Monday, March 16, 2009

Wisconsin Is Set Up Well

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.


Jon said...

I agree we got an amazing bracket, considering i don't think we're very good and we have a very legit sweet 16 shot. I think you're overstating it quite a bit to call us "the offensive juggernaut of the big 10". i watched FSU a couple times and was unimpressed, one thing though is they have a very good record in close games where ours is abysmal. is that all luck? i'm not sure - given we struggle so badly scoring in the final minutes whereas they have a legit go-to guy. i think its a toss-up (which as a 12 seed is as good as you can ask for)

PaulNoonan said...

That "offensive juggernaut" comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I mention it to point out that counter to most analysis of Wisconsin, defense is NOT their strength and offense (kind of) is.

And I don't think it's all luck that we're bad in close games. We really don't have anyone who can create their own shot (as you sadi), so when defenses do tighten up, we have trouble.

We're really not that good, but for being a 12 seed, this isn't bad. So basically I agree with everything you said.

tracker said...

The additional benefit of the 12 seed is that you have to play no higher than a 4 seed to reach the round of 16. In that regard, a somewhat better seed would be harmful (ie a 8 or 9 will have to beat a 1, a 10 goes through a 2, or an 11 must go through a 3).

And the 4 in the Badgers way are the X-men of Xavier, losers of 2 of their last 3, to the likes of Richmond and Temple.

E.S.K. said...

If the only two teams they lost to are Richmond and Temple is it really "to the likes of" of is it just "to Richmond and Temple?"

PaulNoonan said...

I think "to the likes of" is actually correct there. Think "Old West vernacular."

tracker said...

It's a convention of speech, E, by which I cast aspersion on the subject, and imply that losses to similarly dubious opposition could be forthcoming.

E.S.K. said...

I always think of it used to disparage a group by indicating a single or a few specifics. As in, "Xavier, losers of 5 straight to the likes of Richmond and Temple."

The implication being that all five teams are as shitty as Richmond and
Temple. When explicitly stating who the teams are, what's the point of the verbose "to the likes of?"
I'm a busy guy, I don't have time to read your bullshit Tracker. But apparently I do have plenty of time to bitch about it.

PaulNoonan said...

Personally, I won't adjust my verbiage to appeal to the likes of you, E.

E.S.K. said...

See, you are implying that you wouldn't adjust your verbiage for me or anyone like me. That makes sense.

Saying the Brewers lost in the playoffs to the likes of the Phillies doesn't make sense, since they lost to only the Phillies, not all or other teams like the Phillies.

tracker said...

While not literally true, saying "to the likes of" helped my audience understand the broader point I was trying to make. Xavier won't play Richmond or Temple again, so how important is their record against them specifically when assessing future performance? The more important takeaway from my insightful post is that Xavier lost to a couple generally crappy teams, and therefore is capable of losing to our generally crappy team.

See, I'm just trying to guide my audience's understanding, E. You should be thanking me.

DannyNoonan said...

"Saying the Brewers lost in the playoffs to the likes of the Phillies doesn't make sense, since they lost to only the Phillies, not all or other teams like the Phillies."

Are you saying that a group that consists of the Phillies and other teams like the Phillies doesn't include the Phillies? You're a weird dude ESK.

TD said...

I hate to break up a good grammatical disagreement, but I'm going to weigh in on the Badger's seeding and draw.

First off, I agree that if you're going to come into the tourney as less than a 6 seed, its best to do it right and fall all the way to an 11 or 12 to avoid those nasty 2nd match-ups with a 1 or 2. I say this with full knowledge that the Badger's only Final Four team did it as an 8. That was an aberation. Arizona entered that tournament as a horrible 1 seed to begin with, and were banged up on top of it. No such team exists this year. I want no part of playing any of the 1's or 2's in the first weekend this year.

If they were going to go all the way to a 12, Florida State was a pretty good draw for them. I like the matchup with Xavier in the 2nd round even better. But in reality, its the diffence between thinking that have no chance, and haveing some chance, to advance.

This is arguably the worst team Bo has taken to the NCAA tourney, with the possible exception of the team that got blown out as an 8 seed by Arizona back in 2006. They have 3 major issues that crop up in every game, regardless of opponent. 1) They suffer horrific scoring droughts in virtually every game. 2) They don't have a lock down defender that can shut down a team's best scorer at crunch time, particularly quick driving slashers. 3) They don't have a go to guy of their own in the clutch, who can create his own shots, or good shots for teammates. 4) They can't hit free throws in the stretch. 5) They don't have a reliable low post defender

They routinely display this toxic recipe for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If my memory serves me correctly they had 5 point leads or better in the 2nd half of the following games, only to lose it late: Ohio State, @ Minnesota, @ Michigan State, @ Northwestern, Purdue, at Iowa, Minnesota and Marquette. They nearly gave up the home games against Michigan and Idaho State this way as well. Its really interesting that wheels seem to start coming off at the moment in the 2nd half when they reach thier peak lead in the game. Ohio State was a classic example of this. They got a 7 point lead (thier biggest of the game) with about 5:00 to play and never scored another basket. They missed 2 of 3 FT attempts before Bohanon hit two meaningless ones late. Evan Turner went off. And the best shot they got in that whole span was a 3 foot bunny that Luer whiffed on from the low block. Think back to the game at Minnesota amd the week before that at Michigan State, and you'll see a nearly matching pattern.

So ... my thought is ... they'll be in the game Friday, perhaps even leading, and they'll hit one of their patented dry spells late, and Douglass will take the game over and FSU will win going away. I hope I'm wrong.

Final note ... this team got jobbed in their seeding yet again. I will be the first to acknowledge that they had a thin resume' to start with ... and frankly, I could have lived with them being left out so long as it wasn't Saint Mary's or Arizona that got the spot instead. But to come in seeded behind VCU, Temple, USC, and at the same seed line as Arizona, Western Kentucky and Northern Iowa is outrageous. That Arizona is even in, is an outrage ... but that a different post.

TD said...

Oops ... I said they have 3 major issue and listed 5. I meant to say 5 Issues, and never went back and corrected. I've always been a horrible proof reader.

E.S.K. said...

No Danny, I'm saying it doesn't go beyond the Phillies, hence the nonsensical "the likes of" addition is pointless and frivolous. Much like this fantastic conversation.