Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
2/06/2007 01:40:00 AM
The Magic Durant Formula
Wow. This thing actually worked. If you're late to the party, on Monday I debuted a "Durant Prediction Formula" (and reader contest) that predicted the Texas superfrosh would score 28 points against Texas A&M. Which is exactly what he did.
So the winner of the reader contest is either no one ... or Mike R. from Cypress, Texas, who said 28 points without realizing it was also my pick. Should we still give Mike a prize? Or maybe just some of Todd Bozeman's discarded ham sandwiches?
Freshman forward Kevin Durant is averaging 33.1 points in Big 12 play for Texas.
The Kevin Durant Show, which has produced at least 30 points in six of eight Big 12 games, rolls into College Station tonight for a tasty duel. The nation's best individual offensive player will square off against Texas A&M's top-five defense -- which is sure to give Lil' Kev the most physical challenge he'll face in the Big 12. (Kansas' defense is statistically more efficient than A&M's, but we can't really call the Jayhawks superior to the Aggies at this point.)
Late Saturday night after winning in Lawrence, A&M's Mr. Clutch, Acie Law, was already talking about his team's next test. "You've got Mr. Superstar, Mr. Do-It-All Kevin Durant coming in," Law said. "I really enjoy watching him play, to tell you the truth."
No doubt the Aggies will also enjoy harassing Durant into what they hope will be his lowest point total of the Big 12 season. The current low is 26 against Nebraska on Jan. 24. While it's still unclear which A&M player -- either Dominique Kirk, Antanas "A.K." Kavaliauskas, or Marlon Pompey -- will guard Durant, there is a good chance he won't break 30. And I think there's a good chance Texas won't win, either ... but Vegas has already established that.
I did a far-too-elaborate analysis today to attempt to predict how Durant would fare against A&M. First I took his point totals in Big 12 play and, thanks to the possession data on midmajority.com, came up with a "DPPTP" (or, Durant Points Per Texas Possession) score for each game. The DPPTP score was then divided by the opponent's overall defensive efficiency (or Defensive Points Per Possession, from kenpom.com), to get a final "DRatio" (Durant Ratio) that factored in his efficiency versus the relative strengths of the defenses he's faced.
By plugging the average DRatio for the eight Big 12 games (.499) into a formula with Texas A&M's defensive efficiency (.827) and the projected number of possessions for a Texas-Texas A&M game (67.0), Durant's projected point total for Monday night is 27.7. I'll round it up to 28, and make it my official pick.
Readers: To what point total will the Aggies hold "Mr. Superstar, Mr. Do-It-All Kevin Durant"? Leave your picks (as well as your NAMES) in the comments before tip-off. There will be a prize for the winner, and additional nods to anyone who can come up with a more absurd Durant-prediction formula than mine.
David Monds and the Cowboys avoided a potentially devastating loss to Texas.
I just finished reviewing Texas and Oklahoma State's three-overtime epic on my DVR and ... wow. Move over, Kansas-Florida. We have a new leader in the clubhouse for Game Of The Season, and this one is going to be difficult to top. ESPN2 was waiting, and waiting ... and waiting to jump to its previously scheduled Aussie Open coverage, but as blog favorite Rick Majerus appropriately said, "This game is so good, [Roger] Federer is probably watching it in Australia."
Mario Boggan scored 37 points and committed just one turnover in 54 minutes against Texas.
It took nearly three hours of real-time (and even two hours of DVR-time) to reach the final score of Cowboys 105, Longhorns 103, just a few ticks before 11 p.m. in iced-over Stillwater, Okla. And it managed not to get sloppy, even when most of the players on the floor had been out there for more than 50 minutes. Oklahoma State's Mario Boggan delivered a tour de force, logging 54 minutes as a center (only Texas two-guard A.J. Abrams, with 55 minutes, had more), scoring 37 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. The maneuvering Boggan did to get off his final bucket was stunning; the guy is still a load at 235 pounds and he's spinning, dribbling behind his back in the open floor, and ducking under defenders to swish the game-winning 3 with 3.2 seconds left. Bravo, Mario. Bravo.
Some quick thoughts in the aftermath of a thriller that ended too late to make most of your morning newspapers:
• Boggan's 3 -- and all of his clutch buckets before that one -- will overshadow yet another absurd performance from Texas' Kevin Durant. The super-frosh matched Boggan with 37 points and at times single-handedly kept the Longhorns in the game. In case anyone hasn't been catching the highlights, in his first four Big 12 games Durant has scored 37, 34, 28 and 37 points.
• How devastating would it have been for the Cowboys had Boggan's shot not gone in? They were coming off a horrid, 30-point loss to Kansas and were in danger of starting 1-2 in the Big 12. Dropping an exhausting marathon to Texas at Gallagher-Iba could have potentially sent their season into a tailspin, with a difficult date at Texas A&M looming on Saturday.
• How may times did ESPN2's cameras cut to Durant during breaks at crucial, high-stress junctures of the game, and catch him smiling like ... well, the 18-year-old that he is? Whereas Boggan looked like he was leaving every last ounce of energy on the floor, Durant was scoring at will without appearing tired -- and laughing along with the audience about just how wild the action was. Durant and fellow frosh D.J. Augustin, who had 19 points and nine assists, have come incredibly far since I saw them at Madison Square Garden against Michigan State in November. They're already a scary-good duo, and if they buckle down in the NCAA tournament, they could take the 'Horns to the Final Four as a four or five seed.
• Favorite field-goals of the game:
1. Byron Eaton's incredible, falling-out-of-bounds, end-of-shot-clock, no-look 3-pointer from 40 feet in the second half (my only complaint being that an Oklahoma State fan's head got in the way of the TV camera at the key moment, which limits the shot's YouTube-ability).
2. Cowboy walk-on Tyler Hatch's lone bucket, in the second overtime. The gelled-up Hatch -- who can be found under the heading "Using Product" in our Style Archive -- was forced into action after two Oklahoma State starters fouled out. Texas made the decision to not even guard Hatch, and he managed to score on a feed from Boggan, plus get fouled, to put the Cowboys up two with 41.0 seconds left. Hatch missed his free throw ... but that was probably asking too much.
• Top four finishes of the year so far (that I've seen): Texas-Oklahoma State, Kansas-Florida (Brandon Rush's layup), UCLA-USC (Arron Afflalo's hanging jumper) and Tennessee-Texas (Chris Lofton's bomb). One is inclined to feel for the Longhorns, who've come out on the heartbreaking end twice. You don't need sympathy, though, when you have Durant.