March 17, 2017

The Dance begins in Kansas

Here is how the teams that will play rounds 1 and 2 in Manhattan, Kansas match up statistically:

Stanford New Mexico State Kansas State Drake
Points per game 72.1 69.3 68.1 83.1
Scoring margin +16.1 +10.7 5.6 +18.8
Field goal % .448 ..421 .420 .488
3-pointers per game 6.0 6.4 5.8 8.4
3-point % .352 .347 .333 .365
Free throw % .687 .706 .680 .742
Rebounds per game 41.5 39.3 37.5 30.9
Rebounding margin +7.7 +3.7 +1.8 +4.9
Assists per game 14.9 14.0 14.6 21.8
Turnovers per game 13.8 15.2 14.8 15.5
Assist/turnover ratio 1.08 0.92 0.98 1.40
Steals per game 7.2 9.3 8.2 11.4
Blocks per game 5.5 3.9 4.3 3.4
Overall record 28-5 23-7 22-10 28-4
Conference record 15-3 14-0 11-7 18-0
RPI 6 137 24 26
Schedule strength 8 331 30 81

FiveThirtyEight gives Stanford a 97% chance of defeating New Mexico State and Kansas State a 77% chance of defeating Drake. The chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 is 70% for Stanford and 26% for Kansas State.

  New Mexico State Aggies

The Aggies play in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). They earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning their third straight tournament championship. The three-peat has only been accomplished one other time in WAC history (Louisiana Tech, 2002-2004).

The Aggies were also the WAC regular season champion for the first time with a perfect 14-0 record.

The Aggies are led by a coach familiar to Pac-12 fans ‐ Mark Trakh — who coached the USC Trojans from 2004-09 (between Chris Gobrecht and Michael Cooper). Trakh has been the head coach at New Mexico State since 2011. He was named the WAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.

The Aggie offense is led by three double-digit sharp-shooters:

  • Senior guard Moriah Mack, who was the WAC Player of the Year, averages 13.5 ppg and takes about 23% of her shots from beyond the arc.
  • Sophomore guard Brooke Salas averages 13.1 ppg and takes 38% of her shots from beyond the arc. She is also the leading rebounder with 6.6 rpg.
  • Senior guard Tamera William averages 10.9 ppg and takes 39% of her shots from beyond the arc.
They're all looking forward to their game against Stanford. Mack says, “We know what to expect. I think we’re going to go out and play hard. We feel great. I think we’re playing really good right now and we’re just excited to even be here.”

Here are New Mexico State's season statistics and roster

  Kansas State Wildcats

The Kansas State Wildcats earned their second consecutive at-large bid to the Big Dance by placing fourth in the tough Big-12 Conference behind Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma.

What brought the Wildcats to a jumping joy, quite literally, was when their name popped up as a seven seed to play at home in Manhattan.

Senior guard Kindred Wesemann said, "It means so much more. You thought Senior Night was the last time you got to play in Bramlage and the fact that it wasn’t makes this that much sweeter. We’ll get to play in front of our fans a few more times, hopefully, and we’ll just leave it all on the court.”

The Wildcats can expect a good turnout for their games against Drake and then, most likely, Stanford. Their average home attendance in 12,500-seat Bramlage Coliseum this season was 5,280.

The Wildcats are led by Jeff Mittle, now in his third season at Kansas State.

Senior guard Kindred Wesemann is the Wildcats' leading scorer with an average of 16.0 ppg. She takes about two-thirds of her shots from beyond the arc and makes 35% of them.

6'5" senior center Breanna Lewis does all her scoring in the paint , where she makes 55.7% of her shots for a total of 13.7 ppg. She is also the leading rebounder(8.3 rpg) and shot-blocker (1.8 bpg).

Here are Kansas State's season statistics, roster and game notes.

  Drake Bulldogs

Drake University, which is in Des Moines Iowa, plays in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). The Bulldogs won an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the MVC Tournament. The Bulldogs were also the MVC regular season champion with a perfect 18-0 record, which is a first-ever in the conference. Graham Hays ranked them tops in the mid-majors.

The Bulldogs are led by fifth-year head coach Jennie Baranczyk

The Bulldogs are one of the most unselfish, as TV commentators like to say, teams in the country. They rank second in the nation (to UConn) in assists with 21.8 per game.

Senior guard Caitlin Ingle dishes a third of them — 7.7 per game, which is second best nationwide. She also scores 10.4 points per game herself at a rate of 49%.

Senior forward Lizzy Wendell is the major recipient. She has made 260 field goals this season, which is fourth best nationwide. She makes 50% of her shots and averages 21.1 points per game.

The Bulldogs have two other double-digit sharp-shooters — freshman guard Becca Hittner (12.4 ppg, 54%) and sophomore guard Sammie Bachrodt (10.3 ppg, 48%)

Here are Drake's season statistics, roster and game notes.

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