B1G pre-conference games player efficiency ratings, or Cody Cody Cody!

BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 19: Cody Zeller#40 of the Indiana Hoosiers dunks the ball during the game against the Howard Bison at Assembly Hall on December 19, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana won 107-50. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


First, my apologies to my colleagues as this took a little longer than I expected. Cody Zeller is the surprise story here, jumping up to be the top player in per-game and per-possession effective production, beating out Jared Sullinger by a significant margin. However, Sullinger should still be favorite for B1G POY due to OSU's ability to sit him out to get him rested and ready for conference play. And Zeller is likely to find life in the paint a little rougher during Big Ten play, and will need some time to adapt. Still, this is great news for Hoosier fans, who haven't had a player even in the top ten mix since DJ White left.

What am I talking about? Well, I've taken the box scores from 142 players from all 12 teams over 151 games and run them through my player efficiency ratings. For the findings below, I again trimmed anyone who played less than 12 possessions per game to eliminate outliers, and also cut Trevor Mbakwe, Crandall Head, and Tre Demps as we won't be seeing them in conference play. So that has cut the number of players listed below down to a "tidy" 116. After viewing these to get a sense of where these players were at the start of pre-conference play, we can throw these numbers out to start assessing their head-to-head performances in conference play. Speaking of, this doesn't take into account the numbers from the first two or so conference games that everyone just played. Also, this isn't adjusted for strength of schedule, but Ohio State probably had the roughest schedule and still looks the best by these numbers - so go figure that they lose their first conference road game.

Team by team listing of players and quick commentary is below the jump:


Terminology
IPSPG = individual possessions per game, or how many possessions
EPtotal= the total Effective Production of the player to date
EPPG= Effective Production Per Game
EPPS= Effective Production Per poSsesion
The what and why can be found here, but in a nutshell, I try to value each players' contributions (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) and efficiency (how many missed shots, turnovers, etc.) The full worksheet with all 142 players can be found here.

Per-possession production:
Mean .3471, Median .3335
Per-game production: Mean 12.2, Median 11.3
So, say that your player is around 11.8/.3400, that's doing pretty decent. Above that is pretty good, and significantly below that is cause for concern.


Illinois
Quick thoughts:
Meyers Leonard does look good overall, but he is the one and only Illini player that is above-average in per-possession efficiency. He's got the build and enough experience to bang with conference foes, but won't opposing defenses just collapse on him and try to make guys like Paul & Maniscalco beat them? Maniscalco has slumped lately, but I was most surprised at how low sub Joseph Bertrand's numbers were, even after a 9-for-9 shooting performance against Missouri. There's definitely some athletes among the freshmen bench players, but they sure aren't contributing much at the moment. This where my doubts about Bruce Weber's team start to gain some evidence - there's too many turnovers, too few assists, and too many threes- over a third of their total shots despite only shooting 31.5%. That's trouble.

Name EPPG/EPPS

Leonard, Meyers 26.3/.5557 3C
Paul, Brandon 15.3/.3286 9SF
Richardson, DJ 16.9/.3206 6SG
Egwu, Nnanna 5.3/.3192
Maniscalco, Sam 14.5/.3173 11PG
Griffey,Tyler 11.7/.3122 11PF
Bertrand, Joseph 6.2/.3012
Abrams, Tracy 5.6/.2261
Shaw, Mike 2.3 /.1502

Indiana
Quick thoughts:
Cody Zeller is the pre-conference player of the year, in my rankings. He's boosted by an amazing blocked shot/steal combo (Luke Winn talked about his surprising knack for steals here), he shoots very well from the floor while hitting the glass on both sides of the floor. Just amazing. Victor Oladipo has a made a nice jump to be one of the better small forwards, also, and Christian Watford's numbers are recovering from an injury-depressed rough start. Surprising numbers here are from the bench, which I've been concerned about recently - Remy Abell is the top bench guard in the conference in terms of per-possession efficiency, and Matt Roth is posting a better rating than William Buford or Brandon Wood. Those ratings aren't likely to last in conference play, but I would be interested in Abell getting a few more minutes now that Sheehey is out. He seems to play decent defense and has been hitting a lot of shots - what else would you want from a sub?

Name EPPG/EPPS
Zeller, Cody 30.4/.6264 1C
Oladipo, Victor 19.7/.4599 4SF
Abell, Remy 6.7/.4306
Hulls, Jordan 18.9/.3838 7PG
Roth, Matt 5.3/.3823
Elston, Derek 8.9/.3784
Watford, Christian 15.9/.3604 7PF
Sheehey, Will 12.3/.3497
Etherington, Austin 4.1/.3249
Jones, Verdell 13.9/.3061 9SG
Moore, Daniel 3.9/.3025
Pritchard, Tom 4.5/.2559

Iowa
Quick thoughts:

Iowa had a generally terrible preconference season, but still comes into B1G play with a winning record. Devyn Marble's greatly improved performace has landed him the starting point guard position, displacing Bryce Cartwright. I'd like to mention that Cartwright didn't look all that great before conference play last season, but caught fire somewhere around the game at Indiana and looked pretty good coming into this season. Perhaps that was just an aberration, or maybe he'll start playing great in conference games again this year. Also, I'm not really sure if Melsahn Basabe (who's starting to recover a little from a horrid start) or Zach McCabe is the defacto center, but in any case McCabe is exceeding expectations. Also, frosh Aaron White appears to be living up to the promise he showed in exhibition games, and Matt Gatens is still doing pretty well at scoring guard, despite drawing more attention defensively after a hot start.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Marble, Devyn 19.9/.4679 2PG
White, Aaron 12.2/.4032
McCabe, Zach 14/.3922 7C
Gatens, Matt 19.6/.3438 4SG
May, Eric 12.4/.3389 7SF
Basabe, Melsahn 12.7/.3259 10PF
Oglesby, Josh 10.2/.3082
Brommer, Andrew 7.7/.3076
Cartwright, Bryce 12.1/.2967
Archie, Devon 4.7/.2661

Michigan
Quick thoughts:
Evidently Jon Horford has a foot injury that’s keeping him from playing. Being the most efficient player on the roster (and the second most efficient bench player in conference!) that hurts a bit.Tim Hardaway's standing has been depressed quite a bit by his mild three-point shooting, while Smotrycz is putting up frankly jaw-dropping numbers (compared to his .2158 in-conference performance last year) largely due to a newly-found ability to grab defensive rebounds as well as hitting 55% of his threes. And Trey Burke is posting very good numbers per-game, but has a relatively mediocre per-possession rating among starting point guards - not to diminish his future value, he's doing much better than Darius Morris (.1667, but performed very well in conference play as a freshman) at this point in their careers.

Name EPPG/EPPS

Horford, Jon 8.6/.4878
Burke, Trey 19.9/.3768 8PG
Smotrycz, Evan 19.1/.4869 5PF
Hardaway, Tim 16.4/.3289 8SF
Morgan, Jordan 11.3/.3281 9C
Novak, Zach 18.7/.3476 11SF
Douglass, Stu 11/.2687
Vogrich, Matt 3.3/.1785

Michigan State
Quick thoughts:
I don’t think anything would make clearer the need to separate out individual per-possession ratings by position than looking at the Spartan backcourt. Brandon Wood & Keith Appling post nearly identical numbers, and yet Appling is the 9th rated starting point guard in the conference while Wood sits atop the shooting guard pile. My system punishes shooters because a lot of their primary value to the offense doesn’t show up in the box score, which is namely creating space for the offense to operate. However, being that eFG numbers tend to reward the guys who stand in the corner and hit threes on offense, I think my system could be utilized as a nice counterweight. Outside of that aside, Draymond Green is posting very good ratings again, and Payne, Nix, and Dawson are starting to look like a pretty imposing frontline. Dawson in particular should be recognized for a good per-possession efficiency as a freshman starter.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Green, Draymond 28/.5046 4PF
Payne, Adriean 14.4/.4598 5C
Dawson, Branden 16/.4372 3SF
Nix, Derrick 13.2/.4323
Wood, Brandon 15.9/.3745 1SG
Appling, Keith 13.8/.3719 9PG
Thornton, Austin 9.7 /.3248
Trice, Travis 10.2/.2947
Byrd, Russell 3.5/.2564
Kearney, Brandon 2.8/.2161

Minnesota
Quick thoughts:
Williams and Sampson are posting great numbers again, for the first time really since Trevor Mbakwe stepped on the court. Is it coincidence that now that he’s out, their games are thriving again? I think not – they clearly are being freed up to do what they’re good at, instead of trying to make room for Mbakwe to operate. One small surprise is that guards Julian Welch and Maverick Ahanmisi have demonstrated competence in non-conference play. The thing that really surprised me, tho, is that Tubby’s team has posted the slowest tempo of any Big Ten team so far (at approximately 63.5 possessions per game). And I never thought I'd say this, but it does look like Ahanmisi should be getting more minutes at point guard, as freshman Andre Hollins doesn't quite have the position down yet.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Williams, Rodney 23.7/.5179 1PF
Sampson, Ralph 16.3/.4937 4C
Ahanmisi, Maverick 10/.3946
Elliason, Elliot. 8.1/.3862
Coleman, Joe 3.7/.3804
Welch, Julian 12.3/.3365 5SG
Armelin, Chip 7.7/.3192
Hollins, Austin 12.3/.3003 11SF
Hollins, Andre 7.1/.2543 12PG
Otosenieks, Oto 4.8/.2556
Ingram, Andre 2.8/.2222

Nebraska
Quick thoughts:
This isn’t the Huskers that I expected to show up to the Big Ten. That said, Bo Spencer is actually doing pretty decently efficiency-wise, given that he’s reprising his LSU role as first option on offense as well as bailout man. Brandon Ubel has actually seen his efficiency rise a little as he’s moved more to a center position while Diaz has been out injured. Dylan Talley saw his numbers plunge as he tried to play through his injury, and now he’s not playing at all. I don't really know what to say here - Doc Sadler just doesn't have a lot of options without Diaz or Talley.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Spencer, Bo 21.1 .3968 5PG
Talley, Dylan 13 /.3797
Ubel, Brandon 16.3/.3492 10PF
McCray, Toney 11.2/.3081 9SF
Diaz, J.Brian 14.8/.3149 10C
Richardson, B. 13.5/.2999 10SG
Walker, Caleb 10.8/.2981
Rivers, David 4/.2302
Moore, Josiah 2.5/.1555

Northwestern

Quick thoughts:
Drew Crawford moved up his efficiency with some stellar shooting, and now he and John Shurna form the best tandem of forwards in the conference. Luka Mirkovic rebounded from a really poor start, and even though Dave Sobolewski’s numbers may just be average, per-possession, he’s absolutely killing it for an unheralded freshman point guard. Sure, Mike Conley posted some great numbers as a freshman point at OSU, but he was a consensus top ten recruit, not a two-star afterthought. Nonetheless, I’d like to see Marcotullio get more time in the backcourt as he’s clearly the most efficient guard on the roster. I guess he has some toe troubles, but even injured he seems pretty decent.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Shurna, John 28.9/.5121 2PF
Crawford, Drew 26.3/.4877 1SF
Mirkovic, Luka 14.3/.3859 8C
Marcotullio, Alex 10.3/.3797
Sobolewski, Dave 18.6/.3438 10PG
Curletti, David 9.4/.3339
Hearn, Reggie 9.8/.2734 11SG
Cobb, JerShon 6.9/.2304

Ohio State
Quick thoughts:
Sullinger looks very good, but the surprises to me are Aaron Craft’s move up the positional charts, and redshirt freshman JD Weatherspoon’s truly exceptional efficiency off the bench. Combine that with Amir Williams' nice performance, and OSU currently has two of the top three most efficient bench players in the league. DeShaun Thomas’ standing is low, but his value to the offense as a three-point shooter will probably continue to keep him out of the paint on offense and lower his relative rank to other power forwards. The only sub-par numbers here are from subs Shannon Scott (and that’s actually a really good per-possession rating for a frosh point, historically) and Jordan Sibert. OSU looks deeper than ever, despite having played one of the toughest slate of games in the conference.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Sullinger, Jared 27.3/.5995 2C
Weatherspoon, JD 7.3/.5806
Craft, Aaron 23.2/.4507 3PG
Williams, Amir 6.8/.4422
Smith, Lenzelle 14.9/.3962 5SF
Ravenel, Evan 8.8 /.3756
Buford, William 20.2/.3656 2SG
Thompson, Sam 6.1/.3556
Thomas, Deshaun 16.6/.3335 9PF
Scott, Shannon 5.7/.3159
Sibert, Jordan 5.5/.2166

Penn State
Quick thoughts:
Tim Frazier’s numbers went down quite a bit as he turned in some really miserable shooting performances. But as I’ve noted before, imagine if he had any help from teammates in creating some space for him to operate or give him credit for an appropriate amount of assists by actually knocking in the occasional shot. The other four starters are all posting the *worst* numbers in the conference at their positions. Ross Travis looks very promising as a freshman, but is largely relegated to a sixth man role so far.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Frazier, Tim 23.1/.3953 6PG
Travis, Ross 9.5/.3257
Graham, Jon 7.1/.2903
Marshall, Jermaine 10.6/.2624 12SF
Borovnjak, Sasa 8.3/.2611 12C
Woodyard, Cameron. 10.4/.2541 12SG
Oliver, Billy 9.8/.2387 12PF
Glover, Matt 7.9/.2025
Lewis, Trey 5.9/.1817

Purdue
Quick thoughts:
Kudos to Lewis Jackson for putting up great efficiency numbers and looking like the top point guard in the conference. He still can’t shoot from deep very well, but that doesn’t seem to slow him down, somehow. Also, Robbie Hummel has seen a very slight uptick in his per-possession efficiency, which suggests he’s not tiring out as has been speculated here. Kelsey Barlow is turning in a pretty good effort, and don't judge the injured DJ Byrd by these numbers - he's only just started to get back up to speed. Jacob Lawson is actually posting prettty good per-possession numbers, similar to Derrick Nix. If only he could stay on the floor.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Jackson, Lewis 20.8/.4955 1PG
Hummel, Robbie 22.8/.4458 6PF
Lawson, Jacob 10.8/.4367
Barlow, Kelsey 17.3 /.4295 4SF
Johnson, Anthony 8.5 /.2994
Johnson, Terone 10.7/.3207
Carroll, Travis 7.5/.2959 11C
Smith, Ryne 14.2/.3189 7SG
Marcius, Sandi 4.2/.2189
Byrd, DJ 3.9/.2106

Wisconsin
Quick thoughts:
Again, these numbers were crunched before the three-point line became a foe to the Badgers, The main things I note here are that Josh Gasser’s efficiency crashed once he started missing the occasional three, and Ryan Evans’ hot start appears to be no fluke. Still, I don’t think that UW can get rolling until Jordan Taylor finds his offense again.There's not a lot of efficiency here in general, but given the success of the Badgers to this point in the season, suggests a team oriented around outside shooting. But if a couple of Bo Ryan's starters begin to falter, there's not a lot of options for him here.

Name EPPG/EPPS
Berggren, Jared 19.7/.4945 4C
Evans, Ryan 20.9/.5119 3PF
Taylor, Jordan 21.2/.4201 4PG
Kaminksy, Frank 5.3/.3987
Bruesewitz, Mike 12.5/.3505 6SF
Brust, Ben 12.3/.3126
Gasser, Josh 14.2/.3111 8SG
Wilson, Rob 3.6/.2255
Jackson, Traevon 2.8/.2157

Thoughts, confusion, or requests for more (or less) analysis? Let me know in the comments!

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