Tuesday: 5-2, (71.42%)
Season: 62-55-1, (52.99%)
Sides: 29-27-1, (51.78%)
Totals: 33-28, (54.09%)
Overall: 62-55-1, (52.99%)
A 5-2 day on Tuesday that really felt like it should have been better. At one point it looked a sweep was in play but when the dust settled I instead ended up with one point losses on both St. Bonaventure and Central Michigan. The CMU beat in particular was one of the worst I’ve had this year. As I said on Twitter I’m happy with the winning day but it should’ve been even bigger. Anyways moving on to Wednesday card. I didn’t have time for write ups on all these games but did manage it on 3 of them. Here’s what I’ve got…
Oregon (-1.5): In general I like this Seton Hall team but I really think they’re going to have their work cut out for them with Oregon. The Pirates have been gradually playing faster and faster the last few years and that’s very difficult to do against the Ducks. Right now Oregon ranks 298th in adjusted tempo and by the end of the year I’d bet it’ll be even slower than that. They’ll slow this game down, grind it out, and challenge Seton Hall to score out of their half court offense. Which is a hell of a lot tougher than being able to get out and score in transition. Slowing Powell will be the obvious challenge but you know that Altman is going to give him plenty of different looks. He’ll probably use that trapping zone a bit and I expect the hard nosed Pritchard to see plenty of time on him too. With Richardson and Mathis he also has the option to throw some height at him if he so chooses. Offensively the Ducks will lean on Pritchard and Mathis who have turned themselves into one of the better guard duos in the nation. Even after those two however they have 4 others who are averaging over 8 points a game. It’s a very well balanced attack. They can shoot it from 2, they can shoot it from 3, and right now are 8th in the nation in effective FG%. In addition to the style and coaching edges I think the Ducks have is the fact they flat out have better athletes. This is a more athletic team top to bottom than Seton Hall and if they can get the game played at their style (which they should) and Altman can out scheme Willard (which he should) I see the Pirates having a very tough time taking this game.
Penn State/Ole Miss Un 139: Both teams have some inflated pace numbers here that I feel have made this total about 3-4 points higher than it probably should be. We’ll start with Penn State who is currently 89th in the nation in adjusted tempo. This is after finishing 172nd last year and 217th two years ago. They’ve already had 3 opponents who love to run and that’s skewed their tempo numbers a bit. If given his choice Chambers would prefer to play slow with this group but against the likes of Bucknell and Wagner he was able to win at whatever tempo due to flat out just having better players. He was ok with turning up the tempo because he knew he’d win the game either way. In this one against a tough Ole Miss team I think he reverts back to what’s comfortable and that’s slowing it down a bit. Nothing snail slow or anything, but certainly nowhere near 89th in the nation. If he’s looking to slow it down a bit I don’t think he’ll get much objection from Davis and Ole Miss. 3 of their 5 games have been played at 69 possessions or less and their numbers are ridiculously skewed by a track meet 81 possession game against Memphis who speeds up everyone. That game is a crazy outlier and I don’t think Kermit has any interest in getting involved in another game like that. At the end of the day I see this one settling in at about 67-69 possessions and if that’s where it lands, with these defenses, I’ll happily take my chances it stays under this number.
San Diego (+1): A bit of a buy low, sell high spot here with Hofstra and San Diego. The Pride are working on a 2-0 west coast trip as they are off wins against UCLA and Cal Fullerton and I think they might be being slightly overvalued by the market right now. On the other end we have San Diego who is moving in the opposite direction. The Toreros have lost 3 straight but they did so against teams that all look like they have a shot at making the big dance, San Diego State, Colorado and Washington. Sullivan is now back and seeing time both at the point and at the two. He’s not a star by any stretch but he’s a solid player and Scholl is starting to pump up his minutes off his return from injury. His return really helps strengthen the backcourt. Defensively the weaknesses of the Toreros is on the inside but luckily for them Hofstra isn’t the kind of team that’s really built to exploit it. The Pride only score 47.1% of their points from 2 point land which is 260th in the nation. In fact Kante at 6’7″ is the only guy on the team taller than 6’5″ who really sees meaningful minutes. Most nights San Diego will have their work cut out for them in the paint but in this one they actually hold a distinct height advantage. Ultimately I think Hofstra is probably a little fatigued at the end of a long week on the road and it’s never a bad idea to try and fade a team that’s probably both over valued and a bit word down. Toreros win this one by 6-8 or so.
North Carolina/Alabama Ov 154.5: Get your track shoes out for this one. Ken Pom is already projecting a whopping 80 possessions for this game and I still don’t know if that is even high enough. North Carolina is “only” 38th in adjusted tempo right now but that’s far slower than they’d like. Last year they were 5th in adjusted tempo and believe me that’s around where they’d like to be again. It’s actually impressive they’ve been able to play as fast as they have facing so many slow paced teams doing whatever they can to keep them harnessed. In this one they have an opponent that not only won’t mind running with them, they prefer it, and they’ll try to go even faster. Oats has wasted no time at Bama and it’s been pedal to the medal since day 1. This team wants to get up and down the court basically as fast as it can be done. Right now they are 2nd in the nation in adjusted tempo and UNC will be more than happy to comply with that. This game also profiles nicely for Anthony who I think turns it back up after a clunker against Elon. Frankly I just don’t think any of the Alabama guards can check him. As far as the Alabama offense goes at that tempo they don’t even need to be all that efficient. Even with lets say 0.94 PPP if they get 83 possessions that’s still 78 points. With little resistance on either end that’s the kind of game I’m expecting to see. 82-84 ish possessions and if it lands there yet somehow still doesn’t go over then I can live with that loss.
Out of time for write ups tonight but do have a few more plays. The complete card is below. Good luck to you all
Penn State/Ole Miss Un 139
San Diego (+1)
North Carolina/Alabama Ov 154.5
Iowa State (+2.5)