Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just The Facts 2011: Trying to beat a team three times in a season

The final scene here from His Story III is the best Janitor moment ever.

Happy Saturday from the palatial Hilton Garden Inn in Richmond (Loyal Reader NUHF hooked us up with this room, it is awesome beyond words and so is he) and welcome to an unprecedented fourth installment of Just The Facts, in which I actually use a clip from a third installment in a series for reasons that will be obvious in the very next graph!

The Flying Dutchmen will face William & Mary—i.e. the College of Bill Lawrence—for the third time this season when the two schools face off in the final quarterfinal tonight at 8:30. William & Mary, the 11th seed in the CAA Tournament, advanced to the quarters by upsetting sixth-seeded James Madison 72-68 last night.

The Dutchmen’s third meeting against William & Mary is a, pardon the horrendous pun but I’m fried after driving seven hours, slam dunk for the Just The Facts treatment. The Dutchmen beat the Fighting Bill Lawrences twice during the regular season—the second win, of course, was highlighted by Charles Jenkins’ multiple YouTube moments—and the common belief is that it is particularly tough to defeat a team three times in one season.

Good news for the Dutchmen, though: School and CAA history is on their side.

Hofstra has swept an opponent in the regular season and then played it in the conference tournament eight times. The Flying Dutchmen are 6-2 (.750) in those tournament games (whoohoo!), but 6-0 since 1991. (Oh no! They’re due!)

P.S. The previous paragraph was almost entirely and shamelessly cut-and-pasted from what I wrote in 2009, when I conducted most of this research for a piece that appeared two years ago yesterday as the Dutchmen prepared to open play in the CAA Tournament against UNC Wilmington, whom the Dutchmen knocked off twice in the regular season. If only I was this organized in every other facet of my life.

That said, the Dutchmen have never faced for a third time a team they beat as narrowly as this year’s edition beat William & Mary. The Dutchmen won each game by three points. More good news, hooray! The other three times the Dutchmen have faced a team they beat twice by a combined margin of less than 20 points, they have won the tournament game by double digits.

Here’s a list of how the Flying Dutchmen have fared when facing in a conference tournament an opponent they have beaten twice during the regular season, followed by their combined margin of victory in the regular season and their margin of victory (or defeat) in the tournament tilt:

2005: Beat UNC Wilmington, CAA
2001: Beat Vermont, America East
2001: Beat Maine, America East
2000: Beat Boston U., America East
2000: Beat Drexel, America East
1992: Beat UMBC, East Coast Conference
1991: Lost to UMBC, East Coast Conference
1984: Lost to Lafayette, East Coast Conference

Margins of regular season victory
2008-09 UNCW: 9 pts (1 OT), win tourney game by 13
2000-01 Vermont: 18, win tourney game by 13
2000-01 Maine: 11 (1 OT), win tourney game by 12
1999-2000 Boston U.: 43, win tourney game by 18
1999-2000 Drexel: 32, win tourney game by 18
1991-92 UMBC: 27, win tourney game by 3
1990-91 UMBC: 25, lose tourney game by 1
1983-84 Lafayette: 11, lose tourney game by 20

In the CAA, meanwhile, a team that has won two regular season meetings has also experienced great success when meeting that foe for a third time in the conference tournament. Since the CAA first expanded prior to the 2001-02 season, teams that sweep an opponent during the regular season are a robust 28-11 (.718) against said opponent in the tournament (see the full list below), including 8-2 in the last three seasons (counting yesterday’s wins by Delaware over Northeastern and Drexel over Towson). In addition, at least one team has beaten an opponent three times every since since 2001-02 except 2007-08.

2011: Drexel beats Towson, Delaware beats Northeastern
2010: Drexel loses to JMU, ODU beats W&M, ODU beats Towson
2009: Hofstra beats UNCW, VCU beats Georgia State, JMU beats W&M, Drexel loses to Towson, Mason beats Towson
2008: VCU loses to W&M, UNCW loses to Mason
2007: VCU beats Georgia State, VCU beats Mason, Mason beats JMU, ODU loses to Mason, Drexel beats Northeastern, Northeastern beats Delaware, W&M loses to Georgia State
2006: VCU beats W&M, Northeastern beats JMU, Towson loses to Georgia State, UNCW beats Delaware
2005: VCU beats Delaware, ODU beats W&M, Drexel loses to Hofstra
2004: VCU beats Towson, VCU beats ODU, Mason beats UNCW, UNCW beats JMU
2003: Mason loses to Delaware, UNCW beats Hofstra, UNCW beats Drexel, UNCW beats Delaware, JMU beats Towson
2002: VCU beats ODU, Mason loses to Hofstra, W&M loses to JMU, UNCW beats JMU

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