Tag Archives: Ohio State University

Michigan: Destined for an early exit?

Michigan is my favorite college basketball team, and for the first time in awhile, they are threatening to make a deep tournament run. However, they just lost three of four during a tough stretch against Indiana (L, away), Ohio State (W, home), Wisconsin (W, away), and Michigan State (W, away). I’m not writing them off — they only lost the away games — but some bad signs appeared in these games. Here’s the Game Stack for all four combined:

Mich 4 games 2-2013

Michigan looks good on turnovers, but that comes at a cost — they get crushed on free throws and two point percentage. Having watched the games, I can connect the dots for you: the Wolverines don’t drive to the hoop much against good teams. They have some great shooters who can get reasonably open (Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr.) who are happy to “settle” for jumpers.

This keeps the ball out of danger in the lane (low turnovers), but it means that Michigan never gets to the line and shoots a lower percentage on twos as well. Michigan also rebounds a lower percentage of their own misses than the opponent, which could be related — a lot of “second chances” are just put-backs after a shot close to the hoop.

So, is Michigan sunk? We’ll see. I have some faith that Mitch McGary can improve and find some high percentage twos down low, but right now, Michigan is probably not efficient enough offensively and not good enough on the boards to compete with the best teams in the country. I would worry less about four games if the problem was just poor shooting in a small sample, but the problem seems to be about playing style against good defenses. I don’t think that’s going to change.

If you’re interested, here are the Game Stacks for all four games. The trends I discussed are pretty consistent across the games:

Michigan at Indiana 2-2-2013 Ohio State at Michigan 2-5-2013

Michigan at Wisconsin 2-9-2013 Michigan at Michigan State 2-12-2013

Predictions for tonight

The prediction for tonight: Kentucky over Kansas (54.6% of my simulations), but it should be close again (closer than the 6 to 6.5 point Vegas line). The simulations predict that the two teams are very close on most statistics, but Kentucky should rebound and shoot free throws slightly better and turn the ball over slightly less. We will see in 15 minutes!

The final four went almost exactly as my simulation predicted. Kentucky, who I predicted to win by 8.4, won by 8 points. Louisville did well on the offensive glass and limited their turnovers, but they fired up many bricks with their extra possessions (they were around 35% on twos and threes). Kentucky rebounded poorly but shot extremely well from the floor (57%, mostly on twos) and better from the line. Although I predicted an advantage for Kentucky shooting the ball, it wasn’t this big. They didn’t dominate the glass like I thought they would, so it’s a good thing they shot as well as they did.

In the nightcap, I had Ohio State and Kansas almost dead even. Kansas won by two points, and the game came down to the final shot. As I predicted, Kansas was better on the offensive glass. However, they turned the ball over quite a bit (I predicted the reverse), and the real difference in the game was Ohio State’s shooting. The simulations said they would shoot quite well. Instead, they shot about 35% on twos and threes, just like Louisville. ┬áKansas, on the other hand, shot about as expected and got the win.

I’ll have a tournament summary up tomorrow. It’s looking like a good performance for most of the prediction methods that I examined.