"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

Saturday, February 06, 2010

MUs 3-point shooting overcomes 57% 2-point shooting and 58% offensive rebounding by Friars

Pomeroy’s computer calculations (www.kenpom.com) picked MU to win 83-78 at Providence today and ultimately finish 4th place in the Big East at 11-7. Two other excellent predictors, Sagarin and RPI Realtime, picked MU to lose a close game at Providence and finish a couple of spots lower by the end of the Big East season. Let’s hope Pomeroy continues to be right, as he nailed the actual 82-79 final today and has MU as a slight favorite in all seven remaining games.

This evening, the Big East Network named Lazar as one of the top three “Beasts of the East” for today, and said that Louisville (due to their press) and Marquette present the two toughest matchups down the stretch because no one can match up with MUs five perimeter players. With Lazar playing the center/forward/guard position at 6-foot-5 with four other guards on the court all but 6 minutes of the game, he grabbed 9 rebounds, had 4 assists, and went 5 for 9 both from inside AND outside the arc to finish with 28 points.

I can’t believe many teams have won a game in which they allowed 57% shooting on 2-pointers (26 of 46) AND allowed that same team to grab 58% of their missed shots (19 offensive rebounds to only 14 defensive rebounds for MU), but Lazar’s heroics and the team’s 3-point shooting were enough.

MU hit 11 of their 26 three-pointers to hit their exact season average of 42.3% (just behind Cornell for tops in the country) and once again defended the trey very well (6 of 22 for Providence for 27.2%). Lazar’s play and the 15-point advantage from behind the arc were enough to give MU their 5th straight win, 2nd straight road win, and keep them within one game of a 4th place team they’ve already beaten in the race for the double-bye in the Big East tourney. Pomeroy favors MU in all seven games due to being the home team against every team competing with them for 4th place:

4. Georgetown 7-4 (MU owns tie-breaker from 62-59 win Jan. 6)
5. Pitt 7-4* (home feb. 18, 8 CST, ESPN, predicts 67-60 win)
6. Lville 6-4 (home March 2, 8:30, ESPNU, predicts 76-70 win)
7. Marquette 6-5
8. Notre Dame 5-5 (home March 6, 1 p.m., predicted 82-70 win)
9. South Florida 5-5 (home Feb. 13, 7:30 CST, predicted 72-63 win)
10. Cincinnati 5-5 (road Feb. 21, 1 CST, picks 67-65 win, but other two pick Cincy)

Other Pomeroy predictions: 68-63 win Feb. 25 at 2-8 St. John's, 76-75 win Feb. 28 at 3-7* Seton Hall

(* assumes Pitt holds onto a 2nd half double digit lead against Seton Hall at home today)

To give you a sense of how important it is the MU has their four toughest teams in the Bradley Center, Sagarin now computes that MU would be favored at home against any team in the country except the top 4, while MU would be the underdog on the road against the top 79 teams in the country. This year teams average doing 9.06 points better against a team at home than on the road, so this could be just enough in those four games.

Now to be balanced, RealTime RPI has MU losing 64-74 at Cincy, 72-85 at Seton Hall and 74-76 to Louisville at home to finish 10-8 and only win the other four games by 2 to 6 points, so a very thin margin to even finish 10-8. Even though Pomeroy has MU as the favorite in all seven, his calculations assume we lose two of them to finish 11-7, which would give MU 4th place.

To root for Georgetown, or not to root for Georgetown?

If RPI Realtime is accurate, then Georgetown will lose only one more game, finishing as the No. 5 team in the RPI and 13-5 in the Big East to easily finish in 4th place. MU would finish 10-8, with an RPI of 63rd (currently 62nd) but still comfortably somewhere between 5th and 8th place to get one bye. In this case, the fact that MU would have beaten the No. 5 team in the RPI would give MU a very good chance to go to the tourney because teams around 60th usually get into the tournament when they’ve knocked off a team with a very high RPI. So in that case, we would want Georgetown to come close to running the table and have them at the top of our resume on Selection Sunday.

If Pomeroy is more accurate, then we would be happy to see Georgetown lose the games Pomeroy predicts to Louisville, Syracuse and West Virginia to finish tied with MU at 11-7.

Root for Georgetown if you are writing off fourth place, for them if your hopes are alive. The bottom line is that either service predicts a scenario that could have MU in the dance. But it is going to require pulling out very close wins in every game, including stopping the two hottest scorers in the league when USF and ND come to town, and handling a Louisville team that is once again peaking late.

1 comment:

ICHeights said...

Hey guys anything on the new recruit Jae Crowder?