Analysis of Sweet 16 matchups with Stats and Stuff

How do the Sweet 16 teams matchup?  At least in the first 4 games tonight, pretty evenly, except for the Kentucky game. In 3 of the first 4 games, the seeding differences are just 4, 3 in the case of UNC and Wisconsin.

Kentucky (1) v West Virginia (5)

Notre Dame (3) v Wichita St. (7)

Wisconsin (1) v North Carolina (4)

Xavier (6) v. Arizona (2)

Statistically, Wichita State v Notre Dame should be the closest game.  Notre Dame is one of the best offensive teams in the country and Wichita State has one of the best defensive teams in the country. Playing in Cleveland affords Notre Dame the home court advantage.  Notre Dame played a much stronger schedule during the regular season, but Wichita State has played stronger teams so far in the tournament.  So which team is really more battle ready?  Good question.  This could be the upset of the night, but not quite a Shocker.

Based on the numbers, Kentucky should blow West Virginia out of the gym.  Kentucky has one of the most balanced teams in the tournament.  West Virginia has the worst defensive team probably of any remaining from the Midwest and West Regions.  During the regular season, they ranked 346th in defensive rebounds,and 246th in blocked shots. By contrast, Kentucky was 3rd in points allowed and 2 in blocked shots.  This does not bode well for the Mountaineers who also ranked 282nd in field goal percentage. Ironically, they weren’t totally bad on offense, ranking 36th in points per game.  And as horrible as they were overall as a defensive team, they excelled in one area – steals.  West Virginia led the nation in steals per game.  I’d like to think Bob Huggins could somehow throw Kentucky off their game, you know, find a way to steal it, but they just don’t have the weapons to compete with the Wildcats. It won’t be a blowout, but it won’t be very close either.

I don’t think Arizona and Xavier will be much of a game frankly.  First, Arizona has a decisive home court advantage playing in LA.  Like Kentucky, Arizona is one of the most balanced teams in the tournament.  Statistically, they ranked high on offense and defense: 6th in points per game and 15th in points allowed; 13th in defensive rebounds.  Xavier ranked 195th in points allowed and they blocked about as many shots per game as West Virginia did, which is to say not very many.  Now admittedly, the Big East had a decent league this year, but Xavier lost to some really crappy teams in the regular season like Long Beach State, DePaul, Seton Hall and Creighton, programs that were once competitive, but are on the decline.  Plus Xavier had a rather uninspiring season finishing 6th in the Big East. Now you could say, “but they are on a roll.” True, but look who they’ve played so far in the tournament – an 11 seed, Ole Miss and the 14th seeded Georgia State Panthers, the feel good but not real good team. Likewise, Arizona hasn’t been challenged either playing pitifully weak teams in Ohio State, a 10 seed and Texas Southern, a 15 seed out of the Southwest Athletic Conference.  Xavier will be in it for a while, but Arizona should pull away and get the bench some playing time.

The Wisconsin North Carolina game may be the best one of the night.  North Carolina has one of the best offenses in the country:  2nd in rebounds, 2nd in assists, and 17th in points per game. By contrast, Wisconsin ranks 204th in offensive rebounds, 165th in assists and 67th in points per game.  It’s a wonder they won so many games this year.  On the defensive end, Wisconsin is in the top 10 in points allowed, BUT they are horrible at rebounding, one of the worst teams in the country in forcing turnovers and an abysmally weak shot blocking team.  The question in my mind is can the Tar Heels stop Frank Kiminisky? If UNC can shut down or limit the lanky 7 footer from Lisle, IL, to say 12 points or less, they’ll win the game handily.  It won’t be an upset exactly, despite the seedings because the ACC has proven to be a much more competitive conference this year than the Big Ten with 5 teams still in play vs. the Big Ten’s scant 2 in the mix, one after tonight.

Let the #Marchmadness continue!

And then there were 32

From the Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, bringing you up-to-the day coverage of stuff not so typically covered.

  • Of the 16 games to be played in the third round, the combined seeding numbers for 12 of them equal 9.
  • One game in the South Region has a total seed number of 25:  UCLA (11) v UAB (14)
  • Breakdown of the 32 by seeds:  All the 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 seeds remain.  3 7th seeded teams are still alive.  2 of the 2 seeds made it. Just 1 10 seed survived:  Ohio State.  There are 2 each 11 and 14 seeds that made it to third round:  UCLA, Dayton, UAB and Georgia State.  All the 9, 12, 13, 15 and 16 seeds were knocked out.
  • By Conference with two or more teams:  ACC (6), Big Ten (5), Pac 12 (4), Big 12 (3), Missouri Valley (2), SEC (2)
  • Three of the ACC teams still alive are in the East Region:  Louisville, NC State and Virginia
  • By state:  Ohio (4), NC (3), 2: KY, CA, IN, KS, IA.  Texas started with 5 but all were eliminated in the 2nd round.
  • By mascot with two or more:  Northern Iowa Panthers, Georgia State Panthers; Butler Bulldogs, Gonzaga Bulldogs; Kentucky Wildcats, Arizona Wildcats, Villanova Wildcats
  • In the “West” Region, Georgia State (14) from Atlanta practically plays a home game in Jacksonville against Xavier (6) from Cincinnati.  5 hour drive from Atlanta; 12 hour drive from Cincinnati.
  • Dayton, the 11 seed in the “East” Region, will practically play a home game in Columbus vs. the 3 seed Oklahoma. Dayton is about an hour from Columbus.  Norman to Columbus is a good 13 hour plus drive.
  • Easiest region remaining as calculated by combined seeds:  South (52)
  • Toughest region remaining as calculated by combined seeds: Midwest (36)
  • All the tops seeded teams are playing the 8th seed.  And all the winners will play either a 4 or 5 seed in the Sweet 16.
  • Two teams from Indiana face off in the Midwest Regional third round:  Notre Dame (South Bend) and Butler (Indianapolis) If Butler makes it to the Final Four, they would have a clear home court advantage.
  • Two second round games played in the South Regional in Louisville had the same final score:  UCLA 60 SMU 59; UAB 60 Iowa St. 59.
  • In the 32 2nd round games, half of the losing teams had fewer turnovers than the winning team.  Coastal Carolina had the fewest turnovers in a losing effort:  6.  Wofford, Harvard and Albany all lost with just 7 turnovers.
  • Baylor had the distinction of committing the most turnovers in a second round game: 21

Let the madness play on.  #Marchmadness

2015 NCAA Tourney 2nd Round Odds and Ends

From the Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, your source for twisted coverage of March Madness.  Here are some stats and facts you might not have seen yet:

  • The lowest winning score in a game:  56 – (3): Arkansas, Dayton, Butler
  • The lowest combined score in a game: 104 – Butler 56 – Texas 48.
  • Lowest losing score in a game:  48 – Texas
  • Highest number of bids by state: 5 – Texas and Indiana
  • Most # of loses by a state in second round play:  5 Texas – Texas, Texas Southern, Baylor, Stephen F. Austin, SMU
  • Highest scoring game:  BYU 90 v Ole Miss 94 (First Round)
  • Most teams by conference still alive:  6:  ACC, Big East, Big Ten
  • Most teams by state still alive: 4 – Ohio: Cincy,  Dayton, OSU, Xavier; IN: Indy, Valpo, Butler, Notre Dame NC:  UNC, Davidson, Duke, NC St.
  • Rhyming Couplet Matchup:

The high and mighty Dayton Flyers

Will play the saintly Providence Friars

Stay tuned for continued “coverage” of or more aptly, musing, rantings and ravings on the 2015 NCAA Hoops Tournament.  Let the madness continue!

Odd Facts and Weird Final Four Matchups

From the Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, here are some fascinating and theoretically possible matchups for the Final Four as of 8:26 pm March 19, 2015, after half of the first day second round games, plus some odd and interesting facts.  Were you aware that an Anteater and a Badger could face off in the Finals? Stranger things have, well, never happened!

  • 3 Strange animals and a Lumberjack:  UC Irvine Anteaters (East), Wisconsin Badgers (West), Cincinnati Bearcats (Midwest), Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (South)
  • 4 Birds: Eastern Washington Eagles (South), Kansas Jayhawks (Midwest), Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (West), Louisville Cardinals (East)
  • 3 Bulldogs and a Terrier:  Butler (MW), Gonzaga (South), Georgia (East), Wofford (West)
  • Historical Reenactment:  Michigan State Spartans (East), Valparaiso Crusaders (MW), Ok State Cowboys (West) and Robert Morris Colonials (South)
  • All Wildcat Final: Arizona (W), Davidson (South), Kentucky (MW), Villanova (East)
  • Strange Fact:  Indiana has 5 teams in the tournament and all are in the Midwest Bracket:  Purdue, Butler, Valparaiso, Indiana and Notre Dame.
  • Another oddity:  Texas started with 5 teams and is down to just one, Stephen F. Austin.  SMU, Baylor, Texas and Texas Southern all lost on Thursday, March 19.

2015 March Madness – 68 of the not so great

Are you mad for March?  Are you ready for March Madness?  I am and so are 68 NCAA basketball teams.  Let’s have a look at who is in and see what we can see.  One quick note:  there are quite a few no and new shows.

    • First timers:  North Florida, UC Irvine, Buffalo.  No offense North Florida, but I didn’t even know you had a school, much less a team, but, nonetheless, welcome….and good luck!  Hey, Buffalo.  We don’t hear much about your college hoops team.  I don’t suppose you folks are the Buffalo Buffalos?  No?  Oh, the Buffalo Bulls, not to be confused with the bad news Buffalo Bills.  Interestingly, the team is coached by Bobby Hurley, of Duke fame, and has a roster of only one kid from the State of New York (Buffalo) who went to prep school in Virginia.
    • Thirty-three states and DC sent teams to the tournament.
    • Texas and Indiana have the most teams in the big dance with (5) – TX: TX Southern, UT, Baylor, SMU and SF Austin; IN: Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame, Valparaiso, Indiana.
    • The Big State of California where basketball does not reign supreme this year has only 3 teams representing: UCLA, UC Irvine and San Diego State.
    • Florida produced one team:  North Florida, the home of the Ospreys – not sure if the mascot is a bird or a helicopter.
    • Tennessee produced one team:  the Belmont Bruins from Nashville.
    • There could be an all Texas and or former SWC conference final: SMU vs. Texas or Ark vs. SMU – but it won’t happen.
    • Wofford has a fitting mascot:  the Terriers!

Let the madness begin!

2014 Fairly Fun Final Four Facts For Fans

You may be wondering which team has had the easiest path to the Final Four.  Or you may not be wondering which team has had the easiest path to the Final Four.  Either way, Florida has had the easiest path by far coming out of the South region.  Kentucky, out of the Midwest had the roughest trip to the big dance, followed by CT out of the East and Wisconsin from the West region.

From Smooth Sailing to Turbulent Skies

  • FL combined total of seeds to victory out of the South: 40 – Albany (16), Pitt (9), UCLA (4), Dayton (11)
  • WI combined total of seeds to victory out of the West: 29 – American (15), Oregon (7), Baylor (6), Arizona (1)
  • CT combined total of seeds to victory out of the East: 19 – Saint Joseph’s (10), Villanova (2), Iowa St. (3), Michigan St. (4)
  • KY combined total of seeds to victory out of the Midwest: 16 – Kansas St. (9), Wichita St. (1), Louisville (4), Michigan (2)

Who gave Whom Fits

  • Some teams simply had the others’ number during the 2013-14 season.  SMU beat UConn twice.  Louisville beat UConn three times.
  • Arkansas gave Kentucky fits, beating them twice in OT.  The Gators devoured the Wildcats three times during the season.  The last game was a one point squeaker in the SEC championship game.  They could meet again in the NCAA championship game.

The Edge

  • Home town/state advantage:  Kentucky.  Lexington is closest to Arlington and the Wildcats have three players from Texas.
  • Home court advantage:  Connecticut.  Even though Storrs is the farthest from Arlington, the Huskies are the only team that has played a game this year near Arlington in a loss to SMU in Dallas.
  • Battle tested team:  Kentucky who beat a 1 and a 2 seed and the 4th seeded Louisville Cardinals that beat UConn three times.
  • Underdog:  Kentucky – unranked in the AP Top 25.
  • Toughest Team Nickname:  Wisconsin Badgers.
  • Latest championships: KY (2012), UConn (2011), FL (2007), WI (1941)


More Obscure 2014 Final Four Facts

  • Number of states players represent on Final Four rosters: 19
  • State breakdown:  FL (8); KY (6); WI (6); IL (5); NY (4); TX (3); CA (2); CT (2); MA (2); NC (2); NJ (2); OH (2); TN (2); IA, KS, MD, MI, MN, VA (1)
  • Number of players under 6 feet:  2
  • Shortest player: 5-9 Brian Long of Kentucky
  • Number of players from Brooklyn, NY: 4
  • Number of players on rosters from an opposing team’s state:  1 – CT player from Wisconsin
  • The Final Four was last held near Arlington (in Dallas) in 1986.
  • Number of Kentucky players from Texas: 3
  • Connecticut lost to SMU in Dallas on January 4, 2014.

2014 Fun Final Four Team Roster Facts



Final Four appearances by coach.  Bold = championships:

  • John Calipari: 5 (1996, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Number of teams Calipari has taken to the Final Four: 3 (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky)
  • Number of appearances vacated by NCAA violations: 2 – (1996, 2008)
  • Billy Donovan: 4 (2000, 2006, 2007, 2014) all with Florida
  • Bo Ryan: 1 (2014) Wisconsin
  • Kevin Ollie: 1 (2014) UConn
  • Number of 7 footers at the big dance:  4 – Kentucky (2), Wisconsin (1), UConn (1), Florida (0)
  • Team with most homegrown players:  Florida (8)
  • Team with most International players:  UConn 4 (Ghana, Jamaica, Germany (2))
  • Teams with no international players: Kentucky and Wisconsin
  • Team with 3 players from Brooklyn:  UConn
  • All American team: Kentucky with 9 players from different states.
  • Only team to finish 1st in conference play:  Florida (SEC)

Let the dance begin!


And Then There Were 4

And then there were 4:  WI (2), FL (1), UConn (7) and KY (8).

  • Only two Final Fours in history have had more than 1 of the 2014 group competing.

2011:  UConn, Kentucky
2000: Florida, Wisconsin

  • Number of times the SEC has had 2 teams in the Final Four: 2 – 2006 (FL, LSU); 1994 (Ark, FL)
  • Number of championships by team: KY (8), CT (3), FL (2), WI (1)

Last Kentucky championship: 2012
Last Connecticut championship: 2011
Last Florida championship: 2007
Last Wisconsin championship: 1941

  • Team Records against Final Four opponents:

Wisconsin: 1-0 against Florida
Kentucky: 0-2 against Florida
UConn: 1-0 against Florida
Florida: 2-0 against Kentucky; 0-2 against WI, CT

  • # of times Final Four has been in Dallas: 1 – 1986 (Louisville, Kansas, Duke, LSU)
  • Distance of Schools to Dallas/Arlington area:

Lexington: 880 miles
Madison: 989 miles
Gainesville: 990 miles
Storrs: 1,686 miles

  • Home court advantage:  Kentucky (8)
  • Underdog:  UConn (7)





28 Points – Frank “Wassily” Kaminsky

Points - Kandinsy

Points – Kandinsy

I had Arizona advancing to the Final Four, not Wisconsin.  In fact, I had the Badgers losing to Creighton (Barrel) in the Sweet 16.  When I made my picks for the West region, I did so without having seen any of the teams play during the regular season.  So I went by hunch and history.  The last time Wisconsin won a championship was in 1941, when the field was just 8 teams, one of the 8 included Creighton. My parents were just 2 years old. 1941 was the year FDR began his third term and WWII was heating up in Europe and Africa.  The last time Wisconsin made the Final Four was the year 2000 when they danced with the eventual champion Michigan State, runner up Florida and North Carolina.

Had I known just how good a team Wisconsin had, I might have picked them to take the crown this year.  They exemplify what it means to be a team – great passing, solid defense, consistent shooting and dominant center play.  And DOMINANT is the word to describe 7’0 Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, the Junior from Lisle, (the crocodile) Illinois, a Western suburb of Chicago.  And he was the difference maker with points, and lots of them, in Wisconsin’s OT victory over Arizona, a victory that provoked riots where the streets have no name in Arizona.

When I first heard the name Kaminsky, I thought it was Kandinsky.  I was thinking that it was kind of neat that Wisconsin had a player who might be the great grandson of the Russian painter, Kandinsky. I remember as a young lad, not much older than Frank Kaminsky himself, I visited NYC for the first time and went to the Guggenheim Museum to pay tribute to its architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. While I was impressed with the odd building that looked like something Sun Ra might have designed, a cross between a parking garage and a concrete UFO, I was equally impressed with the Kandinsky exhibit.  I remember buying a postcard of one his works and posting it on the wall of my off campus apartment in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  One of his most interesting works, “Points”, is an apt description of Frank Kaminsky’s contribution in last night’s victory – 28 to be exact – after which he was named the West Region’s MVP.