Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The vacation is over...let the vacation begin

I managed to survive a week in vegas despite 2 days of rain, prime rib from the san remo, and mikiel who hit more 4 and 5 card 21s than should be allowed. He was trying to be funny about it, but since no one could understand his Russian, it just made it more irritating. Basically he was me if I was a Russian dealer at a shitty casino. That reminds me, if R. Kelly was a blackjack dealer, would he have to stay on 13? Seems like he should.

As Fu previously mentioned, it's tourney preview time. Now according to Fu, he's looking up the data and doing a more statistical approach to these generalities. I'm going to do a more gut-feel approach. Granted, once the bracket appears on Sunday, we'll take a closer look, but this should be a good starter. Here's a few things that teams may or may not possess and how important they are.

Size: You don't have to be a big team to do well in the tourney. A lot of teams/players play bigger than a certain height. Look at ryan sidney, Fu's favorite player, he was an effective 6-2 power forward. The problem is that size is usually correlated with rebounding, and that's not always true.
Importance: 1 of 5

Guard play: Probably the most important part of any team. It's especially important for teams who want to go deep in the tournament. Normally, for a team to make it to the final four they need three things from their guards.
1 - Ball handling. Ability to handle pressure and make good decisions
2 - Free throw shooting. The 2 starting guards must be good from the foul line or at least one must be excellent.
3 - Scoring. One guard must be one of the primary scores on the team and one of the go-to guys.
Importance: 5 of 5
Teams it helps: Duke, Illinois, Syracuse, Wake
Teams it hurts: Boston College, Utah

Athleticism: One of the most overrated aspects to a basketball team. While each team probably needs one or two athletic players, the whole team doesn't need to be and can sometimes hurt. Think LSU vs. Wisky from a few years back. However, a wild-card athletic player usually does come in handy.
Importance: 2 of 5
Teams it helps: Ok. St, Kentucky, Gonzaga
Teams it hurts: Kansas, Alabama, UNC

Experience: Probably the hardest thing to quantify. I'd say playing in a major conference is usually enough experience for any player even if they're freshman. It really only comes into play when looking for early round upsets. Teams with juniors and seniors from the small conferences or tourney experience within the previous two seasons is a major help to knock off a high seed.
Importance: ?

Post Scoring: Generally not that important unless the offense is run through a post player. If a teams main player is a post player, it almost always hurts the team. It's much easier to keep the ball away from a non-ball handler. It's even more of a factor if the guards can't extend the defense. However, no post scoring is even worse than being too reliant on it.
Importance: 3 of 5
Teams that run through a post player: Wisconsin
Teams that rely too much on inside scoring: Utah, Pitt, BC, 'Nova
Teams with too little post scoring: Illinois, Wake

Defense: Yes and yes. A team may be able to win a couple of games without it, but don't expect deep penetration or an upset team to win without it. I'd guess a couple of the better measurements for defense are opponent's FG% and, of course, PPG against
Importance: 4 of 5
Teams it helps: Pitt, BC, Ok St.
Teams it hurts: Kansas, UNC, Arizona

Rebounding: The main thing here is to not allow easy points off of offensive rebounds. Anyone with a +5pg rebounding edge is plenty good at it.
Importance: 3 of 5

Outside Scoring: If a team gets hot from outside, you can't beat them. Often, it's hard to predict when it'll happen. Relying on perimeter shooting will let valpo's beat ole miss, but it's not going to help anyone make it deep in the tourney.
Importance: 2 of 5 to contenders, 4 of 5 for an upset
Teams it helps: Illinois, UConn, BC, Pitt, Gonzaga, Wisky
Teams it hurts: Duke

Balance: I'm of the believe that being having too much balanced scoring can hurt in close games. A team needs defined roles in the tight ones. However, a team can't rely solely on one or two players. It's without a doubt a hard thing to accomplish. A team needs defined roles with balance. It's tricky, but any team that makes it deep has it. Teams that rely too much on certain players will lose when they play poorly.
Importance: 4 of 5
Teams it helps: Illinois, UConn, BC, Zags, Syracuse
Teams it hurts: Arizona, Duke

Matchups: No matter how much you like or dislike a team, the matchups are the most important factor. A crappy team can go far and a good team can lose early if the selection committee is unkind to them. (See St. Joe's and Wisky last year) Once the brackets come out, take a look then and see what there is.
Importance: 10,000 of 5
People it hurts: Me - I never listen to my own advice

Other factors:
Gaudy home record: Road wins are important
Staying close: Don't just look at wins and losses. Teams who were never blown out will play everyone close.
National Coverage: Seems who played well for a big crowd should be able to do so again in the tourney

What to look for:
The hot team that the media loves: Every year there's the 4 or 5 seed that the retarded media loves and thinks will come in to the tourney smoking. This year's team: Villanova. Be leary of them.
Lower seeds: Look at all the 10, 11, and 12 seeds. Think of the 4 craziest teams that could make the sweet sixteen. Pick 2 of them to get there.
High seeds: College basketball is more balanced than ever. Expect about half of the 1,2, and 3 seeded teams to be out after the second round.
Under the radar: There's good teams that get little pub that always make it far. This year will be no exception. Look out for Washington, Louisville, and Charlotte
People you shouldn't listen to: Old media types. Dick and Digger. Do not listen to them. They are retarded. Trust me.
Roy Williams and Bill Self: Their teams will lose.
Other people you shouldn't listen to: Me. I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Also, I hate the earthlink pop-up blocker. Even when I tell it not to block pop-ups and exit the program, it still does it. Therefore, you get no spell check.


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