2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: Dayton Flyers vs. Stanford Cardinal - Value Edge to Stanford in Close Game

Mike Lawrie

Dayton and Stanford both used a lot of magic to get to the Sweet 16, but it is ready to run out for one of the two. Based on the numbers, one squad looks to have a slight edge Thursday night.

We haven't used HOOPWAR in a while to analyze teams, and I thought it would be an interesting experiment with Dayton and Stanford playing tonight. The two teams both pulled major upsets -- the Flyers twice -- in working their way to the Sweet 16.

So what do we know about the two teams based on their performance this season?

Based on looking at the numbers, neither Dayton nor Stanford should be here, but we already knew that. That doesn't mean that these two teams aren't good, just that when you look at the value numbers, you will see that there are definitely some holes.

Pos.* Dayton Flyers HW30 Stanford Cardinal HW30
PG Khari Price -1.76 Chasson Randle 3.59
SG Jordan Sibert 1.81 Anthony Brown 2.24
SF Dyshawn Pierre 3.79 Dwight Powell 5.26
PF Devin Oliver 5.71 Josh Huestis 4.55
C Matt Kavanaugh -0.39 Stefan Nastic -0.89
6th Vee Sanford 1.72 Robbie Lemons -1.98

*based on highest utilization

For the Flyers, the top performer during the season shouldn't be a surprise. Devin Oliver finished with a HW30 of 5.7, meaning he was responsible for about six wins over the course of a 30 game season. Dyshawn Pierre was behind with a 3.8 HW30 too.

What might be more interesting is that the two players who have had the most attention during this run, Jordan Sibert and Vee Sanford, have only been worth about two wins this season. This just goes to show that sometimes, it isn't the normal big players that come up with the big moments.

We saw this last season when Luke Hancock from Louisville came up so big for the Cardinals during the end of the NCAA Tournament. Did anyone expect Sanford to be taking the big shot versus Ohio State?

The biggest gap right now comes at point guard. Khari Price is not a detriment to the team on the floor, let's be clear. But he doesn't generate any statistical value on the floor. He actually has cost the team nearly two wins during the season with his minutes.

This is mainly a factor of him not getting as many assists as you would assume would come from a point guard, and he isn't generating the defense that would really help his profile. Is this the weak link in the Flyers?

Possibly when you look at the HW30 numbers for Stanford. If you don't know Chasson Randle, you will after Thursday night. The Cardinal point guard is a scorer, and should be able to take advantage of the mismatch against Price to score and score.

He finished with an HW30 of 3.6 during the year, mostly held back because he is also not a big turnover generator. His defensive rating comes from his willingness to get inside and mix it up on the boards. This is the player that will challenge the Flyers the most.

But he isn't even the most valuable player on the Cardinal. Both Dwight Powell (5.3 HW30, SF) and Josh Huestis (4.6 HW30, PF) exceed him, but run into the strength of the Flyers. The Cardinal still have the edge in these matchups, not only from the value metrics, but also in just size against Dayton, but not as pronounced as at point guard.

The biggest weakness on the Stanford side looks to be in the middle with Stefan Nastic. But Dayton doesn't have the strength in this position to take advantage. Dayton would be best served given the load of minutes in the middle to Jalen Robinson as opposed to Matt Kavanaugh, but a lot depends on both of those players being able to stay on the floor.

The numbers we ran seem to indicate a slight edge for Stanford in this one. The teams match very well, but at each step, it looks like Stanford is just a little ahead.

It should be a very good game, but it appears the magic will end for the Flyers.

Details

No. 11 Dayton Flyers vs. No. 10 Stanford Cardinal

When: 7:15 p.m., Thursday
Where: Memphis, Tenn.
Television: CBS

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