Tuesday Hoops

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Author: [College Basketball] Topic: Tuesday Hoops
nropp11 PM nropp11
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:17:46 PM
November: 46-38, +5.20
November Leans: 39-38
December: 65-70, -9.45
December Leans: 67-79
January: 52-39, +15.80
January Leans: 40-37
February: 63-44, +65.90
February Leans: 56-49
March: 37-21, +64.45
March Leans: 19-16

Just one brief thought on a future that I believe holds a bit of value in regards to the “big” tournament, and that is Ohio State to win either the East (1.5/1), or to win the whole thing (8/1). I’m not sure that there is a coach licking his chops at the type of draw he got more than Thad Matta (maybe Self and Kansas), but I’m sure there are arguments that could be made. In terms of why Ohio State, that the match-ups really favor them. Drawing a WVU or Gonzaga in the second round is certainly favorable, but more importantly, I focus on Florida State. I think Florida State’s in a favorable quadrant, and I do expect them to have some trouble prior to getting to the sweet 16, but if they do, I really can’t expect them to get by Ohio State. As I sat there and watched selection show expert after expert break down the brackets, a greater percentage chose Florida State to beat Ohio State in the game to get to the Elite 8. Here’s the thing, and if you paid any attention at all this year, Florida State just can’t flat out score against good defenses. Sure, they put up some high point totals on UNC and Duke more than once, I don’t put them in the category of good defenses as I have stated numerous times before. Here is the Florida State point totals against top 100 defenses this year: 41, 49, 73 (this game went 3OT and they scored 47 in regulation), 59, 58, 63, 62, 63, 48, and 63. Those are pathetic, and I feel it’s important to note that Ohio State isn’t only a top 100 defense, they are the #1 defense in the country. In the top half of the bracket, I think Syracuse got a horrendous draw. Probably having to play a tough and physical Kansas State team, but more importantly having to play any combination of Vandy/Harvard/Wisconsin/Montana who all shoot the 3 ball extremely well against a zone. So, just going off of that, I think Ohio State holds a ton of value in regards to how Matta’s going to approach their road to the Final 4. It’s really the only region I found value in. Other thoughts, maybe a Kansas with a pretty easy road, and getting to St. Louis. The West is a mess, and certainly what I feel is the toughest region (Missouri, Florida, Marquette offenses and Michigan State, Louisville defenses, along with some mid-majors, and a bracket that has Memphis as an 8 and STL as a 9?). This region reeks of disaster, and upsets. Kentucky’s region I view as pretty easy, with the only contenders being a 5 senior Wichita squad, along with maybe a UNLV or Xavier. That wraps up the only thoughts I have on the bracket. ---And those thoughts were typed before this Fab Melo news broke today.

This is really an interesting match-up. Granted, only 37 at-large teams are allowed in the field, so neither of these teams probably had a case to present and both were left out of the field. I think Akron not getting in was a bit more of a snub however. They ran through the conference season, they were one of the few teams to win more than a handful or road games, played an extremely aggressive out of conference slate, won the conference outright, and lost by 1 in the final with an automatic bid on the line. To know that they were so close, I expect a little letdown here. With Northwestern, you have a bit of the same, yet slightly different. They really didn’t earn anything as opposed to what they did throughout the season. They were reportedly in the first four out of the tournament, which Carmody called the toughest day of his basketball life when they weren’t put in the field. So, you do have a somber team and one that might letdown a bit tonight. However, that isn’t the case as they take some pretty big motivation into the tournament tonight. Why? Well, if you’re a first four out, how in the world do you get a #4 seed in the NIT. Carmody says they’re over the NCAA selection process, and he has a group of motivated kids out to prove that they weren’t a #4 seed, and a team that gets just one home game before flying across country to Washington if they were to win. One of these teams is motivated, and it’s not the one you think. Akron was oh so close to getting in, Northwestern was not. In terms of the game itself, Akron’s bigs are pretty much neutralized by the 1-3-1 zone, something they have yet to see on the season, and something that’s going to be tough to adjust, too. They’re going to get a ton of touches along the baseline, but these bigs are more focused on getting the ball in the paint and scoring from there. They can’t do that against a 1-3-1, however good or bad the zone is really doesn’t matter if they can’t utilize their strengths against it. And it shows with this year’s results. The team owns two victories against a zone defense all year, Ball State and Eastern Michigan, both of whom lie on the other half of the MAC which might be the worst half of a conference in all of Mid-Major Universe. The other games they have faced off against a zone against similar teams, if not lesser teams than what Northwestern brings to the table:

Lost by 21 (WVU)
Lost by 5 (Duquesne)
Lost by 12 (Buffalo)
Lost by 4 (Buffalo)

They just can’t use their strength against the zone. Offensively, they haven’t really seen a modified Princeton offense either on the year, and one day of prep time before travel just isn’t enough, especially coming off such an emotionally draining loss in the final of your conference tournament with an automatic at stake. More importantly, being...
nropp11 PM nropp11
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:18:33 PM
...one of the taller teams in the country, Akron’s going to have to make some changes on the defensive side of things to match-up with Northwestern’s quickness at the guard spot within the offense they run, and when they do that, they get worse on the defensive side of things. All things point to Northwestern here for me. It may not seem like it, but they’re the team with motivation, and along with that, they have some match-up advantages within the scheme of what each team likes to do, and that I cannot ignore.

Coastal Carolina/ODU
I see some tremendous value here in an offense that can score, against an offense that can’t and an offense that is missing it’s main source of outside scoring in Iliadas. Back on Leap Year Day, VMI went off, something like 16 three’s in the conference tournament and Coastal could do nothing about it (which led to Winthrop not really being able to do a thing about it either). Two things come from this, one, ODU ain’t going to light it up from the outside without Iliadis in the lineup, and two, Coastal’s three point defense isn’t all that bad as what it showed. Rather than focus on that game, let’s take a look at the season as a whole. ODU struggled in CAA play b/c they couldn’t score. They defend exceptionally well, but again, the only decent team they beat in the conference slate was Georgia State who also didn’t pose any threat offensively. As for Coastal, they’ve had the experience of playing some tough defenses this year as they beat LSU at home, and they won at Clemson earlier in the year, so what they face tonight is nothing new. Their roster is extremely experienced, made up of a ton of juniors and seniors, and in fact they only have one freshman on the roster. This group has gone to the post-season three straight years, so the eagerness to play in yet another tournament should prove to be there. In past years, they own victories of College of Charleston, Indiana State, and a few other tough defenses. The problem? Senior guard Chris Gradnigo will not be playing tonight. And neither will another “unnamed player” who is inactive for academic reasons. There is still a ton of value fading a team like ODU who can’t put the ball in the bucket, but doing it without Gradnigo (who would have been a perfect match-up on Bazemore) is not something I want to venture into. And not knowing the status of another player, but reading quotes from Coach Ellis looking to “Build towards the future” leads me to believe that it is in fact a key piece, and another one of those seniors. So, I’m pointing to the total. I’ve already pointed out ODU’s lack of offensive firepower on the year and the tremendous defense. Now, Coastal Carolina without a few key parts should add some value to the under. Gradnigo is the team leader in possessions and shot attempts, and they get considerably smaller, something ODU feasts on perimeter pressure. More importantly, they’ve had 13 days off as the Big South tournament was one of the first to kick off the conference tournament season. This Coastal team with more than 7 days off, here are their point per possession totals last couple years against D-1 competition:

0.69 (last year’s postseason appearance)
0.77 (two year’s ago postseason appearance)

Nothing impressive. Now take away your main source of offense, and another player that is “unnamed” for whatever reason, add in the fact that they face a really good defense at home, and the only thing that will keep this thing from staying under is an above average performance from ODU from the perimeter, which I will go against more often than not.

Western Kentucky/Mississippi Valley State
I could go on and on and yadda yadda, but simply put, one of these teams plays in the SWAC, and the other doesn’t. That right there puts value on Western Kentucky. Mississippi Valley State entered the conference season with a 1-9 record, there only victory came over a Tennessee State team in 2OT. However, they played 8 schools from a BCS conference, and the other loss came to a weird Cal Poly style. They are a quantity over quality type team, they absolutely have to push the pace if they want to put the ball in the hoop, so this game tonight should have some giddy up to it, but that doesn’t necessarily equal points. As I’ve mentioned before, MVSU pretty much ran through the SWAC regular season. They went 17-1 and their only blemish was on the tail end of a three game roady to close out the regular season at Arkansas Pine Bluff. They’re a very experienced ball-club in terms of roster makeup, but this year was actually the first year that any member of this team won a game in a tournament setting (conference tournament). Again, they played in the SWAC, which is far and below the worst conference in the country. To put this in perspective, 9 of the 10 teams in the SWAC had offensive efficiencies rated below 300. To put that in perspective, the SWAC had 9 teams in the bottom 45 of college basketball that could not score. MVSU was the only team not in that group of 9, which isn’t really saying much, but does explain why they ran away with...
nropp11 PM nropp11
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:18:47 PM
... the conference to a certain extent. With WKU, you have an inexperienced, yet talented team of freshmen, that has been playing not only for its coach to keep his job, but for them to keep playing in the tourney setting. Having not had all that much time to get to know Harper and how he ran a roster, I took some time over the weekend to take a step back and see where this guy came from. He played in six straight NCAA Division II championship games prior to taking on an assistant role here. He got to 200 career victories at the NCAA level in just 224 games. This guy knows his stuff. Now, he took over this team when they were 5-11. They’ve gone something like 8-7 since he took over (they’ve actually won 6 straight), and four of those losses were games they just could not close out down the stretch, falling by less than 6 points in all of them. In terms of the scheme, I don’t think either team is going to be willing to slow down tonight. MVSU has to play fast as I previously stated, and with a healthy group of experienced Seniors, they will control the pace of this game. WKU is a fast squad as well, and their youth probably will not be able to counter with anything slow. So for that, I would probably point to the total going over, but I’m not risking anything here. In terms of teams and the side, it’s Sun Belt versus SWAC, but you also have inexperience versus experience. Line’s probably right, but one important thing here and another thing I’ve pointed out, is the fact that WKU’s offensive output is largely predicated on how often it gets to the foul line. They attack, attack, dribble drive, and attack some more. MVSU isn’t all that use to this style, they like to pressure and force a ton of turnovers, but generally not the type of game that takes place in the SWAC throughout the year. Because they pressure so much, they foul a ton too, so that’s playing right into WKU hand’s, and when you get that sort of in-balance on the offensive side of the ball, it’s really just a matter of what team can stop the other, and I think that’s where WKU has a pretty big advantage tonight on the defensive side of things. Again, I would point over, I’m going to lean that way, I’m just not interested in two teams coming out with jitters of making a tourney appearance and being shell-shocked by the notoriety here. WKU likes to attack, which adds value to the over, but will they attack in the early part of this game with all the hoopla surrounding it in the fast pace, or will they settle early? Tough for me to gauge.

Other notes: No clue what’s going on at McNeese State, and not too concerned to look into why neither seniors Richard and Turner didn’t see the court in the championship game (where I had the over). Both are the only interior presence they have, not that that would cause an issue against the Toledo team based on guard play, but it is what it is. For what it’s worth, both played in the first couple games of the conference tournament, did not play in their most important game of the year with an automatic bid on the line, and it looks like both will suit up tonight. If that makes sense to anyone, feel free to offer up an idea. The only up-tempo team with a decent offense that Georgia State has played on the year came in the first game of the season when they travelled to Washington and got beat rather badly. Coincidentally, Tennessee Tech doesn’t have much experience playing a good defense in a slow setting either. Curious to see which way this game goes, but I do not see any value in either side.  I like Robert Morris, but the only game that Lansing’s lost with more than a week of prep the last couple years was to Syracuse in last year’s tourney. I think Umass holds value, just don’t want to venture into a short bounce-back after an emotional loss, especially on the road. Mississippi State’s going to run with them, something they haven’t had the luxury of doing as of late the way the schedule set itself up, but they were a top 100 pace team going into February and it’s hard for me to ignore that. So while they’ve faltered, they’ve faltered in a style that they aren’t great in playing against, but that’s not the case tonight. BYU and Iona should be one of those types of games that should be fun to watch. Both get up and down, both can put the ball in the bucket, neither really looks to play any defense, one of these types of games that can certainly be played in the 80’s. The only thing that makes me shy away is possession totals in postseason play. Dave Rose possession totals last two years in the postseason: 61, 70, 59, 72, 70, 80 (OT), 72, 69. Cluess possession totals last two years in the postseason: 71, 70, 71, 67, 63, 72, 68, 72, 73. I only point this out b/c a) this game should be played fast and b) both teams must be on their offensive games for this one to hit 160. A ton has to go right for this one to go over, as neither teams focus on the offensive glass or getting to the foul line all that much. Simply put, they must both hit shots. And it’s more than possible with these offenses. I’m just a wee bit skeptical of both showing up, and if I had to take a stab at which one doesn’t, BYU’s points per possessions against the top half of their conference aren’t all that impressive. Their offensive #’s come against some of the worst defenses in the country, which lie in the bottom half of the WCC. Iowa and Dayton is another one of those tough spots where an inexperienced team like Iowa is forced to prepare on short rest for a weird scheme. You might as well put Evansville and Princeton in that same category, as well. Evansville has had a ton of time off, while Princeton is used to the time off playing every weekend during the regular season. No interest in LSU going across country after an inspired effort against the #1 team in the country just a few days ago. No thoughts on Cleveland State with time off and going across country, but Brown guarding Randle is probably one of the more entertaining match-ups of the night from a one-on-one perspective.

5* Northwestern -6.5
3* Coastal Carolina/Old Dominion Under 132.5

Lean: WKU/MSVU Over 137.5

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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:19:16 PM
neil do you have any leans on wku and svs?
evilelvis PM evilelvis
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:20:23 PM
Best of luck to ya Nropp thru the Madness.

Thanks as always for your time and efforts!
PapaShango PM PapaShango
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:21:24 PM
Great analysis of the tournament!  BOL brother. 
Gordon Gekko PM Gordon Gekko
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:22:41 PM

Originally Posted by TheSEXIESTavtr:

neil do you have any leans on wku and svs?


HotRoute PM HotRoute
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:24:55 PM
gl nropp
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:29:17 PM

side-wise, i meant.  i won't come back and hold you to it, because i'm the only one that clicks "confirm"

catdaddy18 PM catdaddy18
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:29:50 PM
Thanks for your analysis nropp. I want to fade Tennessee tonight, but have no clue about Savannah St. Do you think they can be good enough to hang with the vols tonight?
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:40:13 PM
Damn nropp I feel like I just read a best selling novel! Great work and thanks for the write up. I did lock in on MissVaSt at +4.5 and feel I should have just taken the money line. 
Blastoffpango PM Blastoffpango
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:41:32 PM
I have W Kent/Miss V St  point total @ 143 and C0astal/ODU @127 So both your picks are awesome according to my grading,Good Luck Neil,Your the best!
Jbutler24 PM Jbutler24
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:42:39 PM
Nice to see ya back
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:42:42 PM
motorcitymama PM motorcitymama
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:46:29 PM
Thanks for your time and for sharing!  BOL!
Kgdetroit PM Kgdetroit
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:47:51 PM
Thanks Nropp, rollin with you on NW but got it at -6. Good luck tonight 
xbaggypants PM xbaggypants
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:51:20 PM
Thanks man, tailing you again
bigkaptain PM bigkaptain
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:51:45 PM
thanks neil, good to c u back
LumpyRutherford PM LumpyRutherford
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:58:30 PM
Win, lose, or draw, that write-up deserves a standing friggin ovation!!...Thanks.  
Redbull88 PM Redbull88
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:58:40 PM

thank for ur insight!!  tailin Northwestern..  good luck! and thx..

Unstoppable Force PM Unstoppable Force
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Posted: 3/13/2012 5:59:05 PM
Good luck
fupm PM fupm
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Posted: 3/13/2012 6:01:47 PM
rokisky PM rokisky
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Posted: 3/13/2012 6:02:42 PM
pres Obama at the wku/msvu don't know what that does to the teams
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Posted: 3/13/2012 6:21:43 PM

I think Ohio St will struggle with teams that arent soft , ie Mich St. That means WV and Flor St will be physical and the Buckeyes dont like that. I would need 8-1 or better just to win the East. I have zero faith in Matta or Sullinger to step up.



Matt3174 PM Matt3174
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Posted: 3/13/2012 6:41:35 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by DOLPHN1210:

Damn nropp I feel like I just read a best selling novel! Great work and thanks for the write up. I did lock in on MissVaSt at +4.5 and feel I should have just taken the money line. 

I agree, one hell of a write up.  I didnt have a play on either but will ride you.  Thanks and GL!!
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