March 25, 2015

Oklahoma City Regional preview

Graham Hayes (espnW) had this to say yesterday about the Oklahoma City Regional:
It's the only region in which all four programs have been to a Final Four, although Iowa is sort of the odd one out there with its solitary trip back when C. Vivian Stringer was in Iowa City. The other three teams have been regular visitors to the Final Four over the past decade, but at least two of them are going to have to do without this year.

The game a lot of people will hope to see is Baylor and Notre Dame, a rematch of last season's regional final in South Bend, Indiana, in which Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was none too pleased about some of the calls (then again, that might be most games) and in which Notre Dame remained unbeaten but lost Natalie Achonwa for the remainder of the postseason. Any chance to see first-team All-Americans Jewell Loyd and Nina Davis on the same court would be a good thing. But don't discount Iowa, which could offer the potential for a first-to-90-wins game should it meet the Fighting Irish with NCAA triple-double leader Sam Logic playing in the building usually home to Russell Westbrook.

The wild card in the quartet is Stanford, which this month alone lost to Oregon, won the Pac-12 tournament, struggled at home in the first round against Cal State Northridge and scored 85 points in a second-round win against Oklahoma, its best production in regulation since beating hapless UC Santa Barbara nearly three months ago. And, of course, Stanford pulled its ultimate Jekyll (or would that be Hyde?) when it beat Connecticut early this season.

Hayes has an in-depth analysis of the region today: Oklahoma City breakdown

Here's more about the four contenders:

Breaking down the Oklahoma City regional by Kyle Frederickson (The Oklahoman)

Lady Bears would face seasoned Elite 8 opponents in Notre Dame, Stanford by Jason Orts (Waco Tribune)

Iowa women must contain Baylor's beasts on the boards by Ryan Murken (Des Moines Register)

Iowa women's basketball team ready for Baylor by Luke Meredith (Associated Press)

Hawkeyes feeling Sweet, but wanting more against Baylor by Steve Batterson (Muscatine Journal)

ND women gear up to take on tough Stanford team on Friday by Jim Johnston (WNDU, South Bend)

This is how the Oklahoma City Regional teams match up statistically:

Stanford Notre Dame Baylor Iowa
Points per game 69.5 81.1 79.8 79.9
Scoring margin +9.6 +21.8 +21.5 +7.5
Field goal % 0.438 0.499 0.481 0.458
3-pointers per game 6.7 4.9 3.3 8.1
3-point % 0.379 0.379 0.341 0.397
Free throw % 0.720 0.742 0.699 0.728
Rebounds per game 38.5 41.5 44.8 36.5
Rebounding margin +2.5 +8.9 +12.1 -4.4
Assists per game 10.3 18.3 20.9 18.2
Turnovers per game 12.4 15.1 13.8 13.6
Assist/turnover ratio 0.83 1.2 1.5 1.3
Steals per game 5.9 9.4 8.1 7.3
Blocks per game 4.6 5.0 5.9 4.4
Win-loss record 26-9 33-2 32-3 26-7
RPI 18 1 4 9
Schedule strength 14 3 11 12

FiveThirtyEight give Notre Dame an 86% chance of defeating Stanford and Baylor an 82% chance of defeating Iowa.

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