23 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.04

NU trailed the IUPUI by 11 points midway through the second half but rallied to a 63-61 win.  The game changed when 3-2 NU went to a 2-3 zone.  Who is IUPUI?  Does it matter?  They were ranked 296/351 by kenpom.com prior to the game.  Their heady play at the Welsh boosted them to 278. 

Sanjay Lumpkin was our player of the game.  His stats were not that impressive but that was because foul trouble limited him to 26 minutes. 

Enough of that recap.  Let's get to it:

GAMBLE Report suffered from the IUPUI nailbiter.  NU's overall ranking dropped to a season-low #113.  Both offense and defense efficiencies dropped with defense now at its season-low ranking.  Offense continues its general trend of better protecting the ball.  Free throw rate dropped which combined with poor shooting explains why this game was so close.  NU's defense continues to improve its adjustment to the new foul rules, and the defensive rebounding continued to improve (see Lumpkin).

21 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.03

NU stomped UIC at the UIC Pavilion last night to the tune of 93-58.  While this year's improved defensive effort continued with NU holding the Flames to 0.84 points per possession, the story of the game was the offense finally coming to life.  NU had 5 players score in double digits and more impressively 6 players whose offensive ratings were over 120 with the team overall scoring 1.35 PPP!

GAMBLE Report 1.03 notes:
1.  Overall ranking improved by 23 with NU up to #87.  However this is still 21 spots worse than our CBC baseline.
2.  Offense ranking improved by 45 and now lags the baseline by 95 spots.
3.  Principal reason offense improved was an incredible 115 spot jump in eFG% (still trails baseline by 32). 
4.  OR% and FTR also notably improved with FTR well ahead of the baseline (178 spots).
5.  Defense ranking continues to be stable and is improved over baseline by 93 spots.  The longer this stability keeps up the more reasonable it will be to set commensurate defensive expectations for this team.
6.  Defense eFG% continued improving (up 46 spots and now 199(!) spots improved over baseline)
7.  Defense FTR continued to improve marginally (up 19 spots and 109 baseline).  This could be a sign the team is adapting to man defense and new foul rules instituted by NCAA this year.

18 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.02

NU lost to Illinois St last night.  At home.  The halftime score was ISU 40 NU 22.  It is not a stretch to project that this will be the Redbirds' largest halftime margin on the road all year long.  What a travesty!  Seriously.  WTF?

Of course the loss has made the GAMBLE look worse.  You may notice a couple tweaks has been made to the GAMBLE Report.  We've added a column for overall team ranking (leftmost figures) because the bottom is relevant after all.  We've also added space for a time series of comparisons (i.e., CCC spotted CBC a big head start -- is he making headway into that lead much like his team did against ISU in the second half?)

The overall statistic shows that for Gamble Report 1.02 ("GR 1.02") NU is now 44 spots behind where it was under CBC.  This is primarily because the offense really stunk it up last night (CCC has fallen 30 spots further behind CBC), though the already improved defense stretched its lead marginally. 

The underlying four factors are really in flux on offense but were surprisingly stable for defense given the small sample size.  For offense the eFG% that was already down in GR 1.01 went down by 77 more spots in GR 1.02.  On the flip side the TO% increased 127 spots from embarrassing levels to now merely average.

15 November 2013

GAMBLE Report - Edition 1.01

What can NU fans expect from the changing of the coaching guard? What will be the effect on NU’s offense? Defense? NCAAs prospects?

Well. No one really knows because Coach Chris Collins has ZERO track record as a head coach. The best anyone can do is to extrapolate from Duke where CCC spent time as a player and assistant coach. That extrapolation is flimsy at best given the myriad differences between a Coach K-led Duke squad and a CCC-led NU squad.

We’ll leave it to others to flail around and try as best they can to use Duke as a model for NU’s future. We will let the facts speak for themselves. So without further ado let us introduce the first installment in our series: Grading our Alma Mater’s Basketball Ludicrous Experiment Report (a/k/a the “GAMBLE Report”).

As we are wont to do we will rely primarily upon the unbiased kenpom data for our GAMBLE Reports. Our baseline comparison will be the gently rising Great Plains-like plateau where Coach Carmody had grown the program over the 2009-2012 NIT years.

It's early but so what?  We are curious and so are you.  On offense things don't look so good.  The biggest problem has been not taking care of the ball which may be a symptom of an offense that asks players to create by driving and dishing as opposed to the regimented Princeton Offense that moves the ball around through systematic passing to get an open shot.  This difference also bears out in the FTR which is improved comparatively.  CCC's offense is doing a relatively poor job of generating easy shots. Behind that drop in eFG% is a drop in 2P% which in our minds mean fewer layups.

The defense is now better thanks to improved rebounding and on ball defense.  The man defense primarily employed by CCC does have its downside in that it is creating fewer turnovers and forcing NU defenders to foul more often.

On the Chris Collins Gamble

So Dr J went and hired himself Chris Collins.  Our reaction?  In a word: GAMBLE. 

In some ways the hire makes perfect sense.  Local boy.  Young and energetic.  Reputed strong recruiter.  Son of a generally well-regarded former Bulls head coach.  Right hand man to Coach K.

In other ways this has the makings of a total clusterf#@#k:  Zero head coaching experience – the first such hire in the Big Ten in over 40 years!!!!  Zero experience recruiting to a school with NU’s reputation.  Not to mention the dude is a former Dukie player AND coach.  The former just makes him annoying, but the latter makes him potentially the next on the list of failed Coach K acolytes.

What’s done is done.  No use crying over spilt milk.  Water under the bridge.  Time to turn the page.  Bygones.  Fill in your own blahdidety blah blah saying here that speaks to the calm and rational approach to the changing of the guard.

Only time will tell whether this GAMBLE pays off.  We sincerely hope it does.  Though we can’t help ourselves from keeping a running tally of how the experiment is going.  Do indulge us as we compare from time-to-time the Carmody past with the Collins present…