Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
For those of you that were not around at tournament time last year, I wrote up a series of posts, one before each game, looking at the numbers underlying the performance of our upcoming opponent, with a strong focus on Pomeroy and Sagarin's ratings and adjusted statistics. As this seemed to create good mojo last year (through the first two weeks, at least), I thought that I would try again.
As has been the subject of much discussion on this site since Sunday night, we will be facing VCU tomorrow night in Philly. I will leave talk of seeding and upsets for other posts.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) enters the tournament with a 24-9 record, having won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championships. VCU defeated Georgia State, ODU, and George Mason to earn the CAA's automatic bid, and the east region's 11 seed. The Rams are riding a 5 game win streak, following a Bracketbusters loss @ Nevada on February 20.
VCU has played 2 games against NCAA tourney teams: a 73-69 home win vs. Akron, and an 81-70 loss to Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. The Bruins and Rams share no common opponents.
Now to the numbers...
RPI UCLA: #33, VCU: #50
Pomeroy Rating UCLA: #9, VCU: #56
Sagarin Rating UCLA: #17, VCU: #74
One of the things that quickly comes to mind when looking at the various computer ratings is where we rate compared to our seeding, and the variance between the RPI and other computer ratings when it comes to UCLA. While I expect a hard fought game on both sides, which likely will be close throughout, it is not the tossup-to-clear upset pick that many in the press would like us to believe. VCU is a good team, but a win tomorrow would be a major upset.
Next is a look at the efficiency metrics and pace of play for the Bruins and VCU.
* Offense: 108.0 points/100 possessions (#74 in D-1)
* Defense: 93.6 points/possession (#49 in D-1)
* Pace: 67.1 possessions/40 minutes
VCU's pace of play most closely approximates Cal among this season's UCLA opponents, though VCU's defensive metrics rate better than those of Cal (along with a weaker offense)
* Offense: 120.9 points/100 possessions (#3 in D-1)
* Defense: 92.6 points/100 possessions (#41 in D-1)
* Pace: 66.6 possessions/40 minutes
Using the above efficiency measures, together with the average pace of the two teams' play, the average game score of each team, based upon an equal schedule composed of average Division 1 teams would be:
This game will be a much greater opening round test than our Bruins are used to, only Josh Shipp among this year's players has played a 1st round game against anything but a lower-tier automatic qualifier. Tomorrow will not be the light warmup that we have become accustomed to the past 3 seasons.
Pomeroy is projecting a 75-66 Bruin victory, with a 20% chance of VCU pulling the upset, while Sagarin's formula predicts a 7-8 point UCLA win. A close 1st round game, which could be thrown into question by another lackadaisical start, or DC's health status.