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Can OSU make it to the Final Four



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

In Part 1, I looked at NCAA seeding.

In Part 2, I looked at what it takes to advance in the tournament.

In Part 3, I’ll try to predict how far OSU will advance in the tournament.

I had fun with this part. There are lots of ways to approach this, and I’ll just be upfront with you — none of them really matter.

Trying to predict how far a team will advance in the NCAA tournament is a fool’s errand. The beauty of single elimination March Madness is that you never know what crazy things can happen. In 2003, a solid-but-not-great OSU team had Syracuse down by 17 at one point in a 2nd-round game. It wasn’t Carmelo that led the Orangemen roaring back to a win, but everyone remembers his performances in the rest of Cuse’s games as he played his way to a national championship and a #3 overall draft pick.

Here’s how I attacked this question. Out of the group of 266 NCAA tournament teams over the last four seasons, I found the 25 teams most similar to OSU in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and Pomeroy rating #. These teams have a very similar makeup to OSU’s team: good-to-great defense, average-to-good offense, and a relatively high overall Pomeroy rating.

Here’s the list. The team listed first (after OSU) is the most similar to our current team:

I was kind of thrilled with these results. Look at the top 5 most similar teams to OSU. Sure, Temple lost in the 1st round in 2010. But the other four teams advanced at least to the Sweet 16. Tennessee made the Elite 8 in 2010 (and was a bucket away from the Final Four). Butler was a few inches away from winning the whole thing.

Out of this group of 25 teams similar to OSU, here’s where the teams were eliminated:

Eight out of the 25 teams made it at least to the Sweet 16, so that tells us we’ve basically got a 1-in-3 chance of advancing that far.

As I showed you in Part 2, we don’t quite fit the profile of a Sweet 16 or a Final 4 team — while our defense is outstanding, the offense might just not be good enough to take us the distance. However, this analysis shows that a team with our makeup is very capable of making a run. We certainly have the guard play to do it.

One more thing…I’m happy to play with formulas in Excel all day long, but does anyone really want to wager against Marcus Smart?

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