Bart Torvik's site allows you to slice data into whatever chunk you want; I've been slicing.
One rank to rule them all. Michigan is the #1 team in the country if you consider just games against top 50*, top 100, top 150, and top 200 opponents. It's only when the dregs get added in that Michigan slips back to third.
The reason for this is pretty obvious: zones. Torvik's algorithm thinks more highly of Michigan's offense than Kenpom and the teams that get added back in when you consider every game are Norfolk State, George Washington, Chattanooga, Air Force, and Binghamton. That selection of opponents contain the large majority of Michigan possessions against zones.
Michigan's offensive issue-type substances almost entirely go away when you consider just top 100 opponents; they're 9th per Torvik. The defense is third. That's a seven-game sample, so it's relatively robust.
[After the JUMP: charts!]
Michigan's defense in two charts. Here is a chart on which the best defensive teams in the country are to the top and the best at preventing threes are to the right. High major teams are the big bubbles; low majors are the little dots.
Michigan is sui generis amongst the best Ds in the country, more heavily dependent on their ability to prevent launches from deep than the other Ds that have poked their head above the fray. (For the record: those are Duke, Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and the purple one way to the left is Kansas State.)
Stanford is the extreme outlier to the right; four of the other five teams who've separated from the pack are in the Big Ten. Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, and Minnesota are all going to great lengths to prevent threes.
The other chart is much less noisy. Opponent assist rate vs defensive efficiency:
There's Michigan's D in two charts. Force contested twos.
One more not-quite-a-chart. Michigan: 16th in transition D. 21st at preventing transition opportunities.
Call it a program philosophy. Stay out of the midrange. Michigan's offensive issues (such as they are) are approximately 100% having too many Other Twos that they're not good at making:
- Michigan's 17th in the country at converting at the rim and 58th from three.
- They're 293rd at converting Other Twos at 30.8%. Even removing the Binghamton game (6/27) only gets them up to 32%, which is still deep into the 200s.
Caveat: some of Torvik's data seems weird. They have Simpson at 2/15, which implies that a bunch of Simpson's hook shots are being filed as at the rim, which no. Hoop Math has different, less scalding numbers: 35% on other twos. That's still bad, but not abominable.
Either way Charles Matthews is the main culprit here, hitting under 30% on the other twos that are a plurality of his shots. Maybe fewer stepback jumpers and more attempting to yam it on people's faces.
Seeding outlook. Torvik is now throwing up three-seeds for Michigan in the event they go 12-8 in conference; anything better is almost certainly on the two line. His system projects Michigan has the #3 overall seed… and MSU #4 right behind them.
The brief moment where the Big Ten looked like they'd get ten bids has passed. There's still a chance; Torvik has 9 in with Minnesota as the #4 team out; the most endangered team still in, Iowa, is a ten-seed.
Weird MEAC team of the week! This week's weird MEAC team is Elon, which is such a weird MEAC team that they're in the Colonial. Weird! Spare a thought for the Fightin' Musks, who have attempted one dunk on the season… and missed it.
Also spare a thought for our friends just down the road in the Convocation Center. EMU is the most dunked-on team in all the land, by attempts. Old friends Savannah State are the most dunked-upon if measuring by completions.
Weird MEAC player of the week! UCF's Tacko Fall.
At 80% on 2-point attempts, UCF's Tacko Fall is tied for the NCAA record for field-goal percentage in a season (Devontae Cacok two years ago).
At 27.9% on free-throw attempts, Fall is also on pace to become the first player in at least 27 seasons with >130 FTA and <.34 FT%
— Kerry Miller (@kerrancejames) January 9, 2019
— Blog Apuestas (NBA) (@blog_apuestas) January 9, 2019
Aubrey Dawkins has seen this up close. His memoirs will double as a basketball horror story.