be back; Hearn and Swopshire are out the door. So take the Northwestern team that played Michigan and add Crawford plus a year for the other guys. Is that a bubble team? Probably not. And that would probably be it for Carmody.

THING THEY ARE LIKE A ghost that would like to give you a quest.

11. Nebraska (10-9)

LAST WEEK lost by 15, 10, and 9 against Michigan, MSU, and Purdue in slow-it-down grind games; went to Bryce Jordan and stuck their flag in the ground with a 68-64 win. Congratulations, Huskers: you're not the worst team in the Big Ten.

THING Nebraska joined a sad, and ever-growing club of schools: We Were Already Gonna Die And Now Our Best Player Is Gone For The Season. Brandon Ubel is gone, joining Tim Frazier and Drew Crawford on the shelf. Hammons should be sleeping in bubble wrap.

THING THEY ARE LIKE pancakes of doom

pancakes-of-doom[1]

12. Penn State (8-10)

LAST WEEK Annihilated by Indiana, Northwestern, and Purdue. Played relatively tight game against Michigan State, aided by their punchin' suspensions. Went down against Nebraska at home, and that's about it for their chances to win a Big Ten game this year.

THING they in da process of dyin'

OTHER THING oh man that is some viscera

OTHER OTHER THING i don't even know how you fit that much gore in a hamster

THING THEY ARE LIKE the butter of shame

 

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 MICHIGAN, #2 Indiana, #3 Minnesota, #4 Ohio State, #5 Michigan State

Probably In

N/A

Bubble

#9 Wisconsin, #10 Iowa, #12 Illinois (currently in the midst of Illinois-2011-style implosion)

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

N/A

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_t[1]Viewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

nyet

Tuesday

Iowa at Ohio State, 6:30, BTN
Michigan State at Wisconsin, 7 PM, ESPN
Pitt at Providence, 7 PM, ESPN2
NC State at Wake Forest, 7PM, ESPN3
Kansas at Kansas State, 8PM, ESPN3(!!! What may be the game of the year in the Big 12 is streaming only.)
Illinois at Nebraska, 8:30, BTN

Wednesday

Penn State at Indiana, 7 PM, BTN
TCU at West Virginia, 7:30, ESPN2
Minnesota at Northwestern, 9PM, BTN
Mississippi State at Arkansas, 9PM, ESPN3

Thursday

Purdue at MICHIGAN, 7 PM, ESPN

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Ohio State at Penn State, noon, ESPN2
Arkansas at South Carolina, 1:30, ESPN3
Kansas State at Iowa State, 1:45, ESPN3
Minnesota at Wisconsin, 2PM, BTN
Northwestern at Nebraska, 3PM, ESPNU
Depaul at Pitt, 4PM, ESPN3
North Carolina at NC State, 7PM, ESPN
West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 7:30, ESPNU

Sunday

Michigan State at Indiana, 1 PM, CBS
Purdue at Iowa, 3:30 PM, BTN
MICHIGAN at Illinois, 6 PM, BTN

Hoops Opponent Watch: Double Jinxed

Hoops Opponent Watch: Double Jinxed

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

image_thumb7

The Status

I'm going so far as to move Michigan above Indiana in the power rankings thanks to the relative performances of those two teams against Iowa, so Michigan stays a #1.

The only notable difference these days is that Sagarin's score-based predictors has moved Michigan up to #2, behind only Duke.  Kenpom and RPI forecast have Michigan around eighth. Michigan is third in RPI itself, having fallen behind Kansas.

Projected ones: Michigan, Duke, Kansas, Louisville

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb_thumb10488909-large1_thumb8_thumb_thumb_tcj-leslie-larger-than-life1_thumb7_t[1]

Pitt: cumong, man

We will further compress this section into teams whose individual performance may help or hurt Michigan when seeding time comes around (ie, potential "quality wins" considered by the committee) and those who will only matter insofar as their performance pushes Michigan's RPI hither and thither.

RPI-effect-only Teams

IUPUI, EMU and Binghamton continued losing to everyone.  Cleveland State is not going to be any help. They lost their first conference game against Valpo by 24 and are sliding further down the Kenpom rankings with every game. Now sitting at 242. WMU and CMI haven't played. 

Bradley continued to suggest that it's decent, getting off to a 2-1 start in the league with a six-point loss to 14-1 Wichita State, the #20 team in Kenpom.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (12-3)

@ Rutgers: L, 67-62

A five point loss to Rutgers is an alarm bell even if it was on the road. Rutgers led by 14 at the half; Pitt made a push to get within three with about ten minutes left but could not close the gap entirely.

The Panthers' issues were twofold: poor shooting and terrible defensive rebounding. Rutgers grabbed nearly half their misses, which is ominous for both Pitt and Michigan (to a lesser extent). You could excuse a loss against top-ten Cincinnati as a thing that can happen. Rutgers maybe not so much.

Kansas State (12-2)

Oklahoma State: W 73-67

On the other hand, Kansas State picked up a nice win against the Cowboys. If you haven't been paying attention, Okie State has a potential lottery pick in freshman Marcus Smart and blew out NC State early this year; they also lost to Gonzaga by a measly point.

KState beat them by doing what they do: clobbering the defensive boards and altering a lot of shots from within the arc. Rodney McGruder went off, hitting 6/10 from 2 and 5/9 from three. I was impressed with Jordan Henriquez (yes, the guy Dan Dakich called out as a human black hole when Michigan played them). While he only got 14 minutes and didn't do a whole lot that stood out on the box score, he blocked a couple of key bunnies late and altered several other shots.

North Carolina State (12-2)

@ Boston College: W 78-73.

Supbar outing against a bad BC team in which the Eagles actually led until the five-minute mark. BC is another good O/bad D outfit, so maybe that's to be expected, but it seems alarming that BC went to the line 37 times in this one. They get Duke at home this week.

MCHOBBIT UPDATE: five minutes, missed a three, got a couple rebounds.

Arkansas (9-4)

Delaware State: W 86-51.

One last rote blowout before conference play starts. Kenpom has them going 10-8 in the SEC, which is an NIT berth since they're 1-4 against major opponents so far.

West Virginia (7-6)

Oklahoma: L 67-57

Bad, ugly team now outside of Kenpom 100 and therefore not really worth tracking.

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

1. Michigan(14-0)

LAST WEEK Put Northwestern and Iowa in its mighty chaws and chewed. I'm moving 'em up given the relative strength of their performance against those two teams versus those of the other two prime contenders:

  • Minnesota had 17 points at halftime versus Northwestern (and led by three!) before turning on the gas in the second to win by 18 at home; Michigan beat the Wildcats by 28 on the road. Northwestern did have Reggie Hearn back for the game against Minnesota.
  • Indiana was in a game-long dogfight against Iowa, eventually pulling it out 69-65. The Hawkeyes hung with Michigan for 15 minutes before Burke and company blew the doors off, essentially ending the game at the first TV timeout in the second half. In this case, Michigan had the home advantage in the comparison, but that doesn't cover 4 points versus 28.

I held off as long as I could, guys. Don't blame me when they lose to Nebraska by 80.

THING Do not thwack Mitch McGary in the nose. With Jordan Morgan on the bench with two fouls, Adam Woodbury accidentally did so right before a Roy Devyn Marble four-point play. The following is an artist's impression of what happened after.

McGary blocked three shots, brought down 11 rebounds, had two assists, thundered down two dunks, screened like a mother, and had a couple of outlet pass hockey assists*.

*[obligatory Wes Unseld reference]

OTHER THING The ruthless bombing from three is not just Nik Stauskas. In addition to all of Trey Burke's other qualities, he has cracked 40% from three. Tim Hardaway is up to 40% himself after going 8/10 to start Big Ten play. Glenn Robinson III is at 38%, Caris Levert 47%, Spike Albrecht, 38%. I'm deeply surprised they're not #1 in three point shooting—they're actually ninth.

OTHER OTHER THING Michigan passed its first Big Ten DREB test with flying colors, holding Iowa to just six offensive rebounds in 37 opportunities. That's the bedrock of their relatively mediocre defense. That and not fouling, which also check.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Princess Vespa.

2. Indiana (13-1)

LAST WEEK Haven't played since the aforementioned Iowa game.

THING The first truly titanic Big Ten matchups of the season drop this weekend with Michigan going to Ohio State and Minnesota heading to Assembly Hall. For the three contenders, the plan is to win at home and anything on the road is a bonus. Since Michigan doesn't get the Gophers at home, you want Indiana to win this one.

THING THEY ARE LIKE John Candy watching Princess Vespa.

slaughters-big-rip-off-jim-brown-vhs-cover-art[1]3. Minnesota (14-1)

LAST WEEK Had world's ugliest first half against Northwestern, then put up 52 in the second half to ease their way to a comfortable victory.

THING Minnesota's blazing second half obliterated any traces of the ugly first half in the box score. They hit almost 48% of their shots overall.

OTHER THING Twelve players scored for the Gophers.

THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR Rebounded exactly half of their (many, many, many) misses, got 85% of Northwestern's, blocked seven shots, gave up just six free-throws, had ten different players record offensive rebounds.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Jim Brown's acting career.

4. Ohio State (11-3)

LAST WEEK blew doors off Nebraska by 26. Had doors blown off @ Illinois by 19(!!!)

THING The time to be alarmed by Ohio State's offense is now. If you didn't see the game and are expecting that Illinois did what they usually do and half of their copious threes went down, nope: Illinois hit under 30% of their copious threes but ran away with it because OSU scraped out 0.74 points per possession.

OTHER THING This does not appear to be a huge trend yet but the dropoff in scoring from Deshaun Thomas to his teammates is alarming. He had 24 on 21 shots; Aaron Craft had 11 points, and Lenzelle Smith hit a couple threes. No other Buckeye had more than three points.

Add in the fact that a couple of Craft's buckets were fast break opportunities created by his steals and it's staggering how little of OSU's half-court offense came from anyone other than Thomas.

THING THEY ARE LIKE a man being dragged into his grave by four zombies, one of whom is really good at getting steals

5. Michigan State (12-3)

LAST WEEK had a bit of a hairy time with Purdue, then did to the Boilers what Minnesota did to them by running away and hiding late.

THING Hiding aided by 6/8 three-point shooting from Gary Harris. Yes. Slightly.

Nix_medium[1]OTHER THING In the first two games after Brandan Kearney's departure, he was replaced by Nobody (four minutes allotted to players outside the top seven) and Alex Gauna or Russell Byrd. Since the former was the Minnesota game and the latter was the eventual Purdue blowout, the guess here is MSU rotates through seven guys only when they are in dogfights.

THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES Nix/Payne: 3/11 from the floor, 1 assist, 3 TO, albeit with eight free throws and seven makes this time around. Still, the worst ORtgs on the team against Purdue.

I for one am happy that Michigan's offense regards a post touch as heresy. The big guys still get fed, except they are efficient.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Derrick Nix after losing some weight: thinner, not appreciably better.

productimage-picture-loki-charms-11731[1]6. Illinois (14-2)

LAST WEEKs Lost to Purdue! Blew out Ohio State! Chaos!

THING Neither of last weeks' unpredictable events was because of the three point lottery. Illinois hit 39% in the loss and 30% in the win.

NNANNA EGWU WATCH This was all set up to be diabolical after Egwu managed three rebounds in 26 minutes versus the Boilers as Purdue severely outrebounded the Illini, but then the kid had to go and play very well against OSU. His DREB rate moves up a few tenths to 10.6, which is still second-to-last on the team.

OTHER EGWU WATCH Egwu had five blocks against Purdue and was 7/9 from two against OSU with no TOs. Credit where due; he was a big help in the OSU win.

THING THEY ARE LIKE I hear there's an opening for a Norse god of chaos

7. Iowa (11-4)

LAST WEEK Currently being digested by Michigan's mighty stomach.

THING The thing is I didn't think Iowa really played that badly, or was a bad basketball team. They came out with a nice plan to get the ball away from Trey Burke, used Aaron White to facilitate some early offense, and maintained a lead through much of the first half. They shot okay, didn't turn it over, and didn't get absolutely crushed on the boards or anything.

They just gave up 65% shooting from two and 50% from three (pre-Trillion time). It would be one thing if that was a trend, but they just held Indiana to 43/29 and are still the #33 eFG D in the land even after the Michigan bombing. I still think these guys get enough quality wins in the league to make the tourney.

140992543_extra_large_medium[1]OTHER THING We should keep Fran McCaffery around as long as possible. His teams play an attractive style of basketball—or at least try to—and his sideline spastic fits are bar-none the best in the conference. The fact that he looks like a bank manager adds to the hilarity a thousand-fold. NO GODDAMMIT THAT IS CONTINUALLY COMPOUNDED ALREADY THERE'S A FORMULA GET OUT OF MY BAAAAAAANK

For this reason, root for Iowa to make the tourney.

THING THEY ARE LIKE delicious corn in my belly

Houseguestposter[1]8. Wisconsin (11-4)

LAST WEEK Struggled to iffy wins against the worst two teams in the league, beating Penn State by 9—they led by three with three minutes left—and Nebraska by six—they trailed with six minutes left. At least they've stopped screwing with Kenpom, right?

THING NO THEY HAVE NOT. Nine point win against Penn State didn't drop them at all, and they were only five points off the Nebraska prediction since it was on the road. They've lost a spot as much to the ongoing decay of preseason prediction strength as much as anything else.

OTHER THING Ryan Evans has gone full Knoblach on free throws. He hit 73% last year on a lot of attempts. This year he's at 37%, and things just seem to be getting worse. In Big Ten play he's 3/14. He can't shoot threes and hits 45%, so of course he's putting up as many shots as Trey Burke.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Sinbad in that one movie with Phil Hartman.

HENRI LINE OF ENNUI

henri-the-otter-of-ennu_thumb1_thumb9. Purdue (7-7)

LAST WEEK Beat Illinois at home, hung with MSU at Breslin for about 25 minutes. Final 15 didn't go so well.

THING Ronnie Johnson hit a three! Now at 12%.

OTHER THING Won that game against Illinois by holding them to 33% shooting from two, blocking seven shots along the way. Freshman seven-footer AJ Hammons may be rounding into form. He's got 14 blocks over the past six games and was 8/12 from the floor against MSU.

THING THEY ARE LIKE

 

10. Northwestern (9-6)

LAST WEEK Were the CD to Michigan's microwave on "high"; got me to flip over to the second half of their game against Minnesota and go "wait… what?"

THING Reggie Hearn did play against the Gophers, putting up 11 points in 27 minutes.

OTHER THING Freshman Kale Abrahmson is on his way to being the traditional Northwestern stretch four with a broke-ass shot that goes in anyway, hitting 3/5 against Minnesota (and taking one other shot, a miss).

THING THEY ARE LIKE Breaking Bad starts when again?

 

11. Penn State (8-5)

LAST WEEK hung tough at Wisconsin, ended up losing by nine.

THING Penn State took one free throw in that game, and eight threes.

OTHER THING They had seven assists and 15 TOs

OTHER OTHER THING they gon' die

THING THEY ARE LIKE "You got what for our gladitorial arena? A hamster?"

 

dm_130101_mobile_Clowney_Hit1_thumb512. Nebraska (9-6)

LAST WEEK clubbed at Ohio State; hung in against Wisconsin before falling late.

THING Enormous center Andre Almedia injured his ankle early in the OSU game and "could have played" against Wisconsin. Tim Miles decided against inserting him because Wisconsin center Jared Berggren can shoot. He should be ready for the Michigan game.

OTHER THING Not that it will matter. Nebraska hasn't scored more than 63 against a power conference team this year. Michigan hasn't scored fewer than 67 against anyone.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Vincent Smith one-fourth of the way through that event to the right.

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 MICHIGAN, #2 Indiana, #2 Minnesota, #4 Ohio State, #6 Illinois

Probably In

#8 Michigan State

Bubble

#11 Iowa

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

Wisconsin

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumb_tViewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding

3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin

Monday

Indiana at Penn State, 7PM, BTN

Tuesday

Ohio State at Purdue, 9 PM, ESPN
Pitt at Georgetown, 9PM, ESPNU

Wednesday

Nebraska at MICHIGAN, 7PM, BTN
Georgia Tech at NC State, 8PM, ESPN3 [streaming]
Minnesota at Illinois, 9PM, BTN
West Virginia at Texas, 9PM, ESPN2
Arkansas at Texas A&M, 9PM, ESPNU

Thursday

Penn State at Northwestern, 8PM, ESPNU
Michigan State at Iowa, 7PM, ESPN2

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Minnesota at Indiana, noon, BTN
Marquette at Pitt, noon, ESPNU
Duke at NC State, noon, ESPN
Kansas State at West Virginia, 1:30 PM, ESPN3 [streaming]
Wisconsin at Illinois, 2:15 PM, BTN
Vanderbilt at Arkansas, 6PM, ESPN3 [streaming]

Sunday

MICHIGAN at Ohio State, 1:30 PM, CBS
Penn State at Purdue, noon, BTN
Northwestern at Iowa, 5:30, ESPNU
Nebraska at Michigan State, 6PM, BTN

Hoops Opponent Watch: Jinx Time

Hoops Opponent Watch: Jinx Time

Submitted by Brian on January 2nd, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Hey guys. This isn't on Monday because of obvious reasons, and then a bunch of teams played important games because of similarly obvious reasons. We soldier on.

imageThe Status

Okay you guys. Okay. With Florida's loss to a team Michigan already beat fairly easily and Indiana looking mortal, I am moving M above the Gators—who will be hurt by the lack of basketball teams of note they play in the SEC—and thus it is happy snake of #1 seed time, at least temporarily.

Yeah, RPI forecast, RPI, Kenpom, and Sagarin all stayed about static, but if Michigan and Florida are in the same conversation that Kansas State matchup is going to be a trump card.

Projected ones: Michigan, Indiana, Duke, and one of Kansas/Louisville/Syracuse.

The Nonconference Folk

940x1_thumb7_thumb10488909-large1_thumb8_thumb_thumbcj-leslie-larger-than-life1_thumb7_t

why u no score second half points, Pitt?

We will further compress this section into teams whose individual performance may help or hurt Michigan when seeding time comes around (ie, potential "quality wins" considered by the committee) and those who will only matter insofar as their performance pushes Michigan's RPI hither and thither.

RPI-effect-only Teams

IUPUI and Binghamton continued losing to everyone. Unfortunately, Cleveland State is quickly dropping to their level after a 30-point blowout at the hands of Akron on the 23rd. WMU blew out Mount St. Mary's and lost to NC State. EMU lost to Oakland by two and beat something called Siena Heights. Central has not played.

On the somewhat good side of the ledger, Bradley beat a couple of low-majors, lost to VT by one in OT, blew those good feelings by losing to Portland, and then beat Drake. Kenpom projects them a .500 MVC team.

Big sorts of teams

Pitt (12-2)

Delaware State, Kennesaw State: diabolical annihlation Ws. Cincinnati: L, 70-61.

Pitt finished out its ritual pounding of minor teams, then entered Big East play on New Year's Eve against top-ten Cincinnati. They led by eight at halftime, and then decided they had enough points. They were not correct in this assertion. Cincinnati could match them huge guy for huge guy and freshman seven-footer Steven Adams got beat up on the boards when he wasn't on the bench with foul trouble.

That's a loss to a good team, but at home. Pitt should still get to 12 or 13 Big East wins, but they're probably not the top ten team Kenpom currently thinks they are thanks to the ritual poundings.

Kansas State (11-2)

Texas Southern: W 78-69. Florida: W 67-61. UMKC: W 52-44. South Dakota: W 70-50.

Though Kenpom isn't particularly impressed after the Wildcats sorta struggled with a couple of bad teams—UMKC is a 300 Club member—the win over Florida is a huge boost for them and a nice indirect bump for Michigan. Hopefully that's more of an indication of how they'll play in the Big 12 than the meh wins over minor opposition.

The Florida win was mostly offensive rebounding. Neither team shot well; Kansas State got to the line 29 times to Florida's 15 and rebounded almost 40% of their misses.

North Carolina State (11-2)

Stanford: W 88-79. St. Bonaventure: W 92-73. WMU: W 84-68. NC-Greensboro: W 89-68.

The Wolfhuskers have established themselves as a mini-me version of Michigan: lightning on offense and iffy on defense. The win over Stanford is good stuff to Kenpom, but defensive struggles against minor teams are keeping them down over there. They're on pace for a 5-7 seed, or thereabouts, and are the proverbial Team No One Wants To Play in the tournament because they're going to score in bunches against anybody.

Arkansas (8-4)

Robert Morris: W 79-74. Alabama A&M: W 95-68. Northwestern St: W 79-61.

The Hogs avoided an upset bid by fringe KP100 team Robert Morris and beat up on some bad teams. They've got one more before SEC play starts; they're still projected as an NIT team.

West Virginia (7-5)

Oakland: W 76-71. Radford: W 72-62. EKU: W 74-67.

WVU actually dropped from 73 to 90 on Kenpom after three uninspiring victories against meh teams. They're moving backwards as conference play approaches, and things could get ugly. At some point we might move them into the RPI miscellanea category. They bad.

CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER

Ogre_Exe_UnHallowed[1]1. Indiana (13-1)

LAST WEEKs Blew out some minor teams. In Big Ten opener, edged Iowa by four on the road.

THING File under "happens to everyone sometimes": Jordan Hulls was 0-10 from the floor against Iowa. That's not going to happen again this season, I don't think.

OTHER THING I would normally go all rapture on Victor Oladipo's defense but Indiana went to zones for big chunks of the game because Iowa just couldn't hit a shot. Oladipo did have a double-double, snatching a tenth rebound on the offensive end for a key putback late.

THING THEY ARE LIKE a momentarily discombobulated Ogre with a big spiked club

2. Michigan(13-0)

LAST WEEK Blew out Eastern and Central to complete domination tour of Directional Michigans. That this is even a little bit cathartic is all you need to know about Michigan basketball.

THING With Tim Hardaway Jr sidelined with an ankle injury, freshman Caris LeVert got his first extended playing time against Central and looked like he could be a functional backup for big ten play—important since Michigan's wing depth has been minimal to date.

OTHER THING Nik Stauskas has pushed his three-point shooting up to 57% boggle boggle boggle

OTHER OTHER THING Trey Burke has the #1 ORTG for any player using at least 24% of his team's possessions.

image

He is less than a percentage point away from cracking 28% that represents the highest-volume ORTG leaderboard on Kenpom. If he was eligible, he would be eleven points(!!!) clear of Doug McDermott.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Five Datas playing basketball. They do not understand love or cats; they do understand ruthless efficiency.

3. Minnesota (13-1)

bravia_gallery_03[1]MOVEMENT up from 4

LAST WEEKs Beat KP100 team NDSU by 13, blew out Lafayette, fooled around with MSU before blowing the doors off late to establish themselves a true Big Ten contender.

THING Minnesota alternates between pure intimidation and dumb play. Like, why does Rodney Williams ever take a jumper, let alone an off-balance 15-footer? You are a pogo stick man. Go pogo stick it.

OTHER THING Great grobbly gravy, here's the intimidation part: against Michigan State (Michigan State!) the Gophers shot 60% from 2 and rebounded 47% of their misses. Mbakwe and Williams had 9 of Minnesota's 14 OREBs.

They turn the ball over a lot and eschew threes—Michigan may pull out the 1-3-1 against them if it seems necessary.

THING THEY ARE LIKE thousands of superballs assembled into a basketball team

4. Ohio State (10-2)

LAST WEEKs celebration of perfection against Chicago State. Not so much Kansas in an eight-point loss at home.

THING Do not extrapolate OSU's horrible shooting against Kansas to future Michigan games. Jayhawk center Jeff Withey has lead his team to the #1 two-point D and #2 block rate in the country. Michigan has nothing approximating him. That performance is just not relevant, sadly.

OTHER THING Aaron Craft is decidedly not stepping up as a scoring option. He's hitting just 41% of his twos and his three point accuracy is slightly down. He's turning it over a lot less, though.

THING THEY ARE LIKE a Big Ten football team except competent

320x[1]5. Michigan State (11-3)

LAST WEEKs struggled at Bowling Green before pulling away late; beat Texas rather solidly; trailed by about 6 points for most of game at Minnesota, tied it up, got doors blown off late.

THING Jordan Morgan complainers, take heed: Michigan State's two-headed center not only allowed the boggling numbers listed above for Minnesota's offense but turned in a 7 of 21 line themselves, with only one FTA. Derrick Nix picked up a shot clock violation when he missed everything but the backboard from four feet. Jordan Morgan is in the conversation for best center in the league, non-Zeller/Mbakwe division. Srs.

Does this say more about a relative paucity of centers in college basketball than Jordan Morgan? Ah yup. But like he's okay man.

OTHER THING Keith Appling had six steals against Minnesota. Beware lazy perimeter passes against this man.

THING THEY ARE LIKE a poor man's Jordan Morgan

Missouri Illinois6. Illinois (13-1)

LAST WEEKs lost to Missouri not-that-competitively, scraped by a terrible Auburn team by two.

THING NNANNA EGWU WATCH: DREB rate has dropped(!!!) from 11.3 to 10.2. Illinois DREB rate is now in the 200s. Every Illinois player save Sam McLaurin is beating him out. Spike Albrecht now full point ahead of him. There are literally no pictures on GIS of Egwu bringing in a rebound in college. IlliniHQ does bring us the shot at right of the dude nearly decapitating some other dude, though.

The only possible explanation for this is that a secret CIA experiment is ongoing in which Jeremy Gallon and Egwu switch bodies without anyone knowing.

THING THEY ARE LIKE what if pogo stick gazelle men could not find basketballs

7. Iowa (11-3)

LAST WEEKs clubbed a couple of KP300-ish teams, narrowly fell to Indiana.

THING I'm actually tempted to move them above the Illini after they gave Indiana a game despite Roy Devyn Marble going 1-14 from the floor. He did acquire 15 FTA, so… not the worst thing ever. Still, comparisons to previous Beilein teams where too often games come down to one shot creator putting up tough shots over and over remain accurate.

OTHER THING The best thing is always calling Roy Devyn Marble by his full name. More people should do this.

OTHER OTHER THING. Basabe watch: 9 minutes, one shot, one TO, one block against Indiana. What happened to that guy?

THING THEY ARE LIKE Dion Harris-era Michigan teams except with Aaron White.

Disintegrate[1]8. Wisconsin (9-4)

LAST WEEKs Blew KP300s out.

THING I HOPE YOU DISINTEGRATE INTO ATOMS

THING THEY ARE LIKE something that has not yet disintegrated into atoms like they should, what are you Vincent Smith or something

HENRI LINE OF ENNUI

henri-the-otter-of-ennu_thumb19. Northwestern (9-4)

LAST WEEKs scraped by near-KP300 Texas State by six; lost to Stanford by 2; blew out near-KP300 Brown.

THING Hard to see how this team keeps pace in the Big Ten minus Crawford unless Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewksi keep up their 43 and 48 percent shooting on threes, respectively. Those are lower sample sizes than Stauskas, FWIW. Sobocop is yet more evidence that Beilein should try to pick off the best kid in any particular NW class.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Northwestern basketball minus its best player.

10. Purdue (6-6)

LAST WEEKs Iffy wins versus Ball State by 10, William & Mary by 7.

THING Ronnie Johnson has stopped flinging up threes with a less than ten percent chance of going in, unfortunately. I am disappoint, Ronnie.

OTHER THING Actually, the whole team has quit shooting it from deep. In the two games since last we visited with the Boilers they've put up a total of 20 threes, hitting six. That's 18% of their shots; extrapolated to a season, that would put them 346th, ahead of only Lamar. That is a recipe for death in the Big Ten.

THING THEY ARE LIKE blindfolded men asking for a cigarette.

dm_130101_mobile_Clowney_Hit[1]11. Nebraska (9-4)

LAST WEEKs Scraped it out against Jacksonville State, handily beat CMU, handily beaten by UTEP, beat KP300 Nicholls State by 9.

THING Things are about to get uuuuuugly for the Huskers. Next four games: @ OSU, UW, @ Michigan, @ MSU.

OTHER THING Guard Ray Gallegos is a black hole. He has a post-like 6.4 assist rate and manages to get classified a "role player" despite taking more shots than any Husker save Dylan Talley. He mostly puts up threes at a 34% clip.

THING THEY ARE LIKE Vincent Smith

12. Penn State (8-4)

LAST WEEK whipped New Hampshire, took out Duquesne by ten.

THING Joining Ronnie Johnson in the Jan Jagla club is Ross Travis, who is 2 for 21 from three this year. He hit four of 24 last year, and has decided that what Penn State needs is more threes from him.

OTHER THING Travis shrunk two inches last year according to Kenpom.

THING THEY ARE LIKE also Vincent Smith

Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion

projected seeds included

#1 Indiana, #1 MICHIGAN, #3 Ohio State, #3 Minnesota, #6 Illinois

Probably In

#8 Michigan State

Bubble

#11 Iowa

Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award

Wisconsin

Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award

Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue

497294952_c06a81d93b1_thumb1_thumbViewing Guide

Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …

1) helping M win conference title
2) greatest number of tourney teams from league/best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding
3) eff Michigan State
4) also Wisconsin

Tuesday

was yesterday

Wednesday

Nebraska at Ohio State, 6:30 PM, BTN
Illinois at Purdue, 8:30 PM, BTN

Thursday

Northwestern at MICHIGAN, 7 PM, ESPN2
Penn State at Wisconsin, 8:30 PM, BTN

Friday

nyet

Saturday

Pitt at Rutgers, 11 AM, ESPN2
Purdue at Michigan State, noon, BTN
Oklahoma State at KState, 1:30, nonexistent Big 12 Network (streaming only, I think)
Oklahoma at West Virginia, 4 PM, ditto
NC State at BC, 4 PM, ESPN2

Sunday

Northwestern at Minnesota, 7PM, BTN
Wisconsin at Nebraska, 4:30 PM, BTN
Iowa at MICHIGAN, noon, BTN