2011 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 Surprises From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 Surprises

What happened to Duke, Wisconsin, BYU and S.D. State?

By Ryan Fowler - Whatifsports.com
March 25, 2011

The Whatifsports.com college basketball simulation engine donned the golden sombrero following Thursday night's slate of Sweet 16 games. It swung and missed on Duke, Wisconsin, BYU and San Diego State as its projected winners. But the 0-4 effort at the simulated dish was based on statistical trends that the Blue Devils, Badgers, Cougars and Aztecs failed to achieve or, in the most creative of ways, handed the game to their opponent.

By taking a deeper look at the box scores of last night's quartet on the court, Whatifsports.com has pinpointed some of these statistical anomalies that may not revive your bracket, but should allow for your significant other to have you removed from the padded room at the hospital.

ARIZONA - (23.1 percent chance to win)

Derrick Williams Arizona

If you ignore Derrick Williams' career-high 32 points, the Wildcats' 24-six scoring run in the second half and the 60 percent shooting from behind the arc (9-15, 3-pointers), Duke probably had a shot to beat Arizona Thursday night.

Arizona's 93-77 victory, were the most points allowed by Duke in the NCAA tournament since 1997. So, what in the Krzyzewskiville happened?

The simulation engine ratcheted up Duke's chances of reaching the Elite Eight (not to mention title game) following the return of Kyrie Irving. The freshman sensation played 31 minutes and scored 28 points against Arizona. But Coach K's decision may have affected the play of Nolan Smith who shot 3-14 from the floor and scored a measly eight points. It marked only the third time this season Smith played 30 or more minutes and scored less than 10 points. Smith's woeful shooting performance was trumped by his six turnovers, the second-most in a game this season.

BUTLER - (27.2 percent chance to win)

The Wisconsin Badgers shot over 44 percent from the floor this season. The Butler Bulldogs held Bo Ryan's crew to 30.4 percent (17-56 FG%) and 24.1 percent from deep (7-29, 3-pointers). The Badgers second-worst shooting performance of the season was only trumped by that memorable Big Ten Tournament barnburner against Penn State. Wisconsin's 33 points in 40 minutes on the court that night were the result of 29.4 percent shooting from the floor.

Whatever game plan Brad Stevens prepared for Wisconsin post player Jon Leuer, it worked. The senior had his worst game of the season (3 points, 1-12 FG) well off his season average of 18.3 points per game and 47 percent shooting.

Jimmer Fredette

FLORIDA - (39.4 percent chance to win)

He may have pumped his fist as the clock struck zero, but the last thing Jimmer Fredette needed was five more minutes of basketball. Sure, he dropped 32 points on Florida, but it took 29 shots and he only connected on 11 (3-15, 3-pointers). To put that in perspective, the other four BYU starters combined for 10-30 shooting. Jimmer's legs were mush and couldn't carry the team liked he had in the previous two wins and regular season.

Florida's balance on offense was evident with four starters scoring in double figures with fifth starter, Vernon Macklin, finishing with nine points.


UCONN - (48.6 percent chance to win)

Kemba Walker

The first technical on San Diego State didn't hurt, the second one stung like hell.

When Kawhi Leonard chirped a little too much in the direction of the referee early in the first half, the sophomore was forced to the bench with two personal fouls and the Aztecs leading 6-5. Seven minutes later, Leonard returned to the floor and immediately sparked the offense with a dunk.

San Diego State outscored Connecticut 9-5 over the next three minutes and then forced the Huskies to turn the ball over. With a chance to take a seven point lead, an out of control D.J. Gay gave the ball right back to UConn. From that moment, the Huskies would finish the half on a 19-5 run and enjoyed a nine-point lead at the break.

The Aztecs spent the first seven minutes of the second half clawing their way back and took the lead on two free throws from Gay. About four minutes later, a Billy White layup would give San Diego State a four point lead, 53-49. During the ensuing timeout, Jamaal Franklin bumped into Kemba Walker and dropped him to the floor. Technical foul number two was called. This would lead to a 16-3 UConn run including 12 straight points by Kemba Walker.

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Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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