Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Checking in on my contenders and pretenders

15 days ago I listed my contenders and pretenders of most of the teams that were doing well in the major conferences halfway through the season, excluding the Big East because that conference is a waste of my time.
Here's how things are looking since then:

Contenders (W-L since Jan 15):
North Carolina (2-1) --Carolina's loss was to Maryland, a team that will be a thorn in everyone's side throughout the season. Gary Williams knows how to prep his guys for the big games. They could have...and maybe should have beaten Duke, too.
Duke (4-0) --the schedule gets tougher, don't worry. They won't win out. Nor will they finish with less than three ACC losses
Michigan State (5-0)
Indiana (3-1) --fluke home loss to UConn...scary thought that UConn can still win some big road games
Kansas (3-1) --Big ups to K-State for taking out the Jayhawks, I'm glad I didn't pick them as a pretender. They might actually be pretty good.
Texas A&M (2-3) --I may have missed the boat on this one. The Aggies have been looking pretty bad, but road losses to Texas Tech and K-State don't look too bad right now, and Baylor is an okay team...but an overtime home loss to them probably shouldn't have happened. Conference play isn't getting any easier.
UCLA (2-1) --the one loss is to O.J. Mayo and company. Never a picnic playing them. They'll have their fair share of upsets this year over at USC, but won't be legit 'til next year.
Washington State (3-1) --probably shouldn't have lost the game at Arizona, but road games are what they are, that's why we play the games.
Arizona State (1-3) --okay, I really missed this one bad. Their single win was in OT at Cal (11-7, 2-5 Pac-10). Then they lost bad at Stanford, followed by two home losses to Washington and Washington State. Now they go on the road to UCLA, USC, then Arizona. They'll lose at least two of those three.
Tennessee (4-1) --we can forgive a loss on the road at Kentucky. The Wildcats have a new coach, but playing at Rupp is still playing at Rupp. Two huge games coming up for the Vols, at Mississippi State (a big surprise team), and then they host the Gators
Mississippi (2-2) --they won their home games and lost their road games. That seems to be how things are for this team. Their schedule is pretty easy the rest of the way out, so we won't find out what they're made of until March, but I might take them to get knocked out in the first round by a mid-major
based on their performance away from home

Pretenders (W-L since Jan 15):
Boston College (1-2) --many more losses to come, but probably also a marquee win (they only get Duke at Cameron, but they get UNC at home and on the road)
Miami (1-4) --this one was easy to see, I won't take credit for being so right
Wisconsin (3-1) --they play at Indiana tomorrow night, so chalk that up in the L column, then the tough road games don't come til mid-late February, so it will look like more of a "collapse" than just a "mediocre team"
Minnesota (0-3) --I would have guessed they'd go 1-2, but 0-3 makes me look even better!
Texas (3-1)
--two very close wins, a home blowout of rival Texas Tech, and then they just got smoked by 17 by A&M. They haven't even delved into the Big 12 high rollers. At least four more Conference losses for the Longhorns.
Oregon (0-4) --another one that makes me feel good, like Minnesota
Florida (3-1) --I'm not admitting I was wrong yet. They still have to play Tennessee twice, Mississippi State, at Vandy, and at Kentucky. I'd guess four conference losses for the Gators when we get to Conference Tourney time. I'm giving them a great chance to shut me up.
Vanderbilt (1-3) --this is exactly where I like Vandy though. As the underdog. They still have big home games left against Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi State. They will win at least two of these games.

Contenders: 31-14

Pretenders: 12-19


bl said...

Hey you're brilliant. Your contenders consisted of mainly top 10 teams at the time (Jan. 15) and pretenders were mainly fringe top 25 teams or out of the rankings period. You'll fit right in with some of those other shmucks who label themselves "experts".

Travis Miller said...

And most of my contenders are still there, as they will be in March, while my pretenders have not only faded into mediocrity, but disappeared from March Madness contention completely! Step up to the plate, big boy, who's winning the title this year? BC? Miami?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you think the Badger are a pretender if u watch there games against thier first 6 big tem teams you could pretty much tell that they're a solid team with a great system being coached by a great coach im jus gonna go out on the edge n jus they're gonna let a big ten title speak for themselves

Travis Miller said...

Don't get me wrong, I like Bo Ryan, but I just think the Big Ten style of basketball is flawed.
Many of the teams in that conference, especially Wisconsin, use the entire shot clock to run their set plays, which for the Badgers means they'll usually get a good look, but won't score many points. They're scoring about 70 points per game (not even in the top 100 for D-1), shooting about 47% from the field. Their assist to turnover ratio is virtually an even 1:1, which I won't call terrible, but ideally they would want to be in the 1.3-1.5:1 range.
It's okay for them now, but when they go up against a high-octane offense with a decent defense, they're done.

Anonymous said...

Not saying you're right or wrong in your own assessment, but in calling the Badgers a pretender and then using pts/game as a factor in justifying your argument is illogical judgment at best. They are 41st in offensive efficiency and 3rd in defensive efficiency. Which equals out to a +.17 margin in points per possession. And I'd look at turnover % as opposed to assist/to ratio.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, chalk up that L for the Badgers......

Travis Miller said...

We can throw around stats all day, but when they played a high scoring non-conference team with a good defense, they lost by 24. I know it was early in the season, but the fact is they just can't cut it against the upper echelon teams in better conferences.
Let's say they get a four or a five seed in the NCAA tournament. They're probably stingy enough on defense to beat the #12/13 mid-major they pull, but they won't beat their second round opponent.

Travis Miller said...

C'mon now, I already posted my apology!

Marques said...

Nice prediction on this one. I can't get over the people who don't watch Big Ten basketball on a regular basis. Sometimes, I just don't think they get it. God Bless the casual fan who loves scoring, but that doesn't automatically make it a better brand of hoops. Bo Ryan's style can typically keep his team in any game with any "high octane" team. This is evidenced by their elite eight run a few years back in which they came within a couple minutes of knocking out a more talented UNC team. Granted, they got hammered by Duke this year and it will happen from time to time. Still, it's not the norm.

JPark said...

Ok, I didn't expect the Badgers to dominate IU like they did but to call the Badgers pretenders is ridiculous. Your defense of your comments were equally ridiculous. They scored 60.5 points per game in 2000 when they went to the final four. And held teams to 55.8...that is less than a 5 point advantage. This year they are scoring 6 points more and holding opponents to about the same. They are scoring 10.7 points (before this game) more than their opponents. That leads the Big Ten. Just admit you don't like their style. People hated the Badger style back then too. Didn't stop them from beating powerhouses like LSU and Arizona. Did you post your apology on this thread? If so, I don't see it.

Bucky said...

Wisconsin is a pretender, eh? Looks like maybe you're the pretender. You flaw them for not scoring much, but obviously they usually limit other teams to even less the vast majority of the time. Sorry dude, better learn some respect for the program or they'll make you look silly over and over.

Travis Miller said...

You're completely right. I don't like Wisconsin's style of play. Their style of play works for their opponents in the Big 10, which is why most teams in the conference play that way.
I say the style of play is flawed because I am an ACC man.
ACC/Big Ten Challenge:
ACC 9, BIG Ten 0

NCAA Titles since 2000: ACC 3, Big Ten 1

That's right, like an elitist Duke fan, I'm going there!

Travis Miller said...

Oh yeah, and a margin of +10.7 per game?
S.O.S. 100

do you know what that means?