Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Which team might trip the Cardinals?
By Matt Giles
We wrote earlier that even though Louisville's region was the toughest of the four, the Cardinals looked like the team to advance all the way to the national title. Based on a 'survival bracket' compiled calculated by Luke Winn (of Sports Illustrated) and John Ezekowitz (of Basketball Prospectus and the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective), Louisville faced Florida in the championship game, with either of the teams having the best odds of winning. However, we have to wonder if perhaps some team might trip Rick Pitino's squad on their way to April's first weekend.
Saint Louis is a 4-seed, and should the Billikens get past New Mexico State, and then either Oklahoma State or Oregon, there is fairly good chance they will match up with L'Ville. The models pushed by Ezekowitz and Winn stress three traits that are necessary for upsets: low turnover rates, strong rebounding numbers, and a stingy field goal defense. According to Ken Pomeroy, SLU both has a careful handle and forces a high number of turnovers, causing opponents to commit a giveaway on 23.4 percent of their possessions. However, if an opposing team is equally as careful with the rock, it is still difficult to score on Jim Crews' squad since they haul in 28.9 percent of their defensive boards and handcuff teams to converting just 44 percent within the arc.
Of course, there is a chance that SLU might slip before potentially meeting Louisville, which would make this argument moot, but since the Cardinals are already not a great shooting team, particularly from long-range, and struggle at times with careless ball-handling, Pitino and his staff might not have such a strong chance of dancing all the way.
Be sure to read today's story by our own Myron Medcalf, who broke down what it will take to knock off the tourney favorite.