23 January 2014

GAMBLE Report 1.16

Fun Fact

Over the past four games NU’s adjD is holding teams below 0.85 PPP on average.  That is better than ANY DIVISION 1 team has performed over the season.  Spectacular!!! On offense NU has score 0.845 PPP.  That is worse than ANY DIVISION 1 team has performed over the season.  Horribad!!!   Has there ever been such a schizophrenic team?  

We read somewhere a CCC quote that said a coach’s job is to maximize what he has on hand.  We couldn’t agree more.  The above statistics show that he has done an amazing job of that on defense.  But on offense he couldn’t do any worse. 

@NU 63 Purdue 60 2OT

NU fans are giddy with excitement over Tuesday night’s win.  Contract extension for CCC?  Will CCC leave NU for Duke when Coach K retires?  Has CCC found his coaching identity?  Could NU have a winning record in the B1G and make the NCAAs?

Whoa now.  We hate to rain on the parade but people are starting to say some nutty things.  Look it.  We get that 3-4 in the B1G is a good thing seeing how NU had been blown away in its first three B1G games.  We get that NU has won three of its last four games.  We get that the defense has been a revelation. 

But let’s be real.  Per kenpom for its three victories NU has defeated the #92 Illini and the #101 Boilermakers at home and the #70 Hoosiers on the road.  These are all lower tier B1G teams.  Two of the games were at home.  One of those home wins required double OT to win.

Let’s assume a best case scenario that NU can somehow consistently impose its will against lower-tier B1G teams to eke out wins in spite of the moribund offense.  The other two other lower-tier B1G teams are #78 Nebraska and #107 Purdue.  NU has but five games against these five other B1G lower tier B1G teams.  

Because NU fumbled its way through the non-conference season even the NIT is but a dream unless NU can earn a .500 B1G record. If NU wins the five remaining games against the lower-tier.  That gets NU to eight BIG wins.  NU will need to steal a win from the upper tier.  In other words everything has to go about as well as can be realistically expected to even make the NIT.

How about taking the “short-cut” to the NCAAs by winning the BTT?  Four games in four days with NU’s short bench not to mention the heavy hitters in the top-tier?  Fuggedaboutit.


While NU narrowly won as projected it took NU and Purdue 50 minutes to score as many points as were projected in 40.  Therefore it should come as no surprise that the updated GAMBLE Report shows little movement except for a modest improvement on defense and a little more slippage further down toward the bottom of the offensive rankings. 

All told NU is now ranked #144 which is up two spots from last report and still 12 rungs behind 2013.  The defense is up 3 spots to a very impressive #18 while the offense is down 4 spots to #323.  Break out the confetti and fireworks RIGHT!?!?!?

Bigger picture NU continued its trend of solid fundamental defense.  NU has eschewed the notion of trying to turnover its opponents in favor of positional defense that better interferes with shot selection and facilitates rebounding.  This is a winning formula and CCC deserves credit for the heavy lifting done on the defensive end of the court.

On offense NU continues to slump.  NU has improved its ball protection in B1G play but in so doing has lost its gains from getting to the charity stripe more often and creating open looks once an opponent’s defense has broken down.  NU’s FTR is now #228 which is down over 80 rungs since the end of the non-conference slate.  Similarly the effective FG% for the offense is an abysmal #307 which is over 90 rungs worse than at the beginning of B1G play.  Overall the offense is down over 70 spots. 

BIG Gamble Report

The offense remains locked in the B1G cellar. The only positive we can write is that the TO% has improved to where NU was last year.

The defense continues to leap up the B1G charts.  The Adj D is up 3 more spots and is now #5 in the B1G.  The eFG% is now THE BEST in the B1G.  Looking ahead NU could vault up to the #2 defense in B1G if they can keep up this stout defense.

Overall NU is still #12 in the B1G.  There is that rainy parade thing again.......