The Grand National Championships

January 11, 2009

The KenPom 100: Everybody Else

I have may conferences with two or three teams left in the KenPom 100. So? You know what this means.

SPEED RUN!

Missouri Valley Conference
1. Illinois State (There are a lot of reasons to bandwagon this team to the Sweet 16. Osiris Eldridge is all-seeing and all-conference. And Champ Oguchi is even better on offense. And in a league where guards are the key? Dinma Odiakosa just cleans the offensive glass.)
2. Creighton (Heart but not height. That said? Booker Woodfox is a pimp from beyond the arc. Josh Dotzler and P’Allen Stinnet have fast hands. Kenny Lawson? He’s a good shotblocker.)
3. Drake (Creighton with slower hands and more power. Josh Young is a scoring bomber. Craig Stanley is a super distributor. And Brent Heemstek and Jon Cox are low-post awesome. Cox can also hit the 3.)
4. Evansville (They just get stops. That’s their strength. James Hovarsma and Nate Garner are tough on the low block, even if they’re undersized. Also? Shy Ely needs to stop taking so many bad shots.)

Horizon
1. Butler (I was right! This team was reloading! They are one of the youngest teams in division one, play great defense and Gordon Hayward is a salad bar full of awesome.)
2. Cleveland State (As bad on offense as they are? They force bad shots and get a lot of steals. This defensive swagger will make the rematch with Butler very interesting.)
3. UWGB (They lost to Rollins. But this is a very good shooting team from beyond the arc. They get a decent amount of turnovers and force bad shots. Chop Tang update? 12 for 58 from inside the arc.)

West Coast
1. Gonzaga (Jeremy Pargo is a talented, if inconsistent super combo guard. Also, Austin Daye is undersized and super-skinny but he is a pretty good four.)
2. St. Mary’s (CA) (Patrick Mills is a draftable 1, but don’t sleep on Carlin Hughes as a solid collegian. Also? Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan could overpower the Zags.)

Colonial
1. VCU (Eric Maynor is a spectacular one. And Larry Sanders has a power game as a four. They generate a lot of offense and big plays on defense.)
2. George Mason (Darryl Monroe is Jai Lewis-tastic. And the defense is solidly above average. This is how they roll.)

MAAC
1. Niagra (Bilal Benn has been a transferrative force as a very undersized four. Also, this team never goes to his bench. So fuck you Austin Cooley.)
2. Siena (Fast hands and an ability to avoid fouls. As for the glue to Hansbrouck and Ubiles? Ronald Moor is a solid 1 and Ryan Rossiter is a solid defender.)

Summit
1. North Dakota State (They need to speed up. They can’t defend, and Ben Woodside could easily be a Steve Nash type. Brett Winkleman is a tiny Amare. So throttle it up!)
2. Oral Roberts (Why is a 5-11 team on a watch list? Because Marcus Lewis is a great low-post mid-major dude. No 800-foot Jesus, but still.)

MAC
1. Miami (OH) (Michael Bramos is coming strongly into his own as the frontman for a very experienced team with a good, tough non-conference schedule.)
2. Akron (They generate turnovers. They sink free throws. They were able to take Miami to the limit. They may not make the big dance, but they are a team that can make pain for the miggidy MAC.)

Southland
1. UT-Arlington (A very good offense, but it’s a defense limited by height and depth. Marquez Haynes is 6’3″, 185, and he’s a putative four.)
2. Stephen F. Austin (Josh Alexander is their lone offensive threat, and Matt Kingsley is a solid low-poster. But they need to get their offense together.)

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