NCAA Women’s D3 Final Four Preview

Back in December we looked at the current top 5 to define what a ‘good’ team looked like.  Those five were Amherst, Tufts, Thomas More, St Thomas and Scranton.

At the time, we examined individual efficiency numbers, overall offensive efficiency and points per possession.  Tufts, Amherst and Scranton stood out from among the five at the time.  Each had four players with double digit efficiency, a huge margin between their offensive and defensive team efficiencies and significant points per possession.

Tufts and Amherst still stand from that final trio and St Thomas, who was in the top 5 is there as well.  Christopher Newport is the newcomer as everyone converges on Michigan.

Amherst and Christopher Newport both have three players with double digit efficiency ratings.  The difference in team efficiencies is the difference.  Amherst posts an 80.94 offensive efficiency, less than the 85.94 of Christopher Newport.  But on the other side, Amherst is at a ridiculous 17.94, for a difference of over 60 points!! That’s unheard in the stats world but if you look at their season results, they don’t just beat opponents, they destroy them.  Christopher Newport is at a very good 48.87 but when all is said and done, I expect the Amherst defense to show their might and get to the finals.

Amherst killed everyone this year….except for Tufts.  They beat them twice but the games were close and absurdly low scoring (36-35 and 41-37, yes those are finals).  Tufts and St Thomas both have two players with double digit efficiency, Kaitlin Langer holding the ace at a sparkling 22.42.  Tufts, who has always played at a slower pace, sports just a 77.32 offensive efficiency with an almost-Amherst like 32.71 defensive efficiency.  St Thomas is at 89.55 on the offensive end and a very strong 45.35 on defense.  When you look at the points per possession, each outscores their opponents by exactly 0.31 or 31 points per 100 possessions.  So, these two are equally dominant and it will come down to St Thomas’ strong offense against Tufts’ strong defense.  Whichever way this battle goes will likely affect things on the opposite end.  I like St Thomas’ depth to give them a slight advantage in what should be a fantastic game.

Come Saturday night, we should have two undefeated teams meeting for the national title.  If St Thomas can light up Tufts’ defense (or at least crack 50), then I like their chances of figuring out Amherst’s defense.  The difference is Amherst can score a little bit more than Tufts but playing in a higher scoring game would be very out of character for them.  Saying that, gimme the Tommies to win it all this weekend.  While the defenses are all great, I think their offense will get enough done to hoist the walnut and bronze.

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