Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Colorado, Round Two

Tomorrow night, Arizona will play their first rematch of the season. In Boulder, Colorado, the Cats will face a team looking for payback after Sabatino Chen's last second shot was waived off at McKale.  The crowd is going to be raucous and should give the Buffs a stronger than usual home court advantage.  On top of that, the stats point to a much more even match up than the first time around

If you follow that link and compare Arizona's stats for the first time they faced Colorado, you will see some troubling things.  The Cats are not showing many signs of improvement.  Shooting percentages are down across the board, and so is offensive efficiency.  The defense has gotten worse.  Contributions from the bench have declined dramatically, and rebounding is down.  The only good sign is that turnovers have declined marginally.

The net effect of this is that now the Cats and Buffs appear more evenly matched than before.  Perhaps this means that earlier in the season, the sample size was insufficient and gave the Cats more of an edge than they actually had.  Maybe this decline is the product of playing a lot of difficult games in conference.  Whatever it is, it's hardly something to feel good about.  So when I take my seat tomorrow night at the game, I am not expecting an easy win.

The simulation says this one is more or less a coin toss.  I simulated 30,000 games, and the Cats won 15,169 of them, or 52% (13,981 L's and 850 OT's).  The most likely score is 67-66, although it's actually closer than that.  The computer says the Cats are 0.7 point favorites (66.8-66.1).  I was there last year, when Arizona, who led for most of the game, lost in the end.  This year, I hope my luck changes.  Certainly, the Cats are in need of some good luck.  The Bears put up nearly 80 points against us, a relatively unlikely event according to last week's simulation.  It would be nice to see the Cats on the right side of the scoring distribution this week, and ideally way out in the tail.  There is a 26.8% chance that we win by 10 or more. That sounds good to me, much better than dropping two straight.

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