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Scouting Murray St. - Schedule Breakdown

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I'm breaking down the traditional periscope post into multiple entries. First up, Schedule Breakdown.

 

In looking at who each team has played, it's easy to see how ludicrous the "upset lock" truly is. Murray State has played virtually nobody of consequence, at least according to Ken Pomeroy. Vanderbilt will be the second best offensive team that Murray State will have played this year, behind Cal. Vanderbilt will also be the toughest defensive team that Murray State will have played this year, which really illustrates the fact that Murray St. has played some awful teams. By the averages, Murray State has played teams that only score .984 points per possession (Vanderbilt scores 1.14 ppp) and give up 1.048 points per possession (Vandy gives up 0.941). Hands down, Vanderbilt will be the best team they've faced all season. The only opponent that closely resembles Vanderbilt (at least in terms of offensive and defensive efficiencies) is Cal, a team to whom they lost back in November. You know the Racers are battle tested with that 289th ranked SOS. Oh wait. Morehead St. was the second best team Murray St. has played all season. Read that again. Murray St. also enjoyed 7 games against teams ranked 300+ by Kenpom, and 15 games against teams ranked 200-299. In all, they played 4 games against teams in the top 100, 3 of which were Morehead St. (the other, again, Cal). There's a reason why coaches want to play tough schedules: it helps them prepare their teams for the tough opponents they will face in the NCAA Tournament. Now, that's not to say that Murray St. didn't want to schedule more difficult teams than they did (complaints about midmajor scheduling difficulties are not lost on me, though it's neither the time or the place for that discussion now). Unfortunately, they played a weak schedule, and it will be difficult for them to be fully prepared for the matchup against the Commodores (though certainly not impossible).

Vanderbilt on the other hand has faced many teams of equal strength or better. According to Kenpom, Murray St. will be the 15th best offensive team and the 9th best defensive team that the Commodores will have played this season. Above average but hardly "better than every other team they've played this season" as was the case with Murray St.

Bottom line: it's a shame that none of these prognosticators have salaries based on how accurate they are at filling in their bracket. There's a reason why Vanderbilt opened at -4.5 on a neutral floor.

Schedule Breakdown Advantage - Vanderbilt by a wide margin.

Next up: Statistical Breakdown of the rosters