In ACC play, Florida State outscored their opponents on the year by just .02 points per possession. In the Big 10, Wisconsin outscored their opponents by an average of .08 points per possession. In regular season games in the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, C-USA, Missouri Valley, Mountain West , Pac-10, and SEC, Wisconsin ranks 19th in this statistic (between West Virginia and Syracuse) while Florida State sits at 30th (between Cal and Texas A&M.
But that’s only part of the story. Florida State is an offensively challenged team, whereas Bucky is having a down year defensively. On the flip side, using tempo-neutral statistics Wisconsin actually had the best offense in the Big Ten this year. FSU is going to face what is basically the offensive juggernaut of a power conference without the horses to keep up. As previously mentioned Wisconsin has struggled on defense, but FSU is actually not set up well to take advantage of Wisconsin’s defensive problems.
Wisconsin has a few other things going for them. For teams seeded 11th through 13th, the top 5 indicators that they will pull the upset are as follows:
1. Consecutive trips to the tourney > 2
2. Points from guards = 25-40%
3. Member of a Big 6 conference
4. Coach’s trips to tourney = 5-7
5. Combined rebound/turnover margin > 4.0
The Badgers list several players as G/F, but just counting Jason Bohannon, Trevon Hughes, and Jordan Taylor, you have about 29% of their offense. As for number 5, I’m not sure how to find rebound margin, but the Badgers were tied for 6th in the Big Ten in rebounds per game, which seems quite good for a team that runs at a slow pace, and they were dead last in turnovers in the Big Ten.
For 5 seeds like FSU, the 5 most important indicators that they will outperform their seed are as follows:
1. Wins in their last 10 pre-tournament games = 8-9
2. Points from Guards = 25-40%
3. Coach’s tourney trips are > or = 15
4. Victory Margin > 13 ppg
5. Consecutive team bids > 4
FSU went 6-4 down the stretch, losing at Wake, at Boston College, and at Duke twice. My back-of-the-envelope calculations have their guard contributions at about 52% of their offense, due largely to guard Toney Douglas and his 21.3 PPG average. The coach of the Seminoles is Leonard Hamilton, and I do not believe he has put 15 teams into the tourney, though I can’t find the exact number. The ‘Noles average margin of victory is 8.52 points according to my calculations, and it appears that FSU has not made the tournament since 1998.
Applying overarching trends like this to one game is dangerous as match-ups will always be very important, and the Badgers are a bit odd in how they match up with people. Moreover, I haven’t seen FSU play enough to know if they will enjoy some strategic advantage. What I can say, superficially, is that I have seen the Badgers shut down guard-dominant teams before, and Toney Douglas dominates the scoring for FSU far more than, say Manny Harris or Evan Turner do for their respective teams.
I’ve heard FSU described by national pundits as a “dangerous team” that has gotten “hot at the right time.” I admittedly don’t know much about them other than what the stats show me, but on paper, this looks like a great matchup for Wisconsin, and I say this as a big Wisconsin pessimist. Look for FSU to go down early.
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