Yesterday: 4-1, (80.00%)
Season: 57-53-1, (51.81%)
Sides: 26-25-1, (50.98%)
Totals: 31-28, (52.54%)
Overall: 57-53-1, (51.81%)
4-1 on Monday and the hot stretch continues. After a rough start to the season I’m now 27-16 in my last 43 plays and in a very nice groove. When I’m going poorly I’ll be the first to admit it, but right I’m now I’m really seeing them well. I’m just going to milk this run for as long as I can. Here’s what I have for Tuesday…
Princeton (+10.5): This is a nice buy low spot for a Princeton team that’s due for some serious positive regression. Right now the Tigers are 0-4 and that’s due in large part to opponents shooting the lights out against them. Now of course some of that is bad defense but a large part of it also rotten luck and a short term variance spike. Opponents are shooting 44.2% from 3, 56.6% from 2, 78.9% from the FT line. Add that all up and you are left with a Princeton defense that ranks 343rd in effective FG% defense. It’s almost impossible to be that bad defensively and a few teams shooting way over their heads have heavily skewed the Tigers defensive numbers. No reason to think water won’t begin to find it’s level. Offensively I think Princeton can do some damage down low. As a team 61.3% of the points Arizona State allows are from 2 point land and that ranks 15th highest in the nation. Aririguzoh figures to be a handful in the paint and Llewellyn even though only 6’2″ has proven he’s a guy who can get into the paint pretty much at will. Friberg serves as the third option and he’ll be very important in this one. He’s by far the Tigers best 3 point shooter and it’ll be up to him to knock down some triples so Hurley can’t just sag the defense down and clog the middle. ASU’s defensive numbers from 3 are outstanding but also small sample size skewed and due for some regression. That said, the Devils still probably win but I see this something like 73-67.
Central Michigan (+12): DePaul is off to a 6-0 start and most of that is on the strength of a vastly improved defense. That defense will be tested in this one against a sneaky good Central Michigan offense. This year the Chippewas are only 130th in offensive efficiency but don’t let that fool you. Over the last 5 years Davis has had his teams finish at an average of 61st in offensive efficiency and say what you want about his teams defensively, but the guy knows offense. A hidden aspect of this game that could end up mattering is the FT line. Over the years the Chipps have been very good at getting to the FT line and that’s no different this year. I mentioned earlier how the DePaul defense is improved and while that’s true they are also fouling a ton and sending teams to the line at a very high rate. There isn’t a ton of depth on this DePaul team so if they get into some early foul trouble that could really end up being a problem for a thin bench. Another possible issue is DePaul isn’t turning opponents over very much and Central Michigan is excellent at taking care of the ball. It’s also a nice situational fade of DePaul who is off a nice road win over Boston College and have a date with Minnesota on deck on Friday. For a Big East team it’s not crazy to think maybe a little bit of an exhale facing a MAC team sandwiched between ACC and BIG-10 teams. Lastly with this 6-0 start I feel DePaul is a bit over-valued by the market, this in addition to everything else already mentioned is a nice sell high opportunity.
St. Bonaventure (-6): A nightmare opponent here for Mercer as they hit the road to take on the Bonnies. Gary has come in from Centenary and done a 180 with this program in terms of pace and style already. Gone are the days of Hoffman and the slow it down, grind it out style he loved. Gary is the polar opposite, he’s come in and the message has been run, run, run. Already 4 of the 6 games Mercer has played have gone 79 possessions or more, it’s clear as day what he wants to do. Problem for them is Schmidt and St. Bonaventure flat out just aren’t going to allow it. The Bonnies are 323rd in adjusted tempo and considering they were 330th last year this isn’t exactly something you can just chalk up to small sample size. They are very slow and methodical offensively, and they force longer than average possessions defensively. Mercer wants to get the tempo in the high 70’s or even the low 80’s in terms of possessions and in this one it might not even crack 70 at all. We also have to talk about the Mercer defense which is flat out awful. As a team they are 268th in defensive efficiency and it would be much lower than that if not for stat boosting showings against horrible offenses like Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast. They’ve played two respectable offenses so far this season and were shredded in both games. They allowed 1.31 PPP against St. Johns and 1.23 PPP against Georgia Southern. I’m not saying the Bonnies will go off to that extent but they should be able to have plenty of success. I see a double digit win for Bonaventure and a bit of a reality check for Mercer.
New Mexico State/South Florida Un 123.5: This one could be very, very ugly. We’ll start with the pace. New Mexico State is 347th in average offensive possession length and South Florida is 337th in average defensive possession length. So if nothing else you know when the Aggies have the ball you are going to get snail slow possessions. On the other side South Florida is up to 165th in offensive possession length but that doesn’t fool me. This is a team that was 215th in that stat last year and 317th two seasons ago. In a game like this against a fellow slow paced team I could see this one really being a drawn out, half court battle that makes your eyes bleed. Ken Pom projects 67 possessions in this game and I think that’s optimistic as I see about 63-64. On top of that we have to factor in how many empty possessions we probably end up getting. New Mexico State turns the ball over on 22.8% of their possessions which is 292nd in the nation. That is more than mildly concerning against a South Florida defense that is 3rd in forced turnover rate at 30.8%. If all that isn’t enough you have the fact the South Florida offense is 340th in offensive turnover rate at 25.6% of possessions ending that way. Defensively the Aggies are about 3% above average in forcing turnovers and you’ve gotta figure turnovers will add up quickly on both ends. This is already a low total but given everything mentioned above as far as pace and empty possessions I think it’s still too high. It’ll take something well out of the ordinary for this thing to go over the number.
These bottom two have already started and I didn’t get the write ups posted in time. I won’t count them towards my record win or lose but figured I’d post the write ups for anyone who just wants to beef up their knowledge a bit.
Drake (-1): This is a far less than ideal matchup for Northeastern. For years Coen’s offenses have taken a ton of 3’s and done so with very nice success. Seeing Drake however is not a defense you want to deal with if shooting 3’s is where your bread is buttered. This year only 28.2% of the points Drake allows are from beyond the arc and that ranks 238th in the nation. That’s good and all but only a 6 game sample size. For a larger look let’s go back to last season where opponents only scored 27.7% of their points from 3 and that was 308th in the nation. They also held opponents to only 30.0% shooting from 3 which was good enough for 16th in the country. All of which is a long way of saying shooting 3’s against Drake isn’t easy and it’s something that DeVries has clearly emphasized in his time on the job. I also don’t like how heavily reliant the Huskies are on Roland. He has to do so much for this team for them to win games. They are 3-3 so far but one of those wins was against Holy Cross so that can basically be thrown out. In the other 2 wins he had to go off for 40.5 points per game (no that isn’t a typo) for them to eek out 5 point wins in both. At the end of the day I just think Drake is more well rounded, can control Northeastern from deep and it’s going to take Roland going nuts for the Huskies to win. If he nails 6 or 7 3’s and drops 40 points to beat me, then so be it. I’ll challenge him to do it.
Colorado State (+3.5): This is a tricky matchup for Loyola Chicago. The Ramblers are a respectable team but it isn’t exactly a secret how they want to try to beat you. They want to pound it inside to Krutwig and work everything around him. Ideally they want to get him a touch on just about every possession and let him either take a shot himself or dish it to someone else for a clean look. He’s averaging nearly 17 points a game but also over 6 assists per game too. This is a guy who is 6’9″, 255 lbs and averaging over 6 dimes per game. Pretty wild stuff. The issue here for both Krutwig and the Ramblers is Nico Carvacho who is just as strong, taller and frankly more athletic than Krutwig is. On most nights Krutwig will have a clear advantage against whoever is guarding him but that won’t be the case in this one. Carvacho is one of the best big men on the west coast and probably one of the most under-rated players in the country. If he can make life difficult life difficult for Krutwig that’s like cutting the head off the snake. Loyola Chicago only scores 18.3% of their points from 3 point land which is 342nd in the nation. I’ll admit Williamson is due a little positive regression from deep but aside from him the Ramblers don’t have anything that scares you on the perimeter. Defensively Loyola is vulnerable to the 3 as they were last year. If Carvacho can create enough havoc inside that should open up the perimeter for guys like Martin, Stevens and Thistlewood. As I said in the open just a rough matchup for the Ramblers.
Central Michigan (+12)
St. Bonaventure (-6)
New Mexico State/South Florida Under 123.5
Drake (-1) Not counted towards record
Colorado State (+3.5) Not counted towards record