Pac-12 Team Previews: Washington State

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 7th, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Washington State Cougars

Strengths.  The Cougars return four starters from last year’s NIT Final Four team in junior guard Reggie Moore, senior guard Marcus Capers, and senior forward Abe Lodwick. However, the biggest contributions could come from the three incoming guards, Mike Ladd, DaVonte Lacy, and Dexter Kernich-Drew. Those three will be needed at the two guard since both Moore and Capers will be at the point. Coming into the season as a Top 50 shooting guard, Lacy is the star of the group. In their exhibition on Saturday against Lewis-Clark State, Lacy proved his value with a 21-point performance. The frontcourt will be held down by Lodwick (when he returns from a left foot injury), junior power forward Brock Motum, and junior center Steven Bjornstad. With Motum and Bjornstad at 6’10″ and 6’11″, respectively, opposing defenses will have trouble matching up in the post.

Lacy has proved early on that he is the go-to guy at shooting guard

Weaknesses.  The Cougars lost two of their three best players from last year in forward DeAngleo Casto and guard Klay Thompson. Those two accounted for 45% of the 2010-11 Wazzu offense. The team will be tested early on with six of their first nine games away from Pullman. For a team that is looking to rreutrn to the NIT, that is a very tough start.

Nonconference Tests.  The Cougars have a relatively easy OOC slate, with only three games that should really challenge them. The first is their regular season opener at Gonzaga. The game will be played at 9:00 PM PST and is the first game of ESPN’s annual 25-Hour Tipoff Marathon. The next challenges will come in the second and third rounds of the 76 Classic down in Anaheim during Thanksgiving weekend. On Nov. 25 they will most likely meet New Mexico in the semifinals, and on Nov. 27 a championship meeting with Villanova looks to be in the cards.

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Pac-12 Team Previews: Stanford

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 2nd, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Stanford Cardinal

Strengths.  The Cardinal returns four starters from last year’s team, including senior power forward Josh Owens. Owens led the team in points and rebounds last year, and with the addition of freshman guard Chasson Randle in the backcourt, there is reason for hope in Palo Alto after a mediocre 15-16 season. While they have a highly-touted freshman in Randle, the Cardinal also have a great sophomore class that got a ton of experience last year. Leading that group is guard/forward Anthony Brown, who one minute will be draining threes from behind the arc, and the next he will be posting up in the paint. The second of the sophomore sensations is forward Dwight Powell, who averaged 8.1 PPG in 26 starts last year. However, Owens is the rock of this team, and if he is “on” night in and night out, the Cardinal will find themselves in a major postseason tournament come March. He has the ability to guard either position, back a big guy down in the paint, and beat someone off the dribble. Also, if you are looking for a guy besides Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham for a highlight-reel dunk, Owens is guaranteed to provide a few.

Stanford Will Rise and Fall With Owens Leading the Cardinal

Weaknesses.  They lose Jeremy Green to the NBA D-League, and he was by far the best outside shooter on the team. Sophomore Aaron Bright will be asked initially to fill Green’s shoes, which by last year’s stats will be an 11.6 drop in PPG. Finding a dynamic, outside scorer at the guard position is the main thing the Cardinal need to work out in preseason practices, because at the end of the day, Bright is much more comfortable dishing the ball off than taking his own shot.

Nonconference Tests.  The Cardinal have a very manageable nonconference slate with the exception of three games. They will likely play in the NIT semifinals on Nov. 23 against (presumably) Oklahoma State and on Nov. 25 in either the championship or consolation game against (most likely) Syracuse or Virginia Tech. The final challenge will come against the Butler Bulldogs on Dec. 22 in Palo Alto. If Stanford can get out of that stretch 2-1 or 3-0, it will mean a lot for their RPI come Selection Sunday.
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FIU Still an NBA Breeding Ground

Posted by rtmsf on April 21st, 2008

Spring is in the air, the F4 is well into our rearview mirror and we’re gearing up for nightly visits with Ernie, Chuck and The Jet on Inside the NBA (with occasional stop-ins from Magic, Reggie and several others, of course). This means it’s playoff time in the Association, which also means its time for RTC’s second annual review of the pedigree of the key contributors for all sixteen playoff teams. Yes, second annual. That’s the first time we’ve been able to say that and it feels invigorating.

Where Are All the Auburn Players, Chuck?

As the three of you who were around at the beginning of this blog may recall from last year’s post, we learned that 56% of key contributors on playoff teams went to a BCS conference school, another 18% came from other levels of college basketball, and 26% were foreign and/or never stepped foot on a college campus. We also learned that the historically best schools tend to produce the most contributing pros on playoff teams, as Duke, Kentucky, UConn, UNC and UCLA led the way with the most players last year. But that trend was bucked somewhat when one considers that teeny little Florida International University managed to produce two players who were key contributors to playoff teams, more than such notable programs as Syracuse, Louisville and Indiana.

So what about this year? For ease of analysis, we did what we always do – we created excel tables! Remember, all data only considers what we call key contributors – players who played in at least half of its team’s games and averaged over 10 minutes per game. For the starters data, we used the starting lineups as announced in the first game of each playoff series last weekend (therefore, Gilbert Arenas is not represented, having only played 13 games this year and coming off the bench in the first game of the playoffs). We ended up with 158 key contributors and 80 starters over sixteen teams.

Quick Hits:

  • Roughly the same number of key contributors on this year’s playoff teams (25%) never stepped foot on a college campus as compared to last year (26%). We expect that the foreign cohort will stay roughly the same (15%/16%) or even rise a little in the future, but with the NBA’s new one-and-done rule now in the second year of its implementation, the high school-only crowd (11%/14%) should continue to dwindle in the next five years.
  • Last year Duke, UConn and Kentucky each had six players contributing to playoff teams. This year, only UNC has as many as five contributors, all of whom are starters (R. Wallace, J. Stackhouse, M. Williams, A. Jamison, B. Haywood). There are five other schools with four contributors each, and seven schools with three each. After UNC’s five starters, only Duke (C. Boozer, G. Hill, S. Battier), UConn (R. Allen, C. Butler, R. Hamilton) and Wake Forest (T. Duncan, J. Howard, C. Paul) have as many as three starters in the playoffs this year (although we’d take Wake’s three over anybody else’s).
  • The cream rises, doesn’t it? Of the top 13 schools mentioned with three or more contributors this year, they account for 38 of the last 60 Final Four teams (63%) and 10 of the last 15 national champions (67%).
  • Which school doesn’t belong (again)? Thanks to Raja Bell and Carlos Arroyo, little Florida International once again made its name onto the list among all the heavyweights with two key contributors. FIU has more players contributing in the playoffs than the likes of hoops stalwarts Ohio St. (0), Louisville (0), and Indiana (0).

More Quick Hits:

  • Considering only the 118 players who went to college in some capacity, the six BCS conferences account for 69% of key contributors and 50% of playoff starters. This is a dropoff from last season (76%/77%), which shows some of the variability that goes into comparing different playoff teams in a year-over-year manner – four of the sixteen teams in this year’s NBA playoffs are different.
  • Take a look at the top three conferences above – the ACC, Pac-10 and SEC. They look roughly equivalent when comparing them by number of key contributors (17/15/15), but when you consider them by starters (13/3/8), you see a rift develop. It appears that all three leagues produce a lot of NBA talent (47 players), but the ACC appears the best in producing playoff-caliber starting talent. The SEC is solid at doing so, but the Pac-10 appears to excel in producing backups for good teams. By the same token, the Big East may not have as much NBA talent on good teams this year (only 11), but they tend to be starters (8).
  • The mid-major and low-major D1 conferences account for 29% of key contributors and 27% of starters this year, somewhat above last year’s totals (24%/13%). Speaking of mid-majors, take a look at the Atlantic 10 again – with 8 key contributors and 5 starters, this league arguably outdoes a certain midwestern conference with eleven members. Other than the A10, only the MAC and the Sun Belt are mid-majors with multiple starters in the playoffs this year.
  • Devean George (Augsburg College), Ben Wallace (Virginia Union) and Jamario Moon (Meridian (MS) Community College) represent the three non-D1 players who contribute for playoff teams.

Well, that’s all that jumped out at us in reviewing the key contributor and starter lists. If you see something else we missed, just put it in the comments. And if there’s a calculation you’d like to see, let us know and we can try to figure that out as well.

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