Posted on: April 25, 2011 2:37 pm

Which schools are most overvalued in NBA draft?

Posted by Matt Jones

This is not a new story, but with the NBA draft deadline having just passed and little happening in the post-Easter weekend sports world, I found it interesting. Two years ago, the blog 82games.com sought to determine which schools were most overvalued and undervalued by the NBA in the draft process. The process for making the determination was by no means scientific. The author utilized only the past 20 years and by starting in 2009, the older players' careers and their longer careers were ultimately given more weight. Still, the methodology, while not perfect, was adequate for determining whether players from certain schools are more consistently over or under valued by NBA teams. 

The blog compared a players' career per-game average in points/rebounds/assists versus the average totals for other players who were also picked in the same slot in those 20 NBA drafts. A per-game comparison (as opposed to a per-minute method) is not a good way to evaluate an individual player, but it is a decent method for an enterprise such as this, which is seeking to make a macro judgment about a larger pool of players. After determining the difference from the average person selected at the same pick, a particular player would be categorized as either a star, role player, etc and then rated versus the other colleges. Only schools with five or more players were ranked in the total school comparison.

Amongst all teams, these ten schools were ranked as the most consistently undervalued by NBA teams (number of NBA picks during selected period in parentheses):

1. Wake Forest  (7)

2. UTEP   (5)

3. Marquette (7)

4. Xavier  (8)

5. Clemson (6)

6. Kentucky (15)

7. Alabama (13)

8. Depaul (6)

9. Purdue (6)

10. Pittsburgh (6)

In a bit of a surprise, Wake Forest took the top spot, thanks in large part to the three superstars it has produced, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Josh Howard (who is a superstar relative to his No. 29 overall draft status). Spots 2 and 3 are taken by UTEP and Marquette, both of which are helped in large part by having produced Tim Hardaway and Dwayne Wade. What is most striking is that, with the exception of Kentucky, none of the top 10 are traditional powerhouse schools, showcasing that the NBA is very likely to undervalue many second-tier programs, just as most fans do as well.

Here is the list of the most overvalued programs in the NBA draft:

1. Louisville (11)

2. Vanderbilt (5)

3. Colorado (5)

4. Gonzaga (5)

5. Indiana (13)

6. Mississippi State (6)

7. NC State (9)

8. Missouri (9)

9. Iowa  (10)

10. Texas Tech (5)

During the 20 year period studied, Louisville had the most players consistently overvalued by the NBA. Pervis Ellison, Samaki Walker, Reece Gaines, Felton Spencer and Cliff Rozier were all picked in the lottery during this period and none averaged more points than the average player picked at their position. Also disappointing is Indiana, which produced few top players during the end of the Bob Knight era and has seen its overall status as a program drop during the same period.

Finally, the blog ranked the top powerhouse programs based upon NBA draft performance as well. Because a school that produces only five players in 20 years can have its status changed by one high profile star or bust (see Marquette with Wade or Gonzaga with Adam Morrison), the higher sample size makes this a bit of a better comparison. Here was the ranking of top programs with 15 or more players selected during the 20 year period:

1. Kentucky (15)

2. Michigan  (16)

3. Connecticut  (21)

4. Arizona  (28)

5. UCLA  (26)

6. Syracuse (15)

7. Georgia Tech (19)

8. Michigan State (16)

9. North Carolina (22)

10. Maryland (16)

11. Texas (16)

12. Kansas (22)

13. Duke (28)

Amongst the programs with the most picks in the draft, Kentucky players have been the most consistently undervalued. The production by players such as Jamaal Magloire, Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes and Rajon Rondo from low draft spots, places Kentucky at the top of the list. The biggest surprise of the list (with the exception of Georgia Tech having 19 players drafted during that period) is the school at the bottom of the list, Duke. The Blue Devils are the most overvalued group of players in the NBA draft by a substantial margin, with the greatest number of players performing below the average player at their position. Also interestingly, North Carolina's players are valued exactly at the correct point according to the scale. With the 22 players the Tar Heels have produced for the NBA during that period, their final NBA production has been exactly average for any player picked at their positions.

What does all this mean? Probably not much. Potentially NBA teams should consider Brandon Knight or Deandre Liggins a few picks higher or Kyrie Irving a couple of picks lower. But probably what it does mostly is give college basketball fans something to argue about during the offseason. And that in and of itself is productive.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 4:53 pm

Better luck next year (seriously)

Posted by Jeff Borzello

This silver lining won’t cheer up any teams that were ousted during the first weekend, but it’s a silver lining nonetheless.

12 of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA tournament were already home by this time last year, with only Duke, Ohio State, Butler and Kentucky making back-to-back appearances in the regional semifinals.

Part of the fun immediately following the Final Four is the early preseason top 25 rankings that everyone puts out, even though no one has any idea of the players that will go pro or transfer. The following list of five schools is fool proof, though – these teams will still be around for the second weekend next season.

Syracuse: The Orange didn’t live up to expectations in the NCAA tournament, getting bounced by conference foe Marquette in the third round. Jim Boeheim will be back next year, though. They only lose Rick Jackson from the rotation, and also welcome a very good recruiting class. Michael Carter-Williams will prove a legitimate scoring threat from the perimeter, and Rakeem Christmas will provide rebounding and defense. If the young players continue to improve, Syracuse will be fine.

Louisville: The job that Rick Pitino did with this roster was admirable, despite the upset loss to Morehead State. Pitino will bring in more talent next season and will also get some veterans back from injury. Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan highlight the recruiting class, while Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire should be healthy. Peyton Siva is primed for a true breakout season, and Kyle Kuric is slowly developing into one of the most underrated players in the Big East.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores had all the pieces for a deep tournament run this season, they just never seemed to put it together when it mattered. If Vanderbilt can finally get past the round of 64, expect a run to at least the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight. Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins could leave Vandy and go to the NBA, but this team is primed for a huge season if they return. Dai-Jon Parker will add more perimeter toughness and Kedren Johnson can handle the ball.

Texas A&M: This team is not pretty or fun to watch, but it’s highly effective and seems to get to the NCAA tournament every year. Next season will be no different, and that could be the year they finally get out of the first weekend. B.J. Holmes is the only personnel loss, but incoming freshman Jamal Branch will step in immediately at the point. Khris Middleton should develop into one of the better scorers in the Big 12, and the Aggies are guaranteed to defend their tails off.

UCLA: If everyone returns, look out. The Bruins have some of the most talent in the country, with NBA prospects littering the roster. Tyler Honeycutt could be the best player in the Pac-10, while Reeves Nelson and Malcolm Lee are also future pros. Josh Smith has to lose weight to become more consistently effective down low, but Ben Howland also welcomes David Wear and Travis Wear, two talented transfers from North Carolina. Point guard play could be the key again.

Keep an eye on these three:

- If Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins return to Georgia, the Bulldogs will have a formidable nucleus to go with stud freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

- Texas’ Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson both said they would return to Austin, but the jury is still out. This is a top-five team if both come back.

- Memphis has a host of young players with NBA aspirations. If the roster remains intact, freshman Adonis Thomas will join a tremendously talented team.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 8:59 pm

Syracuse's win sets up terrific Friday night tilt

NEW YORK — The Big East couldn’t have a better matchup.

Unless it was for the conference championship.

But Syracuse vs. Connecticut in a Friday night semifinal will have to suffice. After the Orange held off St. John’s in Thursday afternoon’s late tilt, winning 79-73, it set up what’s sure to be the most anticipated game around the country Friday.

After all, this is Syracuse vs. UConn, the neo super rivalry in the Big East. Most notably, it’s the first meeting between the two teams in Big East tournament play since that six-overtime game two years ago made every sports writer and editor in New York City work until 4 in the morning.

The dream draw came to fruition after the afternoon started with Kemba Walker banging home a game-winning shot against Pittsburgh. Syracuse was waiting in the tunnel when Walker hit the shot that knocked Pitt out. The Orange’s Scoop Jardine said when he heard the crowd erupt, he knew Walker was the one who took the shot.

The Orange has to avoid presenting Walker with a similar scenario around 9 p.m. Friday night. There’ s a very good chance it won’t come to that. Outside of the weak odds a game comes down to the final shot, consider: In the teams’ only other meeting this season, on Feb. 2, Syracuse won at Connecticut, 66-58. It was arguably Walker’s worst game of the season. In fact, there’s not much to argue: his eight points were the lowest total for Walker this season, and the only time he didn’t reach double digits.

“You always learn from a game, whether your win or lose,” Syracuse’s Kris Joseph said. “I know they learned some things and they’ll make sure they don’t make the same mistakes. What we’re going to do is make sure we play Kemba the same way we did.”

Boeheim considers that result an outlier on Connecticut’s season.

“I don’t take anything out of the [last] Connecticut game,” Boeheim said. “I don’t think they played well, Kemba had probably his worst night of the year, and we know that won’t happen tomorrow night.”

A story line many members of the media discussed inside Madison Square Garden was the fatigue issue. Syracuse will be playing its second game of the tournament, while UConn’s gearing up for its fourth. Usually, that fourth day is when the legs get caught. But Boeheim will be primarily worried with Walker, and he doesn’t expect him to be slowed one bit.

“They’re a team that can do that,” Boeheim said. “Kemba Walker can play eight nights in a row, and they play a lot of guys and I don’t see that being a factor tomorrow night at all. I mean, the year we won four games we were playing six guys and it was a factor.”

If you’re hoping for a coda to the 2009 game, you’re certainly not alone. Once players starting taking questions in the locker room, postgame, the overtime questions and resets on one of the most epic games in Big East history were flying. Let the record show: no one wants to play 70 minutes of basketball again.

“Hopefully not,” Joseph said. Let’s get it done in regulation. … I mean, one overtime would be all right — but not six.”

Even if it only goes to one overtime, the matchup will have exceeded the billing. It’s Syracuse and UConn on a Friday night in March at Madison Square Garden. The fan bases will flood the area surrounding 4 Pennsylvania Plaza and get the city whirring with excitement well before tip-off.

Posted by Matt Norlander

Photo: AP

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 2:37 pm

Projecting the first-round destinations

Posted by MATT JONES

I am a dork. Let’s get that out of the way right up front, because otherwise what I am attempting to do below will make no sense. While everyone else on the internet is giving their latest Bracketology projections and attempting to define the bottom half of the field of 68, I have a completely different goal. I want to try and get in the tournament committee’s minds and figure out exactly where the top seeds in the NCAA tournament will play their first round games .

Now this may seem like a silly enterprise, as on the surface it seems impossible to predict. If the process was random, with 68 teams and 8 different locales, projecting any team to any first round destination would be complete folly. But the process isn’t random and there is some logical basis to the assignments. In fact, if you understand two rules, projecting the assignments of some top teams can come rather easily:

1. The committee will try to put teams seeded in the top 4  teams in their region close to home.

2.  Duke will play in the state of North Carolina

Those two rules if not officially set in stone, are nearly always followed and thus give us some logical basis to begin a projection. At this point, our resident bracketologist Jerry Palm has these teams as the top 4 seeds:

  1. Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame
  2. Duke, Syracuse, Purdue, San Diego State
  3. North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida
  4. Louisville, Kentucky, St. Johns, BYU

While the order of those teams may change a bit and a couple of teams could crash the group (Vanderbilt, West Virginia, UCONN), it is likely that the vast majority of these teams will represent the 16 top seeds. For this year’s tournament, there are eight cities hosting first round games:


Washington DC


Each city will be the host site of two of the top 16 seeds. So using our two rules above, we can begin projecting teams to particular sites based upon location. Cleveland is just a hop, skip and a jump from two No.1 seeds, Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Tulsa is the closest to Kansas and Chicago is virtually an extension of Notre Dame. So after placing the top seeds, the list looks like this:

Cleveland: Pittsburgh, Ohio State
Notre Dame
Washington DC:




Duke is a 2 seed and Charlotte is in North Carolina, thus making the Blue Devils a lock for the banking capital of America due to Rule No. 2. Purdue is within a quick drive to Chicago and Tucson is the only host city anywhere close to San Diego State. Syracuse would probably prefer to be in Cleveland, but because that locale is full, Washington DC becomes the most likely destination.

Cleveland: Pittsburgh, Ohio State
Notre Dame, Purdue
San Diego State
Washington DC:



North Carolina is apparently still located in North Carolina and thus placing the Tar Heels in Charlotte ensures a packed house for each session. Tulsa is the location closest to Texas, making the Longhorns a likely candidate for that beautiful city. Tampa is in Florida and has a huge arena to fill, potentially enticing the fickle Gators fans to make the short drive. Wisconsin has no obvious destination, as nothing left is very close to Madison. But with Denver in that same general part of America and only one other western team, the Badgers seem likely headed for the Rockies:

Cleveland: Pittsburgh, Ohio State
Notre Dame, Purdue
San Diego State
Washington DC:
Kansas, Texas
Duke, North Carolina

This is when it starts to get tricky. BYU is the farthest west and can’t play on Sunday, meaning that Tucson is the likely home for the Cougars. St. John’s is in New York, which likes to think of DC as its dorky extension, thus sending the Red Storm to the nation’s capital. Louisville and Kentucky are both not close to either remaining destination, but the Cardinals are slightly farther west, sending them to Denver and Kentucky to Tampa. That makes the final split look like this:

Cleveland: Pittsburgh, Ohio State
Notre Dame, Purdue
Wisconsin, Louisville
Tucson: San Diego State, BYU
Florida, Kentucky
Washington DC:
Syracuse, St. Johns
Kansas, Texas
Duke, North Carolina

Of course it is just as likely that the committee follows none of these parameters and just does what it wants. But if logic is used, you can book your travel destinations now.

Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:28 pm

Hoyas struggle without Wright

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Down three with 36 seconds left against Syracuse, Georgetown would normally go to Chris Wright, the Hoyas’ point guard who has hit plenty of clutch baskets this season.

Unfortunately, Wright is out with a broken left hand.

As a result, Georgetown settled for a contested 3-pointer from Jason Clark and couldn’t pull out a win, falling to the Orange, 58-51.

The Hoyas had an inspired effort, outrebounding the bigger Syracuse frontline and getting an impressive second-half performance from Austin Freeman. Nate Lubick and Henry Sims also had their moments.

It still wasn’t enough, though.

Without Wright, Georgetown lacked creativity on offense. Against the Syracuse 2-3 zone, the Hoyas settled for outside jumpers and contested shots. They didn’t have anyone to attack the defense and create shots near the end of the shot clock – or when they needed a basket at the end of the game.

Freeman and Clark are excellent shooters and form a terrific backcourt tandem, but neither is a true point guard or is used to being the team’s primary playmaker.

Defensively, Scoop Jardine took advantage of the Wright-less Hoyas. He constantly hit big shots and got into the lane to either score himself or dish off to an open teammate. Jardine finished with 17 points and seven assists, to go with only one turnover. He also scored seven points in a game-changing 9-1 run once Georgetown took a two-point lead midway through the second half.

After the news came down about Wright’s injury, pundits and analysts immediately wrote Georgetown off. A loss at Cincinnati in the season finale would be three consecutive losses to finish the regular season – the Hoyas’ seed could plummet if Wright does not return by the NCAA Tournament.

For Georgetown’s sake, Wright needs to return.

The masses are well-versed in Georgetown’s struggles when Wright doesn’t play well – when he doesn’t play, the Hoyas apparently struggle even more.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: February 26, 2011 2:24 pm

Saturday Preview: Jimmer... Kawhi... be there!

Posted by Eric Angevine

Featured Game: BYU @ SDSU, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Raise your hand if you legitimately thought you'd be waiting breathlessly for a top-ten matchup in the Mountain West when this season began. All eyes are on Jimmer and Kawahi as the Cougars attempt to seize control of the MWC by winning in Viejas Arena. BYU already owns a convincing 71-58 home win in the series, and we could see a third matchup for the auto-bid when the league tourney starts in March. So, in case you couldn't tell, this is "kind of a big deal" in San Diego.

Missouri @ Kansas State, 12:00 p.m., ESPN: As K-State attempts to get off the bubble and into the field, they need every advantage they can get. Facing a ranked Missouri team in the Octagon of Doom, where they are bound to struggle with the non-stop noise, is a big one. A win would give Frank Martin's Wildcats the perfect resume boost to go with their upset of the Kansas Jayhawks, which also happened in Manhattan, KS. | Video Preview

Syracuse @ Georgetown, 12:00 p.m., CBS: This is our first chance to see what Georgetown is capable of with Chris Wright out for a full game. The senior guard is supposed to be healed in time for the NCAA tournament, but it would surely behoove John Thompson III to find an adequate substitute for the short run, or risk a drop in the postseason seeding process. Keep an eye on that starting lineup. | Video Preview

Wichita State @ Missouri State, 1:00 p.m., ESPN2: The atmosphere in Springfield, MO should be electric. School officials are calling for a "Maroon-out" as Cuonzo Martin's Bears (14-3 MVC) host Wichita State (14-3) in the final game of the season for both teams. Winner gets the No. 1 seed in the conference tourney, which could mean the difference between an auto-bid and a Selection Sunday spent in a full-on cold sweat. Missouri State owns a road win in the series, but several weeks have passed since then. | Dennis Dodd

St. John's @ Villanova, 2:00 p.m., CBS: Simply put, both of these teams are in the Big Dance barring a complete collapse to end the season. The story here is really St. John's on the road. We know they can win, and win big, in MSG, but what will they do in a hostile environment with a top-25 ranking to defend? Also, could a Jay Wright vs. Steve Lavin throwdown be a reality series on the Fashion Channel? | Video Preview

Memphis @ UTEP, 3:00 p.m., ESPN2: Will Tim Floyd keep his jacket on today? Can Memphis continue to claw its way back into the national consciousness under Josh Pastner? It's a battle of C-USA frontrunners.

Florida @ Kentucky, 4:00 p.m., CBS: Our Matt Jones has secured an All-Access pass for this one, so we fully expect to see him occupying John Calipari's chair while the energetic head coach paces the sidelines. OK, maybe he won't be that close, but he's already teasing us with tidbits of what we'll learn about how the Wildcats tick. Watch the game so you can compare the TV experience to Matt's up-close-and-personal take. Oh, and because it's a hee-youge game between ranked SEC teams in one of the nation's most venerated arenas. That too.

Arizona @ UCLA, 4:00 p.m., FSN: This was supposed to be the Year of the Huskies in another weak season in the Pac-10, but it's turned into more of a redemption story. Arizona is back in form as Sean Miller rebuilds the team that stumbled without Lute Olson in command, and Ben Howland is raring to make the Bruins' absence from the NCAA tournament a one-year aberration. Should be a hot one in Pauley Pavilion.

Duke @ Virginia Tech, 9:00 p.m., ESPN: The Hokies have a lot of work to do if they want to get off the bubble and into a bracket, and this one game could be the linchpin of the entire image rehab process. Seth Greenberg's team has made a fairly frequent habit of upsetting top-ranked ACC teams. The Washington Post has a nice recap article about the Hokies' recent battles with No. 1 teams that gives the lowdown. | Video Preview

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:00 pm

Villanova showing trends that felled it last year

Posted by Matt Norlander

You Villanova fans starting to feel unstable when standing up? Those flashbacks from 2010 coming all a bit too quickly for you?

Man, that was some brutal basketball from the Wildcats on their home floor tonight. And it was for the duration of the game, too. The final two minutes of playmaking (uh, the wrong term here, since no plays were in fact made) was akin to watching a dog sniff and dart about the backyard before conceding a place to squat.

Syracuse wins in Villanova’s house, 69-64. Everyone get out of the building as soon as possible to get the stench of you, and the includes the referees, who've forced me to bring up their ineptitude by crow-barring in some atrocious whistle-blowing amid an already brutal display of Big East basketball.

Syracuse didn’t do much better than Villanova, no; the fact the Orange never got beyond reaching distance despite the Wildcats' inept shooting — 32 percent from the field and 63 percent from the foul line — and staggered play (but only 12 Villanova turnovers, for the record) is an indictment on Jim Boeheim’s team as well.

But I’m not here to discuss the winning team.  

The trend lines are certainly there in Philadelphia, and it's likely to become a blooming topic of conversation in the press room at Wells Fargo Center tonight, and then into the rest of the week in the City of Brotherly Love. Remember, last season Villanova dropped five of its final seven in Big East play and six of its last nine overall. A lot of those losses weren’t close.The Wildcats should've gotten beat by Robert Morris in the 2-15 game, escaped, then were tossed aside by Saint Mary's in the second round.

This year’s showing the Wildcats on a wobbly pattern, losing six of their last 11 games. The difference this season is Villanova’s at least keeping it tight, no matter the result. If you watched the game, you heard this stat mentioned — six of the last seven Villanova games (now make that seven of the last eight) have been decided by five points or less. Five of the past eight have come down to the final possession. 

This team isn’t Final Four-good, obviously. The verdict on that was collectively learned somewhere into February; many doubted this team’s ceiling and legitimacy as a top-15 squad since November. Nevertheless, the gavel came down hard tonight on Jay Wright’s crew, which is a fine, plucky, aggressive Big East team. It's not going to be seen as dangerous, though. Not with this lack of leadership that's clearly ailed the crew all year long.

Villanova's got the potential to earn as a high as a four seed in The Tournament. But it's currently navigating itself to a number that’s not nearly as nice 20 nights from now (Selection Sunday).

The Wildcats have become a team that’s living and dying by the thinness of a thread in late-game situations. Which means it will ultimately end up getting killed, dramatically, in The Tournament, no matter the seed it’s playing.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Video: Syracuse at Villanova preview

Posted by Eric Angevine

Syracuse @ Villanova, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: Another tight-as-a-tick Big East race this year, and these two squads are right on top of each other in the standings. 'Nova holds the advantage, after they gave a clinic in shooting over the zone in the Carrier Dome earlier this season. Can they do it again at home? If so, they'll pull into third place alongside Georgetown at 10-5. If the 'Cuse has the road magic, they'll move to 10-6 and things will be that much muddier. Welcome to late February, eh?
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com