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February 8, 2011
Tuesday Truths
Post-NFL Edition

by John Gasaway

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Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where we look at how well the 157 teams in the nation's top 14 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis. (For a tidy little homily on why this stuff is so very awesome, go here.)

ACC: The return of the Tar Heel

Through games of February 7, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP - Opp. PPP)

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Duke              8-1   68.9    1.12    0.92    +0.20
2.  North Carolina    7-1   71.1    1.08    0.95    +0.13
3.  Clemson           5-4   64.5    1.05    0.97    +0.08
4.  Virginia Tech     5-4   64.7    1.06    0.98    +0.08
5.  Maryland          5-4   69.4    1.03    0.98    +0.05
6.  Florida St.       6-3   68.6    0.98    0.95    +0.03
7.  Georgia Tech      3-6   68.8    0.97    0.96    +0.01
8.  Miami             3-6   63.6    1.03    1.07    -0.04
9.  Boston College    5-4   64.8    1.08    1.14    -0.06
10. Virginia          3-6   61.3    0.97    1.05    -0.08
11. NC State          2-7   67.7    1.00    1.13    -0.13
12. Wake Forest       1-7   70.5    0.88    1.17    -0.29

AVG.                        67.0    1.02

Just in time for their showdown with Duke in Durham tomorrow night, North Carolina is suddenly good again. Really good. The Tar Heels will therefore receive my full Featured treatment tomorrow. Watch for it.

Big 12: A personal request

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Texas             8-0   64.9    1.12    0.84    +0.28
2.  Kansas            8-1   70.3    1.18    1.01    +0.17
3.  Missouri          4-5   72.1    1.07    1.04    +0.03
4.  Colorado          4-5   70.2    1.07    1.06    +0.01
5.  Baylor            5-4   64.0    1.05    1.05     0.00
6.  Texas A&M         4-4   61.0    1.04    1.05    -0.01
7.  Kansas St.        4-5   67.9    1.03    1.04    -0.01
8.  Oklahoma St.      4-5   66.3    1.02    1.06    -0.04
9.  Nebraska          3-5   66.2    0.98    1.03    -0.05
10. Oklahoma          4-4   66.0    1.00    1.06    -0.06
11. Iowa St.          1-8   73.4    0.98    1.09    -0.11
12. Texas Tech        3-6   69.4    0.96    1.14    -0.18

AVG.                        67.7    1.04

Mindful that Kansas scored 103 points in 71 possessions against Missouri on Monday night, I would like to see the Jayhawk offense play the Texas defense one more time. It's not on the schedule, but I want to see it.

Big East: Beware St. John's! (Just not the way you think.)

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Pitt             10-1   64.0    1.15    0.98    +0.17
2.  Villanova         7-3   65.7    1.13    1.03    +0.10
3.  Marquette         5-5   65.8    1.16    1.10    +0.06
4.  Louisville        7-3   66.7    1.04    0.98    +0.06
5.  Syracuse          7-4   66.0    1.06    1.00    +0.06
6.  West Virginia     6-5   62.5    1.04    1.00    +0.04
7.  Notre Dame        8-3   62.3    1.09    1.05    +0.04
8.  Connecticut       6-4   64.7    1.02    0.98    +0.04
9.  Georgetown        7-4   64.2    1.08    1.05    +0.03
10. Cincinnati        5-5   63.3    1.00    0.99    +0.01
11. Seton Hall        4-8   68.1    0.94    0.98    -0.04
12. Providence        3-8   71.9    1.01    1.07    -0.06
13. Rutgers           3-8   64.1    1.01    1.08    -0.07
14. St. John's        5-5   65.6    0.95    1.03    -0.08
15. S. Florida        2-9   63.8    0.99    1.09    -0.10
16. DePaul           0-10   66.3    0.93    1.17    -0.24

AVG.                        65.3    1.04

Even acknowledging their blowout win at home over Duke on January 30, St. John's is on-track to be the weakest major-conference team in recent years to receive an at-large bid. It would be roughly equivalent to Michigan receiving an at-large (see below). I don't say this to suggest the committee shouldn't give the Johnnies a bid. If rewarding "good wins" is the stated intent here, you can certainly make the case for Steve Lavin's team. No, I say this only for your benefit when you're filling out your bracket.

Big Ten: 24 hours later and still nobody sucks!

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Wisconsin         7-3   56.1    1.19    1.03    +0.16
2.  Ohio St.         11-0   63.0    1.14    1.00    +0.14
3.  Purdue            7-3   64.0    1.14    1.04    +0.10
4.  Illinois          5-5   62.7    1.10    1.03    +0.07
5.  Penn St.          5-6   58.6    1.07    1.09    -0.02
6.  Minnesota         5-6   61.7    1.07    1.10    -0.03
7.  Northwestern      4-7   63.2    1.08    1.14    -0.06
8.  Indiana           3-8   63.0    1.06    1.13    -0.07
9.  Michigan St.      5-6   61.6    1.03    1.10    -0.07
10. Michigan          4-7   59.7    1.07    1.15    -0.08
11. Iowa              3-8   65.9    1.00    1.11    -0.11

AVG.                        61.8    1.09

The Big Ten received my undivided yesterday. Enjoy.

Pac-10: Why did Washington collapse? Can they un-collapse?

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Washington        7-4   71.8    1.09    0.98    +0.11
2.  Arizona           9-2   69.1    1.09    1.02    +0.07
3.  UCLA              7-3   67.4    1.02    1.00    +0.02
4.  Washington St.    6-5   69.2    0.99    0.97    +0.02
5.  Cal               6-5   66.9    1.11    1.10    +0.01
6.  USC               4-6   63.1    1.01    1.01     0.00
7.  Stanford          5-6   64.8    0.97    0.98    -0.01
8.  Oregon            5-6   67.2    0.99    1.02    -0.03
9.  Oregon St.        4-7   69.8    0.95    1.03    -0.08
10. Arizona St.      1-10   64.5    0.98    1.11    -0.13

AVG.                        67.9    1.01

The Huskies are still nominally the Pac-10's best team on a per-possession basis, but at this point that's a little like looking at total record sales from the past 50 years and inferring that the Stones are still churning out hits. The truth is U-Dub's offense has gone missing. During their current three-game losing streak Lorenzo Romar's team has mustered just 0.92 points per trip.

SEC: Roll, Tide, roll! (cont.)

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Alabama           7-1   67.0    1.00    0.85    +0.15
2.  Kentucky          4-4   67.8    1.04    0.93    +0.11
3.  Florida           7-2   63.2    1.08    0.99    +0.09
4.  Tennessee         5-3   63.7    1.04    0.95    +0.09
5.  Georgia           5-4   67.5    1.07    1.02    +0.05
6.  Vanderbilt        4-4   67.1    1.07    1.04    +0.03
7.  Arkansas          4-5   65.2    0.99    1.03    -0.04
8.  Ole Miss          3-5   66.7    1.05    1.09    -0.04
9.  South Carolina    4-4   65.6    0.98    1.03    -0.05
10. Mississippi St.   4-4   69.8    0.97    1.02    -0.05
11. Auburn            1-8   67.0    0.89    1.02    -0.13
12. LSU               2-6   64.5    0.82    1.04    -0.22

AVG.                        66.3    1.00

It seems like there's still a reluctance -- understandable but increasingly curious with each passing day -- to say that Alabama's been the best team in the SEC so far. Yes, they're from the West, and we were supposed to be able to ignore the West entirely this year. Yes, they lost at Arkansas. And, yes, the example of Washington's collapse after an even more impressive start in conference play suggests we should couch our praise of the Tide appropriately. But there can be no doubt that Anthony Grant's team plays some of the best D in the country.

A-10: An elimination game -- for Duquesne only

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Duquesne          8-1   70.3    1.12    0.90    +0.22
2.  Xavier            8-1   65.1    1.20    0.99    +0.21
3.  Temple            7-2   67.7    1.07    0.95    +0.12
4.  Richmond          7-2   64.2    1.13    1.02    +0.11
5.  Dayton            5-4   66.1    1.03    1.00    +0.03
6.  Saint Louis       3-6   61.8    0.94    0.95    -0.01
7.  GW                5-4   64.2    1.02    1.04    -0.02
8.  Rhode Island      5-4   65.3    0.97    1.00    -0.03
9.  UMass             5-4   63.5    1.01    1.05    -0.04
10. St. Bonaventure   4-5   63.3    1.00    1.04    -0.04
11. La Salle          3-6   72.4    1.00    1.06    -0.06
12. Charlotte         2-7   66.2    0.98    1.07    -0.09
13. Saint Joseph's    1-8   62.3    0.98    1.11    -0.13
14. Fordham           0-9   68.6    0.84    1.10    -0.26

AVG.                        65.8    1.02

The Dukes lost at St. Bonaventure on Saturday, 64-62. The Bonnies are respectable, but for a team like Duquesne that's trying to shove its way into the bubble discussion, losing to a non-tournament team is not advisable. This Sunday's game at home against Xavier now looms even larger -- it's the kind of game where an A-10 commissioner will/should be secretly pulling for the Dukes. A loss wouldn't harm the Musketeers' chances for a bid as much as it would Ron Everhart's team.

Colonial: Beware John Gasaway! (Just not the way you think.)

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  George Mason     11-2   64.7    1.16    0.94    +0.22
2.  VCU              11-2   63.0    1.13    1.02    +0.11
3.  Old Dominion      9-4   58.6    1.03    0.96    +0.07
4.  James Madison     7-6   66.8    1.09    1.02    +0.07
5.  Drexel            8-5   62.7    0.97    0.94    +0.03
6.  Hofstra           9-4   65.7    1.10    1.08    +0.02
7.  William & Mary   3-10   62.8    1.06    1.11    -0.05
8.  UNC-Wilmington    5-8   61.8    1.01    1.07    -0.06
9.  Georgia St.       5-8   63.8    0.92    0.99    -0.07
10. Delaware          6-7   61.0    0.98    1.06    -0.08
11. Northeastern      4-9   60.3    1.07    1.15    -0.08
12. Towson           0-13   61.7    1.00    1.19    -0.19

AVG.                        62.7    1.04

Well, what do you know. I say George Mason should be receiving votes in the polls and, by George (har!), they start getting votes! Oh, I suppose the Patriots throttling Old Dominion 62-45 at home on Saturday may have helped. But mostly it was me. Now for my next act: Make a no-charge circle magically appear on every D-I floor.

C-USA: Pay no mind to these preliminary and incomplete results

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  UTEP              6-2   62.8    1.05    0.95    +0.10
2.  Tulsa             6-3   64.8    1.02    0.99    +0.03
3.  UAB               6-3   63.4    1.03    1.00    +0.03
4.  Southern Miss     7-3   65.8    1.13    1.10    +0.03
5.  Memphis           5-3   69.2    1.00    0.97    +0.03
6.  Marshall          3-5   67.6    1.03    1.01    +0.02
7.  East Carolina     5-4   64.9    1.04    1.02    +0.02
8.  SMU               5-3   61.8    1.04    1.02    +0.02
9.  Houston           3-6   63.3    1.04    1.08    -0.04
10. Rice              3-6   64.5    1.00    1.04    -0.04
11. Tulane            2-7   63.6    0.99    1.08    -0.09
12. UCF               1-7   66.8    0.95    1.07    -0.12

AVG.                        64.9    1.03

Last week's game between UCF and UTEP was postponed when El Paso was hit with the same nasty storm that made itself a nuisance in much of the nation. What's unusual about this game, however, is that it wasn't simply played the next night. In fact it still hasn't been played -- or even, as of yesterday, rescheduled. Is this game ever going to happen? I don't know, but if it comes to pass it's likely to make the Miners look better here.

Horizon: Cancel that order for some post-Butler clarity

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Cleveland St.    10-4   66.3    1.08    0.96    +0.12
2.  Valparaiso        9-3   66.3    1.03    0.95    +0.08
3.  Butler            8-5   64.8    1.11    1.05    +0.06
4.  Wright St.       10-4   62.2    1.04    0.99    +0.05
5.  Detroit           8-6   70.0    1.06    1.04    +0.02
6.  Green Bay         6-6   66.7    1.05    1.05     0.00
7.  Milwaukee         8-5   65.0    1.04    1.05    -0.01
8.  Loyola            4-9   65.6    1.01    1.06    -0.05
9.  UIC              1-12   65.7    0.97    1.09    -0.12
10. Youngstown St.   2-12   68.7    0.94    1.08    -0.14

AVG.                        66.1    1.03

Cleveland State could have wrested control of the Horizon in more ways than one with a win at home over Butler on Saturday, but the Vikings lost 73-61. Then Gary Waters' team traveled to Detroit for a Monday night game and lost 81-78. No clarity here. It's fun.

Missouri Valley: Meet Wichita State

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Wichita St.      11-2   63.4    1.13    0.92    +0.21
2.  Missouri St.     10-3   61.4    1.10    1.02    +0.08
3.  N. Iowa           9-4   58.7    1.08    1.03    +0.05
4.  Creighton         7-6   62.6    1.07    1.04    +0.03
5.  Indiana St.       7-6   64.2    1.01    1.00    +0.01
6.  Evansville        7-6   64.3    0.98    1.01    -0.03
7.  Drake             5-8   63.8    0.98    1.03    -0.05
9.  Illinois St.     3-10   61.9    0.95    1.05    -0.10
8.  S. Illinois       4-9   62.2    0.93    1.03    -0.10
10. Bradley          2-11   64.2    1.00    1.11    -0.11

AVG.                        62.7    1.02

In Missouri Valley play the Shockers have pulled down 77 percent of opponents' misses. (Yes, 77 percent.) Once they haul in the rebound, Gregg Marshall's team comes down the floor and make 56 percent of its twos. (In a rotation that goes 10-deep, Marshall has but one player who makes less than half his attempts inside the arc.) The Valley certainly isn't what it was four or five years ago, but this Wichita State team would have fit right in.

Mountain West: The Cowboys lose a coach

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  BYU               8-1   71.8    1.15    1.00    +0.15
2.  San Diego St.     8-1   63.8    1.07    0.92    +0.15
3.  New Mexico        4-4   66.4    1.09    1.02    +0.07
4.  Colorado St.      6-3   66.4    1.06    1.00    +0.06
5.  UNLV              5-4   67.3    1.00    0.96    +0.04
6.  Air Force         4-5   58.8    1.06    1.09    -0.03
7.  Utah              3-6   67.7    1.00    1.04    -0.04
8.  TCU               1-8   64.6    0.92    1.09    -0.17
9.  Wyoming           1-8   64.7    0.91    1.13    -0.22

AVG.                        65.7    1.03

On Monday Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer was let go. Ordinarily this is where I'd help out the new guy (interim coach Fred Langley) by isolating the team's greatest weakness and zeroing in on the most pressing performance issue. But "weakness" and "issue," singular, don't really capture the situation in Laramie. So, Coach Langley, look around you. BONUS confusion! Why was the AP story on the firing sent out under a Cheyenne dateline? Did university authorities really drag Schroyer 50 miles away from campus to fire him?

West Coast: If you like points, it's Moraga or Madison!

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Saint Mary's      8-1   66.2    1.19    1.01    +0.18
2.  Gonzaga           5-3   66.6    1.17    1.05    +0.12
3.  Santa Clara       5-3   66.3    1.05    1.02    +0.03
4.  San Francisco     6-2   69.4    1.04    1.02    +0.02
5.  Portland          4-4   62.9    1.08    1.06    +0.02
6.  Pepperdine        4-5   69.0    1.01    1.07    -0.06
7.  Loyola Marymount  1-8   66.2    1.01    1.10    -0.09
8.  San Diego         1-8   63.3    0.90    1.10    -0.20

AVG.                        66.1    1.06

The West Coast is the Big Ten's only competition in terms of exceptional offense (or is it shoddy D?) on a league-wide basis.

WAC: Get to know Utah State

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Utah St.         11-0   63.7    1.12    0.91    +0.21
2.  New Mexico St.    7-4   70.4    1.06    0.99    +0.07
3.  Idaho             6-5   66.2    1.04    0.97    +0.07
4.  Nevada            6-4   67.8    1.08    1.05    +0.03
5.  Fresno St.        5-6   65.9    1.00    1.03    -0.03
6.  Boise St.         5-6   68.0    1.00    1.03    -0.03
7.  Hawaii            4-7   66.3    0.94    1.03    -0.09
8.  San Jose St.      3-8   68.1    1.00    1.10    -0.10
9.  Louisiana Tech    2-9   67.0    0.90    1.02    -0.12

AVG.                        67.1    1.00

For the purposes of this WAC season the Aggies have reached Memphis-under-Calipari status. That is, they so thoroughly dominate their conference the only remaining question is how much damage they can do against opponents from other conferences. Watch for thoughts along these lines in this space over the next few weeks. (Hey, what else is there to talk about with the WAC?)

John uses fewer decimal points on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. College Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available on Amazon.

John Gasaway is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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