Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Over/Under: Hoops Forecast

The Eagles got a much needed win last night, coming back from a 16 point first half deficit to beat the Maryland Terrapins in College Park, 76-67. We take a look at the rest of this season with a game of over/under.

Brian: My boy, Joe Trapani, finished last night 1 rebound shy of his seventh double-double on the season.

Over/Under - 4 more double-doubles for Joe Trapani on the season

Jeff: There are plenty more opportunities for him with the rest of ACC play, the ACC tourney and the NCAA or NIT tournament. However, just as he fell one board short last night, that will happen several more times and I don't think he will have more than 4 more double-doubles so I'm going under.

Brian: Over! Trapani has emerged as the team's second leading scorer behind Rice, averaging 13.7 points per game. So points are not going to be the issue. The struggle will be to pull down 10 boards a night. He has already missed double-doubles by 1 board three times this season (Central Connecticut, Harvard and Maryland), so I don't see many more games the rest of the way where he falls just short. Also, three of his 6 double-doubles have come in ACC play, so he has shown he can get it done in conference as well. I'm going over on this one. Trap tallies at least 5 double-doubles the rest of the way.

Jeff: Emerged? He's been the second leading scorer all season, no?

Brian: Emerged as in Rakim Sanders being the de facto #2 scorer in the preseason. And emerged as in I don't remember hearing much about Trapani in Raj's preseason basketball preview!

JT is now joining the likes of Brian Ross, Nate Doornekamp, and John Oates as tall white guys at BC who have fallen in love with the 3 pt line. As a transfer he has had a season to get acclimated with the flex offense, and Skinner will be forced to line him up at the PF position due to our lack of depth.
Trapani has emerged as a much more complete player than those three guys he was compared to in the preseason.

Over/Under - 1.5 games Tyrese Rice fouls out of this year.

Brian: Under. Rice has fouled out only 1 time this season - against Harvard. He has racked up four fouls in a game 5 times. Both he and Skinner know how valuable it is that Rice stay on the floor. I can see Rice fouling out in one more game, but I don't think he'll foul out more than 1 game so I am going under. The only wildcard I see is if Rice has 4 and he has to foul late in the second half if the Eagles are trailing by a few points, but I'll stick with my under prediction.

Jeff: I'll go by my old standby of assuming you are wrong and therefore go OVER. Rice can easily foul out twice just from committing some fouls in garbage time while we are trailing.

Brian: Great analysis there!

Over/Under - 1.5 more wins on our current 3 game winning streak

Jeff: This is a tough one. I want to say over and I think it will go over if we can defeat the Hokies on Saturday night. The second game against Virginia should be very winnable. You know I am very optimistic on this year's basketball team so I'm saying over, but very cautiously.

Brian: Interestingly, kenpom has this backwards. His predictor has the Eagles beating the Hokies at home this Saturday 73-70 but losing to the Cavaliers on the road next Wednesday. I guess some sort of home-court advantage is at play here? I'll also cautiously go over. Our game in Blacksburg was certainly winnable and Virginia is not playing good basketball of late (having lost their last 4 ACC games).

Over/Under - 6th seed in ACC tournament for the Eagles

Brian: The way this is shaping up, to finish 5th or higher, the Eagles would likely have to jump both Florida State and Virginia Tech in the standings. I'm going to assume for a second that Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina and Clemson (in that order) finish with the top 4 spots in the conference, earning a first-round bye.

I also think that the Eagles will be able to beat both Florida State and Virginia Tech at home. Now, while the Hokies are sitting pretty at 4-1, they have their toughest stretch of ACC basketball ahead of them - Clemson, at BC, Florida State, at Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and at Florida State. Being a very young squad, I'm going to again assume that the Hokies can only pull out one of those games which would give them at best a 9-7 conference record.

Florida State is only 3-2 in the ACC so far and has tough games coming up as well. Virginia Tech x2, North Carolina, at Clemson, at Wake Forest, Miami, at BC, Clemson, at Duke. I'm going to predict they finish 8-8 in conference.

Since I think the Eagles can beat the 'Noles, and I see the Eagles finishing 8-8, these two teams would likely tie for the 6th seed with the Eagles winning the head-to-head tiebreaker. I think the season will wrap up as:

1. Duke (13-3 or 14-2)
2. Wake Forest (13-3 or 12-4)
3. North Carolina (12-4)
4. Clemson (10-6)
5. Virginia Tech (9-7)
6. Boston College (8-8)
7. Florida State (8-8)
8. Miami (FL) (8-8 or 7-9)

Therefore, I will go with the very un-manly Push and say the Eagles earn the 6th seed in the ACC Tournament.

Jeff: Your assumptions are certainly reasonable and pushing here is a likely scenario given what we know now but the great thing about sports is that you never know what is actually going to happen. I see the Hokies potentially falling past the 5 spot and the Eagles finishing 9-7, with outside chances at 10-6 or 8-8. Given the conference being very top heavy. 8-8 is probably still good enough to finish 6 as you say, but I'll once again be the BC basketball optimist and say the Eagles grab the 6th seed or better. It is also very possible that Wake goes on a slide and falls past a top 4 seed and a first round BYE. The same holds true for Clemson but believe it or not, Clemson is now the team that has done it before and has more experience so I think Clemson is more likely to remain in the top 4 between them and Wake. No chance Duke or UNC fall past #4.

Brian: Letting your Tiger stripes show! I say 0% chance Wake falls below Clemson. Wake will only lose once or twice more in ACC play (against Duke). Clemson is already 1 game back of Wake in the standings and the Tigers still have to play Duke and Wake a second time in their regular season finale.

Last one, Over/Under - 6.5 ACC teams making the NCAA tournament

Jeff: I'm going over here. North Carolina, Duke, Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech are locks to make the tournament unless something drastic happens. Boston College, Florida State, and Miami should currently be getting serious consideration. I say two of those if not all three will make it and that get the ACC to 7 or 8 without another team in the conference making a late season/ACC tournament run.

Brian: I am going with the unpopular under pick here. I believe the ACC will only get 6 bids into the tournament. I see Miami (FL) sliding the rest of the way out. I count 5 more losses on the Hurricane's ACC regular season schedule which would put them with a relatively undesirable 7-9 record in conference.

In your group of three teams under consideration, I only see room for one of those teams in the tournament. I think it will come down to either Boston College or Florida State as the 6th and final team to come out of the ACC. All three teams will be hovering around 21-10 to end the regular season and whichever team makes the furthest run in the ACC championship will ultimately get the nod. Unfortunately, by my estimation BC is in the worst position of the three given some bad/quality losses (at Saint Louis, vs. Harvard) and a much weaker SOS. Both Miami and Florida State don't have any bad losses on the season. Florida State has some quality out of conference wins against Cincinnati, California and in-state rival Florida, while Miami has a good out-of-conference win at Kentucky.


Raj said...

Dont get me wrong, im glad trapani is on the floor. But his numbers are a little misleading when compared to other legends at the PF/C position. He is playing 75% of the game, averaging 29.9 minutes per game. If Oates, Brian Ross or Dornekamp averaged the same number of minutes/shot attempts that he has they would all average double digits. Also when he's the only "big man" on the floor he's bound to get rebounds. I appreciate his effort, but lets not crown him as #2 option.

And i've yet to see Trapani hit a huge shot. Its only been Sanders, Raji and Rice. And let's give credit to my Raji pick and accurate prediction of sanders showing up for big games on TV.

Jeff said...

Trapani is option #2. If you disagree, I have to wonder what you've been watching. If you compare him to Ross and Dornekamp, I also have to wonder about you.

Your Sanders showing up for big games prediction ios spot on though.

Raj said...

I believe he's the best of a not so good number of options. He asserts himself offensively, and does an alright job for a starting PF. When doornekamp and ross played they were 4th or 5th or maybe the 6th option. If they had to be the number 2 we would be about the same level of team we are today, and their numbers would dramatically increase.