Big Ten Wonk
Saturday, January 15, 2005
COMING Monday....
Updated PPWS numbers for the best and worst of 70-odd Big Ten starters and key reserves. Will Michigan State's Kelvin Torbert still be number 1? Will Illinois' Nick Smith still be anchor-man? Tune in Monday!

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Today's Lafayette Journal and Courier has a special tribute issue dedicated to Purdue coach Gene Keady. The Boilermakers host Indiana today. (Hoosier link here.)

Iowa hosts Minnesota today and the status of Gopher big man Jeff Hagen for the game is still in doubt, after he suffered a concussion Wednesday night in the Purdue game. Gopher wing and former PPWS #1 Brent Lawson is also listed as questionable. (Hawkeye links here and here. Gopher link here.)

Penn State hosts Michigan today. (PSU link here. Wolverine link here.)

Northwestern hosts Illinois today. (Illini links here, here, and here. Wildcat link here.)

Ohio State has a bye on the Big Ten schedule this weekend so they're journeying to warmer climes to play LSU tonight. (Link here.)

Wisconsin hosts Michigan State tomorrow, a game Wonk anticipates eagerly. Badger forward Alando Tucker is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game, having injured his foot in practice last Sunday. He sat out Wednesday's game against Ohio State and practiced with the team for the first time since the injury yesterday. (Additional day-before Badger link here. Day-before Spartan links here and here.)

Latest twist in the Joe Crawford saga: the Kentucky guard is now reported to be returning to campus in Lexington and may possibly rejoin Tubby Smith's team. This after the Detroit native, who had left the Wildcats earlier in the week, was widely believed to be on the brink of enrolling at Michigan State. Stay tuned.

Frank Burlison of the Sporting News asks if we can cut to the chase and just have Illinois and North Carolina play each other for the national championship now.

Wonk back!
Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!

Hi, Wonk,

PPWS is taking hold. Just read a Big Ten review article where the author repeatedly used a "PPSA" stat (points per shot adjusted for free throws) whose results looked very familiar.

Hawkeye Hoops

Thanks, Ryan! Never would have caught that.

Very familiar, indeed. For example, Wonk has posted a 1.26 PPWS for D.J. White. The Big Ten review article gives White a "PPSA" of, um, 1.26. Hmm....

Your intrepid blogger applauds the spread of handy stuff like PPWS throughout a blogosphere without borders and doesn't fret too much about who came up with what and when. At the same time, a decent respect for netiquette goes a long way toward greasing the wheels of stat progress. For PPWS the credits are teachably and happily diverse....

PPWS (points per weighted shot) is an odd name Wonk
coined and applied to a stat created by John Hollinger, author of the Basketball Prospectus. Your intrepid blogger came across Hollinger's stat only because: a) Yoni Cohen maintains an outstanding college basketball blog, one that is nothing less than the central nervous system of college hoops blogs and their readers; and b) when Yoni went on vacation a bright and innovative "guest-blogger" named Ken Weinstein posted a much-discussed mini-essay one day that mentioned this stat.

Wonk loved the stat but didn't care for the name so he slapped "PPWS" on it and started using it. It has since been critiqued intelligently in numerous emails from Ryan at Hawkeye Hoops and put to work under its strange new acronym by that heaviest of hoops-stat heavies, Ken Pomeroy (
here). So success, if it be called that, has in this case had at least five parents.


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