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Old 03-14-2010, 08:51 PM
stevo stevo is online now
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Default It's a huge year for potential upsets (NCAA)

It's a huge year for potential upsets

Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Print Entry


Posted by Jordan Brenner and Peter Keating

Now that the brackets are out, we can finally take a look at the first-round matchups with Giant Killer implications. We should start off by reminding you that if you haven't read our methodology, look at the quick version under the logo to the right or the full version right here. That way, you won't wonder why we aren't including any 7/10 or 8/9 games, or why Washington and Minnesota can't be Giant Killers, despite being 11-seeds. (The reason is that they're from BCS conferences, and thus aren't sneaking up on anyone.) Again, all our data is geared toward searching for a particular kind of upset -- a lesser-known team rising up and beating someone in a game that will be remembered forever. No one can say that about, say, Arizona's victory as a 12-seed in the first round last year.



With that out of the way, let's take a look at the Giant Killer first-round matchups. We'll have more detailed breakdowns -- including a percentage chance of an upset in each GK game -- on Monday and Tuesday. But it's worth saying this right now, in bold: An unprecedented number of Giant Killers are in position to pull off big upsets. (NOTE: These numbers will change somewhat on Monday to reflect updated season stats from Sunday's games.)


EAST REGION
1) Kentucky (20.4) vs. 16) ETSU (7.7)
2) West Virginia (< 2.0) vs. 15) Morgan St. (31.4)
3) New Mexico (31.5) vs. 14) Montana (24.6)
4) Wisconsin (< 2.0) vs. 13) Wofford (37.2)
5) Temple (43.0) vs. 12) Cornell (88.5)



SOUTH REGION
1) Duke (< 2.0) vs. 16) Arkansas-PB (< 2.0) or Winthrop (2.2)
2) Villanova (< 2.0) vs. 15) Robert Morris (14.0)
3) Baylor (26.0) vs. 14) Sam Houston St. (57.8)
4) Purdue (6.5) vs. 13) Siena (54.0)
5) Texas A&M (8.5) vs. 12) Utah St. (79.5)
6) Notre Dame (7.7) vs. 11) Old Dominion (66.0)


MIDWEST REGION
1) Kansas (3.4) vs. 16) Lehigh (< 2.0)
2) Ohio St. (18.7) vs. 15) UC Santa Barbara (< 2.0)
3) Georgetown (28.5) vs. 14) Ohio (31.4)
4) Maryland (28.8) vs. 13) Houston (53.0)
5) Michigan St. (39.5) vs. 12) New Mexico St. (25.8)
6) Tennessee (23.1) vs. 11) San Diego St. (67.0)


WEST REGION
1) Syracuse (32.9) vs. 16) Vermont (22.9
2) Kansas St. (< 2.0) vs. 15) North Texas (4.9)
3) Pittsburgh (41.6) vs. 14) Oakland (30.5)
4) Vanderbilt (34.4) vs. 13) Murray St. (94.5)
5) Butler (24.4) vs. 12) UTEP (73.1)



As we said, we'll have deeper analysis of each game on Monday (East and South) and Tuesday (Midwest and West). But here are a few quick points we want to mention right away.

After declining steadily since 2004, the number of at-large bids from non-power conferences doubled to eight this year. That means not only are there more potential Giant Killers in the tournament -- there are more good ones. Because if you think about it, most of the teams that were in contention for at-large bids were stronger than the lower-seeded auto-bid teams that represented mid-majors in the past. Of the 32 first-round games, 22 have GK implications. That's an absurdly high number.

With the above point in mind, there are a shocking number of GKs with high upset ratings. To put this in perspective, during the past five tournaments, only two Giant Killers with scores of 60 or greater actually got to play a GK game. (That number is so small in part due to the fact that higher-ranking GKs were seeded in spots where those matchups weren't possible.) But this year, there are six teams in that position. Quite simply, we're dealing with a situation that is incredibly unusual.

There might be a large number of potential Giant Killers with high ratings, but not all of them drew favorable matchups. Utah State and Old Dominion both look extremely good according to our model. But they drew a pair of Giants who look just as safe, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, respectively. Both of those teams are strong, according to the model: Of the 55 Giants with a score of 19 or below who faced potential Killers, only two lost over the past five years.

With that said, if you haven't circled Cornell vs. Temple and Murray State vs. Vanderbilt yet, let us do it for you. We'll have upset percentages, as promised, in the next two days. But if our model were entering the Tourney Challenge, those upsets would already be locked in.

Finally, remember: Upsets are upsets for a reason. As you'll start to see tomorrow, no single upset has even a 50 percent chance of occurring. When we talk about liking a game, it's because there's a strong enough possibility of an unlikely event occurring to pull the trigger on a pick. None of these games is automatic -- far from it. But upsets will happen, too, and we like some very specific games.

NCAA tournament - Giant Killers: Analyzing first-round matchups with upset potential - ESPN
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:03 AM
Hartley Hartley is offline
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Thinking Pitt may be a good longshot bet to move to final 4. That region doesn't look overly strong.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:45 PM
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I think Pitt will do well also Hartley
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:42 AM
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Well I guess Gtown wins the prize for big upset.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:44 AM
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Default Against Ohio University in NCAA tournament, Georgetown couldn't harness the madness

Against Ohio University in NCAA tournament, Georgetown couldn't harness the madness

By Sally Jenkins
Friday, March 19, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

At their best, the Georgetown Hoyas are the antithesis of madness. When a game is all frenetic action and emotion, they are methodical and precise. But at their worst, that deliberateness becomes a liability, and coolness turns to lethargy. The Hoyas were at their worst against Ohio in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. It was mechanics vs. inspiration, method against pure flash.

If the NCAA tournament sells chaos theory, the Hoyas were gravity. They played the game with thoughtfulness and control, orchestrated from the sideline by Coach John Thompson III, his usual calm and exacting self in a dark suit and a blue pocket kerchief, peeking out neat as an envelope. They passed, they back-cut, they reversed. They ran the Princeton offense as if was a matter of principle, and not just basketball. They treated the game like Latin translation. You keep waiting for them to quote Livy.

They didn't play poorly. But they trailed from the very outset, were down 48-46 at halftime, and lost by 14 points, 97-83.

Now, I'm not Pete Carril, or even his niece. But you don't have to be a student of the game to know that if you're going to be such a purposeful and premeditated team, you'd better be monster defenders. They weren't. The Hoyas gave up 97 points to a team that had a losing record in the Mid-American Conference. To repeat: that's 97 points, to a team that went 7-9 and was seeded ninth in its own league.

Even had they survived Ohio, how far were these Hoyas really going to go in a tournament in which the dance floor is slick, and a fast band is playing? And in which there are scads of teams with players as offensively predatory, and opportunistic as the Bobcats?

Ohio guards D.J. Cooper and Armon Bassett were like insects that kept stinging. They were darting and difficult to track, and utterly without conscience -- they would shoot it from anywhere. They penetrated and kicked, took it one-on-four, and if a shot wasn't there, they created one out of thin air. They were altogether quicker with the ball, hanging in the air, shape-shifting, ambidextrous. Bassett finished with 32 points, including 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range, and Cooper added 23, making 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.

"They were spectacular, to tell you the truth," Thompson said. "They handled everything we threw at them."

What's the "right" shot these days? The Hoyas were all about the right shot, they were unselfish and their passes were meticulous, with the result that they shot the ball well, far better than decently -- 50 percent for the game and 56 percent in the second half as they clawed back within seven points. But Georgetown couldn't close that crucial gap, because it had neither explosion, nor the ability play shut-down defense. Chris Wright, with 28 points, tried to push the tempo, but he gave up as many big baskets as he scored. The Hoyas weren't going to quit. But they weren't going anywhere, either. They just kept at it, slow and steady. Like soil erosion. Eventually even Greg Monroe, the Hoyas' most forceful and alive player on both ends, seemed stymied. He was twice called for walks, and twice for charges while trying to find his way to the basket, as he finished with 19 points.

"You can't wait and expect the other team to go in a slump," Monroe said. "You have to make plays on your own. They were hot tonight, it's no secret. They were making shots. They stepped up tonight. We couldn't do anything to stop them."

The Hoyas simply could not keep Bassett or Cooper in front of them. They lost every footrace to the basket. The guards played cat and mouse with their quickness time after time. Jab steps would either become layups, or threes fluttering through the net. They hit everything, pull-ups, hand-in-their-face fadeaways.

"I don't think you can think about it," Bassett said afterward. "When you think you're open, you think you can make the shot, you let it go."

Cooper echoed: "We just step up if we're open and just take the shot with confidence and knock it down."

Not to take anything away from the Princeton scheme, but around Friday's water coolers, basketball fans are going to be talking about the Ohio offense, not the Princeton offense. Because let's face it: The game plan the underdogs put on the floor was far and away more daring and exciting to watch. If the Hoyas take a lesson from this loss, apart from the value of defense in postseason, perhaps it should be the value of playing with a little more abandon.

"You can sit and talk tactics and strategy and at the end of the day sometimes it just comes down to players making plays," Thompson said. "And those two kids, over and over again, made plays, regardless of how we approached it."


washingtonpost.com
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