I was looking at offensive/defensive efficiencies today. A lot of this reinforces what we already know, but figured I'd post them because there's some really interesting trends:
FIRST TIME AROUND
SECOND TIME AROUND
1) Wichita State, as we all know, is on an absolute roll. No question they have to be the favorites to win Arch Madness* and continue that momentum into a deep NCAA tournament run. They've continued to improve on both ends of the floor throughout the season.
2) This clearly reinforces Creighton's problems, which has been an inability to stop other teams. CU was the worst team in the MVC from a defensive efficiency standpoint the second time around. That's a pretty big achilles heel. I think a lot of that is because MVC teams know each other so well. While that spells trouble for them in STL, I think a team that hasn't seen them several times in the NCAA tournament might not fare as well.
3) Don't look now, but Indiana State has been playing some basketball as of late. They improved significantly on the defensive side of the ball and also on offense (probably as Odum gets more healthy). If Wichita State wasn't playing so damn well, I'd almost start the "A #8 seed is going to do it this year!" bandwagon. That said, they have to be one of the best #8 seeds of all time.
4) Drake, Evansville, and Illinois State had problems the second time around. I think you can point to some combination of Ben Simons' injury/Coach Phelps' ineptitude as the two reasons for Drake. I'm surprised Evansville had such a drop. I'm not sure what the reason is for this, but it's notable that other teams struggled as much as Drake the second time through.
5) Surprisingly, the average points per 100 possessions went from 104.9 the first time around to 102.8 the second time around. Apparently, defenses made the adjustment. Both still imply more offense than we've seen in this conference traditionally.
*That is until the Bulldogs totally run the table and beat them on Sunday.