Big Ten Wonk
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
BONUS Sweet 16 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 the most efficient scorers in the Sweet 16:

Scoring efficiency: PPWS top 20
1. Lee Humphrey, Florida (1.35)
2. Joakim Noah, Florida (1.33)
3. Mike Gansey, West Virginia (1.32)
4. J.P. Batista, Gonzaga (1.30)
5. Josh McRoberts, Duke (1.29)
6. Hilton Armstrong, Connecticut (1.29)
7. J.J. Redick, Duke (1.28)
8. Darrel Owens, Georgetown (1.27)
9. Shelden Williams, Duke (1.27)
10. Louis Hinnant, Boston College (1.27)
11. Ryan Appleby, Washington (1.26)
12. Sean Ogirri, Wichita State (1.26)
13. Tyrus Thomas, LSU (1.25)
14. Al Horford, Florida (1.25)
15. Ryan Hollins, UCLA (1.25)
16. Roy Hibbert, Georgetown (1.25)
17. Cedric Bozeman, UCLA (1.24)
18. Arron Afflalo, UCLA (1.23)
19. Brandon Roy, Washington (1.22)
20. Tyrese Rice, Boston College (1.22)

Other notables....
Adam Morrison, Gonzaga (1.21)
LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas (1.20)
Kevin Pittsnoggle, West Virginia (1.20)
Craig Smith, Boston College (1.20)
Patrick O'Bryant, Bradley (1.17)
Jared Dudley, Boston College (1.16)
Jai Lewis, George Mason (1.16)
Rashad Anderson, Connecticut (1.14)
Allan Ray, Villanova (1.14)
P.J. Tucker, Texas (1.13)
Josh Boone, Connecticut (1.13)
Derek Ravio, Gonzaga (1.12)
Daniel Gibson, Texas (1.12)
Paul Miller, Wichita State (1.11)
Glen Davis, LSU (1.10)
Brandon Bowman, Georgetown (1.08)
Randy Foye, Villanova (1.07)
Rudy Gay, Connecticut (1.07)
Jordan Farmar, UCLA (1.06)
Jeff Green, Georgetown (1.03)
Marcellus Sommerville, Bradley (1.02)

Note that Duke's three leading scorers--J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, and Josh McRoberts--are all among the ten most efficient scorers left in the dance. That is Illinois-in-2005-like. Volume and efficiency--nice combination, that.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby says his annual sit-down with Steve Alford will occur soon because "there are a lot of issues to talk about." Indeed there are. Behind's "Insider" wall for paid subscribers like me (who coughed up the dough only when it became necessary to continue to read Kyle Whelliston and Ken Pomeroy), Andy Katz is citing the inevitable "source close to the process" as saying the Indiana coaching search committee (there's a search committee? did we know this?) will start calling candidates this week. "Expect Alford and Orlando Magic assistant Randy Wittman to get a call," Katz says, "along with another secret candidate (could be someone like Marquette's Tom Crean or West Virginia's John Beilein)." For his part Alford likely won't be hiring Iowa City Press-Citizen columnist Pat Harty as his agent anytime soon. Harty says Alford had better hope Greenspan "has an open mind and is willing to overlook the fact that Iowa only has one NCAA tournament victory during [Alford's] seven seasons as head coach." (Katz also says Iowa State is looking at Northern Iowa coach Greg McDermott. I say if the Cyclones are smart they'll grab McDermott before Iowa has an opening to backfill....ISU is also reportedly talking to former Wisconsin assistant and first-year Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter.)

Michigan beat Notre Dame 87-84 in 2 OTs in Ann Arbor in the NIT last night.

Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser is kicking himself for picking three Big Ten teams to make it to the Elite Eight in his brackets.

In today's less extinct-conference-related venues....
Bradley point guard Daniel Ruffin --who says he hasn't "seen any tape" of upcoming Sweet 16 opponent Memphis yet--is the half-brother of former Indiana star A.J. Guyton. And yet even Guyton didn't pick the Braves to beat Kansas in his brackets? Where's the love, half-brother?...Speaking of Memphis, salute to dueling Tiger point guards Darius Washington, Jr., and Andre Allen here.

In Fairfax, VA, the statue of George Mason (the 18th century person) now wears a George Mason (the team) jersey. It's Patriot fever, baby!

Life is good for Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon: "I'm so proud, so happy Wichita State is getting all this publicity, because it deserves it. We have the greatest fans in the world out here. We sell out every night, and it's going to be even harder getting tickets next year." Andy Katz of salutes Turgeon here.

Profile of Boston College big man John Oates here.

LSU coach John Brady says guarding Duke's J.J. Redick will require a team effort: "We’re going to probably put a couple of different guys on him....Collectively, we’ve got to have a good team defensive effort on him." At this morning, Jeff Goodman says: sure, Redick is a great player. But can he come up big in late March?

Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley says Florida 's seven-game winning streak proves the Gators "have figured out how to expand a lead."

Texas coach Rick Barnes says North Carolina State fans should count themselves fortunate for having the seemingly perpetually hot-seated Herb Sendek as their coach. (Barnes and Sendek go way back.)

Salute to Washington freshmen Justin Dentmon and Jon Brockman here.

Salute to Villanova freshmen Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark here.

Connecticut guard Rashad Anderson says, yes, he's noticed that the 2, 3, and 4 seeds in the Huskies' bracket are all long gone: "I wouldn't say it's wide open. But I know we aren't going to lose."

BONUS surprisingly ACC-heavy edition of Wonk back!
Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!

An indecent proposal

Your genius is wasted on this fallow excuse for a basketball conference. It is a tribute to your skill that you can make the Big Ten interesting but you're like Da Vinci painting on a napkin with lipstick. Sure, the smile is enigmatic, but in the end the materials are still suboptimal.

You can do better. Defect to the ACC. Come to a league with more offense, more possessions per game, more recent titles, and less football. You'll get to hate on K and Roy (really, who in the BigTeleven is hateable?) while still having plenty of the downtrodden to pity. (Northwestern has no drama, they just stink. Clemson and Virginia have aspirations of greatness that are annually crushed in dramatic fashion.)

If you're in need of a specific team to adopt to replace Illinois, I recommend Wake--they have history (but not so much as to make their fans unbearable) and they have potential (attractive campus to recruit to). And the gap between this year and last year would have provided fascinating fodder. I have personally enjoyed being a Duke fan, but it isn't very intellectually challenging, nor has there been much strength-through-suffering of late, so it might not appeal to you.

So, yeah, come to the ACC. At least for the rest of the month--the grass is greener in North Carolina by now, I guarantee it.

Luis V.

You make some compelling arguments, Luis. But how am I to know if the grass is truly greener? I can't even see the grass here in the Twin Cities. It's still under a foot of snow. On March 21. (Sigh.)

Nah, just messing with you....I could never defect. Charter Big Ten member Illinois is in my DNA. I was there as an undergrad and for grad school both! I met my wife there! My parents went there! I'll defect in a Thad Matta-outta-Xavier minute for a large amount of cash! (Oops, that last one kind of slipped out.)

Log cabin and hard cider fever--catch it!
Little did I know that posting about the presidential election of 1840 would elicit almost as much email as posting about Michigan State's defense. Apparently I should have made the thematic jump much sooner.

Many, many of you wrote to say that I should focus my attention not on William Henry Harrison or Martin Van Buren but rather on James Polk, to wit....

I’m more of a 1844 kinda guy, with some help from They Might Be Giants

Marc M.

I have to admit to having a certain admiration for any pop group that can work a reference to the Independent Treasury into a catchy little tune. (Though the lads err when they say Polk "built" said institution. What, no love for former President Van Buren, father of the first Independent Treasury? O, the injustice!)

Still more support for a "Polk Wonk" in this space:

Now that the Tar Heels are gone from the tournament and there is no more season, I can tearfully reply to your venture into 1840s elections.

James K. Polk was the only UNC alumnus to serve as President and, I am certain, the only president to fulfill all of his campaign pledges. His only pledge seems to have been to go to war with Mexico if he could not get cession of the southwest in any other fashion. So Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant got an opportunity at live fire exercises for the domestic dustup to come.

Mr. Polk was a protege and legatee of Andrew Jackson and the political machine that Jackson headed. We at UNC attribute (wishfully and probably in error) the deep jingoism and rabid racism of Mr. Polk to his time in Tennessee. Surely our great university sent him into the world with a better ethic than the one he later displayed.

At least we are not saddled (like Dook) with the Trick! Talk about ignominy!

And doesn't Yale have much to atone?

Jerry H.

Thanks, Jerry. But I propose to keep my focus on 1840. I think "The Simpsons" put it best when, during Springfield Elementary's Presidents Day pageant, the second graders sang the following ditty:

We are the mediocre Presidents.
You won't find our faces on dollars or on cents.
There's Taylor, there's Tyler, there's Fillmore, and there's Hayes.
There's William Henry Harrison: "I died in 30 days!"

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