Stats & Info: Iowa State Cyclones

Top stats to know: Friday's Sweet 16

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
The Sweet 16 continues tonight with four games. Here are some of the statistical storylines we’ll be following.

(11) Tennessee vs (2) Michigan
The Wolverines are trying to reach a second straight Elite 8 (lost in title game last year to Louisville). Tennessee has been to just one Elite 8 in its history, when it lost to Michigan State in 2010.

Michigan's hot outside shooting has carried the team in its first two wins. The Wolverines are 21 of 45 from beyond the arc and have made 50 percent of their jump shots, second-best among tournament teams.

Over its last nine games (during which it has gone 8-1) Tennessee has held its opponents to just 26.6 percent shooting on 3-pointers and 27 percent on jump shots.

(8) Kentucky vs (4) Louisville
Get ready for another epic showdown of these Bluegrass state rivals. This is the fourth time in NCAA Tournament history that the previous two national champions will play against each other in the NCAA Tournament.

In each of the three previous occurrences, the defending champion has defeated champion from the previous season.

There will be two key matchups to watch in this game.

The first one is on the offensive glass. The Wildcats rank second in the country in offensive rebound percentage and average 15.6 second-chance points per game, the best among major conferences.

Louisville is not a great defensive rebounding team, ranking 241st in the nation, and was outscored 17-6 in second-chance points by Kentucky in their meeting on Dec. 28.

The other key matchup is whether Kentucky can handle Louisville's pressure defense, which forces 17.4 turnovers per game, the second-most in the country. Louisville is 19-0 this season when forcing 17 or more turnovers; Kentucky is 16-2 when committing 11 or fewer turnovers.

(7) Connecticut vs (3) Iowa State
The only other time these two teams met in the NCAA Tournament was in a Round of 64 win by the Cyclones in 2012. That was Jim Calhoun's final game.

With Georges Niang out for Iowa State and Connecticut lacking a dominant post offense, this game could come down to who executes better on the perimeter.

Iowa State ranks in the top 25 in 3-point attempts per game and 3-pointers made per game this season, while UConn ranks 22nd in the country in 3-point field goal percentage.

Both teams allow their opponents to make more than a third of their shots from beyond the arc, though the Huskies do a better job of limiting 3-point attempts (18.3 per game) than the Cyclones (21.2).

(4) Michigan State vs (1) Virginia
Virginia is hoping to avoid the fate of another recent first-place ACC squad. Last year Miami was the regular-season and postseason ACC champs, and they lost in the Sweet 16 vs Marquette.

The Michigan State seniors are trying to avoid making history as well. Every four-year player under coach Tom Izzo has reached the Final Four, and this is the last chance for Adreian Payne and Keith Appling to make it.

The key matchup to watch in this game will be whether Virginia can slow down the Spartans' fastbreak offense.

Transition makes up 21.9 percent of Michigan State’s offensive plays, the eighth-highest rate in the country, and the Spartans average 18.9 transition points per game, 14th-most in the nation. Virginia allows 7.4 transition points per game, third-fewest in the nation, and only 10.9 percent of Virginia’s defensive plays are transition, the fifth-lowest rate in the country.

Top stats to know for Sunday's games

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
Sunday's NCAA Tournament slate features eight compelling Round of 32 games, and we've got you covered with a look at the key matchups in each contest.

Stanford is the third-most efficient team in the country on pick-and-roll, ball handler plays, averaging more than a point per play on those plays.

Kansas ranks 221st in points per play allowed while defending pick-and-roll, ball handler plays.

That could be a big factor with Joel Embiid not there to protect the rim on pick-and-roll plays.

Kentucky ranks second in offensive rebound percentage (42.1%) and scores 9.4 points per game on offensive rebound putbacks, fifth-most in the country.

Wichita State ranks fifth in the country in defensive rebound percentage (74.2%) and only allows 4.3 points per game on offensive rebound putbacks, 17th-fewest in the country.

Iowa State relies heavily on 3-point shooting. The Cyclones rank in the top 25 in 3-point attempts and 3-pointers made per game.

North Carolina is holding teams to 30 percent 3-point shooting in its last 14 games. The Tar Heels have held 13 of their last 14 opponents below 40 percent on 3-point shooting. They're only allowing 5.4 3-pointers per game in their last 14 games.

Mercer's opponents are attempting 23.1 3-pointers per game in its last 10 games. Mercer is 9-0 when its opponents attempt at least 24 3-pointers (12-1 when they attempt at least 23), including a win over Duke (37 attempts).

Tennessee hasn't had more than 24 3-point attempts all season. They average 17.1 3-point attempts per game.

UCLA ranks in the bottom 20 of the country in turnover percentage. The Bruins only turn it over on 14.9 percent of their possessions.

Stephen F. Austin forces 16.2 turnovers per game, eighth-most in the country. However, SFA is only forcing 11.6 turnovers per game in its last five games.

Creighton is 23-1 this season when shooting at least 35 percent on 3-pointers (4-6 when shooting less than 35 percent). Creighton is 15-1 when making at least 11 3-pointers (12-6 when making 10 or fewer).

Baylor's opponents are shooting 38.5 percent on 3-pointers in its last 10 games. Baylor has allowed higher than 40 percent 3-point shooting in five of its last 10 games and at least eight 3-pointers in six of its last 10 games.

Memphis ranks second in the country in transition offense with 21.2 points per game. The Tigers rank 21st in transition field goal percentage (59.3%).

Virginia excels in transition defense. The Cavaliers allow seven transition points per game, second-fewest in the country. Virginia also ranks in the top 25 in field goal percentage defense in transition.

Pace will be a factor, as well. Virginia has the third-slowest pace (60.7 possessions per game), while Memphis ranks 34th in pace (71.2 possessions per game).

Gonzaga is very efficient on offense, ranking in the top 10 in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

Arizona ranks third in defensive efficiency, allowing 89.5 points per 100 possessions. The Wildcats are 15-0 this season when allowing fewer than 90 points per 100 possessions.

Gonzaga hasn't faced a single team all season that ranks in the top 30 in offensive efficiency.

Filling a bracket, with BPI's insight

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18

Ralph Freso/Getty ImagesBehind Nick Johnson, Arizona is No. 1 in BPI and the most likely team to win the NCAA championship.
While ESPN’s Basketball Power Index wasn’t designed to be purely predictive, there has been interest in using BPI to help with picking NCAA Tournament brackets. It’s one thing to just look at the BPI rankings and pick the higher-ranked team to win each matchup. If you do that this year, you end up with a pretty chalky bracket with all four No. 1 seeds making the Final Four and Arizona over Florida in the title game.

A more nuanced way to look at things, however, is to determine the percentage chance of each team getting to each round. This can help not only by taking into account the effects of opponent strength round-by-round (beyond just “better BPI”), but it also helps illuminate what might be considered smart upset picks and undervalued or overvalued teams.

With so much randomness in a single-elimination tournament, it’s important to know how certain (or uncertain) you should be as you fill out each line of your bracket.

With the BPI game prediction calculation we’ve used throughout the year, each possible tournament matchup can be projected using each team’s current BPI. After calculating the individual matchup probabilities and accounting for every possible way the tournament could unfold, the probability of each team reaching any given round can be found.

Below are the 12 teams with at least a 10 percent chance of making the Final Four this year, along with their percentage chances of going beyond that.

The chart shows that although the most likely Final Four according to BPI consists of the four No. 1 seeds, the likelihood of all four of them getting to North Texas is 1.3 percent.

The most likely scenario is that only one of the No. 1 seeds makes it, as has been the case in each of the last two seasons.

The East is the most “open” region with each of the top four seeds having between a 14 percent and 27 percent chance of making the Final Four. The West is the most lopsided, with Arizona’s 47 percent chance much better than 2-seed Wisconsin’s 13 percent.

Although Arizona is the “BPI favorite” to win the title, keep in mind that there is nearly a 4-in-5 chance that another team will win it. The fact that the top teams are a bit closer together this year and the randomness of a single-elimination tournament make the field a much better bet than any single team to make the Final Four, and certainly to win the championship.

Finding value
If you compare these values to what the public is picking in’s Tournament Challenge, you can find “value” picks or teams to avoid. For example:

• Villanova has a 24 percent chance of making it to the Final Four. Less than 10 percent of the public is picking the Wildcats to get there, which might make them an undervalued selection.

• Conversely, Michigan State has a 15 percent chance of making the Final Four. Even if Michigan State’s BPI rank of ninth understates the team's true quality going forward, it’s unlikely the Spartans are as high as 44 percent likely to make it to North Texas, which is the rate at which the public is picking them.

• Florida’s chances of making it to the Sweet 16 and beyond are significantly overestimated by the public, with the Gators being picked 94 percent of the time to reach the South Regional in Memphis, Tenn., 62 percent of the time to reach North Texas and 28 percent of the time to win it all.

To get to the Final Four, the Gators could face an underrated Pittsburgh team in the Round of 32 and might have to beat a strong Kansas team for the second time this season in the Elite Eight, so BPI doesn’t see their advancement to be as likely as fans do.

Keep in mind that this system is based on Selection Sunday BPI and the structure of the bracket itself. It has no additional factors included and is not fit to past years’ data or anything like that as would be done in a traditional predictive model.

Given this and the fact BPI isn’t designed to predict the tournament, this fairly simple projection has performed pretty well the past couple of years.

Looking at tournaments through BPI

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12

AP Photo/Gerry BroomeESPN's BPI likes Duke's chances of winning the ACC tournament, but they could face tough competition along the way.
Duke has the best chance of winning the ACC men’s basketball tournament, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, but the Blue Devils don’t have the greatest likelihood of making it to the ACC semifinals.

Oregon has the second-best BPI rating in the Pac-12, but four other teams have a greater probability of reaching the semifinals of that conference’s tournament.

In projecting the results of conference tournaments, a team’s BPI rating doesn’t tell the entire story.

To project the likelihood of each team reaching and winning in a particular round, BPI takes into account how challenging the tournament has been for a team to that point. That aspect of the BPI calculations leads to interesting projections that might seem counterintuitive in light of teams’ BPI ratings.

In the ACC, for example, BPI No. 7 Duke has the greatest projected likelihood of winning the tournament. But No. 10 Syracuse has a slightly greater likelihood of reaching the ACC tournament semifinals (82 percent) than the Blue Devils (81 percent) as well as regular-season champion and No. 8 Virginia (74 percent).

All three of these teams (as well as fourth-seeded North Carolina) receive byes to the quarterfinals. In that round, based on BPI projections, the Orange are most likely to play North Carolina State (71st in the BPI rankings), whereas Duke and Virginia are projected to have quarterfinal opponents ranking in the BPI Top 60.

There is not much difference in the projected championship chances for the top three teams. The Blue Devils have a 27 percent probability compared to Virginia’s 25 percent and Syracuse’s 23 percent.

Extra game has cost
In the Pac-12, only BPI No. 1 Arizona has a higher ranking than No. 16 Oregon. The Ducks finished in a five-way tie for third place in the standings and are seeded seventh in the tournament, which forces them to play a first-round game.

That extra matchup helps reduce Oregon’s chances of reaching the semifinals to 43 percent. BPI No. 21 UCLA has the greatest likelihood of reaching the semifinals in that quadrant of the bracket (53 percent) and is the second-most likely Pac-12 tournament champion, with a 10 percent chance, compared with Arizona’s 63 percent.

An important 'if' for Big 12
BPI No. 4 Kansas has a 49 percent probability of reaching the Big 12 tournament final and a 37 percent chance of winning the tournament, making the Jayhawks the favorites in Kansas City, Mo.

BPI No. 17 Iowa State, on the same side of the bracket as the Jayhawks, has a 28 percent chance of playing for the tournament title – compared with 42 percent for lower-ranked Oklahoma, which is in the other half of the bracket. Should Iowa State reach the final, however, the Cyclones would have a 56 percent chance of beating BPI No. 24 Oklahoma.

The projections for Kansas reflect the team’s performance through the entire season and don’t take into account Joel Embiid’s back injury (which will keep him out of the conference tournament). In the three games Embiid missed, Kansas’ BPI was 85.0, compared to its 88.4 rating for the season. If that’s representative of the Jayhawks’ true level of play without Embiid, it’s enough to drop their chances to win to 24 percent, behind Oklahoma (29 percent) and slightly ahead of Iowa State (21 percent).

Big Ten projections
The Big Ten tournament projections demonstrate how BPI looks beyond wins and losses to gauge the power of teams. Michigan won the regular-season conference championship by three games, but the Wolverines are the third favorite to win the conference tournament based on BPI projections.

Wisconsin, which ranks ninth in BPI and tied for second place in the Big Ten standings, has a 26 percent likelihood of winning the conference tournament. BPI No. 14 Ohio State has a 19 percent likelihood of winning, fractionally better than No. 22 Michigan.

Not far behind is BPI No. 13 Michigan State, which has a 17 percent likelihood of winning the conference tournament.

BPI Talk: Projecting championship week

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
Championship Week can be unpredictable as teams try to improve their NCAA tournament résumés, whether it’s to vie for a No. 1 seed or just to get into the field.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) measures how well each team performs based on game result, margin, pace of game, location, opponent strength and the absence of any key players.

Using BPI, we are able to project the chances for each team to win its major conference tournament. The probabilities take into account the matchups in each bracket based on each team’s BPI. The team with the best BPI isn’t necessarily always the favorite if that team has much tougher matchups than other teams in the tournament.

According to BPI, the Arizona Wildcats have the best chance of any team in one of the seven major conferences (American, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) to win its tournament. They have a 63 percent chance of winning the Pac-12 tournament.

Arizona has more than a six times better chance of winning the Pac-12 tournament than any other team. The UCLA Bruins have the second-best chance at 10 percent.

Pac-12 best chances: Arizona 63 percent, UCLA 10 percent, Oregon 10 percent, Arizona State 5 percent, Stanford 4 percent

The Florida Gators are the prohibitive favorites in the SEC tournament with a 57 percent chance to win it. The Kentucky Wildcats (25 percent) are the only other SEC team with better than a 7 percent chance. The No. 9 seed Missouri Tigers have a slightly better chance to win the SEC tournament than the No. 3 seed Georgia Bulldogs.

SEC best chances: Florida 57 percent, Kentucky 25 percent, Tennessee 7 percent, Arkansas 3 percent, Missouri 2 percent

American & Big East
The Louisville Cardinals (American) and Villanova Wildcats (Big East) are both close to 50 percent in terms of their chances of winning their respective conference tournaments.

The Memphis Tigers have an edge playing on their home court in the American Tournament, but they still have a significantly worse chance than Louisville and Cincinnati. Memphis does, however, have a greater probability of winning the tournament than higher-seeded teams Southern Methodist and Connecticut. With its home-court advantage, Memphis would be a favorite against any team in the tournament other than Louisville.

American best chances: Louisville 49 percent, Cincinnati 18 percent, Memphis 14 percent, SMU 12 percent, Connecticut 8 percent

No team other than Villanova or Creighton has better than a 6 percent chance to win the Big East tournament. There’s a 44 percent chance that Villanova and Creighton meet in the Big East championship game.

Big East best chances: Villanova 48 percent, Creighton 31 percent, Xavier 6 percent, St. John’s 6 percent, Providence 4 percent

Perhaps the most interesting conference tournament is the ACC, where the No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils are the favorites at 27 percent. The No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers (25 percent) and No. 2 Syracuse Orange (23 percent) are close behind.

ACC best chances: Duke 27 percent, Virginia 25 percent, Syracuse 23 percent, Pittsburgh 12 percent, North Carolina 7 percent

Big Ten
Another interesting conference tournament is the Big Ten, where four teams have between a 17 percent and a 26 percent chance of winning the tournament. The No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers are the favorites at 26 percent, while the No. 1 seed Michigan Wolverines are only the third favorites.

Big Ten best chances: Wisconsin 26 percent, Ohio State 19 percent, Michigan 19 percent, Michigan State 17 percent, Iowa 11 percent

Big 12
The Kansas Jayhawks have a 37 percent chance to win the Big 12 tournament, but their path isn’t easy. They could face the teams with the fourth- and second-best chances of winning the tournament in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

The No. 8 seed Oklahoma State Cowboys, with a 10 percent chance of winning it, could face Kansas in the quarterfinals. The No. 4 seed Iowa State Cyclones, with an 18 percent chance, could face Kansas in the semifinals. Both teams have a 35 percent chance of beating Kansas, according to BPI.

Big 12 best chances: Kansas 37 percent, Iowa State 18 percent, Oklahoma 16 percent, Oklahoma State 10 percent, Baylor 6 percent

BPI Talk: Iowa State is No. 1

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
The Iowa State Cyclones are perhaps the least-discussed team of the six remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Now might be the time to start talking about the 13-0 Cyclones.

Iowa State is ranked No. 1 in BPI. Why are the Cyclones ranked ahead of fellow unbeatens Ohio State, Wisconsin, Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State?

The Cyclones are the most consistent team in the country in terms of variation in BPI game score from game to game.

Their worst performance –- an 86.3 BPI game score in a two-point win at BYU –- is better than the best performance of 148 Division I teams this season.

Iowa State isn’t just some undefeated team that has played a bunch of cupcakes. Unlike the other five remaining unbeatens, the Cyclones have not faced a team ranked outside the top 300 in BPI.

The Cyclones are the only team in the country that is undefeated against the BPI top 100 and hasn’t faced a team ranked outside the top 300.

Iowa State has one of its toughest tests of the season thus far when it hosts Baylor (No. 36 BPI) tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

What about Pittsburgh?
What is it going to take for the Pittsburgh Panthers to get more respect?

Pittsburgh still has not entered the AP Top 25 despite being ranked No. 5 in BPI.

The lone blemish on Pitt’s schedule is a one-point loss on a neutral court against No. 26 Cincinnati. It came on a Titus Rubles offensive putback with less than five seconds remaining. That’s how close Pitt is to being undefeated right now.

Sure, Pitt hasn’t played the most difficult schedule –- its strength of schedule is ranked 90th.

But the Panthers have fared well against their toughest opponents. Other than their one-point loss to Cincinnati, they’ve won each of their other five games against top-100 opponents by at least nine points. Their average margin in those five wins is 17 points.

Thirteen of Pitt’s 14 wins are by at least 12 points. Its closest win was by nine points, 78-69 against No. 81 Penn State.

Inconsistency hurts Kansas State
The Kansas State Wildcats entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 this week after defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday. But Kansas State is ranked No. 62 in BPI.

The Wildcats have quality top-100 wins lately over George Washington and Gonzaga, in addition to Oklahoma State. But we can’t forget about their early-season losses to No. 140 Northern Colorado at home and No. 97 Charlotte on a neutral court.

KSU is the most inconsistent team in the BPI top 90.

What happened to Drexel?
The Drexel Dragons started the season off strong, ranked No. 24 in BPI after the month of November. They had a win over Alabama and their only losses were by five points or fewer against UCLA and Arizona.

Since the calendar turned to December, Drexel hasn’t been the same. The Dragons rank 198th in BPI since Dec. 1. Their decrease in BPI is by far the largest decrease of any team currently ranked in the top 100.

In their last six games, they have three wins against teams ranked outside the BPI top 200, a three-point home win against No. 175 Buffalo and two road losses by a combined 37 points at Saint Joseph's and Southern Miss.

BPI Rankings

BPI Talk: Kansas is vastly underrated

December, 31, 2013
The Kansas Jayhawks have three losses this season but are still ranked No. 3 in BPI. The Jayhawks -- ranked No. 1 in strength of schedule according to BPI -- are ranked ahead of five of the seven undefeated teams in BPI, despite the three losses.
Each of KU's three losses are against teams ranked in the BPI top 20 – Villanova, Florida and Colorado. Each of those losses were by six points or fewer away from home. Kansas is 1-3 against top-20 teams (defeated Duke) and 8-0 against teams outside the top 20.

The Jayhawks have faced eight top-100 teams, including five teams in the top 50. Each of their 12 opponents are ranked in the BPI top 160.

Kansas has taken care of business against teams ranked outside the BPI top 25. The Jayhawks have the best BPI against teams outside the top 25.

Syracuse gets crucial win vs Villanova
Syracuse is coming off an impressive win against Villanova on Saturday in which the Orange trailed by 18 points in the first half but outscored the Wildcats by 34 over the final 31 minutes of the game. It was Syracuse's best performance of the season. In fact, it was the second-best performance by any team this season according to BPI game score.

The win against Villanova improved Syracuse's BPI rank from No. 12 to No. 10 (now No. 11), but it still differs greatly with its No. 2 ranking in RPI and No. 2 ranking in the AP Poll.
But the Orange also have three wins that hurt their BPI. They have three BPI game scores less than 75 -- against No. 349 Cornell (the only remaining winless D-I team), No. 340 Binghamton, and a six-point win against No. 194 Saint Francis (NY).

The Orange had five solid wins against top-100 teams entering Saturday, but the win against Villanova was their first win against a top-35 team. The Orange now have the best BPI against top-100 teams.

Louisville lacks signature win
The Louisville Cardinals missed their opportunity for a signature non-conference win against Kentucky on Saturday.

The Cardinals lost to both of their BPI top-50 opponents this season -- Kentucky and North Carolina -- and have just one top-100 win (Southern Miss). The Cardinals have the 12th-best BPI against teams ranked outside the top 50.

Louisville has faced seven teams ranked outside the BPI top 200, which doesn't fare well for its non-conference résumé. To Louisville's credit, it has defeated those seven teams by an average margin of 29.3 points per game. Despite the weak schedule, defeating those lackluster opponents by such a large margin doesn't hurt the Cardinals' BPI as much as it could.

Louisville's schedule strength is ranked No. 156 according to BPI. That's the lowest-ranked schedule of any team ranked in the BPI top 50.

Playing a weak schedule and not defeating any highly-ranked opponents is certainly a large factor -- just like it is with RPI. But unlike RPI, BPI takes into account that Louisville has pummeled all 11 of its opponents ranked outside the BPI top 50 by an average margin of 29.2 points per game.

That's the primary reason why Louisville is ranked No. 17 in BPI despite being No. 45 in RPI.

Iowa State is consistent
Iowa State, ranked No. 5 in BPI, is the most consistent team in the country in terms of variation in BPI game score from game to game.

The Cyclones are 4-0 against top-60 teams with wins against Iowa, Michigan, Boise State and BYU. All four of those wins are by seven points or fewer.

Iowa State's seven wins against teams outside the top 100 are by an average of 27.9 points per game.

BPI Rankings

Mariota, Kelly, McCoy among best of week

October, 15, 2013
Week 7 featured upsets and surprises as seven ranked teams lost on Saturday, with four of those losses at the hands of unranked opponents.

With the help of ESPN’s new college football metrics (see explanations here), ESPN Stats & Information will look back at some of these upsets and look ahead to next weekend’s matchup between Florida State and Clemson.

Best individual performances

Marcus Mariota had a 98.3 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Oregon’s 45-24 win at Washington. Mariota was responsible for 454 total yards and four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. He leads the nation in opponent-adjusted Total QBR (97.0) this season and has posted an opponent-adjusted Total QBR of 98 or higher in three of six games.

Taylor Kelly posted a career-high 98.1 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Arizona State’s 54-13 win against Colorado. Seven of Kelly’s nine completions gained at least 15 yards as he averaged a career-high 25.9 yards per completion.

Case McCoy had a 90.3 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Texas’s 36-20 win against Oklahoma, his highest in a qualified game in his career (a player must have at least 20 action plays in order for it to be a qualified game).

McCoy completed 13-of-19 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns in the first three quarters.

Other interesting Total QBRs

Zach Mettenberger’s QBR (46.7 Total QBR): Mettenberger completed 9-of-17 passes for 152 yards against Florida, including four completions of at least 20 yards. Mettenberger finished with a 46.7 Total QBR.

But that measure doesn't tell the whole story.

When accounting for the defense that he faced, Mettenberger's opponent-adjusted Total QBR jumped to 88.9, ninth-best in Week 7.

Entering the game, the Gators had allowed the lowest Total QBR (13.0) of any defense, and their opponents had completed 46 percent of their passes. Mettenberger's performance was significantly better than those who faced the Gators earlier this season.

Bryce Petty’s QBR (69.0 Total QBR): Petty had the highest pass efficiency rating (237.1) of Week 7 in Baylor’s win against Kansas State, but he ranked 31st in Total QBR.


Petty had seven dropbacks on third down, but failed to convert a first down on any of those dropbacks. It is important to note that Petty had two completions for 19 yards on third down, but neither of those completions resulted in a first down, which is accounted for in Total QBR.

For a full list of Total QBR leaders for the season and Week 7, click here.

Best team performances

Offense –- Oregon: The Ducks gained 631 yards and added 24.3 expected points on offense in their 45-24 win against No. 16 Washington. Entering the game, the Huskies had allowed 286.8 yards per game, and no opponent's offense had contributed more than five expected points to their team's net scoring margin. In the last two seasons, Oregon’s offense has a +49.4 offensive EPA against the Huskies and the Ducks have won by a combined 52 points in those games.

Defense –- Texas: The Longhorns’ defense added 17 expected points toward its scoring margin against Oklahoma by forcing turnovers, controlling field position and limiting the Sooners to one offensive touchdown.

It was the Longhorns’ highest defensive EPA in a game against a BCS-AQ team since they added 24.4 against California in the 2011 Holiday Bowl. Texas entered the game with the second-worst defensive EPA (-13.78) in the Big 12 behind Iowa State (-13.8).

Special teams –- Iowa State: The Cyclones contributed 16.3 expected points on special teams in their 42-35 loss at Texas Tech, the most by a team in a game this season.

That means that if Iowa State’s special teams unit had an average game, the Cyclones would have lost by about 23 points. In addition to a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown in the first quarter, Iowa State began its drives 11.2 yards closer to the goal line than Texas Tech did.

Looking ahead to Week 8

Florida State travels to Clemson (8 PM ET, ABC) in a top-5 matchup with conference and national title implications.

The game features two of the top quarterbacks in the nation; Florida State’s Jameis Winston ranks fourth in opponent-adjusted Total QBR (91.3) this season, and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd finished with the fourth-highest opponent-adjusted Total QBR (81.8) last season.

A major component of success for each quarterback has been the deep ball. Winston is completing 68.3 percent of his passes thrown 15 yards or longer, best among BCS AQ quarterbacks (min. 15 attempts), and Boyd leads all AQ quarterbacks with 10 touchdowns on passes of that distance.

Florida State and Clemson both rank in the Top 10 in defensive EPA on passing plays, so it will be a battle of strengths in Death Valley on Saturday.

Duke's limited turnovers are key strength

March, 15, 2013
A glance at several matchups tonight as conference tournaments continue:

Maryland vs Duke (ESPN2, 7 ET)

The Duke Blue Devils will need to be ready near the basket tonight, as Maryland is the third-best rebounding team in the nation, averaging 40.9 per game. Maryland also averages 35.8 PPG in the paint, fourth-most among Power Six Conference schools.

On the other side, Duke's starters are averaging 68.2 PPG, second-most in the nation. Off the bench, the Blue Devils are getting only 10.6 PPG, which is 327th (out of 347 teams) in Division I. Duke also takes care of the basketball, turning the ball over on 15.9% of its possessions this season, the lowest percentage in the ACC and eighth lowest in the nation.

Iowa State vs Kansas (ESPNU, 7:30 ET)

Iowa State scores 37.1% of its points from three-point range, eight-highest in the nation. The Cyclones lead the nation in three-point field goals made (316) and are second in attempts (845). Iowa State also averages a Big 12-best 79.8 points per game.

The Cyclones are one of four teams in the nation that average at least 110 points per 100 possessions while playing at a pace of at least 70 possessions per game.

Iowa State might have trouble scoring, however, as Kansas leads the nation in opponents’ field goal percentage at 35.9%. It might be especially difficult down low, considering Jeff Withey has 127 blocks this season, second-most in the nation. All but 12 of Withey’s blocks have been kept inbounds (91%), with Kansas recovering 95. The Jayhawks have scored 86 points off those 95 blocks.

Florida State vs North Carolina (ESPN2, 9 ET)

Florida State is shooting a league-best 74.3% from the free throw line in ACC play, and gets a league-high 22.6% of its points at the charity stripe during ACC play. The transition game will be key for North Carolina; the Tar Heels are averaging 18.3 transition points per game in their 22 wins and 10.9 in their nine losses.

Prior to North Carolina's first meeting with Duke, the school switched to a four-guard lineup. Since that time, the Tar Heels have lost only twice and seen their opponents score just over two points fewer per game. Switching to the four-guard lineup has also helped in transition defense. In the first 23 games of the season, UNC allowed 13.5 transition PPG, but since making the switch, they are allowing 8.9 per game.
(8) Iowa State 77, (9) Connecticut 64
UConn becomes the first defending champ to lose its first Men’s Basketball Championship since UCLA in 1996, and just the fourth since seeding began in 1979. Connecticut suffers its fourth-worst NCAA Tournament loss under Jim Calhoun and loses for just the second time in the Round of 64.

Iowa State advances to the Round of 32 for the 1st time since 2005.

(1) Kentucky 81, (16) Western Kentucky 66
The Cyclones will meet top overall seed Kentucky, which advances to the Round of 32 for the third straight season with a 15-point win over Western Kentucky. Kentucky has won 20 of its past 21 games in the Round of 64.

VCU (12) 62, Wichita State (5) 59
Last year’s Cinderealla, VCU, wins its sixth Men's Basketball Championship game over the past two years -- all as an 11-seed or lower. VCU now has seven wins as an 11-seed or worse since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

That’s the most such wins of any team in that span, one more than Richmond.

(7) Gonzaga 77, (10) West Virginia 54
The Bulldogs hand Bob Huggins his second-worst defeat as a head coach in a Men's Basketball Championship game. Gonzaga has won at least one NCAA Tournament game in four straight years. The 23-point win is the third-largest in a 7-vs-10 game since 1985 and the largest since Tulsa beat UNLV by 27 in 2000.

(3) Baylor 68, (14) South Dakota State 60
Baylor gets its fourth win in the Men's Basketball Championship since 2010; the Bears had just three wins in the Tournament from 1939-2009. Baylor advances to the Round of 32 for just the second time in school history (2010).

(4) Indiana 79, (13) New Mexico State 66
Indiana advances to the Round of 32 for the first time since 2007. Cody Zeller has 14 points, five rebounds and six steals, tying a school record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game. The Hoosiers shoot 59.3 percent from the floor, their best in a Men's Basketball Championship game since 2002. New Mexico State has lost five straight Men's Basketball Championship games and nine straight games against ranked teams.

(2) Ohio State 78, (15) Loyola (MD) 59
Deshaun Thomas scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Ohio State to the Round of 32 for the third straight season. Loyola (MD) falls to 0-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

(11) Colorado 68, (6) UNLV 64
Colorado saw its 20-point lead trimmed to two points in the second half, but was able to hold on for its first Men's Basketball Championship win since 1997. Colorado got 36 points from its bench and is 12-3 when one of its reserves scores at least 10 points this season. UNLV was held to its second-lowest field-goal percentage of the season (32.4) and falls to 13-6 in its first game of the Men’s Basketball Championship.
We recap our best notes from the 8 vs 9 matchups in the 2012 Men's Basketball Championship. Check this blog and check here all week for more bracket tips.

• Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, a 9-seed beats an 8-seed in the first round at least once each year except 2000 and '02. A 9-seed swept an 8-seed in the first round four times: 1989, '94, '99 and 2001.

• Since '85, an 8-seed beats a 9-seed in the first round more often (56-48) but 9-seeds have a better win percentage (.412) than 8-seeds (.364) over the course of the entire tournament.

• Defending champ UConn is the 9-seed in the South. A 9-seed has never won the Men's Basketball Championship (lowest seed to win the title: 8-seed Villanova in '85).

• No. 8 Memphis vs No. 9 Saint Louis will be their 58th meeting. The teams played in four different conferences together: the Missouri Valley, Metro, Great Midwest, and Conference USA.

• The top BPI differential in an 8 vs 9 game? Kansas St (23 BPI) vs Southern Miss (46 BPI). Closest differential in an 8-9 game? Iowa State (32) vs UConn (33).

• This will be the third time Iowa State plays an 8-9 game in the first round. In 1993 the Cyclones lost to UCLA as an 8-seed, and beat Minnesota as a 9-seed in 2005.

• Of the eight teams that make up the 8-9 seeds, Southern Miss (0-2) is the only one that has never won a tournament game

• Only once have multiple 8-seeds reached the Final Four: In 2000, (8) Wisconsin lost to (1) Michigan State, and (8) UNC lost to (5) Florida.

• Iowa State, at 32nd, is the lowest-ranked 8-seed according to BPI. Memphis is 10, Creighton 22 and K-State 23.

• K-State's 14.8 second-chance points per game led the Big 12. Southern Miss allowed 14.0 second-chance points per game in three losses against major-conference teams.

• Collision course: Memphis' 18.5-pt average in transition is tied for fourth in the nation; Saint Louis allows seven points in transition, fourth-fewest in the nation.

• Creighton is the only team in the country shooting better than 50 percent in the half-court this season.

Stats in the Paint: Weekend outlook

January, 27, 2012
Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty ImagesNorth Carolina lost starting junior guard Dexter Strickland to a torn ACL, and replacing him will have
an effect both on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor.
Let’s get you warmed up for the "College GameDay" road show (live Saturday from Tucson at 11 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).

Saturday’s Matchups
(5) Kansas at Iowa State, 2 ET on ESPN and ESPN3
Key stat: The Cyclones are the best team in all of college basketball in plays after timeouts, ranking first in points per play (1.14), adjusted field goal percentage (65.1) and scoring percentage (49.4). But Kansas is one of the best half-court defensive teams in the nation, ranking fifth overall in opponent field goal percentage (35.3) and seventh overall in opponent scoring percentage (33.4).

St. John’s at (6) Duke, Noon ET on ESPN and ESPN3
Key stat: Duke allows 31.4 points per game in the paint this season, which is the most in the ACC and the fourth most among schools from the "Power Six" Conferences. Duke allowed opponents to shoot 57.9 percent on two-point field goals in its three losses this season.

(16) Mississippi State at (13) Florida, 1:30 ET on ESPN3
Key stat: Mississippi State averages 33.6 PPG in the paint, second most in the SEC, but allows 31.7 PPG in the paint, which ranks last in the conference. However, the Bulldogs allow opponents to grab only 27.5 percent of their missed shots and score 8.5 second-chance points per game, both of which lead the SEC. Florida is averaging 13.2 second-chance points per game, the second most in the conference.

Game Plans
West Virginia -- Limit easy baskets
Syracuse scored a season-low 11 points off turnovers against Notre Dame -- its only loss so far. The Orange average 22.6 points off turnovers this season, which leads all schools in the power six conferences.

Florida -- Score on pick and rolls
Among the 102 teams with at least 100 shots off pick-and-roll plays this season, Florida’s effective field goal percentage (50.0) ranks fifth in the nation. Forty-seven percent of Florida’s shots off pick-and-roll plays have been 3-pointers, the second-highest percentage in the SEC. The Gators are making 40 percent of these threes, the highest percentage in the conference.

Arizona -- Get Kyle Fogg open shots
Fogg is shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range this season, third in the Pac-12, and just 39.1 percent on 2-point field goals this season. Fogg also averages one point per field goal attempt when coming off screens this season.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Among the topics Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis plan to tackle:

How will North Carolina fare without Dexter Strickland?

The Tar Heels were at their best defensively with Strickland, the team’s best on-ball defender, on the floor. The Heels were allowing 64.1 points per 40 minutes with Strickland on the court, compared to 72.0 with him off.

Offensively, however, the Tar Heels have been more efficient with Strickland off the court, playing with Reggie Bullock at the off guard spot. North Carolina averaged 91.9 points per 40 minutes with Strickland off the floor. With him on the court the Heels averaged 80.6.

North Carolina’s offense has a different identity with Bullock, who leads the Heels with 93 3-point field goal attempts this season. When Strickland was on the floor, North Carolina attempted a 3 on just 17 percent of its shots. That number jumps to 30 percent when Strickland is on the bench.

Tuesday recap: A first for Perry Jones III

January, 25, 2012
Player of the Night - Perry Jones III
For all of the hype surrounding Jones in his two years in Waco, he'd never had a 20-point, 10-rebound game. Until last night. He helped Baylor snap a two-game losing streak with a 77-65 win at Oklahoma. Jones finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Baylor had been 3-18 in Norman going into this one.

Breakout Game - Will Davis II
UC-Irvine freshman Will Davis II had a career game in a 78-67 win over Seattle. He came off the bench for 21 points (on 9-10 shooting from the field), 10 rebounds and five blocks. That's after entering the game averaging 7.4 PPG and 5.5 RPG. Davis joins Kentucky's Anthony Davis as the only freshman with a 20-10-5 game this season. The last freshman not named Davis to do it was Iowa's Melsahn Basabe last season.

Dime Store - Jarod Oldham
Jarod Oldham is the Kendall Marshall of the MAC. On Tuesday, he handed out 10 assists while not connecting on a field goal of his own as Buffalo won its third straight with a 65-47 win over Eastern Michigan. Oldham now has 27 more assists than points this season. He even has seven more steals than field goals.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night - J'Covan Brown
The good news for Texas? The Longhorns beat Iowa State, 62-55. The bad news? J'Covan Brown went 3-for-16 from the field with five turnovers. Over the past three games, Brown has a 25.7 field goal percentage. That includes 22.0 percent from two-point range.

Filling Up the Stat Sheet – Royce White
On the other side of that matchup, Royce White had 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for Iowa State. The only other Big 12 players with a 15-15-5 game over the past four seasons? Alec Burks and Blake Griffin. Of course, White also went 1-for-7 from the free throw line. That was particularly costly in a game decided by seven points.
McDermott fever taking over Omaha
Doug McDermott scored a career-high 44 points in Creighton’s 92-83 win over Bradley on Saturday. It’s the sixth-most points in a game in school history, and the most since Benoit Benjamin’s 45 in January 1985. It passed IUPUI’s Alex Young and his 43-point effort against Western Kentucky for the most points in a game this season. He’s one of only four players to top 40 points this season.

McDermott, who had 31 in the second half alone, went 18-for-23 from the field. That 78.3 field goal percentage is the highest for a player who attempted at least 20 shots since Reggie Williams (86.4) for VMI in January 2008.

Lillard leads the nation
Overshadowed by McDermott’s big game, the nation’s leading scorer also exploded on Saturday. Damian Lillard scored 38 points in Weber State’s 88-81 win over Portland State. He also added five rebounds and five assists. He’s the first player to reach all three of those totals in a game since Norris Cole’s epic 41-20-9 game last February. Lillard leads the nation at 26.3 PPG, and has topped 30 points on five occasions.

Royce White’s Triple-Double
Royce White recorded the fourth triple-double in Iowa State history in Saturday’s 74-50 win over Texas A&M. He joins Curtis Stinson (2006), Jamaal Tinsley (2000) and Marc Urquhart (1989). White finished with 10 points, 10 assists and 18 rebounds.

Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97, there have been five triple-doubles in conference play. Three of those were by Cyclones. The 18 rebounds are the most in a triple-double since Cole Aldrich had 20 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

A Chris Dudley comparison
There’s no better compliment for a Yale big man than to be compared to Chris Dudley (unless it’s regarding free throws). On Sunday, Greg Mangano had the most rebounds by a Yale player since Dudley in 1987. Mangano finished with 35 points and 22 rebounds in a 101-86 win over St. Joseph’s of Long Island. He joins Jeronne Maymon and Thomas Robinson as the only D-I players with a 30-20 game this season.

Four OT classic in Corvallis
Stanford needed four overtimes to beat Oregon State, 103-101, on Saturday. It marked the longest game in both schools' histories. Oregon State had its highest scoring total in a conference game since 1994. The teams combined for 171 field goal attempts and 108 rebounds during three hours and eight minutes. Chasson Randle’s bucket with 37 seconds left in overtime proved pivotal. He led all scorers with 24 points despite having only two at halftime.

Reese Strickland/Getty ImagesJeff Woody scores from four yards out as Iowa State upsets No. 2 Oklahoma State in overtime
With a four-yard touchdown run by Jeff Woody in the second overtime, Iowa State pulled off a big 37-31 upset of second-ranked Oklahoma State. The Cyclones had trailed 24-7 midway through the third quarter, but scored 17 unanswered points in regulation to force overtime. The win was Iowa State's first over a team ranked one or two in the AP poll in 19 tries.

The Cowboys became the first team in the top two of the BCS standings to lose to an unranked team in November or later since 2007. Their loss leaves LSU and Houston as the remaining unbeatens in FBS.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 476 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw a season-high three interceptions including a costly one on the Cowboys' possession in the second overtime. Weeden had thrown three interceptions combined in his last seven games. Oklahoma State also lost two fumbles and their five turnovers were most in a game since September of 2010. Those five turnovers led to 16 Iowa State points. Entering Friday’s game, Oklahoma State had committed 16 turnovers in 10 games this season.

The 31 points was Oklahoma State's fewest since scoring 30 against Texas A&M on September 24th. The Cowboys had scored at least 50 points in each of their last three games. They are the 14th number one or two team in the BCS to lose to a team ranked outside of the BCS standings and the first since 2007.

With Oklahoma State's loss, other one-loss teams hope they'll have a shot at playing for the national championship on January 9th in New Orleans. Third-ranked Alabama (9-1), fourth-ranked Oregon (9-1) and fifth-ranked Oklahoma (8-1) are some of those teams. Alabama faces Georgia Southern on Saturday and then 24th-ranked Auburn in the Iron Bowl on November 26th. Oregon takes on USC at Autzen Stadium on Saturday then closes with rival Oregon State in the Civil War next Saturday. Oklahoma has three games left beginning with 22nd-ranked Baylor, then Iowa State and at Oklahoma State on December 3rd.

The highest AP ranked team that Alabama has beaten is 12th ranked Florida compared to Oregon who beat 3rd ranked Stanford last week.

Both Alabama and Oregon have faced top-ranked LSU earlier this year. Oregon lost 40-27 in the teams' season opener on September 3rd at Cowboys Stadium and Alabama lost 9-6 in overtime two weeks ago in a BCS one vs two matchup in Tuscaloosa.

So if both teams win out and LSU finishes the season undefeated, how does a 13-point loss on a neutral field compare to a three-point loss in overtime at home when it comes to deciding who plays for the national championship.