Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bits and Bytes: Number-crunching the tournament

"This one goes out to the dumbass who skipped the ECC tournament to see me perform here tonight!"

Meant to have this collection of fun and funky stats from the weekend up earlier, but Operation Catch Up On Sleep took precedence. So belated congrats to Old Dominion, a worthy CAA champion, and thanks to the Monarchs and William & Mary for allowing me to watch the CAA championship game without wishing horrible, vengeful stuff on one of the finalists for the first time in three years!

—The Flying Dutchmen’s 74-71 double overtime loss to Northeastern was the program’s first double overtime conference tournament game in exactly 16 years. The Dutchmen beat Northeastern Illinois, 88-86, in double overtime in the East Coast Conference championship game March 6, 1994. Meanwhile, eight hours to the south, yours truly prepared to see this guy in concert at Madison Square Garden. Idiot! That said, I’ll fight anyone who doesn’t think that is one of the five best songs ever. EVER!!!

—The 74 field goal attempts by the Dutchmen were a season-high (the previous high was 73 against UConn in the preseason NIT Nov. 17) and the most since Dec. 20, 2008, when the Dutchmen hoisted 85 shots in a 97-81 loss to UMass. The last time the Dutchmen took as many shots in a conference game was Jan. 21, 2006 against—irony that is actually coincidence alert!—Northeastern, when the Dutchmen had 76 attempts in an 89-73 loss. The Dutchmen took 73 shots in the rematch, an 89-78 win Feb. 11.

—Five of the 11 CAA Tournament games were decided by five points or less and/or in overtime, the most since the league expanded to 12 teams in 2005-06. The last time at least half of the CAA Tournament games were decided by five points or less and/or in overtime was 2001 (three of six games). The last time it happened when the CAA had more than six teams participating in the tournament was 1994 (four of seven games).

—The Dutchmen were the fifth team to win a Friday first round game by three points or less in the 12-team era—and the fourth to lose on Saturday. Only the 2008 William & Mary Cinderella squad—which beat Georgia State 58-57 in the first round, Old Dominion 63-60 in the quarterfinals and VCU 56-54 in the semifinals before finally falling to George Mason in the title game—advanced beyond the quarterfinals.

—Key to winning the conference title next season for the Dutchmen: Earn a no. 1 or no. 2 seed. Old Dominion’s victory last night marks the 15th time in the last 16 seasons—since Hofstra’s first year in the North Atlantic Conference in 1994-95—that a team seeded first or second has won the automatic bid in the conference in which Hofstra plays. The only exception was Mason, a no. 3 seed in 2008.

—In addition, the top seeds have remained incredibly fortuitous in the America East, where a one or two seed has won the title every year since Hofstra, Delaware, Drexel and Towson left following the 2000-01 season. Boston University will attempt to become the lowest seed ever to win it all when the fourth-seeded Terriers visit second-seeded Vermont Saturday.

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