College Basketball Daily Feast: Syracuse Over Villanova, Kansas Wins Shorthanded

Team RankingsContributor IFebruary 22, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 17:  Scoop Jardine #11 of the Syracuse Orange drives to the basket as Gilbert Brown #5 of the Pittsburgh Panthers defends at Petersen Events Center on January 17, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Welcome to the Daily Feast, where every weekday we stuff your head with the tastiest data-driven insights on college hoops.

Coffee & Cooler Talk: News And Results From Yesterday

Syracuse won at Villanova, 69-64, despite coming into the game as 3.5-point underdogs. The Orange, now half a game ahead of Villanova in the Big East standings, have been great on the road this season. As seen on the team's power ratings detail page, they're No. 7 in the away power ratings, and actually have a negative home field advantage to this point.

After Syracuse's win, Jim Boeheim went off in his press conference, attacking the ideas that close wins and a tough non-conference schedule are keys to evaluating and preparing a team for battle. His team has an 0.857 winning percentage in close games, so he may be trying to knock them down a peg, and prevent any heads from over-inflating.

The starting point guard for Kansas, Tyshawn Taylor, has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. Given comments by Taylor and Bill Self on Monday, the suspension is likely to last only a few games. Despite his large role in the team's offense (he leads the squad in assists and minutes per game), the Jayhawks didn't seem to miss Taylor yesterday, handling Oklahoma State at home, 92-65.

Wisconsin-Green Bay, 1-point underdogs at home, knocked off Valparaiso in overtime, 81-80. The win knocks Valparaiso out of a share of the Horizon League lead, which has a huge impact on their chance of winning the conference tournament, because the top seed gets a bye all the way to the semifinals.

Central Florida pulled an upset on the road, defeating 7.5-point favorite UTEP, 74-68. The loss drops UTEP out of first place in Conference USA and into a three-way tie for third. Check out how the change in the standings affects the C-USA tournament simulation, where UTEP is now listed with a 17% chance to win the title.

Lunchtime Reading: Interesting Posts From Around The Blogosphere

John Ezekowitz of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (and contributor) commits tempo-free blasphemy in calling for free throws made per 100 possessions (FTM/Poss) to replace free throw rate (FTR) in the Four Factors pantheon. We're giving him a helping hand by adding FTM/Poss to our team stats section.

Vegas Watch follows up on a recent post by applying his new NCAA tournament seeding approach to the entire top half of Joe Lunardi's recent bracket. If you like his method, you might be interested in the TeamRankings wins power ratings, which use a similar method: a team's rating is calculated by reducing the difference between their actual winning percentage and their rating-based expected winning percentage.

Dinner and a Game: Notes On Tonight’s Hottest Games

No. 24 Illinois at No. 2 Ohio State Ohio State should have a relatively easy time righting their ship, as they are currently favored by 10.

No. 44 Michigan St at No. 34 Minnesota If Minnesota holds serve at home (they are favored by 3), and Ohio State beats Illinois, there will be a 5-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten, with all five teams sitting at 7-8. That's right, barring an upset, all but three Big Ten teams will have losing conference records.

No. 53 Tennessee at No. 23 Vanderbilt According to a possession-based simulation, this should be a fast game, with a lot of three point shots. Should be fun for fans of up-and-down affairs.

No. 26 Louisville at No. 72 Rutgers Louisville has lost five of six on the road but is clearly the better team, and are favored by 4.

No. 92 Iowa State at No. 3 Texas Texas should have no trouble bouncing back from their loss at Nebraska, as they host an Iowa State team that has only one Big 12 win.