The Diamond Head Classic (bracket) tips off today in Honolulu, with semi-final action continuing Sunday and the title game slated for Christmas. It’s really the ultimate in top-heavy fields, with four possible at-large teams and four others who most certainly will not be at-large teams. So the first round may not be all that compelling, but the semis and final game will provide some useful data points. And while the first round features four mismatches, there’s still a 41% of at least one of the favorites being upset according to this analysis.
Here’s the log5 breakdown…
Semis Final Champ Arizona 97.7 64.9 43.8 Ole Miss 83.9 50.5 20.8 Miami 87.7 33.9 18.9 San Diego St. 82.7 42.1 15.4 Indiana St. 16.1 4.0 0.5 San Francisco 17.3 3.5 0.4 Hawaii 12.3 1.1 0.2 E. Tenn. St. 2.3 0.1 0.007
It’s no surprise that Arizona is the favorite, but the rest of the field collectively has a better chance of winning, so a title here is far from a done deal. It was widely assumed that the Wildcats would meet San Diego State in the title game, but there’s only a 27% chance of both teams being there. This is due to the emergence of Ole Miss and Miami as viable threats to reel off three wins, so allow me to say a few words about each.
Ole Miss is getting a little more respect than I expected (which was none) despite having played a flimsy schedule to this point. We don’t know that much about them because of the lack of competition, but it’s certainly reasonable to speculate they’re a team that will be chasing an at-large bid and conceivably could end up very near the top of the SEC standings when March rolls around.
Miami has been dominant since Durand Scott returned to the lineup five games ago as the team’s primary point guard. Scott’s put up a 128 ORtg while using 21% of Miami’s possessions, which is impressive on its own, but more so when you consider the Hurricanes’ five opponents over that stretch have been respectable. If shooting specialist Rion Brown starts making threes—he’s 5-of-28 (18%) so far after making 73-of-194 (38%) his first two collegiate seasons—watch out.