by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I’m using my ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to estimate the chances of each participating team advancing to a particular round of its conference tournament.
Location: Coastal Carolina
Dates: March 5, 7-9
Chance of bid thief: zero
Current kPOY: John Brown, High Point
Qtrs Semis Final Champ 1S C. Carolina 100 69.9 45.2 28.4 2S UNC Asheville 100 58.4 31.5 14.4 2N VMI 100 57.8 24.5 12.7 1N High Point 100 52.8 25.9 11.9 3N Radford 86.9 40.1 20.1 8.4 4S Winthrop 64.7 33.9 17.5 7.9 3S Gardner Webb 82.9 39.5 15.8 7.8 5S Char Southern 77.7 27.1 13.5 6.7 5N Liberty 35.3 13.3 4.9 1.5 4N Campbell 22.3 3.0 0.7 0.1 6N Longwood 17.1 2.7 0.3 0.06 6S Presbyterian 13.1 1.5 0.2 0.02
There was truly no dominant team in the Big South this season as six squads finished with between ten and 12 conference wins. Throw in bad-luck Charleston Southern, who finished 6-10, and you have seven teams with virtually identical ratings, and all are capable of winning the automatic bid.
Of course, the structure of the bracket has some impact on the probabilities, and the first-round byes are big here. Even bigger is that the games are played in Coastal Carolina’s building. To the owner of the shiny new arena go the spoils of hosting the tournament. It’s not entirely fair, but I don’t blame anyone for wanting to spend a week in March near the beach.
The Big South tourney will feature lots of points. It ranks fifth among conferences in possessions per game and third in points per possession. There are some competent offenses and a lot of bad defenses in this league. No team allowed fewer than a point per possession in conference play. And if you haven’t seen High Point’s John Brown, then you are missing out on one of the more dynamic players in the country. (I’ll confess I haven’t seen him either.) Yes, he feasts on bad defenses every night, but he does everything well on both ends of the floor, except possibly shoot the three-ball, but I bet he could do that if he wanted.