Let’s get you warmed up for the College GameDay road show (live Saturday from Pittsburgh at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN) by taking a look at some notes and nuggets from our college hoops advanced stats research team (a group we call the "Stats in the Paint" team).
Key stat: Syracuse is averaging 37.1 bench points per game this season, which is the most by any Big Six Conference team during the last 15 seasons. The bench has been led by C.J. Fair (+287) and Dion Waiters (+266), who rank 1-2 in the Big East in plus/minus. Waiters has scored 117 transition points this season, which is the third most in the nation.
(5) Missouri at (3) Baylor, 2 ET on ESPN and ESPN3
Key stat: Baylor is getting 26.4 percent of its offense off of turnovers this season, averaging a Big 12-best 20.5 points per game off turnovers. But Missouri only turns the ball over on 15.0 percent of its possessions, the second-best in the nation, and gives up just 10 points off turnovers per game, which leads the Big 12.
Key stat: Kentucky is blocking 15.6 percent of its opponents’ shots at 9.3 per game this season, both the best marks in the country. The Wildcats are also holding opponents to 0.68 points per play and 33.8 percent shooting in the half court, which are also both best in the nation.
Non-ranked teams that can make noise
• Cincinnati is 8-4 in Big East road games over the last two seasons and has won its last seven conference games on the road. Part of the reason is avoiding turnovers. The Bearcats average 10.5 turnovers per game this season, the second-fewest in the Big East and eighth-fewest in the nation.
• Purdue averages 9.6 turnovers per game this season, the second fewest in the nation. The Boilermakers turn the ball over on 14.6 percent of their possessions, which is the lowest percentage in the nation.
• Stanford has been getting it done on the boards, grabbing 54.8 percent of available rebounds this season, the best percentage in the Pac-12. The Cardinal also allow 9.6 offensive rebounds per game this season, which is the fewest in the Pac-12.
• Vanderbilt's efficient offense has paced them this year. The Commodores score an SEC-best 1.15 points per possession in conference play this season. Vanderbilt also leads the SEC by assisting on 61.6 percent of its field goals in conference play.
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Among the topics Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis plan to tackle:
Joe Lunardi's Projected 7 Seeds
Offense Efficiency, This Season
Where should Murray State be seeded?
According to Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology, 18-0 Murray State would be a No. 7 seed if the tournament started today. Comparing Murray State to the other projected No. 7 seeds, the Racers appear to be seeded correctly based on kenpom’s adjusted efficiency.
Murray St is undefeated, but the Racers have played some close games this season. Eight of their 18 games have been decided by single digits, including a nine-point double-overtime win against Southern Miss.