Big Ten Wonk
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
BONUS Final Four edition PPWS!
There's no trick to putting up a nice number for points per game (PPG). Just shoot a lot. But who would get the most points from the same number of shots?

To answer that question we turn to the handy stat known as points per weighted shot (PPWS), developed cannily by John Hollinger (The Basketball Prospectus) and renamed brazenly by yours truly. Here are the current numbers for every starter and selected key reserves in the Final Four:

Scoring efficiency: PPWS
1. Joakim Noah, Florida (1.32)
2. Lee Humphrey, Florida (1.31)
3. Tyrus Thomas, LSU (1.26)
4. Ryan Hollins, UCLA (1.25)
5. Al Horford, Florida (1.24)
6. Arron Afflalo, UCLA (1.22)
7. Cedric Bozeman, UCLA (1.21)
8. Folarin Campbell, George Mason (1.18)
9. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA (1.18)
10. Taurean Green, Florida (1.18)
11. Will Thomas, George Mason (1.17)
12. Lamar Butler, George Mason (1.16)
13. Jai Lewis, George Mason (1.15)
14. Corey Brewer, Florida (1.14)
15. Darrel Mitchell, LSU (1.14)
16. Glen Davis, LSU (1.10)
17. Tony Skinn, George Mason (1.08)
18. Darnell Lazare, LSU (1.07)
19. Jordan Farmar, UCLA (1.04)
20. Walter Hodge, Florida (1.04)
21. Tasmin Mitchell, LSU (1.03)
22. Darren Collison, UCLA (1.00)
23. Gabe Norwood, George Mason (0.99)
24. Garrett Temple, LSU (0.88)

The numbers back up what our eyes tell us: Lee Humphrey notwithstanding, this Final Four is heavy on the frontcourt. Fans who like their hoops old-school--light on the threes and heavy on the post moves--are in for a treat this weekend.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
The latest on the Indiana coaching search: no news. (Tom Crean, for one, says he hasn't been contacted.) In the Big XII they move faster (see Iowa State, Kansas State, and Missouri) but with no other major programs competing with the Hoosiers for top candidates, it now appears IU athletic director Rick Greenspan may sit tight until after the Final Four.

Michigan plays Old Dominion tonight in Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the NIT. Daniel Horton says any criticism of his coach, Tommy Amaker, is off-base: "It bothers me, because it's not on him. The team didn't perform like we should have." ODU coach Blaine Taylor says his team won't be intimidated by the Wolverines. (Well, duh.)

It's official: Minnesota guard Rico Tucker will not return to the Gophers next year. The San Diego native intends to transfer to another program, perhaps one closer to home.

COMING tomorrow....
It's a Final Four Week tradition! This blog's annual helpful suggestion on what would truly be in society's best interest as regards a certain CBS Sports basketball analyst's schedule of activities for the weekend. Tune in tomorrow!

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Who's a mid-major?
Love your site, but what's up with:

"George Mason (the team) beat the Huskies 86-84 in OT yesterday to become the first mid-major to reach the Final Four since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985."

How are we defining "mid-major" these days? Was UMass from a "major"? How about UNLV? Don't you really mean "George Mason is the first crappy team from a non big six conference to reach the Final Four"?

Actually, replace the word "crappy" with "underfunded" and that's precisely what I mean. The idea that 1-seeds blessed with the likes of Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, and Marcus Camby were scrappy mid-majors is novel, to say the least.

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