I looked at the team and opponent statistics to try to decipher how on Earth Duke and Missouri lost to their lightly regarded 15th seed opposition yesterday.
Well, Missouri got killed on the boards. But throughout the season Missouri was not a good rebounding team. That wasn’t their forte. Missouri relied very heavily on simply outshooting their opponent. Missouri normally shot +50% from the field, and allowed about 43.0% for their opponents. Now, that 43% didn’t represent a stingy defense. It was in line with what their opponents normally shot in their other games. Meaning, Missouri’s defense wasn’t that good. It was average. They were purely reliant on scoring efficiency. Yesterday, they ran into a Bobby Dandridge alma mater Norfolk State team that matched them shot-for-shot. In the immortal words of Carl Lewis (when he realized he forgot the words to the Star Spangled Banner)… “Uh-oh!”
When you add onto that Norfolk State’s decisive advantage on the boards, it was enough to send the Pressey boys packing way too early.
Duke is sort of similar, though Duke is a much better rebounding team. And Duke outrebounded their opponent yesterday. But Duke’s normal advantages come from behind the arc, where they usually shoot a much higher percentage than their opponent and at the foul line, where they average +6 more attempts than their opponents. Yesterday, Duke shot terribly from behind the arc (6-for-26) and partially because they were relying so much on outside bombs, their normal free throw advantage turned into an unbelievably lopsided disadvantage (37 attempts for Lehigh to just 23 for Duke). That’s it, that’s where the game was lost for Duke. They couldn’t get to the line, and they couldn’t knock down their 3s. And now… they gone!