NCAA Tournament: Using HOOPWAR to Compare Michigan and Ohio

The performance of the OHIO bench could be a major factor in pulling off the upset against Michigan.

By some accounts, OHIO got very lucky with their draw in the NCAA Tournament. OK, that would be my account, and Matt's somewhat endorsement of the upset pick.

The point is that the Bobcats could have been paired with a number of No. 4 seeds with a strong front line, a team that would dominate them defensively and offensively near the glass. Ohio was able to stand up against Akron, who has a very good front line, but if the Bobcats had drawn say Wisconsin, we aren't even thinking upset today.

Michigan is guard heavy in makeup, which makes it that much easier to dream on a third round appearance for the Bobcats.

We take a longer look inside the numbers after the jump.

I took the Wolverines and ran them through my new favorite toy, the HOOPWAR formula. (For a refresher on the HOOPWAR formula and how it works, you can take a look at how Anthony Davis' numbers are calculated here.)

No surprise, Michigan is led by Big Ten Freshman of the Year Trey Burke, who averaged 14.8 points per game, while running the offense, and dishing 151 assists.

Based on playing time and likely starters, here is how the Michigan team calculates out:

Trey Burke, Fr., G: 5.2 HOOPWAR
Tim Hardaway, So., G: 2.8
Zack Novak, Sr., G: -0.3
Stu Douglass, Sr., G: -1.0
Jordan Morgan, So., F: -0.5
Bench: Evan Smotrycz, So., F: 1.3; Jon Horford (injured), So., F: 0.6; Matt Vogrich, Jr., G: -1.0.

Burke is definitely the player that Ohio will need to key on. If the Bobcats can limit him, using their skill at causing turnovers, things get much easier. The bench is almost a non-issue, Smotrycz could be subbed into the starting lineup for Douglass to give the Wolverines an edge inside, although that leaves the Wolverines with basically no one to turn to.

Horford hasn't played in the last 21 games, but was set to be a major contributor off the bench given his numbers in just nine contests. Michigan doesn't have another bench player after him that made a positive contribution. Vogrich, for all the playing time he gets, isn't the impact player that he could be. He does have the tendency to hit some big shots, but overall, he isn't someone Ohio needs to really concentrate on.

Compare the Wolverines with the updated Ohio stats and things look even better. Notice the big gain (from 6 to 9 HOOPWAR for D.J. Cooper, showing how influential he was in the outcome of the MAC Tournament).

D.J. Cooper, Jr., G: 9.3 HOOPWAR
Walter Offutt, Jr., G: 1.4
Ivo Baltic, Jr., F: -0.4
Nick Kellogg, So., G: -1.8
Jon Smith, So., F: -0.8
Bench: Reggie Keely, Jr., F: 0.5; Ricardo Johnson, So., G: -0.8 ; Stevie Taylor, Fr., G: 0.2

In terms of starters, the Bobcats match up quite well, assuming that Cooper isn't tied up in some defensive scheme like a box and one by the Wolverines. Offutt has the ability to generate his own offense, and Baltic isn't a total slouch defensively, even though his offensive numbers drag a bit.

Keely provides that spark off the bench, as he did in the MAC Championship, and Taylor can eat up minutes without being the drain that it appears Vogrich is for Michigan.

In total, Michigan has a slightly better team from top to bottom (6.2 total to 5.6 total) but based on the numbers, Ohio can match up well with the Wolverines when you go just eight deep.

In my other computer system, Ohio is definitely favored, based on the total team performance this year.

So if you are looking for that attractive upset pick sometime in the next few days, why not take the Bobcats?

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