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Offseason Basketball Wonkery, Part I

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Well, as the excitement of the season has wound down, the hype machine for the Hoosiers is taking off, and I find myself with a little time, I’ve started putting together some statistical wonkery to look back at the Big Ten season that was, with an eye towards next year. I’ll have some top 25 lists to follow this, and a look at returning starters to come shortly, too. Although, it’d probably be wise to allow some time to let the NBA declarations and transfers shake out, I suppose.

I ran the efficiency statistics for the conference games, and rated the players by position again. One of the most interesting things I found was that I was constantly having to put guards like Zack Novak, Joe Bertrand, DJ Byrd, and Matt Glover should be placed as "power forwards" or not (mostly, yes). The Big Ten coaches liked the small ball this year, I guess. Full-on wonking below the jump:

I've taken the box scores from the Big Ten’s 108 conference games and run them through my player efficiency ratings to determine the individual worth of 131 players. For the findings below, I trimmed anyone who played less than 10 possessions per game to eliminate outliers. So that has cut the number of players listed below down to a "tidy" 105. I have not included the pre-conference numbers (found here) or post-season play numbers (and yes, that excludes the B1G conference tourney numbers as well).

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

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.

Mean 11.1, .2934
Median 10.8, .2901

With outliers included
Mean 9.3, .2733
Median 8.6, .2771

Illinois (17-15/6-12)
Quick thoughts:
Meyers Leonard was indeed a force in the middle, and Brandon Paul was also a pretty reliable producer from whatever position you’d want to stick him in, but the Illini unfortunately had the least efficient backcourt in the conference, with former conference FOY DJ Richardson coming in last among all starters, and behind even inefficient bench gunners like Josh Oglesby and Ben Brust. Frosh Tracey Abrams was expected to start for a starting position, but showed little when pressed into action after senior transfer Maniscalco couldn’t overcome his injuries. Also, it’s probably a bit unfair to grade Joe Bertrand as a power forward, but those really were the minutes he was taking. And also, he finished neatly between other converted fours like Zack Novak and Matt Glover.

Leonard, Meyers 20.9/0.3967 #3C
Paul, Brandon 20.3/0.3513 #3SF
Bertrand, Joseph 11/0.2747 #10PF
Griffey,Tyler 4.5/0.2489
Henry, Myke 3.3/0.2387
Abrams, Tracy 8.2/0.2071 #12PG
Maniscalco, Sam 5.1/0.1902
Egwu, Nnanna 2.6/0.1781
Richardson, DJ 8.9/0.1581 #12SG

Indiana (27-9/11-7)
Quick thoughts:
Cody Zeller was indeed a big splash in the conference, but the improvement of Oladipo (and to a lesser extent, Sheehey) was as Jack Donaghy might say "the third heat" in the mix that moved Indiana up the ladder rather quickly. I said before the season that Verdell Jones was likely the only player to get a sniff of a top-three ranking, but I had forgotten about Oladipo, who alongside Zeller, pleasantly surprised me. But look at Verdell Jones’ rank (with his worst-ever efficiency rating), especially alongside Hulls’ almost identical rating. Switching their positions would still mean that the Hoosiers had the fourth-best shooting guard. And although Hulls and Watford’s ranks weren’t great in-conference, they both played pretty well in the post-season and look like they’ll be solid pieces. Indeed, it would be odd to look at this roster and point to Hulls and Watford as the weak links, but it also shows the value of racking up some defensive statistics.

Zeller, Cody 22.3/0.4831 #2C
Oladipo, Victor 17.1/0.3771 #2SF
Watford, Christian 15.3/0.3109 #8PF
Sheehey, Will 8.6/0.3109
Jones, Verdell 12.3/0.2989 #4SG
Hulls, Jordan 15.1/0.2966 #8PG
Elston, Derek 5.3/0.2645
Pritchard, Tom 4.3/0.2532
Roth, Matt 5.6/0.2459

Iowa (18-17/8-10)
Quick thoughts:
How about the unheralded Aaron White posting efficiency numbers just behind Shurna & Hummel? That really took the edge off Basabe’s disappointing year. And of course, one has to mention Matt Gatens’ stellar finish as the top shooter in the conference. I would absolutely pick him as one of my top five conference players - can you imagine if Tim Frazier and Gatens shared a backcourt? The downside of the efficiency ratings for the Hawkeyes come in the form of their depth, as May & Oglesby didn’t add much if they weren’t hitting threes, and that’s not great news as their minutes are likely to be expanded next season.

White, Aaron 17.8/0.3958 #4PF
Basabe, Melsahn 10.8/0.3457
Gatens, Matt 20.5/0.3452 #1SG
Marble, Devyn 18.1/0.3336 #5SF
McCabe, Zach 11.3/0.3062 #10C
Cartwright, Bryce 11.4/0.2935 #9PG
May, Eric 4.3/0.2067
Oglesby, Josh 5.1/0.1651

Michigan (24-10/13-5)
Quick thoughts:
I decided to go ahead and put Douglass into the starting line-up (and despite his historical inefficiency, he had a pretty great year). In the end, it seemed that Smotrycz was getting only a handful of possessions (at best) at the four-spot, and really coach Beilien had plugged in Novak back at power forward. Despite other chatter around the internetz, I actually don’t blame Smotrycz for transferring. He showed he could play for the first half of the season, and got less and less minutes as the season went on. With blue-chippers Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III coming on and Al Horford returning, it seemed pretty unlikely that his minutes would increase next season. That said, I don’t think there’s another prototypical Beilien big man on the roster excepting Blake McLimans, and the latest reports on McGary is that he looks more like Ben Cronin, i.e. not the most mobile center. Michigan’s going to be good, sure, but may also encounter a bit of a learning curve, especially in conference play. Also, check out Hardaway’s efficiency - I know he shifted his game outside more, but Matt Vogrich had better numbers. Wow.


Burke, Trey 20.8/0.3809 #5PG
Morgan, Jordan 12.9/0.3399 #7C
Novak, Zach 14.8/0.3042 #9PF
Smotrycz, Evan 8.6/0.2974
Douglass, Stu 13.3/0.2771 #6SG
Vogrich, Matt 4.1/0.2713
Hardaway Jr, Tim 14/0.2674 #11SF

Michigan State (29-8/13-5)
Quick thoughts:
I’m glad Draymond Green, the darling of my per-possession efficiency statistics for a few years now, got the accolades he deserved. I wish him well in his career in the NBA, and am glad he won’t be back to keep the Spartans on a championship course again. Also, I’ve said it before, but Branden Dawson had a really good year. The timeline for Dawson’s injury and eventual recovery should help Izzo recover some of his better-in-the-postseason mystique next year. If he doesn’t leave, Dawson could be B1G POY in 2014. Next season, look for the PayneNix combo to be the only center that really bothers Zeller. However, Izzo is going to have to lean heavily on his freshmen next season, as there’s not a ton of depth here.

Green, Draymond 29.4/0.5581 #1PF
Dawson, Branden 14.4/0.4557 #1SF
Payne, Adriean 10.3/0.3856 #4C
Nix, Derrick 11.5/0.3777
Appling, Keith 17.4/0.3478 #7PG
Thornton, Austin 11.2/0.3092
Wood, Brandon 10.5/0.2513 #9SG
Kearney, Brandon 3.4/0.2281
Trice, Travis 4.9/0.2094

Minnesota (23-15/6-12)
Quick thoughts:
The stars of the NIT run, Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins, return next season. You may have heard that Trevor Mbakwe is coming back after a medical redshirt year, as is Mo Walker, and with development of Elliot Elliason, the Gophers shouldn’t miss Ralph Sampson next year. However, despite the fact that Chip Armelin was never going to make the starting five, I think he was a rather efficient force off the bench, kind of like Marcus Green used to be for Purdue. I mentioned it passing last year, but Armelin just seemed to make good things happen for the Gophers when he was on the floor, and the efficiency stats bear that out. I don’t think his transfer will cripple Tubby’s team or anything, but I’ll just posit that you might see Armelin make a splash on his new team.

Welch, Julian 16.9/0.4214 #3PG
Elliason, Elliot 8.6/0.4105
Williams, Rodney 19.6/0.3879 #5PF
Sampson, Ralph 13.9/0.3665 #6C
Armelin, Chip 7.7/0.3486
Hollins, Austin 13.3/0.3127 #8SF
Coleman, Joe 8.4/0.2634 #7SG
Hollins, Andre 6.9/0.2468
Otosenieks, Oto 3.9/0.2266
Ahanmisi, Maverick 4.1/0.1903

Nebraska (12-18/4-14)
Quick thoughts:
It was a little disappointing to see the sad end of the Doc Sadler era at Nebraska, but on the other hand, it wasn’t that said as the Hoosiers have learned to not overlook the Huskers in the future (I hope). There wasn’t a lot of good news to be found in the efficiency stats, other than a healthy Dylan Talley should easily replace the surprisingly efficient Brandon Richardson at the two-guard slot. And Brandon Ubel eventually adapted to life in the paint in the conference, and should have more help next season. The perimeter crew outside of Richardson and Talley was pretty bad though, I can’t understand bloggers who mention Bo Spencer like he was some sort of highlight of the season - he missed a ton of shots, and didn’t really add anything else for Huskers. I don’t think that he or Caleb Walker will be missed next season.

Richardson, Brandon 16.7/.03348 #2SG
Ubel, Brandon 13.8/0.3264 #8C
Talley, Dylan 12.2/0.3187
McCray, Toney 12.2/0.2661 #11PF
Spencer, Bo 12.3/0.2491 #11PG
Diaz, Jorge Brian 8.5/0.2331
Walker, Caleb 8.9/0.2165 #12SF
Fox, Mike 3.6/0.2058

Northwestern (19-14/8-10)
Quick thoughts:
Kudos have to go to John Shurna for not only posting one of the highest efficiency ratings, becoming NU’s first 2,000+ point scorer, but also winning the national three-point contest. Drew Crawford has skills, but his efficiency rating was not great, and neither was "surprise" frosh Dave Sobolewski. They played a lot of minutes, but walk-on Reggie Hearn was actually the most efficient guard. It really makes me doubt that, even given the windfall of transfers/likely starters Jared Swopshire and Nikola Cerina, the Wildcats have what it takes to get to the NCAA tourney next season. If Cobb and Demps are truly healthy and can earn major minutes, who knows? I am surprised that Curletti stayed so high in the efficiency ratings despite kind of tanking after that great MSU game.

Shurna, John 27.2/0.4676 #2PF
Curletti, David 12.2/0.3832 #6C
Crawford, Drew 16.6/0.3101 #9SF
Marcotullio, Alex 10/0.2947
Hearn, Reggie 12.6/0.2931 #5SG
Mirkovic, Luka 6.6/0.2901
Sobolewski, David 15.4/0.2749 #10PG
Cobb, JerShon 5.4/0.1879

Ohio State (31-8/13-5)
Quick thoughts:
Sullinger was the best pivot in the conference, and will unsurprisingly be taking his game to the NBA. I’m a little surprised that both JD Weatherspoon and Jordan Sibert transferred, it seemed like there’d be more opportunities for them next season, but maybe they just saw the writing on the wall and decided to transfer to a coach who actually plays his bench. That’s not entirely fair, as Matta played his bench more often this season than last, but the guys likely to get more time next season (barring some last minute recruiting) are Evan Ravenel, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson, and my early pick for 2013 B1G Defensive POY, Amir Williams. Williams didn’t play enough minutes to qualify in the rankings (barely) but he stayed at the top of the per-possession efficiencies throughout the conference season at an amazing .6014! I’m guessing that he’ll be like Dallas Lauderdale next season, a "surprise" starter and defensive menace.

Sullinger, Jared 25.6/0.4909 #1C
Craft, Aaron 19.7/0.3729 #6PG
Thomas, Deshaun 17.4/0.3635 #7PF
Smith, Lenzelle 14.1/0.3229 #7SF
Buford, William 16.8/0.3008 #3SG
Ravenel, Evan 4/0.2897
Weatherspoon, JD 2.8/0.2656
Scott, Shannon 3.8/0.2089
Thompson, Sam 4.1/0.1979
Sibert, Jordan 2.2/0.1569

Penn State (12-20/4-14)
Quick thoughts:
Tim Frazier was not only the best point guard in terms of per-game production, but also in per-possession ratings as well. Imagine if next season that he shows up with an improved three-point jumper and some teammates that can actually hit lay-ups or jumpers as well. Jermaine Marshall was actually okay, and would be better if transfer DJ Newbill can take on the slashing role. Also, Ross Travis needs more minutes, but I don’t know what coach Chambers is going to do about the 5-spot unless Borovnjak suddenly sprouts wings or Jon Graham grows two more inches over the summer. Still, the Nittany Lions should not be last next season.


Frazier, Tim 23.9/0.4557 #1PG
Travis, Ross 7.9/0.2861
Marshall, Jermaine 12.4/0.2747 #10SF
Graham, Jon 7.2/0.2459 #12C
Woodyard, Cameron 9.6/0.2343 #10SG
Glover, Matt 7.8/0.2166 #12PF
Borovnjak, Sasa 5.4/0.2133
Collela, Nick 4.9/0.1508
Oliver, Billy 4.6/0.1361
Lewis, Trey 2.9/0.1189

Purdue (22-13/10-8)
Quick thoughts:
Robbie Hummel is only the third-best power forward in the league, but that is deceptive as he is probably in the top four overall. Also, Robbie spent a lot of time at center in conference with DJ Byrd filling in at power forward down the stretch, but I’m keeping Travis Carroll as the starter for comparison’s sake (and to show how badly AJ Hammons is needed here). Outside of Elliot Elliason, tho, DJ Byrd was the conference’s best bench player, and should be a star for the Boilers next season. Terone Johnson showed the ability to but not the consistency, while Anthony Johnson’s got a long way to go. Hummel was the star and the story of the year, but I think Purdue fans are really going to miss LewJack next season as his numbers were quietly excellent all season long. Ryne Smith had a bit of reversion to the mean after a great season last year, and Kelsey Barlow was actually playing pretty poorly by the time he got the boot.


Hummel, Robbie 24.8/0.4667 #3PF
Jackson, Lewis 19.4/0.4519 #2PG
Byrd, DJ 14.4/0.3782
Johnson, Terone 12.6/0.3292 #6SF
Carroll, Travis 8.4/0.2809 #11C
Smith, Ryne 10.1/0.2083 #11SG
Barlow, Kelsey 10.6/0.1977
Lawson, Jacob 2.9/0.1938
Johnson, Anthony 3.9/0.1836

Wisconsin (26-10/12-6)
Quick thoughts:
A sweet 16 performance rounded out a pretty great career for Jordan Taylor. His numbers weren’t fantastic this season, but I would still probably pick him first over any other B1G point. Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz’s solid efficiency numbers are the good news for the Badgers, although the last month has made me more pessimistic about their chances in 2012-2013 than I had been. First, next season’s likely starters Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, and Jared Berggren’s numbers all ended up being rather unimpressive. Second, Frank Kaminsky got a rare chance in the postseason to prove his worth and fell flat. And finally, the Uthoff transfer situation is just ugly. That said, there’s a lot of experience back for next season, Sam Dekker looks like an impact recruit, and Bo Ryan always turns out winners.


Taylor, Jordan 20.9/0.3889 #4PG
Evans, Ryan 17.1/0.3657 #6PF
Bruesewitz, Mike 13.8/0.3448 #4SF
Kaminksy, Frank 3.5/0.3308
Berggren, Jared 13.1/0.3216 #9C
Gasser, Josh 13.7/0.2584 #8SG
Wilson, Rob 3.9/0.2546
Brust, Ben 4.7/0.1627

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