Monday, March 14, 2005

Chicago Region

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36.2% of the Illini's games were against tournament teams (Delaware St., Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Iowa (2), Wisconsin (3), Minnesota (2), Michigan St). The level of competition did not effect the best team in the country.

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Oklahoma State played 43.3% of their games against tournament teams (Syracuse, UAB, Gonzaga, Texas Tech (3), Iowa St, Texas (2), Oklahoma (2), Kansas (2)). Those teams scored fairly easily against the Cowboys. This is a much worse defensive team without Tony Allen. Their tournament-bound opponents got the free throw line slightly more often (1 FTA for every 2.9 FGA) than did the Cowboys (1 FTA for every 3.1 FGA).

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Arizona played 30.1% of their games against tournament teams (Wake Forest, Mississippi St, Utah, Stanford (2), UCLA (2), Washington (3)). Most of their defensive slippage against tournament teams can be attributed to their two losses to Washington.

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Boston College played 31.7% of their games against tournament teams (UCLA, W. Virginia (3), UConn, Villanova (2), Syracuse, Pittsburgh). Tournament opponents got to the free throw much more frequently (1 FTA for every 2.8 FGA) against the Eagles than did other teams (1 FTA for every 5.1 FGA). The Eagles shoot very few threes overall (21.5% of FGA).

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Alabama played 36.3% of their games against tournament teams (Minnesota, Washington, Charlotte, Wisconsin, LSU (2), Mississippi St (2), Florida (2), Kentucky). That's not the strongest collection of tournament teams, making their struggles against better competition all the more troubling.

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LSU played 34.2% of their games against tournament teams (UL-Lafayette, Utah, Alabama (2), Kentucky (2), Mississippi St (2), Florida, W. Virginia). LSU maintained a little more production against tournament teams than did Alabama, but their overall numbers are worse.

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Southern Illinois played 18.2% of their games against tournament teams (UTEP, Creighton (2), UL-Lafayette, Northern Iowa (2)). Those four teams found the Salukis easier to score against than did the rest of SIU's schedule. For the season, SIU had 1 FTA for every 3.8 FGA. Their opponents shot a free throw for every 2.5 FGA.

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Texas played 33.5% of their games against tournament teams (Wake Forest, Oklahoma St (2), Oklahoma (2), Texas Tech (2), Kansas, Iowa St, Iowa). More importantly than the above breakdown, they're not the same team without PJ Tucker. His ineligibility has decimated the Longhorns' defensive and rebounding efforts.

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Nevada played 17% of their games against tournament teams (Kansas, Pacific, UTEP (2), Vermont). Tournament opponents forced Nevada to the perimeter. They shot the three more often (22.3% of FGA vs. 17.7%). They got to the foul line less often (1 FTA for every 2.6 FGA vs. 1 FTA for every 2.1 FGA). They limited Nevada's offensive rebounds (30.2% vs. 39%). They got more frequent free throw chances themselves (1 FTA for 3.1 FGA vs. 1 FTA for every 3.8 FGA).

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St. Mary's played 12% of their games against tournament teams (Gonzaga (3), Mississippi St). In those games, the Gaels got dominated in the paint and on the glass. 44% of their FGA were from three-point range. They normally rely on the three for only 35.8% of their shot attempts.

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UAB played 19.2% of their games against tournament teams (Oklahoma St, Alabama A&M, Charlotte, Louisville (2), Cincinnati). As Kansas showed in the Sweet 16 last year, superior talent can beat the Blazers at their own game. In general, UAB defends and rebounds poorly. As opponents' turnovers become less frequent, they lose easy shot attempts, shoot worse, and get fewer offensive rebounds.

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UW-Milwaukee played 6.8% of their games against tournament teams (Wisconsin, Kansas). They really struggled offensively at Wisconsin (29.1 eFG%, 0.57 PPP). It was not quite so grim against Kansas, but the Jayhawks also forced UW-Milwaukee into taking a lot of threes while keeping them off the free throw line.

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Penn played 10.6% of their games against tournament teams (Wisconsin, Villanova, Bucknell). Things didn't go well offensively for the Quakers in those tilts. Even in their win at Bucknell they only shot 38%. They will get the benefit of facing a mediocre offensive team in the first round.

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Utah State played 16.8% off their games against tournament teams (Central Florida, Utah, Pacific (3)). Their gaudy eFG% took a hit in those games despite a 71.3 eFG% in their rout of Utah, but their defensive performance was largely unaffected.

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SE Louisiana didn't play a tournament-bound team this year. They'll attempt to slow the game down but will be unlikely to exploit Oklahoma State's defensive deficiencies. Only 23% of the Lions shot attempts are three-pointers.

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Farleigh Dickinson didn't play any tournament teams either. Those defensive numbers suggest that Illinois should have the game well in control by halftime.

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