Big Ten Wonk
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Final individual stats
As promised, I've posted the final tempo-free numbers for all Big Ten players averaging more than 15 minutes per game:

Scoring efficiency: PPWS
Rebound percentage
Assists per 100 possessions
Turnovers per 100 possessions

Friday, April 07, 2006
Here's where the story ends
First some old business:

Rutgers 76, Penn State 71. (Box score.)
Minnesota 73, Wake Forest 58. (Box score.)
Cincinnati 76, Minnesota 62. (Box score.)
Michigan 82, UTEP 67. (Box score.)
Michigan 87, Notre Dame 84. (Box score.)
Michigan 71, Miami 65. (Box score.)

And so with these tardy additions, courtesy of the good people at the NIT, I do believe this here blog contained within its figurative covers this year links to every box score for every game played by a Big Ten team. To what end, you ask? Heck if I know. (But devotees of the annales school of history writing were no doubt pleased.)

The 2004 Cardinals and the Big Ten's 2006 season
As long as we're attending to the official record, this year the conference looked like this:

Ohio State (26-6, 12-4)
Illinois (26-7, 11-5)
Iowa (25-9, 11-5)
Wisconsin (19-12, 9-7)
Indiana (19-12, 9-7)
Michigan State (22-12, 8-8)
Michigan (22-11, 8-8)
Penn State (15-15, 6-10)
Northwestern (14-15, 6-10)
Minnesota (16-15, 5-11)
Purdue (9-19, 3-13)

If we were to compare 2006 with 2005 in statistical terms we might say the mean of performance was slightly higher this year than last but the standard deviation was much smaller. Better yet, forget stats: It was a better conference overall this year but who cares about overall? There were no great teams.

Speaking team-by-team, I think Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State were all better this year than they were last year. Indiana, Northwestern, and Purdue were about the same year to year. (Fun fact: laudably consistent Northwestern was 6-10 in-conference and one game under .500 overall in both 2005 and 2006.) And Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were worse this year than last year.

The problem, of course, resided squarely in that last group: when Illinois, Michigan State, and Wisconsin see a dropoff, it doesn't bode well for your conference playing into late March. (It would have been almost literally impossible for there not to have been a dropoff in the case of Illinois. Duly noted.) Those three were the "big three" for a good long while but it's safe to say there's no big three anymore. Ohio State and Iowa crashed that party this year and the Buckeyes figure to stay a while. And, while Wisconsin looks solid for 2007, it remains to be seen whether Illinois and Michigan State can replace the likes of Dee Brown, James Augustine, Paul Davis, and Mo Ager.

That being said, the articles that came out after the tournament's second weekend saying "the Big Ten stinks" were overwrought, to say the least. The Big Ten in 2006, like the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, will be remembered first for its surprising futility in the final act of the postseason. In neither case, however, should the postseason futility blind us to the good that was done during the year or, more importantly, to the good that remains.

The old "big three" may have dipped this year but when you're talking about Bruce Weber, Tom Izzo, and Bo Ryan, optimism will always be the correct default until events dictate otherwise. Moreover, Thad Matta is building a monster in Columbus such that I even see his name bandied about in Duke chat rooms as being a desirable potential successor to you-know-who when the day comes. (Note that, when that day comes, there will be no North Carolina-/Indiana-style hand-wringing about whether or not to hire someone "with Duke ties." Wonder why not?) And who knows what the future holds for Kelvin Sampson and Matt Painter? In the near term, then, the Big Ten would appear to have a critical mass of coaches who are good enough and young enough to continue to send more than half the conference to the big dance. Anyway, let's hope so.

On with the off-season....
The headline atop today's post is a blatant steal from Kyle Whelliston's final entry of the year last season. So I only steal from the best. But beyond the petty thievery I find some additional common notes. Kyle wrapped up things last year kind of wondering aloud: what now? Last year I didn't wonder that, maybe because my team had just gone 37-2 and made it to the final minute of the national championship game. But this year I find I kind of do wonder that. I'm open to ideas.

One preemptive clarification, lest there be any misunderstanding. Last year I shut the old girl down with a week-long salute to the best college hoops bloggers. This year I thought doing so would be superfluous--chalk it up to a maturing medium. The best bloggers out there are phenomenal (and certainly need no introduction to you from me). You know it, I know it, anyone following college hoops with any degree of acuity knows it. I sense that's the case for other sports too. (For one thing, throw a stick in the direction of Michigan fans and you'll hit about 20 indispensable blogs. What do they put in the water in Ann Arbor?)

So well-known are the best of the best, in fact, that I've thought about changing the "canonical bloggers" heading in the sidebar to "iconic bloggers." Icons indeed, on a par with the great presidents! You have your Washington (the founder), your Jefferson (brilliant polymath), and your Lincoln (Lincolnian). Let's find a mountainside and start carving some iconic-blogger likenesses! (Now there'd be an attractive tourist destination.)

The challenge now is not to locate the 2.0 wave of quality college hoops bloggers--the wave is already here--but rather to pry said quality bloggers away from the clutches of college football, high school hoops, or unforeseen desuetude. May the topic be college hoops and may the words flow. (I have that sentence available on a t-shirt if anyone's interested.)

As for my own humble little corner of the 'sphere: speaking as a reader of this blog, if that's possible, I think maybe I was a little better at this banging on a keyboard thing this year than I was in my rookie season. But of course fate decreed that the subject matter this March was not to be quite as interesting as last--so it probably netted out to about the same level of stuff on your screen year to year. Here's hoping for continued improvement in both next season.

Until then, take care and stay in touch.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
A salute to departing Big Ten players
Today is a total clip show. I've dredged up some old posts to bid farewell to those players who are leaving our fair conference, be they graduating seniors or transfers....

(Alert the Music Department! Cue the mandatory Green Day!)

Gary Ware, Purdue (senior)
February 9: "Michigan State beat Purdue 77-52 in East Lansing last night....The otherwise lopsided second half was enlivened by a brief skirmish between two notably big dudes: Matt Trannon and Gary Ware."

Bryant Dillon, Purdue (senior)
January 26: "Northwestern beat Purdue 78-76 in OT last night in West Lafayette. Wildcat freshman Craig Moore hit a three with nine-tenths of a second left in regulation to force the overtime.....Both teams shot extremely well (posting effective FG percentages north of 60) in a game where 21 of the 45 threes were good. Vedran Vukusic led the 'Cats with 29 points; Matt Kiefer, Bryant Dillon, and Marcus White each had 18 for the Boilers."

Matt Kiefer, Purdue (senior)
March 2: "Indiana beat Purdue 70-59 last night in West Lafayette, giving the Hoosiers their first Big Ten road win in over a year....'Crushed,' said Matt Kiefer, when asked how it felt to lose his last home game to his arch-rival. 'We probably should have worked the ball a little more. We needed to make them play defense on the road.... The coaches are always on us to get an offensive rebound, reverse the ball and make them play defense for another 35 seconds.'"

Rico Tucker, Minnesota (announced his intention to transfer)
January 11: "Canonical blogger Ryan Kobliska has posted individual numbers for Big Ten leaders on both the offensive and defensive side. You'll learn that Rico Tucker and Vincent Grier put the 'fun' in 'fundamentally felonious'!"

Maurice Hargrow, Minnesota (senior--at last)
January 11: "Wisconsin beat Minnesota 64-62 in Minneapolis last night. The Gophers went almost 16 minutes without a field goal in the first half and consequently the Badgers led 25-6. But Bo Ryan's team then defined 'uncharacteristic' by coughing up seven TOs in just three minutes heading into halftime....It kept the Gophers in the game on a night when they couldn't sink any shots. 'We showed great character,' Vincent Grier said afterward. 'Even though it's a loss, it's something to build on. We definitely played great defense.' Yes, but it wasn't enough and Minnesota guard Moe Hargrow knew it: 'I kind of hate moral victories.'"

J'son Stamper, Minnesota (senior)
March 7: "I'm going to skip the defensive rebounding entirely here because, frankly, that leader board (Davis, Brown, Augustine, Brunner, Killingsworth, etc.) looks pretty much like the one [for overall rebounding]. Most rebounds in a game are defensive rebounds so the overlap between the two lists shouldn't be surprising. More interesting, perhaps, is the question of who grabs more than their share of those relatively scarce offensive rebounds....And so we find that the best offensive rebounder among Big Ten players this year was J'son Stamper of Minnesota, who personally gathered in a robust 14.1 percent of the shots missed by the Gophers while he was on the floor this season."

Adam Boone, Minnesota (senior--at last)
February 13: "Minnesota beat Michigan State 69-55 in Minneapolis Saturday, as the Gophers did an outstanding job preventing the Spartans from getting out in transition....Adam Boone had arguably the best 10-point game of the year: eight assists, one turnover, two blocks, and constant harassment of Drew Neitzel."

Vincent Grier, Minnesota (senior)
March 10: "Minnesota beat Michigan 59-55 yesterday....After getting fairly well lit up by Daniel Horton in the previous two games against Michigan, Dan Monson made a change and put Vincent Grier on the UM point guard. 'We just couldn't play Horton the same way we did the first two times,' Monson said. 'I wanted to do whatever it took to win this basketball game, and that's what it was,' added Grier. Obligatory gopher-based bad pun headline here--this pushes the count to over 100 for the year."

Evan Seacat, Northwestern (senior)
February 27: "Penn State beat Northwestern 68-55 in State College. The Nittany Lions shot 26 free throws. The Wildcats shot three. Though it was done in a losing cause, Evan Seacat drained six threes as he led all scorers with 18 points."

Michael Jenkins, Northwestern (senior)
February 9: "Northwestern beat Iowa 51-48 in Evanston last night. The Hawkeyes' late-game performance can be adjudged from the fact that they led by seven with 4:09 left and ended up losing by three....When it mattered the supporting cast around Vukusic combined to sink two huge threes--in this case, Michael Jenkins (yes, that Michael Jenkins) and Evan Seacat."

Mohamed Hachad, Northwestern (senior)
February 17: "Mohamed Hachad for National POY.... That's right. Mohamed Hachad would also average 28 a game if he were given the same number of shots from the field and from the line as Adam Morrison. (All numbers derived from our trusty friend PPWS, of course.)"

Vedran Vukusic, Northwestern (senior)
February 15 (by way of guest-blogger Shawn M.): "Michigan State beat Northwestern 77-66 Saturday night in Evanston. Vedran Vukusic was outstanding again for the Wildcats, going 7-12 from the field for a hard-fought 23 points."

Travis Parker, Penn State (senior)
February 20: "Penn State beat Purdue 69-61 in West Lafayette. The Boilers tried and failed to shoot over the Nittany Lion zone, bricking 22 of 28 threes. (Chris Lutz alone went 1-of-8 from outside the arc.) It cost them the game. Travis Parker made four three-pointers and led the Nittany Lions with 21 points."

Chris Hunter, Michigan (senior)
February 16: "Michigan beat Minnesota 72-50 in Ann Arbor last night, a game in which the Wolverines led 18-2 before the second TV timeout. UM stretched the lead to 35-6 and the game was effectively over with a little more than seven minutes to play in the first half....'For us to show the signs of life and energy and passion and defense, that's what we needed,' said Tommy Amaker. The Wolverine coach benched Courtney Sims and instead started Chris Hunter in the low post. Hunter says a player-only meeting held Sunday night helped clear the air: 'We knew we were a better team than we showed in the last three games.'"

Graham Brown, Michigan (senior)
March 7: "Never mind that shooting- and pace-dependent statistical Yugo known as rebounds per game. The best rebounder among Big Ten players this year was actually Graham Brown of Michigan. When Brown was on the floor he rebounded fully 19.3 percent of the missed shots all by himself....This was a two-man race between Brown and Paul Davis pretty much all season. As it turned out, Brown and Davis finished the regular season well ahead of what can be thought of a third-place knot of four players: Greg Brunner, James Augustine, Courtney Sims, and Marco Killingsworth."

Daniel Horton, Michigan (senior)
February 23: "Daniel Horton (oops, I mean) Michigan beat Illinois 72-64 Tuesday night in Ann Arbor. Horton was both beastly and balanced, scoring 39 points thusly: 16 on two-pointers, 15 on three-pointers, and 8-for-8 shooting at the line. 'A brilliant, brilliant performance,' said Tommy Amaker. 'Daniel has a way to will shots in and will us to victory.' On an ordinary day James Augustine might have received attention and praise for his 23-14 dub-dub. But this was no ordinary day: Horton scored 54 percent of his team's points and put them beyond the reach of bubble talk. Said Horton: 'I have to get my teammates a lot of credit because they found me when I was open.' Oracular Illini observer Mark Tupper sums the evening well: Horton 'was fantastic. He hit some outrageous shots. But he also hit some wide open shots and Illinois’ defense was sadly lacking on those occasions.'" (Update: I thought the Wolverines were beyond bubble talk. I thought wrong.)

Mo Ager, Michigan State (senior)
November 23: "Gonzaga beat Michigan State 109-106 in three overtimes in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii last night. As its very length would seem to indicate, it was indeed an outstanding game--though perhaps not quite as great as the breathless AP write up would have you believe. ('Classic' and 'November' being irreconcilable terms in hoops, about like 'classic' and 'May' in baseball.) Adam Morrison (43 points) and Maurice Ager (36) each gave heroic performances, each of them hitting shot after game-changing shot. And, in Ager's case, the big shots just kept coming from further and further out--it was an incredible performance from a player saddled with four fouls for the balance of the evening."

Paul Davis, Michigan State (senior)
March 8: "Yeah, yeah, I know. In that Sports Illustrated poll, the players of the Big Ten named Davis 'most overrated.'...The players are entitled to their opinions; I'm entitled to mine: if anything Davis is underrated. He combines offensive efficiency with sheer volume on a level that no other Big Ten player even approaches. (Link here and scroll down to 'At least 24% of possessions used.') He was the second-best rebounder among Big Ten players this season (behind only Graham Brown) and was number one last season. His team has failed to meet its expectations thus far this season, it's true. But, with the exception of some notable hiccups, Davis has delivered on his end of the deal--and then some. My pet theory is that if Davis had the facial expression and on-floor personality of, say, Zach Puchtel, he would have made first-team with the writers and coaches."

Ray Nixon, Wisconsin (senior)
February 16: "Wisconsin beat Ohio State 78-73 in Madison last night. The Badgers, who trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, got a monster game from Alando Tucker, who scored 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting while gathering in 16 boards. ('He sold programs and popcorn, too,' quipped Bo Ryan afterward.)...Ray Nixon chipped in with 13 points, ten coming in the game's final five minutes. ('I felt pretty confident because so many people were dropping down on Alando.')"

D.J. White, Indiana (preemptory see-ya, in case he decides to transfer)
January 17: "[Mike] Davis says he senses 'just a little disappointment from our guys' in the wake of losing D.J. White, possibly for the season, due to an injured foot. Not that Davis doesn't share that disappointment: 'We lost a lottery pick.'"

Robert Vaden, Indiana (preemptory see-ya, in case he decides to transfer)
March 17: "(6) Indiana 87, (11) San Diego State 83....Possession arrow, Indiana, with 13.3 seconds left. Then, off a near-SDSU steal, the hobbled Robert Vaden sank the game-winning three with 3.3 seconds on the clock. Thus ended a wild night of much tension and little D."

Marshall Strickland, Indiana (senior)
March 17: "(6) Indiana 87, (11) San Diego State 83....I've never seen a player's ignorance of the rules be so decisive in the final seconds of an NCAA tournament game. With San Diego State leading 83-82 and 20 seconds to play, the Aztecs had the ball and about 15 seconds left on the shot clock. Brandon Heath was dribbling near mid-court when Marshall Strickland poked the ball into the backcourt. But instead of simply retrieving the ball, Heath tried to block Strickland's path. The Aztec guard apparently thought that if he touched the ball it would be an over-and-back violation. Strickland dove for the ball and got into a tie-up with Heath...."

Marco Killingsworth, Indiana (senior)
January 17: "Indiana plays Illinois tonight in Bloomington (ESPN, 7 ET) and the question of the day is: will the Illini double-team Marco Killingsworth? Most teams have indeed done so, while Duke, famously, did not. Killingsworth scored 34 that night--but might the Blue Devils have made the correct call, after all?...Despite his gaudy effective FG pct. (63.6), Killingsworth ranks dead last in the Big Ten in taking care of the ball, a habit that makes him notably less effective as an offensive weapon than Marshall Strickland and Robert Vaden. So why double a team's third option on offense?...True, this may be a blinding flash of the tautological: Killingsworth's turnovers doubtless come in large part from being the target of so many double-teams. Yet even against Duke's single-man coverage, Killingsworth coughed it up seven times. Moreover, the Hoosier big man has demonstrated that he's a proficient passer, adept at responding to the double-team by finding the open man wherever he may be on the arc. What do you do?"

Erek Hansen, Iowa (senior)
January 19: "BONUS Erek Hansen note! Funny how you don't hear any more wondering aloud (say, like this) as to why Steve Alford gives so many minutes to Hansen, huh? True, the big guy is still a surprisingly unproductive rebounder for someone who looks like he can touch the rim flat-footed. So what? He virtually defines Iowa as a team. Take Hansen away and the tough Hawkeye D becomes much less aggressive, perimeter traps become much less forceful, passing lanes much less overplayed, etc. Not to mention he gets in the heads of every opposing offense and alters shots. Lastly, Hansen's offense has, at long last, improved. (After three years of articles about Hansen looking to improve his offense--he's improved his offense: he scored a career-high 20 points last night.) He's still not going to be confused for Marco Killingsworth, mind you, but last night I watched in wonderment as Hansen posted up strong, called for the ball (he really wanted it!), and took it strong to the tin. Essence of the Hawkeyes Erek Hansen, I salute you!"

Jeff Horner, Iowa (senior)
February 2: "Iowa beat Purdue 77-68 in West Lafayette. Newly liberated from his clunky Dan Marino-like knee brace, Hawkeye guard Jeff Horner lit up the Boilers to the tune of 32 points--21 in the second half alone--and hit 7-of-10 threes. 'The brace made it pretty tough to keep your balance,'' Horner said afterward. 'Tonight, it felt like everything was on balance.' Boiler coach Matt Painter proclaimed himself satisfied with his team's defense on Horner and said there was simply no stopping the Hawkeye guard: 'We had a hand in his face, and he was still hitting shots. It was his night.'"

Greg Brunner, Iowa (senior)
March 8: "Despite what you've heard, Greg Brunner is not the best rebounder in the Big Ten. While the hard-working Hawkeye rebounds a very strong 17 percent of all missed shots when he's in the game, Graham Brown hauls in more than 19 percent. Still, I find myself giving Brunner the nod for this fifth spot [on the All-Wonk Team]....You know what you're going to get with Brunner: 1) defensive rebounds; 2) fouls called on the opponent in abundance; and 3) trips to the line. Game in, game out. Brunner is a triumph of will over physics: a slow short pudgy guy (albeit less pudgy than a year ago) who, after four years of patient and dogged effort, has very nice footwork on the low block. Defense is not his strong suit but Erek Hansen's got his back. Plus he's tenacious--Brunner is the rock upon which Iowa has built its most successful season in years. If Steve Alford does get the Indiana job, he should give the signing bonus to Brunner."

James Augustine, Illinois (senior)
March 8: "Augustine, of course, rebounds (about) as well as anyone in the league not named Graham Brown or Paul Davis. He's been a model of scoring efficiency for two years running now. He creates more steals than any other big man in the conference. He dishes more assists than any big man besides Marco Killingsworth. And he takes care of the ball. Leaving him off [the All-Wonk Team] was very tough to do--I took a long, long look at Augustine over Dials."

Dee Brown, Illinois (senior)
March 9, 2005: "Brown's always been fast. And he's always been a Mateen Cleaves-esque leader. Those qualities shouldn't be taken for granted but we did at least know them coming into November. But this year Brown is making shots. Tenth in the nation, as of this morning, in three-point percentage (48.2), Brown actually has a higher overall FG percentage this season than Mike Wilkinson. Repeat: Brown, who's attempted 170 threes this season, has a better FG percentage (53.8) than get-it-to-him-in-the-post Wilkinson (52.5). It's been a sensational performance by a player who's never lacked for attention: Brown has thrived in that spotlight and even surprised us. He was indeed the best player in the Big Ten this year."

Matt Sylvester, Ohio State (senior)
April 3, 2005: "Indispensable blogger Ken Pomeroy asks: "Is it wrong for me to feel bitterness towards Matt Sylvester? You know, the guy who hit the game winner to hand Illinois its only loss. Consider the hype for a game where Illinois has a chance to be the first unbeaten in 29 years and the best player on the opposing team is the son of the MVP of the last unbeaten."

J.J. Sullinger, Ohio State (senior)
March 12: "Ohio State beat Indiana 52-51. After Matt Sylvester's bank shot put the Buckeyes ahead by a point with 37 seconds left to play, IU had two chances to win the game in the final seconds. First Marco Killingsworth missed a shot on a nice post move down low. Killingsworth got his own rebound, though, and fed the ball to Roderick Wilmont, who had an open look at a 12-footer with just two seconds left. But Wilmont's shot was short and the Buckeyes escaped....J.J. Sullinger had an outstanding game, leading all scorers with 19 points and hauling down 13 boards."

Je'Kel Foster, Ohio State (senior)
March 8: "Foster has more assists (5.7) per 100 possessions than just about any non-point guard starter in the league, creates more steals (4.4) per 100 possessions than any other player discussed here, and hits 44.7 percent of his threes. I guess for me, picking Greg Brunner over Foster [for the All-Wonk Team] was like picking a solid low-growth mutual fund over a flashy tech stock."

Terence Dials, Ohio State (senior)
March 8: "Dials was named the Big Ten POY by both the writers and the coaches yesterday--and why not? He's the leading scorer on the first-place team. And--for the writers, the coaches, and, yes, me--that is indeed the key noun: scorer. It's what Dials does; there's nothing else to talk about. He's an adequate but not tremendous rebounder (eighth-best in the conference). He never dishes assists....And he's not going to block any shots....No, it's all about the scoring. Dials triggers in opposing fans what I call the 'oh crap' moment. When Dials gets the ball in the paint against your team, you sigh and say 'oh, crap,' or its equivalent....He simply gets the job done on the low block--and takes pretty good care of the ball while he's at it. A vanishing breed, that."

Bon chance in your next endeavors, men! You made blogging fun.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Former Indiana coach Mike Davis reportedly interviewed for the head coaching job at UAB this week. Hoosier fans are watching Davis's next move with interest, as D.J. White and Robert Vaden decide whether to follow their coach, stay at Indiana, or none of the above. Stay tuned.

The farewell week winds down!
Coming tomorrow: last post of the year.

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

Incontestable video proof of our backwardness. (Yay!)
Yesterday I offered some thoughts on the inexorable progress of tempo-free stats and wondered aloud when ESPN might favor us with some baby steps along the lines, say, of a graphic showing a team's effective FG percentage during a game.

In response I received an email containing this link (office warning: contains audio) to some video from an Italian broadcast of a game. "I don’t know Italian," my emailer says, "but it’s obvious they use things like points per shot and eFG pct. on their broadcasts. I mean, Italy’s ahead of us for crying out loud!"

The Italians? Beating us in hoops stats? By Godfrey, that tears it! National pride is at stake. This calls for a presidential commission, a bold statement from Bush ("I believe this country should commit itself to achieving tempo-free superiority by 2010," etc.), the works!

Ask not what tempo-free stats can do for you; ask what you can do for tempo-free stats.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
State of the stats
When it comes to the savvy use of stats in college hoops, this year we "reached a tipping point," "turned a corner," "made a breakthrough," and "used a lot of clichés." To recap....

Basketball has made do with per-game stats for a few decades now even though, due to the varying tempos of games, those stats lead to inherently flawed comparisons. Consider: at halftime of the national championship game when Dick Enberg gave his "essay" (was it just me or did Enberg not particularly enjoy Greg Gumbel's comment about his tie?), I was reminded how relatively new the shot clock really is in the college game. Tempos must have varied even more in the old days, no? Pity the player whose team went into the four corners midway through the second half in any game where they had a lead. ("What's the matter with you, Mikan? You're only getting eight points and four boards a game!") Still, while the shot clock may have brought the slowest teams closer to the mean, we continue in 2006 to see a big difference between a Maryland (75 possessions a game) and a Princeton (55).

But then along came this nifty stuff which I like to call tempo-free stats. Said nifty stats sprang, we think, from the fertile hoops minds of Frank McGuire and Dean Smith in the 1950s, were independently codified and committed to box score-friendly equations by Dean Oliver starting in the 1980s, and have now been made to truly sing in a college hoops setting by Ken Pomeroy.

So we now have the ability to compare Maryland to Princeton directly. The ability, yes. But how much longer until we can rest confident in the knowledge that the Biggest National Names on the air or on the web are actually basing their comments on this kind of ability? Good question!

In many ways, the outlook is dang sweet. First, tempo-free stats now bloom from a thousand, mostly bloggish, locales. (Want a teachably extreme example? Note the college hoops-inspired--and, as far as I know, unprecedented--adaptation of tempo-free stats to another possession-based sport, lacrosse.)

And yet these stats aren't just for blog geeks (redundant) anymore! Sports Illustrated led off its NCAA Tournament preview last month with a lengthy feature by Grant Wahl on the possession-based Tao: its roots and current applications. One Division II conference has started posting tempo-free stats on its site. And maybe the most encouraging sign in this saga has been the occasional yawn from a big-time coach--a yawn that says: "Why the fuss? I've been using this stuff forever."

Speaking of "why the fuss," Jay Bilas had this ($) to say in December at

The old Dean Smith concepts of points per possession (and offensive and defensive efficiency) are starting to take on cult status, but we need to be careful not to overdo it. Several of us have been using that formula for a long time and it can be revealing; however, it is not the be all and end all of basketball. It is one tool in evaluating teams and players that can be useful. One of Dean Smith's books, "Basketball Multiple Offense and Defense," which I read in the 1980s, sets it out pretty well and is great reading for any serious basketball fan. "Moneyball" was all the rage in baseball a couple of years ago, and the concept is a useful tool as well, but there is no one statistical measure for basketball, the ultimate team game. There are too many variables, moving parts and dependencies in the game to look to any statistic to tell you the whole story.

I've always liked Bilas (yes, I'm flip-flopping already from yesterday's flip-flop--feel free to email the Big Ten Wonk "reader's representative") but this paragraph struck me as unintentionally revealing. If I may paraphrase Bilas: "Pay no attention to these faddish yet insufficient stats which, by the way, insiders like Dean Smith and I have been using way longer than you have."

Let's term Bilas's position the "they're just a fad and I used them first" paradox. My response to this paradox is pretty much the proverbial everlasting yea: Tempo-free stats are a fad, if by "fad" you mean something that's being perceived as "new" (though, in this case, the perception is incorrect) and is being adopted at an ever-accelerating rate. I would hazard a guess that batting average started as a "fad."

But I think the most common misconception related to this particular fad is a belief that these stats must surely represent something irreducibly complex and esoteric. I think the truth is pretty much the exact opposite. The value of tempo-free stats is precisely that, like a batting average, they enable us to perform the most mundane and least esoteric of descriptive housekeeping, to wit: "That team has a good defense." "This player is a better rebounder than that player." "That team turns the ball over a lot."

This type of mundane statement comes in really handy. It'd be nice if the announcers on the game we're watching on a given night could be trusted to make this type of statement dependably. And I'm not asking for the fully loaded tempo-free utopia all at once. But someday soon, games on ESPN could take a baby step or two:

--Replace FG percentage with effective FG pct.
--Never again confuse mere slowness for "defense," "allowing just 55 points a game," etc.
--Maybe even an occasional PPWS, especially in discussing tomorrow's Redicks and Morrisons.

Until that day, blogs will continue to enjoy, however improbably, a near monopoly on the information you need to talk hoops with the same level of minimal lucidity that's been taken for granted for decades in every other major sport. It's a monopoly I, for one, would love to see end. Soon.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Hard to believe we're here already but I'm about to put the blog on its annual hiatus....

The farewell week continues!
Barring unforeseen developments, Friday's post should be the last one. I will then dutifully shut the old girl down for the off-season like a Bar Harbor lobster pound. So here's the season-ending clip show! A look back at the year's most notable one-game performances by or against a Big Ten team....

Fastest game: 84 possessions, Florida A&M vs. Indiana in Bloomington, November 21. (So the fact that the Hoosiers scored 100 points in that game indicates great but not ridiculous offensive efficiency--1.20 points per possession.)

Slowest game: 52 possessions, Minnesota vs. Northwestern in Evanston, March 4. Second-slowest? Iowa vs. Northwestern (55 possessions), in Evanston, February 8. Tied for second-slowest? Northwestern vs. Illinois (55 possessions), in Champaign, February 15. Wait, there's more: Purdue vs. Northwestern (55 possessions), in Evanston, January 4. You get the idea: the Wildcats were content to come in under 60 possessions in 10 of their 16 conference games.

Best offense: 1.55 points per possession, Ohio State against Penn State in Columbus, January 5. This is what dominance looks like: the Buckeyes scored 104 points in only 67 possessions. Thad Matta's team shot lights-out (43-of-68, 13-of-26 on threes, an effective FG percentage of 72.8) turned the ball over only nine times, and rebounded more than half (14) of their 26 misses.

Worst offense: 0.52 points per possession, Maryland-Eastern Shore against Iowa in Iowa City, November 14. This was the season-opener for the Hawkeyes and they held their overmatched opponent to just 41 points in what was actually a very fast (79-possession) game.

Best shooting: 78.6 effective FG percentage, Iowa against Michigan in Iowa City, February 4. Jeff Horner went 5-of-10 from the field and Justin Wieck was 0-for-1; every other Hawkeye (and Steve Alford played 12 that day) was better than 50 percent from the field. Iowa made 13 of 19 threes and 19 of 30 twos in a 94-66 laugher.

Worst shooting: (You guessed it!) 25.0 effective FG percentage, Wisconsin vs. North Dakota State in Madison, January 21. The Badgers made just 16 of 72 attempts and sank only four of 27 threes.

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The (time-release) "poison pill" brings good results?
Yesterday I noted that Iowa was the "poison pill" in this year's tournament: their first-round loss to Northwestern St. set off a chain reaction of next-round losses for each successive victor (Northwestern St. lost its next game to West Virginia, West Virginia lost its next game to Texas, etc.) all the way up through the national championship game.

Hawkeye fans respond!

Iowa's and Alford's dubious showing as the Least Defensible Performers in the NCAA tournament actually portends well for the young men in black and gold.

Why, it was but two short years ago that a 5th-seeded Florida team lost to Manhattan (by 15!) in the first round. Manhattan then lost to Wake Forest, who lost to St. Joe's, who lost to Oklahoma State, who lost to Georgia Tech, who lost to UConn in the championship game.

By the way, if this e-mail at all increases the likelihood of Alford receiving a contract extension, please disregard.

Adam J.

Congratulations, in advance, to the Iowa Hawkeyes, National Champions of 2008! Coach Quin Snyder will be thrilled!
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
It's the shooting, stupid
(3) Florida 73, (2) UCLA 57
In winning the national championship game against UCLA last night, the Florida Gators looked undeniably impressive. Now consider this: their shooting in this game (50.0 effective FG percentage) was below their season average (56.9 eFG pct.). Turning the ball over just six times, though, enabled the Gators to score 73 points in just 65 possessions. Joakim Noah led Florida with 16 points, nine boards, and, most emphatically, six blocks. (Box score.)

This team shot superbly the entire year. A week ago Sunday while the hoops nation was still working to comprehend the fact that George Mason really had beaten Connecticut, the Gators displayed their worst shooting of the season in the regional final win over Villanova. Truly, that game was as bad as Florida gets: 22 of 54 from the field, 4 of 17 on threes, a 44.4 effective FG percentage. Know what? That's not that bad. And when 44.4 is your eFG floor, you're going to win a lot of games.

I'd like to think that if this blog were named SEC Wonk I would have seen this coming, young team or no. Florida's inexperienced sophomores sprang out of the gates in calendar '05 shooting the way (59.9 eFG) they would shoot the entire year. Yes, some of those games were against less formidable foes (St. Peter's, Albany, Alabama St.) but some were against stiffer competition (Wake Forest, Syracuse, Florida State, Providence).

For the record, the two teams that shot even better than Florida this year: Samford and Air Force. But both those teams were POTs who traded threes for offensive boards. (Samford devoted 59 percent of their shots to threes--the highest percentage in the nation.) The Gators made their twos (55.9 percent), made their threes (39.2 percent) and grabbed a healthy share of the offensive boards (35 percent). When you do those three things, it doesn't matter if you turn the ball over on 21 percent of your possessions (which isn't awful but certainly isn't great).

Now we should have a playoff between the NIT and NCAA champs. South Carolina went 2-1 against Florida this season and lost the SEC tournament championship game to the Gators by just two points. But since that won't happen....

Congratulations to the Florida Gators, the National Champions of 2006 and indisputably the best team over the past three weeks.

BONUS raking of the ashes! Congratulations to the Iowa Hawkeyes, the "poison pill" of this year's tournament. Iowa lost to the team (Northwestern St.) that lost to the team (West Virginia) that lost to the team (Texas) that lost to the team (LSU) that lost to the team (UCLA) that lost to the national champion (Florida). For setting up a chain reaction of next-round defeats, I salute the men from Iowa City!

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Hard to believe we're here already but I'm about to put the blog on its annual hiatus....

The farewell week continues!
Barring unforeseen developments, Friday's post should be the last one. I will then dutifully shut the old girl down for the off-season like a Bar Harbor lobster pound.

So here's the season-ending clip show! A look back at the year's three busiest days on the site counter. (Cue "Memory" from Cats!)...

Third-most popular post. Conclusion: one of these topics isn't so dull after all.

Second-most popular post. Conclusion: Indiana fans are rabid readers. Pander accordingly.

Most popular post (by a factor of two!). Conclusion: more clandestine interviews with anonymous sources. Next up: the guy (believed currently in hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan) who came up with the Applebee's ad.

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This year's token and utterly insincere flip-flop--just to show I'm "open minded"
You write: "You don't have to choose between being Billy Packer or you-know-who. You can be Jay Bilas."...

Unless, of course, you're a Badger fan, about whom Mr. Bias has a five year hatred. He is damn near incapable of writing an article, no matter how tenuously linked, that doesn't slam them for their perceived "ruination of basketball' and theoretic constant slowdown. To Mr. Bilas, we're the Washington Generals at best....

Wrye M.

Bilas evil. Check. (I'm feeling pretty obsequious as the season winds down.)
Monday, April 03, 2006
It started in Syracuse, NY, on November 8
(3) Florida vs. (2) UCLA (CBS, 9:21pm ET)
Florida is the younger team. They're also thinner--so why am I unable to imagine any scenario where UCLA wins going away? If Big Baby Davis and Tyrus Thomas couldn't make a dent offensively against Florida's front line (a performance emblematic of the interior D played by the Gators all season), then will we see big games tonight from the Bruins' bigs?

Meaning UCLA's guards are the wild card--how they shoot and, just as important, how well they hold on to the ball. Speaking in terms we Big Ten fans would understand (wow, the Big Ten: remember them?), Jordan Farmar has a little Alando Tucker in him. He takes the most shots of any starter, yet scores with less efficiency than any starter (1.05 PPWS for the year). And unlike Tucker he turns the ball over a lot. So do the Bruins, giving the ball away on 27 percent of their possessions over the past two games. It hasn't mattered because their D has been so spectacular. But it could matter tonight.

Of course, Florida faces its own challenges in going up against this UCLA D. The 12 threes against George Mason? That's not likely to recur this evening. And the Gators, while not as charitable as the Bruins, have their own struggles in holding on to the ball. (Question: how has a team that blocks so many shots committed so few fouls? Ordinarily, foul trouble would be a worry with a relatively thin young team that blocks a lot of shots. Yet no one talks about it--and rightly so, according to the numbers. Just wondering.)

It should be a close game. As an Illinois fan I will be pulling for Florida so that my team didn't lose to the team (Washington) that lost to the team (Connecticut) that lost to the team (George Mason) that lost to the team (Florida) that lost to the national champion (UCLA). Go back a step and Air Force, of course, was swallowed one more time than the Illini. Each year I choose to term that unlucky team--the one that sets off a chain reaction of next-round defeats--the poison pill. If UCLA wins tonight, Air Force is this year's poison pill. If the Gators prevail, the poison pill is...Iowa. Yikes.

And so the season that started almost five months ago with St. Francis (PA) facing Cornell in the Carrier Dome in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic comes to a close.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Hard to believe we're here already but I'm about to put the blog on its annual hiatus. Barring unforeseen developments, Friday's post should be the last one. I will then dutifully shut the old girl down for the off-season like a Bar Harbor lobster pound.

Meantime I have many festivities planned for this, the last week: links to film clips (including classics like the Ed Ames tomahawk throw, my whipped cream fight with Burt Reynolds, and the time Don Rickles guest-blogged and broke my "For those about to Wonk" coffee mug), cameo appearances by guest stars (watch for the hilarious spoof of Munich with me, Beyonce, Ken Pomeroy, Quin Snyder, Kyle Whelliston, and Carrot Top--they were all good sports, really, and great to work with), and, of course, an obligatory give-us-a-standing-O Martin-and-Lewis-esque reconciliation moment between Billy Packer and me.

Tune in all week long!

Wonk back!
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Majerus gets personal
On Friday, in the process of clarifying my stance on Billy Packer, I cited the example of Rick Majerus as someone who, while capable of being "flat-out odd," is a great analyst. The readers respond!

Your mention of Rick Majerus today reminded me of my favorite quote from this season. It was on ESPN at halftime of a game between UConn and somebody. Steve Lavin and Majerus were back in the studio and the conversation turned to Rudy Gay. Majerus' quote was "I am not a big Gay guy."

You could tell Lavin thought it was hysterical but Majerus didn't crack a smile.

Mark D.

Thanks, Mark!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Threes matter
(First things first: "lecture"? Note to self: be less didactic.)

(And let that be a lesson to all of you!)

(3) Florida 73, (11) George Mason 58
Sure, the Patriots looked very much like an 11-seed that made it two or three games too far. But don't be fooled. Any team can look like that. That's what happens when your threes don't fall (2-of-11). Still, give credit to the Gators: those threes were contested. George Mason seemed to be taking tough shots the whole night. Florida, on the other hand, benefited from mystifying choices made by the Patriots on D, as Lee Humphrey's man again and again doubled down low and then appeared stunned to find this would invariably result in yet another Humphrey three (19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc). Prediction: UCLA won't make that mistake. (Box score.)

(2) UCLA 59, (4) LSU 45
Was this the same LSU team that swatted Duke out of the tournament and then took care of Texas? The Tigers looked utterly helpless on offense last night. It's suggestive, to be sure, that a couple consecutive Bruin opponents have looked this way and yet it appeared to this observer that LSU really helped this result along. Glen "Big Baby" Davis was given hardly any touches early, when he was fresh and the game still in doubt. By early in the second half the game was over, as the Tigers, who never shoot threes, needed to shoot threes to rally from 20 down. But they stayed in character, went 0-of-6 for the game on their threes, and lost by 14. (Box score.)

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
For the second day in a row I have no link for the article I'm going to talk about. And, like yesterday, it's not my fault. The article in question is from today's Minneapolis Star Tribune but is nowhere to be found, yet, on their site. (I suppose it will show up here eventually.)

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead--and Dan Monson's still the coach
The Star Tribune, like most papers, now has a reader's representative. (Can you imagine a reader's representative "back in the day," say, when Ben Hecht was responding to slow news days in 1910s-era Chicago by digging a trench across the Oak Street Beach, having it photographed, and then running a story the next day on the big earthquake that had hit town? Just a thought.) In this morning's Sunday column, reader's representative Kate Parry looks at the sequence of events that led the Star Tribune to publish a story on March 22 saying that Minnesota coach Dan Monson was "not expected to return next season." Of course, as well all know by now, Monson is in fact staying on. So how'd this story get into print?

The Star Tribune's position is actually quite simple: according to the reporters and editors quoted by Parry, the story was correct at the time they decided to run it, late on the night of Tuesday, March 21. "I believe it was accurate at the time we made the decision to publish," says managing editor Scott Gillespie a week later.

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi denies that: "I can assure you before the final game started that I knew Dan Monson was going to return." The game Maturi refers to is the Gophers' season-ending loss against Cincinnati in the NIT. Maturi was contacted that night by the Star Tribune. Instead of saying what he now says he knew then ("Dan Monson is going to return"), he instead gave only an evasive "I'm not going to go there."

Maturi now says he was evasive because the season was still in progress: "I try to be sensitive about what I say about coaches' contracts." That's one explanation. Another is that when he was contacted by the Star Tribune on March 21, Maturi in fact did not know whether or not Monson would return. Personally, I incline toward the latter. It fits the facts better. But it's a judgment call.

Speaking of judgment calls, at the top of her column, Parry quotes an email from a reader: "Either name the specific source and the readers can decide its credibility, or wait until you hear it directly from [Minnesota athletic director] Joel Maturi or Dan Monson as an official public announcement before reporting it. Otherwise, start a blog."

I couldn't disagree more. The March 22 story by Jeff Shelman was clear about the story's sources ("people outside the university with knowledge of the situation") and about Maturi's uncharacteristic evasiveness. That's what reporters do: they put two and two together. Nor, surely, are readers such fragile chalices of trusting naïveté. If anything I want the larger newspapers in Big Ten country to give me more of this kind of reporting on breaking news, as long as it's properly labeled.

As for Monson, he is in the worst situation I can recall seeing inhabited by any Big Ten basketball coach. And by that I specifically mean worse than Mike Davis's situation this year (not even close) and worse even than former Penn State coach Jerry Dunn's situation in 2003.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006
They shoot, they score, we misinterpret
(11) George Mason vs. (3) Florida (CBS, 6:07pm ET)
(4) LSU vs. (2) UCLA (CBS, 8:47pm ET)

In what I didn't realize is an annual tradition until I paused and thought about it, I'm about to poke holes in the recurring Friday Wall Street Journal sports feature known as "By the Numbers," just as I did last year on the weekend of the Final Four.

I actually enjoy "By the Numbers" but when it's about college basketball it seems I find problems. (So maybe I should remember that when it's about pro football and I think it's really good. Anyway....) Last year, for example, the WSJ had elaborate data purporting to show that Louisville would beat Illinois in the Final Four because Rick Pitino had extensive experience coaching in the Final Four and Bruce Weber, then, had nada.

This year (no link--look in the dictionary under "paid site" and you'll find the WSJ) Allen St. John has come up with something he terms "shooting differential," which actually isn't a bad idea as far as it goes. (He even calls it "SD" so you know he's serious.) The only flaw--and it's a big one--is that St. John uses straight FG percentages (FG/FGA) and not effective FG percentages (FG + (0.5 * 3FG)/FGA). An eFG pct. recognizes scoring reality: threes are harder to make but they're worth 50 percent more than twos.

Using straight FG percentages and subtracting defensive FG pct. from each team's own FG pct., here's what St. John finds:

1. Florida (.105)
2. George Mason (.097)
3. LSU (.070)
4. UCLA (.061)

This would be like computing a "hitting differential" using batting averages instead of slugging percentages. If he'd used eFG percentages instead, St. John would have found this:

1. Florida (.119)
2. George Mason (.099)
3. UCLA (.078)
4. LSU (.048)

Markedly similar, no? Maybe. Let's take a look at these numbers....

The first thing to notice is that LSU and UCLA switched places. Why? Because LSU never ever shoots threes, devoting just 21.8 percent of their attempts to shots from beyond the arc. So their FG percentage looks better than UCLA's (Ben Howland's team devotes 34.5 percent of its shots to threes) but, in terms of actual scoring effectiveness, the Bruins get more out of each shot than do the Tigers.

This dynamic works on the other side of the ball, as well. For instance, UCLA's opponents shot fewer threes this year (26.9 percent of attempts) than did the opponents of any other Final Four team. The fewer threes your opponents shoot, the worse your straight FG percentage defense will look. So UCLA gets dinged in St. John's numbers, despite the reality that their FG defense is quite good. (In point of fact, there is much less difference among the four teams in FG defense than there is in shooting the ball. All four are very good at defending their opponents' shots.)

And then there's the larger point: there's more to winning and losing than shooting and defending shots. There's rebounding. There's holding on to the ball and forcing turnovers. And there are free throws.

Take Florida. The Gators are indeed one of the best shooting teams in the country. But they're hardly invincible--most notably they turn the ball over more often than does their opponent today, George Mason (thus vitiating their strong shooting). And they allow a fair number of offensive rebounds to their opponents (thus detracting from their strong FG defense).

Nor does shooting differential tell the whole (or even most of the) story with regard to today's other semifinal. While UCLA shoots much better than LSU (while playing basically the same level of FG defense), the Bruins are also the most turnover-prone team in Indy this weekend. And the Tigers make up for their (relatively) mediocre shooting by attacking the offensive glass--they are the strongest offensive rebounding team in the Final Four.

Suffice it to say: shooting well and defending shots are important, indeed crucial. Success starts there. But it doesn't end there.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
From the "great minds think alike" file. Ken Pomeroy lobs some pointed darts at the Coach of the Year voting this morning. As it happens, intrepid blogger Oof the Quick has done the same--and added some historical perspective, as well. Good reads.

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Final Big Ten individual stats, 2006
Scoring efficiency: PPWS (points per weighted shot--more about this stat)
PPWS = PTS/(FGA + (0.475 x FTA))

All games (15+ min. per game)
1. Strickland, IN 1.32
2. J. Smith, IL 1.32
3. Sims, MI 1.31
4. Abram, MI 1.29
5. Davis, MSU 1.28
6. Augustine, IL 1.28
7. Shamala, MN 1.24
8. G. Brown, MI 1.24
9. Hansen, IA 1.21
10. Hachad, NU 1.21
11. Vukusic, NU 1.21
12. Foster, OSU 1.21
13. Sullinger, OSU 1.20
14. Butler, OSU 1.20
15. Horton, MI 1.19
16. Lewis, OSU 1.18
17. S. Brown, MSU 1.17
18. Dials, OSU 1.16
19. Ager, MSU 1.15
20. Vaden, IN 1.14
21. Tollackson, MN 1.14
22. McBride, IL 1.14
23. Doyle, NU 1.14
24. Trannon, MSU 1.13
25. Dillon, PUR 1.13
26. Haluska, IA 1.13
27. Killingsworth, IN 1.13
28. Henderson, IA 1.12
29. Flowers, WI 1.12
30. Ware, PUR 1.12
31. Butch, WI 1.12
32. Moore, NU 1.11
33. Nixon, WI 1.11
34. Calloway, IN 1.11
35. Luber, PSU 1.10
36. Randle, IL 1.09
37. Parker, PSU 1.09
38. Hunter, MI 1.09
39. Neitzel, MSU 1.08
40. Cornley, PSU 1.08
41. Harris, MI 1.08
42. Hargrow, MN 1.06
43. Horner, IA 1.06
44. Taylor, WI 1.05
45. Brunner, IA 1.05
46. Wilmont, IN 1.04
47. Pruitt, IL 1.04
48. Boone, MN 1.04
49. Green, PUR 1.03
50. Kiefer, PUR 1.02
51. R. Coleman, MI 1.02
52. Chappell, WI 1.02
53. Lutz, PUR 1.02
54. Walker, PSU 1.02
55. Monroe, IN 1.00
56. Claxton, PSU 1.00
57. Grier, MN 0.99
58. Tucker, WI 0.98
59. Jackson, PSU 0.98
60. Thomas, IA 0.98
61. D. Brown, IL 0.97
62. Sylvester, OSU 0.97
63. D. Coleman, MN 0.97
64. Cote, NU 0.96
65. Stamper, MN 0.95
66. Walton, MSU 0.94
67. Krabbenhoft, WI 0.91
68. Scott, NU 0.91
69. Ratliff, IN 0.89
70. Williams, NU 0.89
71. Freeman, IA 0.88
72. Jenkins, NU 0.81
Final Big Ten individual stats, 2006
Rebound pct. (more about this stat)
Reb. pct. = player rebounds/(total rebounds x (player minutes/total minutes))

All games (15+ min. per game)
1. G. Brown, MI 18.8%
2. Davis, MSU 18.3%
3. Augustine, IL 16.9%
4. Killingsworth, IN 16.4%
5. Brunner, IA 16.2%
6. Kiefer, PUR 16.2%
7. Pruitt, IL 16.0%
8. Sims, MI 15.9%
9. Dials, OSU 15.6%
10. Thomas, IA 14.7%
11. Krabbenhoft, WI 14.7%
12. Stamper, MN 14.6%
13. Sullinger, OSU 14.3%
14. Butch, WI 14.1%
15. Hunter, MI 13.2%
16. Claxton, PSU 13.1%
17. Chappell, WI 12.4%
18. Randle, IL 12.3%
19. Tollackson, MN 12.1%
20. Ware, PUR 12.1%
21. Trannon, MSU 11.9%
22. Hansen, IA 11.5%
23. Parker, PSU 11.4%
24. Cornley, PSU 11.2%
25. Hachad, NU 11.0%
26. Wilmont, IN 10.9%
27. D. Coleman, MN 10.4%
28. Grier, MN 10.4%
29. Tucker, WI 9.8%
30. Vaden, IN 9.5%
31. Cote, NU 9.4%
32. Scott, NU 9.3%
33. Doyle, NU 8.7%
34. Green, PUR 8.3%
35. Abram, MI 8.1%
36. R. Coleman, MI 8.1%
37. Shamala, MN 7.8%
38. S. Brown, MSU 7.8%
39. Williams, NU 7.7%
40. Haluska, IA 7.6%
41. Foster, OSU 7.6%
42. Flowers, WI 7.6%
43. Lewis, OSU 7.5%
44. Henderson, IA 7.4%
45. Ager, MSU 7.3%
46. Calloway, IN 7.3%
47. Hargrow, MN 7.1%
48. Jenkins, NU 7.1%
49. Ratliff, IN 6.8%
50. Vukusic, NU 6.7%
51. Jackson, PSU 6.6%
52. Sylvester, OSU 6.5%
53. Dillon, PUR 6.5%
54. Monroe, IN 6.3%
55. Horner, IA 6.3%
56. Strickland, IN 6.1%
57. Walton, MSU 6.0%
58. Harris, MI 5.9%
59. Butler, OSU 5.8%
60. J. Smith, IL 5.2%
61. Brown, IL 5.2%
62. Boone, MN 5.0%
63. Taylor, WI 4.9%
64. Horton, MI 4.8%
65. Walker, PSU 4.7%
66. Lutz, PUR 4.6%
67. Moore, NU 4.6%
68. Freeman, IA 4.4%
69. Nixon, WI 4.2%
70. Neitzel, MSU 3.8%
71. McBride, IL 3.7%
72. Luber, PSU 3.2%
Final Big Ten individual stats, 2006
Assists per 100 possessions
(Assists/individual possessions) x 100

All games (15+ min. per game)
1. Neitzel, MSU 10.2
2. D. Brown, IL 10.1
3. Horner, IA 9.4
4. Horton, MI 9.3
5. Luber, PSU 8.9
6. Doyle, NU 8.6
7. Walker, PSU 8.6
8. Butler, OSU 8.5
9. Boone, MN 8.1
10. Calloway, IN 7.9
11. Walton, MSU 7.7
12. Sylvester, OSU 6.9
13. Monroe, IN 6.8
14. Jenkins, NU 6.4
15. Vaden, IN 6.2
16. Jackson, PSU 6.1
17. Hargrow, MN 6.0
18. Freeman, IA 6.0
19. Moore, NU 5.8
20. Foster, OSU 5.6
21. Chappell, WI 5.5
22. Scott, NU 5.5
23. Harris, MI 5.4
24. Krabbenhoft, WI 5.2
25. Dillon, PUR 5.2
26. Flowers, WI 4.8
27. S. Brown, MSU 4.7
28. McBride, IL 4.4
29. J. Smith, IL 4.4
30. Grier, MN 4.4
31. Ager, MSU 4.3
32. Strickland, IN 4.1
33. Taylor, WI 4.1
34. Henderson, IA 4.1
35. Killingsworth, IN 4.1
36. Haluska, IA 4.0
37. Williams, NU 3.9
38. Hachad, NU 3.9
39. Nixon, WI 3.8
40. Cote, NU 3.7
41. Trannon, MSU 3.7
42. Parker, PSU 3.7
43. Kiefer, PUR 3.6
44. Randle, IL 3.4
45. Augustine, IL 3.4
46. Butch, WI 3.4
47. Lewis, OSU 3.4
48. Brunner, IA 3.3
49. Lutz, PUR 3.3
50. Davis, MSU 3.2
51. Vukusic, NU 3.1
52. Stamper, MN 3.1
53. Tucker, WI 3.1
54. Sullinger, OSU 3.1
55. Tollackson, MN 3.0
56. G. Brown, MI 2.8
57. Green, PUR 2.7
58. Claxton, PSU 2.7
59. Abram, MI 2.4
60. Ware, PUR 2.4
61. R. Coleman, MI 2.3
62. Cornley, PSU 2.3
63. Shamala, MN 2.1
64. Sims, MI 2.0
65. Ratliff, IN 1.9
66. Wilmont, IN 1.7
67. Thomas, IA 1.5
68. Pruitt, IL 1.5
69. D. Coleman, MN 1.2
70. Hunter, MI 1.2
71. Dials, OSU 1.2
72. Hansen, IA 0.9

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