When you're in the analysis business, it pays to actually do a critical review of the quality of your analysis from time to time. I'm not sure how many others do this (I'm pretty sure it's none, except for Gasaway who basically stole my idea), but it's a cleansing, if unsettling, experience for me to find the best and worst nuggets I offered to readers during the past season. I've picked the five items on each side of the ledger to share with you now.
First the braggin' part...
5. Xavier's aggressive offensive rebounding would be its undoing
If the Gators and Muskies want to have aspirations beyond just contending for their own conference's supremacy, then sacrificing a few offensive rebounds might be a small price to pay towards a defense that can allow them to play further into March. (1/28)
Obviously, the X-Men had a fine season, reaching the Elite Eight. Once they got there, they were able to get enough offensive rebounds against UCLA (14 of them), but gave up some run-outs as well as UCLA ran up its best offensive game over the past two months.
4. Texas A&M would give UCLA a scare
Texas A&M, should it appear in the second round on Sunday, will make UCLA's life interesting. (3/19)
The Aggies did appear in the second round and managed to hang around with UCLA for 40 minutes.
3. Luke Harangody would put up some nice numbers
Luke Harangody's production in 2007 plus more minutes in 2008 will produce stats very much like Glen Davis had in 2006. (10/24)
In '06, Davis averaged 18.6 ppg and 9.7 rpg in '06 for LSU. Harangody went for 20.4 and 10.6 this season. Their advanced stats are freakishly similar as well. To some, Harangody came out of nowhere this season.
2. Davidson deserved an at-large berth
If the committee is looking for the best teams, however, Davidson's record in those three games [against UCLA, Duke, and UNC] should take a back seat to their performance in them.(2/25)
As much as tournament play can prove an argument like this to be correct (and I'm not sold that it can), Davidson's three post-season wins indicated how good it was this season.
1. Davidson could make some noise in the tourney.
Georgetown has a potentially scary second-round game against Davidson on the horizon. The Wildcats' Final Four chances are Georgia-esque; their ability is probably underrepresented in my system by 10-15 spots. Whenever they lose--and it could be anywhere from the first round to much later--I'd be surprised if the game is decided before the final minute. They play big-conference-style basketball. (3/18)
I'm going to double down on Davidson, but who else was as high on Bob McKillop's team in February and March? Come on, "much later" is just code for "Elite Eight". Please remember this as I investigate the five most horribly wrong things I wrote in this space over the past six months.
Any time I try to implement a regular feature, it typically dies a quick death. This season I ran something called "Headlines You Won't See Anywhere Else." There's a reason you didn't see them elsewhere--some of them were completely false! The next three are the best examples.
5. Arizona's D is much improved (11/30)
Sometimes one has to jump to conclusions a little early to come up with material in November. At the time, it looked like the hype surrounding Kevin O'Neill and his ability to coach a defense was justified. At least in my mind it was, based entirely on holding Kansas below a point per possession in Allen Fieldhouse. It actually was the only time it would happen there this season, so in that respect I wasn't off. However, the Wildcats' defense regressed almost exactly to its 2007 value by the end of the season. In '07 they ranked 72nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, and in '08 they finished 61st.
4. Indiana is the new Arizona (11/30)
This came from the same piece. Again the error of my ways was the limited data on which I based the statement. The Hoosiers had been torched by Xavier and Georgia Tech the week before. Xavier would go on to overpower many other teams the rest of the way. Even in hindsight, the Georgia Tech game should have raised concerns. However, Indiana wasn't bad enough during the season to deserve the disparaging headline above. They finished sixth in the Big 10 in defensive efficiency during conference play, even with the post-Sampson massacre at Michigan State late in the season.
3. UNC misses Brandan Wright badly (12/20)
At the time Deon Thompson was playing as poorly as any starter on a top-10 team. He's gradually become competent offensively, and in the NCAA Tournament, he's made 22 of 30 shots and scored 47 points in 77 minutes. He's still the fourth option, but he's productive enough that nobody's mentioned Brandan Wright's name in a long time.
Now back to the errors in free-form writing...
2. Texas' zone would give Memphis problems
On the other side of the ball, the Longhorns vie with Louisville among teams with realistic Final Four chances as the one that plays the most zone. This presents a "situation" for a poor three-point shooting team like Memphis that has historically struggled against zone defenses. (3/19)
This seemed liked a good concept, but Derrick Rose became zone-proof at some point during the CUSA season and nobody told me about it.
1. You can't have four one-seeds in the Final Four
History tells us we'll probably get two Final Four teams out of the top five, so the question becomes: who's #6? Not because it really matters to me from a ranking standpoint, but because that next tier of teams will provide the other two that will make a deep tournament run. (2/13)
This was the premise of a piece that turned out to be irrelevant. I wish I had known that before I pegged Kansas State as one of those teams going deep in the tourney.
So that's a wrap on my '07-'08 performance review. I just hope it was less painful for you to read than it was for me to research.
Ken Pomeroy is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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