When you think Duke, who do the Devils remind you of? Kansas, circa 2010? Or Memphis, circa 2008?
What about Ohio State? Any similarities between the ’05 Illinois squad or ’07 UCLA?
No? Well, John Ezekowitz would like a word with you.
In an intriguing post over at College hoops Journal, he ran “similarity scores” to the top seven teams in this year’s field: Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, Pitt, Texas, BYU and San Diego State. (I would’ve added Purdue and Notre Dame to make things more interesting, but I’m also not crunching the numbers.)
You can check his methodology by reading this first and then noting that he made a change in the SOS numbers by using kenpom.com. Anyway, onto his results.
Duke, as noted, could be seen as ’10 Kansas, ’08 Memphis, or even George Mason from this season. They’re all teams that shoot well, defend well and don’t turn the ball over. That’s a good group to be in.
Kansas, Ohio State and Texas all came out with excellent comparisons, while BYU and SDSU might be a little miffed. Neither had comparisons to teams that made it past the Sweet 16.
Then there’s Pitt, which was compared most often to … Pitt. Here’s what Ezekowitz wrote about it.
File this under Jamie Dixon Consistency Syndrome. It might be the highest compliment you can pay a coach. It is truly amazing that Dixon’s 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 teams are all so similar. All five of these teams are extremely good on the glass. Here the vagaries of March are apparent: The 2006 and 2009 editions of the Panthers were statistically almost identical, but in 2006 Pitt ran into Patrick O’Bryant and Bradley, who successfully kept Pitt off the glass and pulled the upset.
This is more fuel for any Panther detractors who insist Jamie Dixon consistency underperforms during the NCAA tournament. Then again, every team listed on that table’s a really solid team that just needed a few breaks to advance further in the Big Dance.
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