Sprung: A Statistical Look Inside The 2014 Sweet 16

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ncaaAs it often does, the NCAA Tournament provided a wild first weekend.

Mercer saved Warren Buffett $1 billion, Dayton won the state of Ohio and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years, Stanford sent Andrew Wiggins and Kansas packing, and the young Kentucky Wildcats ended Wichita State’s dream season.

So out of the 32 second and third-round games won by the 16 teams still in contention for the national championship, what statistical trends and insights can we gain from looking back at what the successful teams did to reach this point?

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Kotoch: Withdrawals Strengthen 2014 NBA Draft

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draftlogoThe deadline to enter the 2013 NBA Draft was Sunday, and we now know this much — the 2013 draft will be OK at best.

The 2014 draft? It’ll be one for the ages.

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Tweet of the Day: Shane Battier (via Tom Haberstroh)

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Mark Cuban made headlines Tuesday when he said that he’d be willing to give Baylor Lady Bears’ star Brittney Griner a shot if she were the best available talent in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

Since then, there has been a steady stream of both opposition and optimism that a woman might one day be drafted into the NBA.

ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh spoke with Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier about it.

Shane Battier was asked if a female trying out would be a sideshow. “Listen, this whole thing is a sideshow. What’s one more trailer?"
@tomhaberstroh
Tom Haberstroh
Shane Battier predicts a woman will play in the NBA in his lifetime ... " a female LeBron." http://t.co/CJbfxVji5d
@tomhaberstroh
Tom Haberstroh

In context, Battier did not give any direct prediction with regards to Griner’s ability to make it in the NBA. He only weighed in on a woman’s ability to play with men in the big picture.

 ”There’s no doubt that in our lifetime, there will be a woman NBA player. I don’t know if it’s Griner or if it’s someone who is 5 years old right now, but we’ll see it. It’ll happen in our lifetime. Just the law of averages.

“…I don’t think it would be out of the realm of possibility that [one day] we’ll see a female LeBron. You could be the most skilled player in the world that the women’s game has ever seen, but that won’t cut it in the NBA. She’d have to be a physical specimen.”

Much of the criticism that has been levied against Griner has been that, at 6’8″ and only 208-pounds, she would be undersized for a low-post player—where her basketball acumen and skill set lie. While no one will truly know if she’d be able to handle post-play against bigger, taller male athletes until she actually tries out for an NBA roster, it seems fair to assume that the critics may be right.

At the NBA level, most 6’8″ players are generally athletic small forwards with some niche skills—whether it be three-point shooting, dribble-drive penetration or both.

The women’s college player who is overlooked by most pundits when it comes to this debate is Delaware Blue Hens star forward Elena Delle Donne.

While she may not satisfy the athletic requirements of a Lebron-esque specimen, as suggested by Battier, Delle Donne has the necessary skills to potentially succeed as a legitimate role player in the NBA.

At 6’6″ she has adequate height and size for an NBA 2-guard. She also has the skills.

She can play inside-0ut, she rebounds well, knows how to post up and—best of all—she can shoot the ball from distance (a career 41-percent three-point shooter). Additionally, should she benefit from the referee’s whistles, she is a 91-percent free-throw shooter.

Hopefully, should someone be willing to give Griner a look in the draft, they will be sensible enough to do the same for Delle Donne.

 

Previous Tweet Posts:

Tweet of the Night: Metta World Peace

Tweet of the Day: Jason Richardson

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Michael Brumagin is the “Tweet of the Day” columnist for Sheridan Hoops.  You can follow him on Twitter.

2013 NBA Draft: Top Centers

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Just four days ago, the 2013 NBA draft was turned upside down when Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel suffered a devastating knee injury.

Over the past month, Noel has separated himself from the pack to be projected as the top pick in June’s draft. Instantly, Twitter blew up with reaction from fans and journalists ranging from the injury to the gruesome images to his draft stock.

In the days following it was revealed that Noel suffered a torn ACL and is expected to have surgery in the next few weeks. He should be recovered in six to eight months.

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Kentucky-Duke preview, and NCAA stud watch update

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In an extremely loaded four-team preseason tournament, the Legends Classic in Atlanta tonight will place No. 7 Kansas against No. 14 Michigan State on one side of the bracket while the defending national champion No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats will face the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils.

Although Kentucky escaped its matchup with the Maryland Terrapins on Friday at the Barclays Center, it’s clear that this Kentucky team is a work in progress and will try to find itself as the season progresses.

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