Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7:00 PM
It’s truly one of the most interesting stories of the modern sports era. We have a consistently successful mid-major college basketball program that proves itself time and time again, yet the NCAA selection committee thinks they’re chopped liver!
A year ago, Wichita State was seeded #11 in the Big Dance. It was kind of a co-crime of the century along with Gonzaga getting the same seed. Both teams were market FAVORITES over their sixth-seeded opponents when they first took the floor. After winning, both teams were market FAVORITES over the third-seeded teams they took on next.
Did the selection committee learn anything? Well, Gonzaga was undefeated for almost the entire 2016-17 season, and pretty much had to get a #1 seed. Wichita State, despite being obvious Sweet 16 quality in all reasonable measures, got snubbed again as a #10 seed. The Shockers are favored by six points over #7 Dayton…a price that says the betting markets have Wichita State as Sweet 16 caliber too. The extremely outdated and badly designed RPI doesn’t. The selection committee still trusts the WRONG thing!
The question tonight for sports bettors and handicappers is whether or not the betting markets have swung the other way and are now OVER-RATING the Shockers. Sure, they should be favored over Dayton. Should they be favored by THIS much over Dayton? And, are they worrying so much about the committee that they’re in danger of taking their eye off the ball and getting “shocked” themselves?
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say…
Wichita State: #8 at Kenpom, #11 at Sagarin
Dayton: #36 at Kenpom, #40 at Sagarin
The heck with top 16…college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin both have Wichita State as top 12! Dayton is overseeded in their view as a #7. The computers have them more in the 9-10 range. Somehow the brackets have what should be a #3 seed playing what should be a #10 seed in the first round…and the guys in suits can’t spot which is the superior side.
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Wichita State: 119.6 per 100 possessions (#12 in the nation)
Dayton: 112.3 per 100 possessions (#49 in the nation)
Clear edge to Wichita State. Though, it has to be said that Pomeroy’s adjustments for strength of schedule and pace have often painted too rosy a picture for teams from weak conferences. It’s easy to look FANTASTIC when you’re mostly playing mediocre teams or worse…and adjusting for strength of schedule doesn’t always provide enough of an anvil. The difference between those offenses probably isn’t as large as adjusted efficiency suggests.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Wichita State: 93.2 per 100 possessions (#19 in the nation)
Dayton: 96.6 per 100 possessions (#45 in the nation)
Similar distances here, with a similar disclaimer about Wichita State’s schedule (not that Dayton played a murderer’s row all season). At the very least, this is a game you should scout aggressively to try to anticipate how the winner will perform against Kentucky on Sunday (assuming the Wildcats aren’t stunned by the Norse of Northern Kentucky!). Either of these teams could give Kentucky a thrill…but either could also be part illusion. Head to head? Possibly closer than the betting markets are suggesting.
Wichita State: #133
Good to see those from an entertainment perspective. Both teams are above average in pace but not out of control. Probably the best kind of basketball to watch in the Big Dance. Those 52-50 mud wrestling games have drama but lack electricity. We picked this game out to preview because of the back story, and the potential for great entertainment.
Against the Spread
Wichita State: 18-12-1
Great job by both teams in terms of beating expectations all season. That was tougher to do for Wichita State because the market entered the season already respecting them. The Shockers cashed 60% of their tickets anyway. Dayton soared past 60% and will reach 67% if they cover Friday night’s spread. Money ball for Las Vegas bettors!
JIM HURLEY is definitely looking forward to this game as a fan. He just might have a big play in it too! You have to be a paying customer to find out. JIM HURLEY’S tournament basketball is available daily right here at the website for credit card purchase. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 to take care of business. Be sure you call Friday before those early tips get started!
We’ll be back with you tomorrow to preview the most appealing of the Saturday night “round of 32” matchups. Same thing a day later as we comb through Thursday’s winners to showcase a Sunday night battle.
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