Preview: Oklahoma Sooners

Or: Tim’s foray into tempo-free statistics.

Michigan takes on the Sooners of Oklahoma at 5:50 PM tonight on CBS in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The game takes place in Kansas City, Missouri at the Sprint Center.

Tempo-Free and efficiency comparison (if you need an explanation of what any of these things mean, head to KenPom’s website):

Michigan v. Oklahoma: National Ranks
Category Michigan Oklahoma Advantage
Mich eFG% v. Oklahoma eFG% D 115 42 O
Mich eFG% D v. Oklahoma eFG% 151 7 OO
Mich TO% v. Oklahoma Def TO% 19 313 MMM
Mich Def TO% v. Oklahoma TO% 133 119 O
Mich OReb% v. Oklahoma DReb% 290 122 OO
Mich DReb% v. Oklahoma OReb% 219 52 OO
Mich FTR v. MSU Oklahoma FTR 329 26 OOOO
Mich Opp FTR v. Oklahoma FTR 25 5 O
Mich AdjO v. Oklahoma AdjD 47 52
Mich AdjD v. Oklahoma AdjO 64 11 O

Differences of more than 100 places in the rankings garner two-letter advantages, differences of more than 200 get a third.

Oklahoma is going to be a big favorite in this game, as should be expected of a 2-seed going up against a 10-seed. The Sooners are better than Michigan in nearly every facet of the game. In fact, the only area in which Michigan is expected to be better is not turning the ball over themselves. This means the Wolverines absolutely must hold onto the rock (and they did a decent job against Clemson), and hit the shots that they have open. Of course, the paint is going to be a very troublesome area for Michigan, as even Clemson’s non-all-everything players were able to get theirs and more from the lane. Oklahoma’s advantage in rebounding is surprisingly small to me, especially following the dismal performance on the defensive glass against Clemson. KenPom predicts a 73-67 Clemson win in a 65-possession game.

EEK! Blake Griffin! Who is the last guy that this Michigan team, what with their small size and inability to match up well in the paint wants? Why, a center who happens to be the leading candidate for most Player of the Year Awards! DeShawn Sims and Zack Gibson’s ability to defend Griffin without fouling too much is of paramount importance in this game. Because of that, I expect to see a lot of 2-3 zone. The only other Sooners I know off the top of my head are Griffin’s “big” brother Taylor, and that point guard with the hideous hair decisions on both head and chin.

Yeah, so this is a really, really bad matchup for Michigan. I want to delude myself into thinking Michigan can win, but there’s no way I can convince the rational side of me. The success of the 2-3 zone is encouraging, and Oklahoma’s smaller rotation (only 7 players get significant playing time) certainly helps. Considering Griffin has been beat up of late, suffering a concussion against Texas toward the end of the regular season, and getting flagrantly fouled Thursday against Morgan State, the Sooners may wish they had spent more of the year developing depth. However, I’d rather predict a Michigan loss and be pleasantly surprised when they win than predict a win (foolishly) and be disappointed and wrong if they lose. So yeah, Michigan might be able to make this one close, but I really see this as a matchup of doom.

Posted under Analysis, Basketball
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1 Comment so far

  1. Voice of Reason says...

    Good report and with good reason to believe that Okie “should” win. However, just a minor point to think about when handicapping “this” game. Okie is starting to trend in a bad way. They have lost four of the last seven total games played. Of their three wins, one show one win against a strong team Okie state, and one win against a weak major Texas Tech, and one win against a team that any top seated team “should” beat, Morgan state.

    Of course unless you have followed those games it’s difficult to know how they played. All I am saying is these are some intangibles to look at when figuring Michigan or any teams chances of winning tonight. I would also argue that in some ways Michigan “maybe” trending up. So if you were a betting man you may want to consider Michigan as a long shot wager.


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