Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 9:00 PM
Few would have expected before the postseason began that Maryland would be the last team standing from the ACC. But, with Duke’s elimination at the hands of Louisville Sunday, and disappointing exits from Miami in the Big Dance, and Virginia in the NIT…it’s the TERPS who will carry the only ACC banner into Final Four action.
And, from the Big 10…it’s not Indiana, or Ohio State, or Michigan State that’s still in action. Michigan did reach the Final Four of the Big Dance…and the HAWKEYES of Iowa are still alive here in the NIT. In fact, the computers we’ve been following all season say that Iowa is the best team left in the NIT…and should have been a #5 seed in the NCAA’s!
We wouldn’t go that far based on our own analysis. But, we can see why Iowa is the slight favorite Tuesday Night over Maryland at Madison Square Garden in New York. Let’s run the game through our gauntlet of key indicators to see which major conference is more likely to earn representation in the championship…
Iowa: 24-12 (9-9 in the Big 10)
Maryland: 25-12 (8-10 in the ACC)
The Big 10 was the stronger league during the season, and Iowa posted a better record in that stronger league. Though, it has to be said that the Big 10 didn’t fully live up to pointspread projections as a conference in the Big Dance. Michigan is still alive. Indiana didn’t cover a single spread. Ohio State failed to cover its last three games even while winning two. Michigan State dissolved at the hands of Duke. The fact that Maryland beat Duke in Greensboro in the ACC tourney sure gives their fans hopes for an upset here.
Iowa: #21 with Sagarin, #21 with Pomeroy
Maryland: #45 with Sagarin, #48 with Pomeroy
Jeff Sagarin of USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy both have Iowa in the top 21. We can’t buy that at all! This is one reason those guys are respected enough to be celebrated in the media, but not capable yet of beating the Vegas lines with their approaches! We do agree that Iowa is the better of the two teams in the big picture.
COMPUTER STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS
Iowa: #52 with Sagarin, #50 with Pomeroy
Maryland: #92 with Sagarin, #102 with Pomeroy
Big edge here to Iowa because of that conference strength. Though, the Big 10 is so strong that you have to play a very weak non-conference schedule to fall down into the 50’s. Maryland didn’t test themselves much this year either. Though, an early game against Kentucky that was supposed to help their schedule strength turned out to be a flop when Kentucky fizzled.
WON-LOST RECORDS VS. SAGARIN’S TOP 50
This isn’t as bad as the combined 3-17 mark that exists in Baylor/BYU…the other NIT semifinal. But, an 8-17 record is pretty embarrassing. And, that 5-9 mark for Iowa makes it crystal clear that they’re not a top 25 team. Elite teams can win against top opponents. If you’re losing that often, you’re just not that great a team. The numbers do confirm Iowa’s advantages over Maryland though. The right team is favored. It’s possible both are overrated in the computers.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED OFFENSE RANKINGS
Big edge here for Iowa. Given that the Hawkeyes are overrated as a team in Pomeroy’s methodology, the “right” ranking is probably closer to 50. That’s still enough to maintain a meaningful advantage with the ball.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED DEFENSE RANKINGS
Both teams are better on defense than on offense…which suggests consideration for an Under in this particular matchup. We don’t think Iowa has a top 20 defense ourselves, or that Maryland is top 35. Knock them both down a dozen pegs, but maintain Iowa’s advantage.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED TEMPO RANKINGS
This won’t be as fast as BYU/Baylor, but will still be faster than most tournament games you’ve been watching. Hopefully the Final Four will put on a great show for ticketholders in New York. Not a great year to be a ticketholder in the Dance with so few thrillers and so many one-sided wins. Neither team will have an advantage here because both will be playing in their comfort zones.
The data basically confirms the Vegas pointspread of Iowa by a trey. You need to dig deeper if you want to find value in this game. JIM HURLEY has done so thanks to his sources in the New York area (they’ve been helping us get the money for decades!). Sign up for the Tuesday slate to see if we’re playing the side or total here. The full card will get you the best from the NIT, NBA, and MLB all for a very reasonably priced charge to your credit card.
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