16 January 2015

GAMBLE Report 2.03

Northwestern now has four B1G games under its belt.  The B1G isn't exactly a monster this year, but it's still a large step up in competition from one of the weakest non-conference schedules -- 330th out of 351 at current look.  Have the freshmen been overwhelmed?  Have they started to live up to the hype?  Or is it somewhere in between?

Our last GAMBLE Report update was run on the eve of 2015 B1G play.  An update may shed some light.  Here goes...

NU is now ranked #136 which is essentially the same as #135 at our last update.   On the whole one might conclude on this basis that the freshmen have not been overwhelmed by B1G play.  Or more accurately not any more overwhelmed by B1G play than by collegiate ball.

On offense the AdjO is now ranked 180 which is up 2 from pre-B1G play.  Even a small increase is somewhat surprising because the OR% has dropped an eye popping 70 rungs.  This large drop suggests a strategic shift in B1G play to back off the offensive glass in order to avoid giving up easy fast break points.  That would make sense given the better rebounding abilities of B1G teams.  Of the other three factors only eFG% improved by 10 rungs which speaks to just how important it is to make hoops (duh!).

The defense continues to regress from last year's lofty standard.  The current ranking of #124 is down 15 rungs from prior to B1G play.  Of the four factors eFG% has slipped 10 spots while TO% has slipped 60 spots to an overall ranking of #310.  TO% is comprised in part by steals % which is also tracked by kenpom, and NU is ranked 350 (of 351) on that measure.  Yeah that zero live ball turnover game against the Illini on Wednesday didn't help.

If offense and defense trends continue then this 2015 team will come even closer to what is an already pretty comparable 2013 team.  The strategies that CCC and CBC employed for these teams differ to the naked eye, but on an efficiency basis the two teams are remarkably similar at both ends of the court.

1.5 years into the CCC era, and statistically speaking there has been no progress.   We're ok with that.  Next year?  Not so much.