(SCSD now has multiple daily posts. Don't miss the others below.)
You guys may remember loyal reader Nick from his severe take-down of Roy Williams, or his stellar work hatching the Zombie Singler theory. Today, he's written a nice preview of Saturday's game that is far more in-depth than anything I could offer, so I will now step aside and let him go to town. Take it away, Nick.
Duke-West Virginia Preview
WVU: Away Fri Jan 1 L, 77-62
Duke: Neutral Fri Mar 26 W, 70-57
WVU: Away Mon Feb 22 L, 73-62
Duke: Neutral Fri Nov 27 W, 68-59
WVU: Home Mon Mar 1 W, 81-68
WVU: Neutral Sat Mar 13 W, 60-58
Duke: Away Sat Jan 30 L, 89-77
While Duke has beaten two teams that WVU has lost to, only Connecticut really matters because WVU’s loss to Purdue came when Hummel was playing. On the bad side of things, WVU has beaten G’Town twice, a team that absolutely fisted us. On our side, we had to play at Georgetown and that game was in January. Since then, we’ve learned that containing teams that play four-out one-in is our true weakness, an Achilles heel the Hoyas were able to exploit with back door cuts and baseline drives. Luckily, I don't believe that's West Virginia's game plan.
Offensive Adjusted Efficiency
Duke: 122.1 (#1 in the nation)
WVU: 116.8 (#12 in the nation)
Defensive Adjusted Efficiency
Duke: 85.6 (#3 in the nation)
WVU: 88.1 (#10 in the nation)
What, pray tell, are offensive and defensive efficiencies, you ask? Listen asshole, I’m not here to do your homework for you. Look it up.
The reason you haven’t heard of these statistics is because most sports announcers are former athletes, and thus really hate doing math. When talking about offense and defense they’ll usually give you straight averages of how many points a team scores and gives up in a game. The problem with this is that those numbers are heavily skewed by how many possessions you play in a game. It’s actually not that hard to score 120 points in a game if you shoot it immediately every time you get within 30 feet of the basket.
What these adjusted statistics show is how many points a team would score (and give up) if you gave them 100 possessions in a game. The adjusted part deals with the quality of opposing defenses, the site of each game, and when each game was played (recent games get more weight). This is the most scientific way to look at a basketball team. Science is that cool thing that tries to strip observations of the biases.
Rebounds are going to figure hugely in these games. Duke and WVU get offensive boards on 40% and 42% of their missed shots, respectively. That said, neither team is going to have a huge advantage over the other. Part of the reason we beat Baylor is because we grabbed 22 of those puppies.* Expect WVU to grab as many offensive rebounds as we do.
With rebounds out of the way, the other important stat for efficiency is turnovers. We turn it over on about 16% of our possessions, while they turn it over 18.2% of the time. On defense, we also force more turnovers (21.5% to 20.9%).
Where’s our edge? Easy: these boorish mountain men commit more fouls than my ass at a chili convention.** As per Duke tradition, we shoot free throws amazingly well. This could prove huge for us down the stretch.
For the record, while masturbating to pace-adjusted statistics I noticed that Kenpom’s formula gives us a 70% chance of winning this game. That finished me off nicely.
Also, don’t discount the rematch factor. Coach K never forgets a victorious enemy, much less disrespect from said enemy. They dun’ insulted Greg Paulus.
They dun’ insulted Greg Paulus!
*Puppies is not a euphemism. Every time Duke gets an offensive rebound God saves a puppy from oncoming traffic. If you want WVa to get rebounds it means you like killing puppies.
**They commit 18.2 fouls per game, while I fart 17.6 times per chili convention. Fart jokes are funny.