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A while back, I wrote and posted an article about whether teams that slant toward offense or those that slant toward defense are more likely to finish stronger in March. Luke Winn took that research a step further this week, and the focused on which teams in 2012-2013 fit which profiles.
I should start by saying that there is no formula that can predict, with certainty, which teams will or won't make the Elite Eight, Final Four or title game in a few months. When you decide your national champ by seeing who can win six (or seven) consecutive, one-game series, a lot of randomness is involved in the outcomes. That's why the NCAA tournament is such great television.
I don't think this is anything that some of us have not been harping on for years. Really the profile for a really strong title contender is (shock of shocks) being top 10 on both sides of the ball but it is much harder to do it with weaker defense than weaker offense simply because your defense should not leave you for a game like your offense can. Honestly I think most teams are pretty heavily draw dependent in this tourney.
For KU our defensive efficiency rises tremendously if the other team has at least one post player who plays in the actual post. We are actually better equipped than we have been in most years to deal with a spread team (Young can guard somewhat outside and Withey moves his feet well enough that we don't get destroyed on ball screens) but it is still by far the best way to attack us. They key for us to survive those games is to get an offensively efficient performance out of Jeff I think.
You would certainly think so, right? However, I wrote my article in response to a twitter exchange with another site over their hypotheses and "evidence" that elite offense is better to have than elite defense. It turned out that he had cherry picked his arguments to some extent and had a tiny sample size.
I agree that the tournament is really matchup dependent, but isn't it every year? I was worried about Northern Iowa in January of 2010 like I'm worried about VCU this year. I guess that's why, while I enjoy the Tournament and revel in our success in it, I don't judge how we did on the season much based on the results of a one-and-done event at the end that is spectacular for TV but not great for deciding the best team. I think we've seen our weakness so early this year that we will be different to guard by March than if we discovered this problem in February. Ellis and Young can step up and attack, and even if they don't make the shots, missing and rebounds for them or Jeff or Travis or Ben is effective offense.
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