Omaha - Midwest Bracket Previews

Here's some info on the Omaha-Midwest teams based on their KenPom possessional stats for the year. Detroit is a shallow, experienced group that struggled early in the season, but which has been playing well of late. They were 7-10 at one point, but have been 15-3 since. They are a terrible thee point shooting team...literally one of the worst in D1, but they're an excellent free throw shooting team. They make their money at the line, so we should expect to see them there a lot and hitting a lot. Our guys will need to be careful to watch their hands because if the zebs are calling it tight, and any of our starters are in foul trouble, particularly TRob or Withey, we could be in for a long game. Defensively, they're good at two things - getting blocks and forcing turnovers. They play risky perimeter defense and as a result, guards are left with open shots. They don't defend the post well when they're not swatting the ball. If we hit open shots and limit turnovers, it will be hard to lose this game. Pomeroy has KU favored by 17, with a 90%+ chance of victory. I've got a feeling it will be closer than that, particularly in the first half, since we'll be playing the last game of the first (second) round and will likely take a while to loosen up.

Purdue is a short team that takes incredible care of the ball (lowest TO% in country) and that shoots and makes a lot of threes. Their guys spend a lot of their time on the perimeter and when their bigs get the ball, they're as likely to shoot threes as they are twos. Their top player is Robbie Hummel, who is a 6-8 guy who shots a lot of threes. They don't defend all that well, particularly in the post. They're one of the faster teams in the Big 10, but they're probably comfortable playing slow to limit possessions.

St Mary's is also better offensively than defensively. They're bigger than Purdue, and it shows in their shot selection. They get a lot of points in the paint and from the line, where they shoot about 73% as a team. Rob Jones is their 6-6 swing man who does lots of stuff very well, averaging 15 pts, over 10 rebs and 2.3 assists a game. I'm guessing Travis will draw him if we play them. He is sub-30% 3 point shooter, which means he'll go 8 for 8 against us. They play slower than Purdue, for those who are interested in such things.

The game between them looks to me to be a toss-up, but Pomeroy gives Purdue the slight edge, predicting a 72-69 victory for the Boilermakers.

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