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davekay1971
01-06-2009, 11:43 AM
I always suspected this, but the linked article confirms it. How can you rank Michigan State, which got destroyed by UNC, as a top challenger to the 'Holes? Particularly when excludes Duke (as well as Gonzaga and Oklahoma) from the list of top 5 challengers...

http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/in_the_paint/posts/37821-the-week-in-hoops?eref=fromSI

RainingThrees
01-06-2009, 01:04 PM
I don't think he is a Duke fan. After the Michigan loss we went down to about 16 in his rankings. Nobody else had us that low

Kedsy
01-06-2009, 01:12 PM
I always suspected this, but the linked article confirms it. How can you rank Michigan State, which got destroyed by UNC, as a top challenger to the 'Holes? Particularly when excludes Duke (as well as Gonzaga and Oklahoma) from the list of top 5 challengers...

http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/in_the_paint/posts/37821-the-week-in-hoops?eref=fromSI

I don't read this guy on a regular basis, but just looking at the article I think you're being too hard on him. If he just listed the top 5 why would anyone read the article? What makes it interesting (albeit unrealistic) are his inclusion of long shots Michigan State and Louisville. He couldn't not include UConn or Pitt, and whether we like it or not, on paper Wake matches up much better with UNC than Duke does. Plus, at the end he says the "next 5" are Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, and UCLA. Nothing to get angry about here.

BD80
01-06-2009, 01:14 PM
I always suspected this, but the linked article confirms it. How can you rank Michigan State, which got destroyed by UNC, as a top challenger to the 'Holes? Particularly when excludes Duke (as well as Gonzaga and Oklahoma) from the list of top 5 challengers...

http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/in_the_paint/posts/37821-the-week-in-hoops?eref=fromSI

Mi State played the early games without its center Goran Suton, one of the top three players, and with its PF Delvon Roe still coming back from serious injuries. Roe is expected to be an impact player, even as a freshman. Without Roe and Suton, State did not have the talent inside to defend the heels. Kalin Lucas is truly something to see, reminiscent of TJ Ford. He just seems to play at a different speed than everyone else.

Cavlaw
01-06-2009, 01:43 PM
It's hard to figure out where Michigan State is right now. They've really only played two top-tier teams: UNC and Texas. They looked terrible against UNC, and pretty good against Texas. They've also played a handful of solid teams: Maryland, OKST, Minnesota (and maybe Northwestern). The loss to Maryland is a bit of a headscratcher, but they looked good in the others.

I think you can look at Michigan State and come to the conclusion that they have the potential to match up well with UNC despite the game at Ford Field for a couple of reasons.

First, Michigan State really is a different team with Goran Suton on the floor. Just look at the stat line from the Texas game and you see his impact at the top: he was worth 18 points in 26 minutes in that win, with 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 boards and only 1 turnover. He's also typically the Spartan's top rebounder (despite only grabbing 2 against Texas). He did not play against UNC, and his absence was certainly felt in the Spartan's inability to match up anyone against Hansbrough on defense or to break UNC's backcourt pressure on the offensive end by feeding into a post player with good hands.

Second, the UNC game was Michigan State's 4th game in 6 days, coming on the heels of the tournament at Disney in which they got to play the consolation rounds from the first day on after their upset loss to Maryland. If fatigue shows most obviously at the free throw line, then the Spartans were tired, hitting only 13-21. They were also disjointed on offense, committing 21 turnovers.

Despite that, if you watched the UNC game, you could see that the Spartans were basically in it for the for the first half but for shots that wouldn't go down (they finished shooting 34.8% for the night). They went into a downward spiral in the second half when UNC went on a run, resulting in the rout.

We'll know a little more about Michigan State after tonight's game with Ohio State. Of particular interest will be how Suton handles Lauderdale and Mullens in the post. The real test of the Spartan's doesn't come until early February, though, when they get into the heart of conference play with a string of games with Minnesota, Michigan, Purdue and Illinois.

As to whether a team can come back and beat a team that blew it out earlier in the season, well, it happens every year. It already has this year, with Duke and Michigan.

With respect to the rest of Winn's list of potential challengers, only Louisville looks completely out of place to me. With losses to UNLV, Minnesota and Western Kentucky, and no marquee wins, I'm not sure where their AP and coaches' poll love comes from. After a warm up against South Florida they jump right into some rough BEAST play though, travelling to Villanova, and then hosting Notre Dame and Pitt in back-to-back games, so we'll see what they're made of soon.

Regarding the teams you wish were on the list - well, they all are in his "next five" at the bottom. I obviously won't quibble with Duke.

While Gonzaga looked great against a Uconn team that flew all the way across the country to play them in Seattle, they didn't win. They followed up that performance with loses to Portland State (Portland State!?!) and Utah, and had already dropped one at Arizona before all that began. They have a chance to get some redemption at Tennessee tomorrow night if they can beat the Vols again (who will be looking for revenge of their own after Disney), and they host Memphis in early February, but so far they look like a mixed bag at best and remaining bulk of their schedule is against unknowns. Winning at Disney was great. Losing to every team with a pulse since wasn't.

Oklahoma is probably a very strong contender in a hypothetical match up with UNC. They look good with wins over Davidson, Purdue, USC, and Utah. All close games though, and all at home except against Purdue. Mix in a loss on the road at Arkansas, which is looking like a solid team itself, and I'm not sure what you get. I'd like to see what happens when the Sooners travel to Texas on Monday before coming to any conclusions about how good they are.

So, all in all, I don't think Winn is an idiot here. He made some bad preseason picks (and I'm interested to see his updated power rankings this week), but the only team in his list of ten that I don't like is Louisville, and I think I'd move up either Duke or OU into the top five, which he already lists in his "next five".

phaedrus
01-06-2009, 01:52 PM
As to whether a team can come back and beat a team that blew it out earlier in the season, well, it happens every year.

Michigan State did it themselves 4 years ago against the other end of 15-501.

Clipsfan
01-06-2009, 02:09 PM
Something that is being missed here is that he's not only talking about which teams would have a chance against UNC in the finals, but which ones are likely to get there for that opportunity. In this case, Duke's recent poor run in the tourney is a factor against them. It's true that we have a very good chance of winning when we play, but in his opinion we're a slight longshot to make the Final Four/Finals.

Indoor66
01-06-2009, 02:13 PM
Something that is being missed here is that he's not only talking about which teams would have a chance against UNC in the finals, but which ones are likely to get there for that opportunity. In this case, Duke's recent poor run in the tourney is a factor against them. It's true that we have a very good chance of winning when we play, but in his opinion we're a slight longshot to make the Final Four/Finals.

I don't understand your point. The NCAA tourney has no memory. Last year does not predict this year.

juise
01-06-2009, 02:34 PM
I don't understand your point. The NCAA tourney has no memory. Last year does not predict this year.

I think that there is some evidence that past performances can be predictive of future performances... especially for individuals. Obviously, match-ups play a big part in it, but a trend is a trend.

The only case that comes to mind is J.J.'s shooting after the first weekend of the NCAAT. He played six games after the first weekend. In five of those games, he shot less than 25% on 12 shots or more. Three of those five were Sweet 16 losses. One was an Elite 8 win and the other was a Final Four loss. After the 04 NCAAT, you could look at four games and estimate that Duke needs to rely less on J.J.'s shooting in the late rounds because he shot poorly in 3 of 4 games. I know it may be oversimplified (saying that Duke is in trouble if its best scorer shoots poorly), but this evidence held up during the next two tournaments.

jv001
01-06-2009, 03:00 PM
I think that there is some evidence that past performances can be predictive of future performances... especially for individuals. Obviously, match-ups play a big part in it, but a trend is a trend.

The only case that comes to mind is J.J.'s shooting after the first weekend of the NCAAT. He played six games after the first weekend. In five of those games, he shot less than 25% on 12 shots or more. Three of those five were Sweet 16 losses. One was an Elite 8 win and the other was a Final Four loss. After the 04 NCAAT, you could look at four games and estimate that Duke needs to rely less on J.J.'s shooting in the late rounds because he shot poorly in 3 of 4 games. I know it may be oversimplified (saying that Duke is in trouble if its best scorer shoots poorly), but this evidence held up during the next two tournaments.

Well I'm glad JJ is not on this years team. I would say that any team would be in trouble if their best scorer shoots poorly. If you put an emphasis on trends then unc is in trouble this year. Go Duke!

SMO
01-06-2009, 03:12 PM
Michigan State did it themselves 4 years ago against the other end of 15-501.

If you're talking about 2004-05 that was no blowout in CIS. I remember it well. It was my first game in Cameron and as I recall a late 3 by Daniel Ewing sealed the deal as both he and Redick when for 29 or 30. Highlights of the night included a chant of "Ron Artest, Ron Artest" at a Michigan State player after a scrum. We also chanted "Caroline, Caroline" and "Call her back!" at one guy who supposedly dated a girl on the Mich St. Volleyball Team and things didn't end well between them. Ah, the memories.

mapei
01-06-2009, 03:20 PM
But Ron Artest went to St. John's and while there, IIRC, had a win over Duke. Not a great choice, that chant.

juise
01-06-2009, 03:47 PM
Well I'm glad JJ is not on this years team.

That is absolutely not what I was saying. J.J. was a special player and his game improved greatly during his years at Duke. I was just point to trending NCAAT data.

northernduke
01-07-2009, 03:01 PM
Looks like Luke thinks the Blue Devils are a real contender for the NC.

Article Posted 1/7/09 (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/luke_winn/01/07/midseason/index.html)

dukemsu
01-07-2009, 08:43 PM
I always suspected this, but the linked article confirms it. How can you rank Michigan State, which got destroyed by UNC, as a top challenger to the 'Holes? Particularly when excludes Duke (as well as Gonzaga and Oklahoma) from the list of top 5 challengers...

http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/in_the_paint/posts/37821-the-week-in-hoops?eref=fromSI

As several others have pointed out, State did not have Suton against the Holes. That wouldn't have won them the game had he been there, but he was the only Spartan to stand up to Memphis last year and has a long history of playing well against higher competition.

If I had to pick three contenders to beat the Holes in the tourney, I would pick Pitt, Duke, and UConn. Oklahoma and Michigan State would be next.

State has a ton of depth (maybe too much), motivation, and a rising star in Lucas, who has been near-flawless since Carolina. Izzo's teams tend to be at there best in March, too.

It's a longshot, but if the Holes had a clunker of a night and State was on, it could happen. State was only outrebounded by 1 against Carolina, and that was without Suton and Roe was a passenger in that game.

All that said, it's not a game I really want to see again.

dukemsu

davekay1971
01-08-2009, 06:30 AM
I'll defer to those who clearly know MSU better than I do and accept the idea that Suton will make that big of a difference if UNC and MSU play again. I know I'll certainly be HOPING he will if the two meet in March :D

By the way, is it just me, or did Wynn borrow his article today on cnnsi.com from Featherston?

tbyers11
01-08-2009, 07:28 AM
By the way, is it just me, or did Wynn borrow his article today on cnnsi.com from Featherston?

While I disagree with Winn's opinions on Michigan State (a bit) and Louisville (a lot) I think you are way too harsh on him. I think he writes some really good stuff with some irreverent and quirky humor thrown in. He has also been using possession-based and efficiency metrics in his articles for a long time and I don't think he stole anything from Al Featherston along those lines.

ncexnyc
01-08-2009, 10:53 AM
I don't understand your point. The NCAA tourney has no memory. Last year does not predict this year.
I would agree if you had a whole new team playing, but you don't. The majority of the players have experienced the tourney and I am quite sure they feel the pressure of their recent early exits.