Why Syracuse,Kentucky seem to have a slight edge

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Louisville’s win against Michigan State was Thursday’s most notable result, but it was the outlier where expectations are concerned.

Namely, defensive expectations.

Among the eight teams playing in yesterday’s regional semifinals, the winning teams were rated higher in a significant area on kenpom.com: adjusted offensive efficiency.

The two toss-up games – Syracuse-Wisconsin and Florida-Marquette – pitted teams that were significantly better on offense (Orange, Gators) against a team significantly better on defense. Ohio State-Cincinnati was a game where the Buckeyes rate higher in both areas and played like it. Only the Cardinals were worse on offense entering the game, and won.

Why bring all this up now?

The post over at Team Rankings by Adrian Atkinson (who normally writes at Tobacco Road Blues) makes a compelling case that for a team to win it all, it doesn’t need a dominant defense as some announcers might proclaim. It needs balance. And if it doesn’t have that, a better offense is better to win in March.

That bodes well for the likes of Kentucky and Syracuse, the only two teams still playing who feature an elite offense and defense and those offenses are slightly better than the defenses. (Yeah, that’s a mouthful.)

It should be noted that Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio State also feature elite offenses and defenses. But the defenses are a notch better. Anyway. Interesting post.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.