By Will Ezekowitz
With the NCAA Tournament around the corner, HSAC has decided to provide a list of statistics to help you fill out your bracket. Granted, these facts won’t necessarily determine the outcomes of any games; however, these are good to keep in mind as you think about the upcoming matchups. The statistics were drawn from the invaluable kenpom.com, hoop-math.com, and espn.com. In homage to a purer time when picking brackets was less complicated and there was just one play-in game, we have chosen 65 relevant facts. Here they are:
1. Harvard opponents shot above 40% on 3’s in each of the 4 games they lost. 3 point defense (92nd in the country) appears to be the lone chink in an otherwise solid Crimson D that ranks 33rd in defensive efficiency in the country.
2. If you value experience, look no further than St. Louis and Mercer, both of whom start 5 seniors.
3. Furthermore, if you value senior guard-play, then you should value Memphis, who starts 4 senior guards.
4. Duke is 4-5 in away games.
5. Eastern Kentucky both scores and gives up 56% of 2 point baskets; the NCAA average is 48%
6. UCLA’s opponents score 34.7 of their points from beyond the arc, which is 6th most in the country. UCLA defends 3’s at a 34.4% mark, which is exactly the D1 average.
7. Devon Saddler, Davon Usher, and Jarvis Threatt of Delaware all average over 18 points per game
8. Devon Saddler (19.7 ppg) was injured when Delaware lost by 5 at Notre Dame and by 4 at Villanova.
9. North Dakota State gets 57.7% of its points from 2’s (22nd in the country), and shoots 56% on 2’s, (3rd in the country).
10. Granted, new rules have encouraged more offense; nonetheless, Creighton (125.7 points per 100 possessions, adjusted for strength of defense) and Duke (124.4) have the most efficient offenses of the past decade.
11. Texas’s 47.3 effective field goal percentage (field goal percentage that accounts for 3’s being worth one more point) is 247th in the country, but it rebounds those misses at 39.4% rate, which is 6th in the country.
12. Arizona is 9-4 without Brandon Ashley. They were 21-0 with him.
13. Louisville’s streaky point guard Chris Jones has totaled 4 or more assists 10 times this season. In those games Louisville has scored at least 80 four times, at least 90 four times, and at least 100 once (they only managed 70 in the first game of the season when he had 5 assists). The closest another team game to Louisville in one of those games was 22 points.
14. Despite narrowly sneaking into the NCAA tournament, Tennessee ranks 28th in offensive efficiency and 16th in defensive efficiency. Only Villanova, Florida, Wichita State, and Louisville rank higher in both categories.
15. Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes both rank in the top 20 in the country in individual offensive rebounding rate at just under 15.0. Altogether, Tennessee rebounds 39.7% of its misses, a mark that is 5th in the country.
16. Oklahoma State ranks 287th in offensive rebounding rate and 214th in defensive rebounding rate. They are above average in every other relevant offensive and defensive category
17. At 13.9 seconds per offensive possession, BYU is the fastest offensive team by a wide margin this year.
18. Syracuse, meanwhile forces its opponents to have the longest offensive possessions in the country, at just over 21 seconds per possession.
19. Duke is 12-8 when opponents rebound over 30% of their own misses. They are 14-0 when opponents rebound below that mark. The national average is 31.5%.
20. North Carolina Central and star player Jeremy Ingram rely on getting to the line to win, averaging the 18th most free throws per field goal attempt in the country. Iowa State is 19th best in the country at limiting opponents’ free throws per field goal attempt
21. Oklahoma is 66th in the country at percentage of points gained from shooting 3’s, and North Dakota State allows opponents to shoot 37.5% from beyond the arc, ranking 309th in the country.
22. Not starting a player above 6’6”, Stephen F. Austin is the shortest team in the NCAA tournament field by far
23. Kansas’s 11th ranked non-conference strength of schedule is the best ranking for a major conference NCAA tournament team in the past 5 years. Combined with the strength of the Big 12, Kansas has played one of the hardest schedules in recent memory this year.
24. Coming in at the 94th most efficient offense and the 36th most efficient defense in the country, UMASS is statistically the worst 6 seed by a wide margin.
25. Relying on its athleticism on offense, Kentucky ranks 3rd in the country in offensive rebounding rate and 8th in the country in free throws per field goal attempt
26. Wichita State is 5th in the country in defensive rebounding rate and 76th in opponents’ free throws per field goal attempt
27. Michigan State has lost just 3 games with Keith Appling, Adreian Payne, and Branden Dawson all healthy.
28. VCU’s junior point guard Briante Weber leads the nation in steal percentage at 6.74%. This mark is good for 3rd best of the last 5 years, trailing only Briante Weber (2013) and Briante Weber (2012).
29. VCU forces a turnover approximately every 4 possessions, which is the best mark in the country. In its past 6 losses (there have been 8 total), opponents have turned it over less than 20% of possessions
30. At a 14.9% turnover rate, UCLA ranks 14th best in the country at ball security.
31. Stephen F. Austin has played the 341st hardest schedule in the country this year.
32. Perhaps highlights of their games against Creighton would prove this point better, but Villanova allows opponents to shoot 35.4% from 3, which is slightly below average, and is their one weakness in any major statistical category. In all 4 of its losses, opponents have made over 40% of their 3’s.
33. Louisville and Wichita State are the only 2 teams in the country who have adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency rankings in the top 10.
34. Saint Louis has posted an offensive rating above the Division I average just once in its past 6 games.
35. NC State’s TJ Warren has not scored fewer than 20 points in the past 2 months.
36. Since the beginning of December, Providence’s point guard Bryce Cotton has spent 14 minutes on the bench.
37. VCU scores 39.2% of its points in transition (defined as first 10 seconds of a possession)
38. Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas are all in the top 10 for least experienced teams, per kenpom.
39. Cincinnati is a pedestrian team on the offensive end, with the exception of its offensive rebounding rate, which is 8th in the country.
40. Colorado is 1-5 against NCAA tournament teams since the injury of its best player, Spencer Dinwiddie. It was 3-2 before the injury.
41. Oklahoma State is 7-7 in games where Marcus Smart posts an offensive rating below his average.
42. New Mexico State has a tendency to turn the ball over, ranking 210th in the country in turnover rate. San Diego State is 28th best in the country at forcing turnovers.
43. However, New Mexico State has held its opponents to a 44.4 effective field goal percentage, 14th best in the country, and San Diego State’s 46.8 effective field goal percentage is 283rd best.
44. Despite playing at an above average tempo, Tulsa has not given up over 70 points in any of its last 12 games, 11 of which have been wins.
45. Memphis allows opponents to steal the ball at an 11.2% rate, which is 8th worst in the country.
46. The difference between Memphis’s adjusted defensive efficiency and offensive efficiency is 12.6 points per 100 possessions; George Washginton’s difference is 12.5.
47. Creighton gets 39.1% of its points from 3’s and 43.0% from 2’s. Wisconsin allows its opponents to get 22.9% their points from 3’s and 60.7% from 2’s.
48. Oregon’s big men are quick to get into foul trouble, with Ducks opponents gaining 25.7% of their points from the free throw line, a mark that is the highest amongst single digit seeds.
49. Baylor allows its opponents to shoot 36.7% from 3 (280th in the country) and score 29.8% of their points from 3 (67th in the country), which is a recipe for disaster against Creighton.
50. Florida starters Scottie Wilbiken and Dorian Finney-Smith were both injured in one of the Gators’ two losses, which was at Wisconsin in the second game of the season.
51. Shooting isn’t really North Carolina’s thing. The Tarheels get just 16.5% of their points from beyond the arc (3rd least in the country), and at 62.5% rank 344th in free throw percentage.
52. Despite limping into the NCAA tournament with 6 losses in 7 games, Iowa still has the nation’s 4th most efficient offense.
53. Predictably, Iowa struggles on defense. It joins Duke, Michigan, Creighton, and Baylor as teams with top 10 offensive efficiency numbers and over 100th ranked defensive efficiency.
54. VCU, Ohio State, San Diego State, and Cincinnati are all teams at the other side of the spectrum: top 10 defenses, and over 100th ranked offenses.
55. NC State allows its opponents to rebound 36.3% of their misses, a mark which puts them at 338th in the country and well lower than anyone else in the field.
56. Kenpom.com measures luck as “a team’s record compared to what they deserved based on their game by game efficiency.” By their rankings, Colorado, Saint Joe’s, Texas, NC State, Western Michigan, San Diego State, and Villanova were the luckiest teams in the field this year.
57. By contrast, Iowa, Tennessee and Oklahoma State were among the unluckiest in the country.
58. Kansas’s already suspect 29.1% defensive rebounding rate, good for 71st in the country, looks to suffer further with Joel Embiid, who ranks 12th in the nation in defensive rebounding rate.
59. Kansas has also been susceptible to turnovers all year, ranking in the 220’s in both turnover rate and steals given up percentage.
60. Everyone in Iowa State’s 7-man rotation has made at least two 3’s in a game
61. At just 6.0 per 100 possessions, Ohio State gives up the fewest steals in the country.
62. Syracuse has allowed opponents to shoot above 33% from three point range in each of its 5 losses.
63. In case you weren’t already aware, 7’5” Sim Bhullar plays 53.3% of New Mexico State’s minutes.
64. Wichita State has played the 129th toughest schedule in the country, per kenpom
65. A sixteen seed has never beaten a one seed.