Butler showed everyone the blueprint last March. If non-BCS schools want to compete – and beat – those well-funded major conference programs, you limit your turnovers.
Well, OK. Butler also did a few other things pretty well – keep opponents off the boards, hit your free throws and play sticky defense – but turnovers matter. John Gasaway wrote about it in Basketball Prospectus season preview (if you didn’t buy the book, shame; it makes a good Christmas present), noting that every turnover costs BCS teams 1.28 points.
At that cost, who can afford to be sloppy with the ball? Not small schools. So Kyle Whelliston detailed three schools who are taking a page from Butler’s book: Hampton, VCU and South Dakota State. Their combined records? 18-4.
So try this formula: Turn the ball over 18 percent of the time or less, shoot 45 percent or worse, rebound at a rate of 55 percent or less and allow less than point per possession. (Also interesting – BYU, Purdue, Texas and Syracuse fit that model.)
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.