Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 12/31/15

  • December 31, 2015

No content other than the daily free play for the next couple of days. The usual format will return on Saturday.

But there will be the daily free play, as always. I’ll likely have a New Year’s Day Bowl game on Friday. Meanwhile, here’s one for Thursday evening in college basketball.

535 PORTLAND  @  536 SAN FRANCISCO

Take: PORTLAND -2

Let’s take a look at some numbers as the Pilots and Dons get their respective WCC campaigns underway.

One of the stats I like to look at is turnovers. That’s simple enough, as the idea of garnering extra possessions is always nice, and especially so when the game is between two relatively even squads in terms of overall power rankings. In this game, those turnover numbers definitely point to Portland.

It’s not that the Pilots are the nuts when it comes to ball security, but they’re sure better than San Francisco is. The Dons have won the turnover battle only once in 12 games, and that was against lowly Delaware State. USF is not good at either end of the court in this aspect, as they don’t take good care of the ball, nor do they force many mistakes.

Portland also has the better overall efficiency numbers on both offense and defense, so that’s a clean sweep for the Pilots, which doesn’t really happen all that often in games lined this closely. Just to illustrate, the other 4-0 entries on Thursday are NC Wilmington, Wichita State and Creighton and all three are substantial favorites.

Portland is a team that is very reliant on the three-ball, as they shoot it pretty well and the Dins have been vulnerable to good outside shooting teams. One thing that does worry me is the less than stellar Portland foul shooting. But the Pilots have been doing better lately from the stripe, which is encouraging.

For me, this is really about the matchup as far as key categories are concerned. Portland has the right combination of check marks on their side, so I’ll be on the Pilots side tonight.

Happy New Year!