"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Talented Florida & MSU/Lville next obstacles to MU becoming 4th #3 seed this decade to win title; CBS Sports - Crowder > Green for best all-around?

Marquette will travel to Phoenix four wins away from becoming the fourth number 3 seed in the past decade to win the national title. To do so MU will have to get through one of the other programs who did it in Florida (2006 title, while Syracuse did it in 2003 and UConn last year). During that time only one #2 seed (UConn 2004) and five No. 1 seeds have won it all.

A showdown of Draymond Green vs. Jae Crowder, who Greg Anthony said this week has passed Green as the best all-around player in the country, will only be a possibility if Marquette gets past a Florida team that both Value Add and NBA Scouts say is more talented than Marquette.

“The other interesting thing about Jae Crowder is that I always felt that Draymond Green was probably the most versatile player in college basketball, but the more I watch Jae Crowder I think he is the most versatile, because he is versatile on both ends. He can defend points, he can defend the paint, he can defend on the perimeter, he blocks shots, he takes charges, he is a great rebounder, he scores, he is blue collar." - Greg Anthony on CBS Sports

The same Mike Rosario who torched Marquette for 22 points to nearly lead Rutgers back from 21 down in 2009 is the 4th best guard because Florida is the only team with 3 guards in the Value Add Top 100. These include senior point guard Erving Walker (34th in Value Add), 1st round NBA prospect Bradley Beal (85th in Value Add) and 2013 NBA draft prospect Kenny Boynton (22nd). With 6-foot-9 Patrick Young also expected to be a 1st round pick this year and 6-foot-10 Erik Murphy also ranked in the top 500, this is an incredibly talented team.

Get through that and MU will most likely go up against four players expected to be in the NBA within the next two years in 6-1 Keith Appling, 6-6 Branden Dawson, 6-10 Adreian Payne – and most importantly 6-7 Draymond Green.

But Marquette is playing like a Top 3 seed having shut down one of the top guard duos in basketball yesterday, and now with a chance to do the same to perhaps the best guard trio in the land.

For all the talk of parity, it has now been 15 years since a 4-seed has won, and 24 years since an even lower seed (Danny Manning and #6 Kansas 1998) took it all. Since the tournament went to the 16-seed format, the average Number 3 seed has won 1.86 games per tournament – so MU is already slightly ahead of pace with the 2 wins – while the average No. 1 seed has won 3.37 games. The entire table is here (teams that are given a Dayton game have an extra 0.5 average win since those are 50/50 games whether pitting 16 seeds or 12/13 seeds):

SeedAve WinsChampsNon-#1 seed to win title
22.434UConn 2004, Kentucky 1998, Duke 1991, Lville 1986
31.864UConn 2011, Florida 2006, Syracuse 2003, Michigan 1989
41.471Arizona 1997
61.191Kansas 1988
80.691Villanova 1985

If #1 MSU and #3 Marquette survive Thursday, then 2 most versatile players is country will face off

While Michigan State would be a tough match-up if they beat Louisville and Marquette beats Florida, I believe MU would certainly have a better shot in that game than we would have against the length of Kentucky or UNC (though we certainly hope Kendall Marshall's injury today does not knock him out of the tournament) that killed us last year in the second weekend.

After Steve Lavin said watching Crowder is almost like watching a varsity player playing against the JV, and before Charles Barkley said he was the “nail” and the “glue,” Greg Anthony went straight to the question of if Crowder is the best all-around player in the country:

“The other interesting thing about Jae Crowder is that I always felt that Draymond Green was probably the most versatile player in college basketball, but the more I watch Jae Crowder I think he is the most versatile, because he is versatile on both ends. He can defend points, he can defend the paint, he can defend on the perimeter, he blocks shots, he takes charges, he is a great rebounder, he scores, he is blue collar."

Of course, if Greg read Cracked Sidewalks for Value Add ratings he would know Crowder has ranked a little ahead of Green for months (they are now 2nd and 3rd behind Anthony Davis).

The two were by far the best players in the opening round based on NBA Efficiency (Points + Blocks + Assists + Rebounds – Turnovers – FT missed – FG missed), with Green nudging Crowder 39-38. In the second round Green once again had a slight 28-26 edge, but when you consider Marquette was facing higher seeds and Crowder also drew 3 charges yesterday, that’s about as even as you get:

Thursday-FridayFGMFGAFTMFTARebAstStlBlkTO PtsEff
Green vs. Long Island Brook10172312101002439
Crowder vs. BYU1020221644012538
This weekendFGMFGAFTMFTARebAstStlBlkTO PtsEff
Green vs. St. Louis611231362031628
Crowder vs. Murray St.613471323211726
Total in Tourney so farFGMFGAFTMFTARebAstStlBlkTO PtsEff

A Crowder vs. Green match-up would also pit the Player of the Year in the Big East vs. the Player of the Year in the Big Ten. While the Big East has laid a pretty strong claim to the top conference in the last over the past few years, the Big Ten has been the best conference this year.

Green is the best player in the best conference

Using the table above, I calculated how many games each conference would be expected to win based on the seed of each team they had invited to the tournament. Once Florida has wrapped up their win against Norfolk State, the following will be the wins by conference.

ConfAnt WinsSo FarStill playing
BE12.310SFl, Lville, Syr, Cin, Marq
B1010.99Ind, OSU, Wis, MSU, Pur
B128.65Bay, KS
ACC8.85NCSt, UNC, FlSt
SEC6.05Kent, Flo

Ohio and Lehigh also still alive.

It has been a great tournament for the Big East, after being down a bit from the past few years. Based on seeding and a 50/50 playoff game, the Big East would have been expected to win 12 games, and the Big Ten would have been expected to win 11 games.

After Michigan State survived St. Louis today, both the Big Ten and the Big East needed two more wins to reach their anticipated wins (12 and 11 respectively). Florida’s 25-0 run early against Norfolk State would give the SEC five wins – just one short of what their seedings would have suggested with Kentucky still alive and Marquette needing to avoid it’s 3rd bad performance in 4 games against SEC schools this season.

While the Big 12 will need Baylor and Kansas to combine for four more wins to hit their anticipated 9 wins, the real disappoints have been the Mountain West Conference, which only got one win out of New Mexico while Colorado State, San Diego State and UNLV all lost their openers – well short of four anticipated wins. Conference USA also had another disappointing year, as they would have expected at least one win from either Southern Mississippi or Memphis, who should have a more experienced team for Big East competition next year.

Looking at the seeds and records over the past four years of the 13 conferences who have had more than one team win a tourney game, I have to admit the Big East has underperformed a bit. The Big East has won by far the most tournament games with 48, so pretty clearly looks like the best conference over the past four years on that count – but the reputation may have led to a little overseeding as the seeds would have predicted a total of 61 wins over the four years. The five remaining teams would basically have to all run the table until they hit each other to get to that mark.

Conf4-yr anticipated win4-yr wins% of anticipated

The two conferences that have overperformed the most are the CAA and Horizon, but obviously that is mainly VCU winning 5 games last year and Butler winning 5 games two years in a row. However, ODU’s upset of Notre Dame and George Mason’s win over Villanova indicate the CAA is probably getting underseated/represented in the tournament, and Cleveland State did stun Wake Forest in a blowout the year before Butler started their runs.

While the Pac12 is certainly down, the fact that they have won 15 games rather than the 12 or 13 you would expect under their seeds indicates that perhaps Washington should have been selected this year over Iona.

No comments: