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Thursday, March 17, 2005
 
Out The Door
I'm about to hit the road to make a much-anticipated return to my alma mater, so I should do a little housekeeping before I take off.

I wrote a post for each of the tournament's regions last night / this morning. Each post contains lists of players from that region who excel at certain statistics. It's mostly tables of numbers, and not much commentary, since I was in a hurry to get everything finished before all the games got under way.

I hope that'll keep you busy for a couple days, since I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back. To read the lists, either scroll down the page, or use the links under NCAA Players to Watch in the top part of the right sidebar. Check the Hawkeye Hoops Stats Glossary if you're not up to speed on all the terms.

I might try to sneak in a post-game recap this afternoon, but the St. Patrick's Day festivities might be in full swing by then, so no promises. In any event, expect some Hawk talk (hopefully including a second round preview!) by Friday night.

Go Hawks!
 
Players To Watch - Austin
Here's a handful of guys that stand out in a few statistical categories and might be worth watching. Study up and you'll be the know-it-all of your NCAA Tourny party today/tomorrow. Um, you are taking the day off work, right?

I'm only including guys who played at least half of their team's minutes this season.

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)
Player.......................................Off Rt..........%Poss
Alan Anderson, Mich. St............132.............21.9%
Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont.....130.............31.5%
Andrew Bogut, Utah..................129.............29.3%
J.J. Redick, Duke......................128.............25.0%
Filiberto Rivera, UTEP..............128.............21.4%
Juan Mendez, Niagara..............127.............27.6%
Chris Hill, Mich. St.....................126.............19.9%
Kelvin Torbert, Mich. St.............126.............18.1%
Omar Thomas, UTEP..............125.............27.7%
James Mathis, Niagara.............125.............17.3%
Alvin Cruz, Niagara...................124.............18.1%
Adam Haluska, Iowa.................124.............19.7%
Hakim Warrick, Syracuse.........123.............25.7%
Marc Jackson, Utah...................121............17.6%
J.R Duffey, Niagara....................121............15.9%

Keep in mind that offensive efficiency becomes harder to maintain at higher levels of possession usage, so the numbers posted by guys like Coppenrath, Bogut, Redick and Mendez are especially impressive. Like Syracuse, this region is loaded with offensive talent.

Rebounds per 40 Minutes
Player...............................................Reb/40
Andrew Bogut, Utah...........................14.2
Lawrence Roberts, Miss. St..............13.7
Shelden Williams, Duke....................13.3
Juan Mendez, Niagara.......................12.2
James Mathis, Niagara......................12.1
Alex Loughton, ODU..........................11.7
Matt Haryasz, Stanford......................11.6
Paul Davis, Mich. St...........................11.5
Eric Hicks, Cincinnati.........................11.4
Taj Gray, Oklahoma...........................11.3

I've expressed my preference for rebound % in the past, but I've only got so much time to work with. Reb/40 will do just fine today.

Pass Rating
Player...............................................Pass Rt
Filiberto Rivera, UTEP........................34.4
Chris Hill, Mich. St...............................33.0
Alvin Cruz, Niagara.............................31.8
Drew Williamson, ODU......................30.8
Gary Ervin, Miss. St............................27.3
Terrell Everett, Oklahoma...................25.8
Rajon Rondo, Kentucky......................24.9
Jeff Horner, Iowa.................................24.4
Tim Drisdom, Utah..............................22.7
Patrick Sparks, Kentucky....................21.5

My pass rating is similar to the one John Hollinger uses in his Pro Basketball Prospectus (Forecast?). It's basically a measure of points produced by assists per possession. I'm still working on it, but it rates guys like Aaron Miles and Raymond Felton pretty highly, so it's a good start. Since it's rated "per possession," guys who never shoot can artificially inflate their rate, but I built in a small adjustment for that.

Steals per Defensive Possession
Player.............................................Stl%
Rajon Rondo, Kentucky.................6.2%
Drew Williamson, ODU.................4.0%
Chuck Hayes, Kentucky................3.8%
Sean Dockery, Duke.....................3.7%
Drew Lavender, Oklahoma............3.5%
Germain Mopa Njila, Vermont........3.4%
Valdas Vasylius, ODU...................3.3%
Chris Hill, Mich. St..........................3.2%
Jaison Williams, Oklahoma...........3.1%
Gerry McNamara, Syracuse..........3.1%

Blocks per 40 Minutes
Player..............................................Blk/40
Shelden Williams, Duke...................4.5
Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati..................3.4
Eric Hicks, Cincinnati.......................2.9
Arnaud Dahi, ODU...........................2.8
Taj Gray, Oklahoma.........................2.7
Juan Mendez, Niagara.....................2.4
Andrew Bogut, Utah..........................2.1
John Tofi, UTEP...............................1.6
Matt Haryasz, Stanford.....................1.5
Chuck Hayes, Kentucky...................1.5

Three Point Rate
Player.....................................................3pt Rt
Lawrence McKenzie, Oklahoma.............4.63
J.J. Redick, Duke....................................4.30
T.J. Sorrentine, Vermont.........................4.05
Chris Hill, Mich. St...................................3.44
Lee Melchionni, Duke..............................3.37
Patrick Sparks, Kentucky........................3.22
Gerry McNamara, Syracuse...................3.13
Miguel Ayala, UTEP.................................3.06
Jeff Horner, Iowa......................................2.94
Nick Williams, Cincinnati.........................2.92
Winsome Frazier, Miss. St......................2.78
David Brooks, Niagara.............................2.73

These are the guys you'll see making a lot of threes at a decent rate. The formula I used, as swiped from the indispensable (I'm starting to sound like a Wonk) Justin Kubatko of the equally indispensable Basketball-Reference.com -
(3's made X 3-pt%) / min

Free Throw Rate
Player...........................................FT Rt
Juan Mendez, Niagara.................17.51
Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont.......15.96
Omar Thomas, UTEP.................15.80
J.J. Redick, Duke.........................15.61
Lawrence Roberts, Miss. St........11.81
Hakim Warrick, Syracuse...........11.31
Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati.............11.30
Alan Anderson, Mich. St..............10.85
Maurice Ager, Mich. St..................9.50
Valdas Vasylius, ODU...................9.45

Same formula as the 3-point rate, and also from Mr. Kubatko. These are the guys who get to the line often and/or know how to take advantage of the freebies. I'm pretty impressed to see Redick near the top of both the three point rate and free throw rate lists.
 
Players To Watch - Syracuse
Here's a handful of guys that stand out in a few statistical categories and might be worth watching. Study up and you'll be the know-it-all of your NCAA Tourny party today/tomorrow. Um, you are taking the day off work, right?

I'm only including guys who played at least half of their team's minutes this season.

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)
Player........................................Off Rt..........%Poss
Alfred Neale, New Mexico...........132.............16.9%
Jawad Williams, UNC.................127.............21.0%
Danny Granger, New Mexico......126.............29.6%
Anthony Roberson, Florida.........125.............25.7%
Marvin Williams, UNC.................124.............20.3%
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova...........124.............23.0%
Jeff Halbert, Ohio........................124.............13.1%
Grant Stout, N. Iowa....................123.............17.9%
Wayne Simien, Kansas..............122..............25.9%
Rashad McCants, UNC..............122..............23.8%
Allan Ray, Villanova....................122..............24.6%
Leon Williams, Ohio...................120..............20.0%
Sean May, UNC..........................120..............27.6%
Matt Walsh, Florida....................120...............22.9%
Josh Boone, U Conn...................120..............19.2%

Keep in mind that offensive efficiency becomes harder to maintain at higher levels of possession usage, so the numbers posted by guys like Granger, Roberson, and May are especially impressive. As I examine that list, I have to say that this region is loaded with offensive talent.

Rebounds per 40 Minutes
Player................................................Reb/40
Sean May, UNC..................................16.5
David Lee, Florida...............................13.0
Wayne Simien, Kansas......................12.9
Charlie Villanueva, U Conn.................12.9
Leon Williams, Ohio...........................12.0
Danny Granger, New Mexico..............11.8
Josh Boone, U Conn..........................11.8
Al Horford, Florida...............................11.7
Marvin Williams, UNC.........................11.7
Eric Coleman, N. Iowa........................10.4

I've expressed my preference for rebound % in the past, but I've only got so much time to work with. Reb/40 will do just fine.

Pass Rating
Player.................................................Pass Rt
Aaron Miles, Kansas..........................40.8%
Marcus Williams, U Conn..................38.8%
Raymond Felton, UNC.......................32.5%
Chris Foster, N. Iowa.........................28.9%
Abe Badmus, Bucknell.......................23.4%
Sharif Chambliss, Wisconsin............21.7%
Mike Nardi, Villanova...........................21.0%
Mark Walters, New Mexico.................20.7%
Tony Bethel, NC State........................19.7%
Will Blalock, ISU..................................19.6%

My pass rating is similar to the one John Hollinger uses in his Pro Basketball Prospectus (Forecast?). It's basically a measure of points produced by assists per possession. I'm still working on it, but as long as it identifies Miles, Williams, and Felton as good passers, it's a good start. Since it's rated "per possession," guys who never shoot can artificially inflate their rate, but I built in a small adjustment for that.

Steals per Defensive Possession
Player...........................................Stl%
Eddie Basden, Charlotte.............5.3%
Abe Badmus, Bucknell................4.9%
Sonny Troutman, Ohio................4.7%
Danny Granger, New Mexico.......4.4%
Rashon Clark, ISU.......................4.3%
Randy Foye, Villanova.................4.1%
Curtis Stinson, ISU......................4.0%
Brent Lawson, Minn.....................3.9%
Jeremy Fears, Ohio.....................3.8%
Tony Bethel, NC State.................3.7%

How do you like that first round matchup of Iowa State and Minnesota? Both rank in Ken Pomeroy's top ten in points allowed per possessions, and both rate as middle-of-the-road offenses. Think their might be a few turnovers in that one?

Blocks per 40 Minutes
Player..............................................Blk/40
Josh Boone, U Conn.........................4.0
Jeff Hagen, Minn................................3.8
Grant Stout, N. Iowa..........................3.0
Charlie Villanueva, U Conn...............2.9
Al Horford, Florida.............................2.9
Danny Granger, New Mexico............2.7
Rudy Gay, U Conn............................2.7
Jared Homan, ISU.............................2.1
Sean May, UNC.................................1.6
Will Sheridan, Villanova.....................1.6

Points, rebounds, steals, blocks......does Danny Granger excel at everything?

Three Point Rate
Player.............................................3pt Rt
Brendan Plavich, Charlotte.............4.57
Troy DeVries, New Mexico.............4.41
Anthony Roberson, Florida.............4.22
Matt Walsh, Florida........................3.63
Allan Ray, Villanova........................3.53
Rashad McCants, UNC..................3.31
Ben Jacobson, N. Iowa...................2.92
Jeff Halbert, Ohio............................2.77
Ilian Evtimov, NC State...................2.75
Alfred Neale, New Mexico...............2.72

These are the guys you'll see making a lot of threes at a decent rate. The formula I used, as swiped from the indispensable (I'm starting to sound like a Wonk) Justin Kubatko of the equally indispensable Basketball-Reference.com -
(3's made X 3-pt%) / min

Free Throw Rate
Player.............................................FT Rt
Marvin Williams, UNC....................15.83
Sean May, UNC..............................15.10
Danny Granger, New Mexico..........13.21
Wayne Simien, Kansas.................13.00
Vincent Grier, Minn.........................10.74
Terren Harbut, Ohio.......................10.23
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova..............10.23
E.J. Drayton, Charlotte..................10.00
Curtis Withers, Charlotte................9.80
Jeff Hagen, Minn..............................9.60

Same formula as the 3-point rate, and also from Mr. Kubatko. These are the guys who get to the line often and/or know how to take advantage of the freebies.

So, in an offensively stacked bracket, freshman Marvin Williams ranks as one of the most efficient scorers, best rebounders, and effective free throw shooters.....think he's a decent pro prospect?
 
Players To Watch - Albuquerque
Here's a handful of guys that stand out in a few statistical categories and might be worth watching. Study up and you'll be the know-it-all of your NCAA Tourny party today/tomorrow.
Um, you are taking the day off work, right?

I'm only including guys who played at least half of their team's minutes this season.

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)
Player.........................................Off Rt..........%Poss
Mike Hall, GW...............................136.............15.9%
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga................130.............17.4%
Larry O'Bannon, L'ville.................129.............20.4%
Nate Robinson, Wash..................127.............22.7%
Chris Paul, Wake Forest..............127.............22.7%
Taquan Dean, L'ville.....................126.............22.3%
Nate Funk, Creighton...................125.............26.4%
Chevon Troutman, Pitt.................124.............23.6%
Bobby Jones, Wash ....................124.............18.8%
Tiras Wade, LA'Lfyt......................123..............23.9%
J.P. Batista, Gonzaga...................123.............22.8%
Adam Morrison, Gonzaga.............123.............24.7%
Ronald Ross, T. Tech...................122.............21.6%
Guillaume Yango, Pacific..............122.............23.0%
Eric Williams, Wake Forest..........120.............23.4%

Keep in mind that offensive efficiency becomes harder to maintain at higher levels of possession usage, so the numbers posted by Funk and Morrison are probably more impressive than those of Hall and Raivio. By the way, with a guy named Funk leading the way, how can you not pick Creighton in the first round?

Rebounds per 40 Minutes
Player................................................Reb/40
Ellis Myles, L'ville................................12.4
Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga......................12.0
Luke Schenscher, G. Tech.................11.4
Chris Taft, Pitt.....................................11.1
Nana Mensah-Bonsu, GW..................10.8
Eric Williams, Wake Forest................10.8
Mike Hall, GW......................................10.7
Chevon Troutman, Pitt........................10.5
Guillaume Yango, Pacific....................10.4
Devonne Giles, T. Tech.......................10.1

I've expressed my preference for rebound % in the past, but I've only got so much time to work with. Reb/40 will do just fine.

Pass Rating
Player.................................................Pass Rt
Will Conroy, Wash..............................37.5%
Tyler McKinney, Creighton..................33.1%
Chris Paul, Wake Forest.....................31.5%
Chris Gaynor, Winthrop.......................27.9%
Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, W. Virg.....26.2%
Carl Elliott, GW....................................25.8%
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga........................24.6%
David Doubley, Pacific.........................23.3%
Carl Krauser, Pitt..................................22.9%
Jordan Farmar, UCLA...........................21.4%

My pass rating is similar to the one John Hollinger uses in his Pro Basketball Prospectus (Forecast?). It's basically a measure of points produced by assists per possession. I'm still working on it, but as long as it identifies Will Conroy and Chris Paul as good passers (sorry McKinney, haven't seen you play yet), it's a good start. Since it's rated "per possession," guys who never shoot can artificially inflate their rate, but I built in a small adjustment for that.

Steals per Defensive Possession
Player.............................................Stl%
Carl Elliott, GW..............................5.4%
Orien Greene, LA'Lfyt....................5.0%
Chris Gaynor, Winthrop.................4.5%
Johnny Mathies, Creighton............4.3%
Ronald Ross, T. Tech...................4.3%
Brian Hamilton, LA'Lfyt..................4.3%
Chris Paul, Wake Forest...............4.2%
Francisco Garcia, L'ville................3.6%
Mike Gansey, W. Virg....................3.4%
Joe Herber, W. Virg.......................3.4%

Blocks per 40 Minutes
Player..............................................Blk/40
Luke Schenscher, G. Tech................2.8
Devonne Giles, T. Tech.....................2.8
Nana Mensah-Bonsu, GW.................2.6
Chris Taft, Pitt....................................2.6
Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga......................2.4
Anthony McHenry, G. Tech................2.0
Francisco Garcia, L'ville....................1.8
Eric Williams, Wake Forest...............1.5
Brian Hamilton, LA'Lfyt.......................1.5
Guillaume Yango, Pacific...................1.5

Three Point Rate
Player...............................................3pt Rt
Taquan Dean, L'ville..........................5.59
Justin Gray, Wake Forest.................3.85
Tre Simmons, Wash.........................3.78
Patrick Beilein, W. Virg......................3.55
Larry O'Bannon, L'ville......................3.47
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga.....................3.38
Torrell Martin, Winthrop.....................3.33
T.J. Thompson, GW..........................3.24
Nate Funk, Creighton.........................2.99
Tiras Wade, LA-Lfytt..........................2.73
Kellen Miliner, Creighton....................2.61
Taron Downey, Wake Forest............2.58

These are the guys you'll see making a lot of threes at a decent rate. The formula I used, as swiped from the indispensable (I'm starting to sound like a Wonk) Justin Kubatko of the equally indispensable Basketball-Reference.com -
(3's made X 3-pt%) / min

Free Throw Rate
Player..............................................FT Rt
Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga..................12.70
Chris Paul, Wake Forest................11.94
James Shuler, Winthrop................11.64
Omar Williams, GW.......................11.08
Francisco Garcia, L'ville.................10.91
Carl Krauser, Pitt............................10.33
Chevon Troutman, Pitt.....................9.99
Martin Zeno, T. Tech........................9.95
Jarrett Jack, G. Tech........................9.89
Nate Robinson, Wash......................9.84

Same formula as the 3-point rate, and also from Mr. Kubatko. These are the guys who get to the line often and/or know how to take advantage of the freebies.
 
Players To Watch - Chicago
Here's a handful of guys that stand out in a few statistical categories and might be worth watching. Study up and you'll be the know-it-all of your NCAA Tourny party today/tomorrow. Um, you are taking the day off work, right?

I'm only including guys who played at least half of their team's minutes this season.

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)
Player.........................................Off Rt..........%Poss
James Augustine, Illinois............133..............18.3%
Spencer Nelson, Utah St............133..............29.6%
Dee Brown, Illinois......................130..............19.5%
Salim Stoudamire, Arizona.........130..............21.3%
John Lucas, Okla. St..................129...............22.2%
Nate Harris, Utah St....................128..............19.6%
Daniel Kickert, St. Mary's............127..............22.6%
Roger Powell Jr., Illinois..............126..............21.5%
Channing Frye, Arizona..............126..............22.4%
Brandon Bass, LSU....................126..............21.9%
Luther Head, Illinois.....................126..............22.1%
Jared Dudley, BC........................126..............21.5%
Adrian Tigert, UW-Mil..................124..............15.1%
Nick Fazekas, Nevada................123..............28.5%
Joey Graham, Okla. St................122..............26.2%

Keep in mind that offensive efficiency becomes harder to maintain at higher levels of possession usage, so the numbers posted by Nelson, Fazekas, and Graham are especially impressive.

Rebounds per 40 Minutes
Player................................................Reb/40
Brad Buckman, Texas.......................12.9
Jermareo Davidson, Alabama...........12.1
Nick Fazekas, Nevada.......................12.0
Glen Davis, LSU.................................12.0
Mark Zoller, Penn................................11.7
James Augustine, Illinois....................11.2
Spencer Nelson, Utah St....................11.0
Brandon Bass, LSU............................10.7
Kevinn Pinkney, Nevada.....................10.5
Frederic Adjiwanou, St. Mary's...........10.0

Are Nelson and Fazekas on your radar yet? They should be.

Note - I've expressed my preference for rebound % in the past, but I've only got so much time to work with. Reb/40 will do just fine.

Pass Rating
Player.................................................Pass Rt
Deron Williams, Illinois.........................33.6
Ronald Steele, Alabama.......................29.0
Mustafa Shakur, Arizona......................28.6
Carldell Johnson, UAB.........................28.1
Dee Brown, Illinois...............................28.0
Louis Hinnant, BC................................27.4
David Pak, Utah St...............................27.1
Ramon Sessions, Nevada...................24.5
Spencer Nelson, Utah St.....................23.7
Tack Minor, LSU...................................21.8

Spencer Nelson, is there no end to your offensive prowess?

My pass rating is similar to the one John Hollinger uses in his Pro Basketball Prospectus (Forecast?). It's basically a measure of points produced by assists per possession. I'm still working on it, but as long as it identifies Deron Williams as the best passer in the region, it's a good start. Since it's rated "per possession," guys who never shoot can artificially inflate their rate, but I built in a small adjustment for that.

Steals per Defensive Possession
Player..............................................Stl%
Ibrahim Jaaber, Penn......................5.2%
Darren Brooks, S. Ill........................5.2%
Carldell Johnson, UAB....................4.2%
Donell Taylor, UAB..........................4.1%
Tony Young, S. Ill.............................4.1%
Hassan Adams, Arizona.................4.0%
LaMar Owen, S. Ill...........................3.6%
Dee Brown, Illinois..........................3.5%
Ronald Davis, UW-Mil.....................3.5%
Daniel Gibson, Texas......................3.3%

Blocks per 40 Minutes
Player..............................................Blk/40
Channing Frye, Arizona......................2.7
Brad Buckman, Texas.......................2.5
Chuck Davis, Alabama......................2.4
Jermareo Davidson, Alabama...........2.3
Nick Fazekas, Nevada.......................2.0
James Augustine, Illinois...................2.0
Glen Davis, LSU................................1.9
Jermaine Washington, Nevada.........1.9
Brandon Bass, LSU...........................1.9
Ivan McFarlin, Okla. St.......................1.6

Three Point Rate
Player.................................................3pt Rt
Salim Stoudamire, Arizona.................5.65
Ed McCants, UW-Mil...........................4.05
John Lucas, Okla. St...........................3.81
Jaycee Carroll, Utah St.......................3.73
Dee Brown, Illinois..............................3.67
Luther Head, Illinois.............................3.56
Earnest Shelton, Alabama..................3.52
Marvett McDonald, UAB......................3.51
Paul Marigney, St. Mary's...................3.29
Ronald Davis, UW-Mil.........................3.05
Daniel Kickert, St. Mary's....................2.98
Daniel Gibson, Texas..........................2.92

These are the guys you'll see making a lot of threes at a decent rate. The formula I used, as swiped from the indispensable (I'm starting to sound like a Wonk) Justin Kubatko of the equally indispensable Basketball-Reference.com -
(3's made X 3-pt%) / min

Free Throw Rate
Player..............................................FT Rt
Nick Fazekas, Nevada....................15.12
Jermaine Watson, BC....................14.68
Joey Graham, Okla. St....................13.81
Spencer Nelson, Utah St.................12.97
Brandon Bass, LSU........................10.97
Demario Eddins, UAB.....................10.55
Glen Davis, LSU..............................10.30
Chuck Davis, Alabama....................10.13
Channing Frye, Arizona.....................9.91
Salim Stoudamire, Arizona................9.66

Same formula as the 3-point rate, and also from Mr. Kubatko. These are the guys who get to the line often and/or know how to take advantage of the freebies.

This post was written while enjoying the official beverage of the Chicago Cubs, so please excuse any typos. Check back soon for similar posts on the other three regions.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
 
Late Night Links
Iowa's players are on spring break this week and able to squeeze in some practices, while Cincinnati is...taking final exams?
"We've got a ton of finals to take and that's hard because they're excited about
playing in the NCAA Tournament," [Coach Bob] Huggins said. "But their priorities
are and should be taking care of final exams. It's hard to get two really good
days of practice in."
From the False Advertising Department -
Iowa has what University of Cincinnati basketball fans covet: a 6-foot-11 player
in the middle, in junior Erek Hansen.
The Indy Star profiles Steve Alford's return to Indiana.

Steve Batterson says Iowa gets to practice on the court at the RCA Dome at 12 pm today, in addition to practicing elsewhere.
 
Check Out . . .
I posted the other day that Scott Long of The Juice Blog would be writing a tournament preview very much worth your time. It's now up, featuring interviews of two of my favorite hoops bloggers - John Gasaway of Big Ten Wonk fame, and leading stats analyst Ken Pomeroy. Make sure you head over there and check it out. Also, a big thank you goes out to both of these guys for mentioning Hawkeye Hoops in their interviews.

Welcome to any new readers making their way over from The Juice Blog. While I mainly focus my attention on Iowa basketball, I'm interested in expanding, and Iowa's likely exit by the end of the first weekend (though I'll keep my fingers crossed) should give me ample opportunity to comment on the rest of the tournament. Hope you'll check back here often for some stats-driven analysis.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
 
More Cincinnati Numbers
As promised, today's post will provide an overview of all the players likely to see action in this Thursday's game between Iowa and Cincinnati. I'll start by explaining some of the numbers you'll see.

offensive rating (Off Rt) - a player's points produced per 100 individual possessions
% of possessions (%poss) - measures the number of a team's possessions that an individual uses while he's in the game (20% is average)
true shot % (TS%) - a measure of shooting efficiency, based on FG and FT (it's the same thing as the PPWS you see at the Big Ten Wonk, just in percentage form)
rebound % (reb%) - the number of rebounds a player gets, based on rebounds available
pass rating (Pass Rt) - similar to John Hollingers pass rating, this attempts to measure the points a player contributes through assists, on a per possession basis
steal % (stl%) - similar to rebound % - it's a measure of how many steals a player gets, adjusted for playing time and a team's pace
blocks per 40 minutes (blk/40) - gives a better idea of a player's shot blocking ability than blocks per game
turnovers per possession (TO/poss) - how often a player turns the ball over

***UPDATE*** I added Pass Rating, Steal %, and TO/poss to the Big Ten Player Stats page.

Stats Glossary

Note - I used season stats for both teams.




Cincinnati Bearcats
PlayerPosHeightWeightMin/GOffRt%PossTSh%Reb%Oreb%Dreb%Pass RtSteal%B/40TO/p
Jason MaxiellF6' 7"25031.211822.9%0.59412.9%11.5%14.1%4.11.9%3.40.16
Eric HicksF6' 7"24031.311421.4%0.56314.8%12.5%16.7%3.50.9%2.90.15
Jihad MuhammadG5' 11"18025.210322.6%0.5156.2%4.1%7.9%14.41.7%0.10.22
James WhiteF6' 7"19028.011419.2%0.5838.8%4.5%12.6%18.81.9%0.50.22
Armein Kirkland G/F6' 8"19025.410822.7%0.5118.9%5.1%12.2%14.20.9%0.90.18
Nick Williams G6' 4"18521.511419.0%0.5685.5%2.2%8.4%14.11.5%0.80.19
Roy BrightG/F6' 6"22514.010018.6%0.43613.7%11.8%15.4%10.81.4%0.60.17
Jamaal LucasG6' 1"19512.7916.4%0.4685.4%2.8%7.6%11.12.0%0.00.39




Notes/Thoughts
- Sorry if these tables are a little tough to read, but I figured they'd be a little easier to make than lining everything up with periods like I usually do. I'll try to make them more presentable; no promises though.
***UPDATE*** I added some cell shading to make the tables a little easier on the eye.

- Like most good offenses, Cincy looks fairly balanced, with no one taking more than 23% of the team's possessions. Everyone besides Lucas takes 12-15 shots per 40 minutes.

- Cincinnati has rebounded nearly 40% of their missed shots this season, one of top 15-30 rates in the country. I was expecting to find that Maxiell and Hicks were the driving force behind the team success, but while good, they're not exactly outstanding. Their offensive rebound % is similar to Doug Thomas and Mike Wilkinson, and a full 2-3% behind Big Ten board crashers like James Augustine, Aaron Johnson, and Carl Landry. What Cincy does have is depth - Bright provides solid offensive rebounding off the bench, and none of the guards are slouches either. Even the 5'11" Muhammad grabs over 4% of offensive board chances, which is similar to what Pierre Pierce (properly recognized as a good rebounding guard) pulled in this season.

- Maxiell's 0.92 FTA/FGA figure suggests he's great at drawing contact and getting to the line. He'll probably be guarded by Greg Brunner, which presents a key element of this game - keeping Brunner on the floor. If Greg were to get into foul trouble, it would lead to a big double whammy - having no threat to score from the post on the court, which would allow Cincy's big guards to play tight on the perimeter, and losing his defensive rebounding ability to increased Erek Hansen playing time. Cincy has a few similarities to Michigan State, so I'll apply that comparison to this situation - in Iowa's first game against MSU, Brunner got into foul trouble and only played 23 minutes in a loss. Iowa later beat MSU in the BTT, with Brunner playing 34 minutes.

- I thought mlbUC made a good message board post describing Cincinnati's strength's and weaknesses. S/he mentions that Jihad Muhammad has been disappointing as Cincy's point guard, and his 14.4 pass rating tells the same story. Most good point guards rate at least a 20 here, with high-quality guys (Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, Chris Paul) hitting 30, and the rare breeds (Aaron Miles, Marcus Williams) even approaching 40.



Iowa Hawkeyes
PlayerPosHeightWeightMin/GOffRt%PossTSh%Reb%Oreb%Dreb%Pass RtSteal%B/40TO/p
Greg BrunnerF6' 7"24031.811123.7%0.58314.9%10.1%19.2%9.02.2%1.30.20
Adam HaluskaG6' 5"21030.212419.6%0.6337.4%3.0%11.5%8.92.0%0.40.14
Jeff HornerG6' 3"18536.611520.8%0.5747.0%2.3%11.3%24.42.3%0.20.19
Mike HendersonG6'2"19020.78516.5%0.4875.8%3.1%8.2%11.02.2%0.20.30
Erek HansenC6' 11"21020.09815.2%0.5117.4%7.5%7.2%5.21.3%5.40.23
Doug ThomasF6' 8"24015.911115.5%0.57216.6%12.1%20.8%3.81.8%1.00.19
Carlton ReedG6 3"17511.49614.1%0.5125.3%2.4%8.1%12.81.4%0.20.26
Alex ThompsonF6' 9"2009.99312.9%0.41911.3%9.3%13.2%11.11.0%2.00.22
Jack BrownleeG6' 0"1656.09512.7%0.5263.7%1.5%5.6%19.23.1%0.00.30
Seth GorneyC7' 0"2604.81119.5%0.69413.2%10.0%16.1%5.93.1%0.40.33





Notes/Thoughts
- Don't be misled by Haluska's low possession rate - he didn't get the ball much when Pierce was on the team, but he's been in the 22-23% range since Pierce left. Even better, his efficiency hasn't fallen at all with the bigger role. My one complaint is that Haluska seems to disappear for long stretches, like when he scored 0 points in the first half against Wisconsin last weekend. He and Horner will need to provide some outside shooting if Brunner struggles against the big guys inside.

- Did anyone catch all the love Billy Packer was giving Hansen during the Wisconsin game? He said something along the lines of, "If this kid puts on a few pounds, he's got a chance to not just be good, but outstanding!" Needless to say, I was stunned. Jay Bilas said some similar things about Hansen during the Maui tournament, and while I bought into some of it back then, we have enough data now to know that he simply can't rebound. Out of 87 Big Ten players playing 25% of their team's minutes, Hansen's rebound % ranked #66. Only four of the players below him stand taller than 6'3". Does any team change its fortune on the glass as much as Iowa does when it subs in Thomas for Hansen?

- I haven't seen anyone else using that steals number yet, so I should explain it a bit. I used to look at steals per 40 minutes, which is effective, but that doesn't take into effect a team's pace. A good defensive player would have more opportunities for steals on North Carolina's team (77 poss / game) than he would playing for Northwestern (61 poss / game). So I estimate how many defensive possessions a player was involved in (% of team min X team possessions), then see what percent of those possessions the player recorded a steal on. 3-4 % seems to be a good figure from what I've seen so far, and several good defenders are in the 5-6 % range. The Big Ten's leaders (conf games only) look like this -

Rico Tucker...........Minnesota............4.06%
T.J. Parker............Northwestern........4.06%
Dani Wohl.............Michigan...............4.02%
Brent Lawson.......Minnesota.............3.78%
Luther Head..........Illinois...................3.74%
Pierre Pierce.........Iowa.....................3.72%
Michael Jenkins....Northwestern.......3.69%
Vincent Grier.........Minnesota.............3.60%
Dee Brown...........Illinois...................3.51%

***UPDATE*** Updating my spreadsheet revealed expert thieves like Rajon Rondo of Kentucky, Mardy Collins of Temple, and Eddie Basden of Charlotte, among others, as high as 7-9%.

- Cincinnati plays some big guards. Based on their lineups from the past seven games or so, their starters Thursday will include Hicks and Maxiell in the post, and three of the following four -

Kirkland...........6'8"
Lucas..............6'1"
White..............6'7"
Williams.........6'4"

Iowa's starting guards range from 6'2" to 6'5", so any lineup Cincy goes with will give them some size advantages.

- I really wish Henderson was a better passer. With Brunner, Horner, and Haluska usually on the court with him, you'd think he could average better than 2.3 assists per 40 minutes. At least he's starting to show that he can score. He's established that he can take his guy off the dribble; maybe with time he'll start to find other players open when he drives.

***************************

Just two more days until the tournament gets underway! It's starting to look like I won't be making the trip to Indianapolis, but my options were really win-win anyway. If I don't make the road trip, I'll still get to partake in all the St. Patrick's Day festivities that a good college town has to offer, with about 12 hours of basketball viewing thrown in for good measure.

What do you think of Iowa's chances on Thursday? Make sure to leave a comment or hit me with an email.
Monday, March 14, 2005
 
Cincinnati By The Numbers
Iowa drew the 24-7, 23rd ranked Cincinnati Bearcats as their first round opponent in the tournament. Like I do before every game, I want to take a look at Iowa and Cincinnati's season statistics and attempt to identify each team's strength's and weaknesses, and any possible strategies Iowa might find useful.

Stats Glossary

Offense
Team....................Off Eff.......adjFG%....TO/poss....Oreb Rt.....FTA/FGA....FT%.....3A/FGA....3pt%
Cincinnati................112...........0.496........0.197.........0.396..........0.464........0.693......0.327......0.347
Iowa.........................108..........0.521.........0.214.........0.327..........0.406........0.689......0.305......0.379

National Rank
Cincinnati.................34............170..............54............top 35..............9...........153.........165...........168
Iowa..........................78.............60.............135............~ 200.............68..........173..........219............43

Note - I don't have defensive data for every team, so I estimate offensive rebound% from each team's missed FG and FT, which leads to the lack of precision in ranking offensive reound rate. The rates listed for Cincinnati and Iowa are accurate, though.

Cincinnati is an interesting team - they have a solid offensive rating without any great outside shooters. Of the 33 teams scoring more points per possession than the Bearcats, only Syracuse has a lower 3-point% (0.314). Their mediocre shooting is made up for by outstanding offensive rebounding and a ton of trips to the free throw line, with second-team All-CUSA Jason Maxiell and third-teamer Eric Hicks being the main cause of both. Cincinnati's offense is loosely similar to Michigan State's in that they both get a lot of offensive rebounds and shoot a lot of free throws, but that's about where it ends. Cincy is just an average free throw shooting team and has no consistent shooters. Their prowess on the offensive glass looks intimidating at first, but I'm comforted by the rebounding job Iowa did against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament.

As with that game, my main suggestion is to play Doug Thomas as much as his foul situation will allow, as Erek Hansen would likely be overmatched by Cincy's big guys. I know I say that before every game, but it's especially applicable this time. Hicks and Maxiell run about 240 and 250 lbs, respectively, and I don't think the 210 lb Praying Mantis can keep from getting pushed around against them. Another suggestion I've read is for Iowa to play a zone defense to limit the big guys's touches and make Cincinnati beat them from downtown. That seems reasonable, though I would worry about Maxiell and Hicks cleaning house on the glass if Iowa's players didn't know who they were blocking out.

Iowa's offense is fueled by frequent trips to the line and some solid three-point shooting, as Jeff Horner and Adam Haluska are at 41% and 40% on the season, respectively. I'm always a little suprised to see Iowa ranked so low in three attempts as a percentage of field goal attempts - it seems like they shoot a lot of threes when I watch in person, but I guess Horner and Haluska are the only two guys on the team taking more than 1.5 threes a game. Iowa's offensive rebound rate seems misleadingly low to me - they played Hansen a lot of minutes earlier in the season, but their rate has improved throughout the season as Thomas ate away at Hansen's playing time. You might be surprised to know that the Hawks were actually third in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding - these guys can hold their own when Thomas is on the floor.

Defense
Team....................Def Eff......adjFG%....TO/poss....Dreb Rt.....FTA/FGA.....3A/FGA.....3pt%
Cincinnati..................95...........0.428.........0.210........0.650..........0.292..........0.336.......0.341
Iowa..........................99...........0.472.........0.225........0.675...........0.341..........0.318......0.344

Cincinnati certainly doesn't allow any easy scoring - that adjFG% is very low. Maxiell and Hicks block a lot of shots down low, but neither of them commits many fouls, so opponents don't get a lot of free throw attempts. Despite their reputation as a good rebounding team, the Bearcats give up a lot of offensive rebounds, even more than Iowa, if you can believe that (yes, I double and triple-checked the numbers). That seems to be about the only hole in their defense, so hopefully Greg and Doug can sneak in with a few offensive putbacks. Any other baskets will likely be tough to come by.

What worries me about Iowa's defense in this game is the propensity of their big guys to foul. Maxiell and Hicks draw a ton of fouls, and Thomas, Hansen, Seth Gorney and Alex Thompson are all hack-tastic. The same factors were at work against Michigan State, as the Spartans shot 59 free throws in 2 games against Iowa. Take a look at Cincy's free throw rate for their big men, as compared to a couple familiar Big Ten players -

Player.....................FTA/FGA
Jason Maxiell.............0.916
Eric Hicks..................0.621

Carl Landry...............0.753
Greg Brunner............0.514

For the uninitiated, that figure of 0.916 is a lot. It means that Maxiell has almost as many free throw attempts on the season as he does field goal attempts. Landry was third in the Big Ten (conference games only) in this stat, and he's not even close to Maxiell. If you're not worried yet, here's something to get your knees shaking -

Player......................Fouls/40 min
Doug Thomas.................7.14
Erek Hansen...................6.66
Seth Gorney....................6.32
Alex Thompson...............5.21

Thomas's number might seem a little high now, since he's cut down his fouls a lot in recent games, but he and Hansen still rack up the personals at an alarming rate. Hansen led the Big Ten in this category (for conference games only).

Other than that, I like what Iowa has been able to do on the defensive glass with Brunner and Thomas in the game. I think Doug's staying out of foul trouble and in the game will be an important factor for Iowa's defense and the end result of the game.

Coming tomorrow (Tuesday) - a detailed breakdown of the players on each team.

Also, I hear there will be a tournament preview Tuesday at The Juice Blog that you'll want to check out.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
 
We're In!
Iowa was selected as the 10 seed in the Austin regional of the NCAA Tournament. They'll face the Cincinnati Bearcats in Indianapolis on Thursday. Hmmm, a game only 360 miles away....during spring break.....possible connections for housing.....this has all the makings of a good road trip!

Make sure to check back during the week for previews of the upcoming game.
 
Now We Wait
Saturday's last-second loss to Wisconsin drops Iowa to 21-11 on the season. Most years that's good enough for an at-large bid, but given Iowa's 7-9 conference record and the Pierce situation, nothing will be certain until the brackets are announced later tonight. Most of the national media seems to be leaning toward Iowa earning a berth in the tournament. The clock will no doubt be moving slowly in this apartment on Sunday - hope you can find a decent way to pass the time.

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