Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 7 In The Summit League: Efficiency Update

It's been three weeks since we last looked at the adjusted efficiency differences in The Summit League. While the actual rankings haven't shifted much in that time, several teams have been trending in a different direction than they were in the middle of January. This hasn't just shown up in the advanced statitistics, but also in the actual league standings. IPFW, for example, has been falling out of favor as of late while a surprise squad like UMKC continues to win games at an impressive rate. To aid in a discussion on these trends, below you will find the updated efficiency difference table. The content of the table was described here. All numbers are current through games played on Sunday, February 7, per A new column, "Trending," was also added to show the direction each team's efficiency difference has headed since the last post.

- Oakland still leads the league in efficiency difference by a wide margin. However, the team's figure has been trending down in recent weeks. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the Golden Grizzlies dropped their first league game this past weekend, giving up 100 points to IUPUI. OU's offensive efficiency has remained impressive throughout conference play, but its defensive efficiency has suffered in recent contests. This has led to the small decrease in the team's efficiency difference.

- The Jackrabbits remain a frustrating team for the simple reason that their record is not indicative of the explosiveness of their offense. While their 114.1 mark in offensive efficiency is beyond impressive, their defensive efficiency has hurt them more often than not. The good news is that South Dakota State's efficiency difference is trending upward, but the team still needs to get its defense in order if a big run is to occur in March.

- IUPUI has made a sizable surge since the last time we checked in on these figures. While their third place position hasn't changed, the Jaguars are certainly gaining ground on South Dakota State thanks to an improved offense. It seems that in recent weeks the Jags have gotten major contributions from Stephen Thomas and Christian Siakam, a fact that has given them more options than just Leroy Nobles and Alex Young. Young has also been playing out of his mind and parlayed his performances into Summit League Player of the Month honors for January. His 31 points and 9 rebounds in a win against Oakland were good enough for him to get props from both and on Monday.

- The men of Oral Roberts are 6-3 in league play since the start of the new year, a tally that includes two wins over South Dakota State. However, the team also dropped two games at IPFW and Oakland. ORU's efficiency difference captures well the dynamic that the Golden Eagles are a solid team but far from elite at this point. Their offensive and defensive differences are nearly identical, a fact that means they are likely to continue to be a step behind the conference's upper echelon.

- With league play nearing an end, I would venture to say that North Dakota State is one of those teams that no one will want to play in the first round of the Summit League Tournament. Because of a logjam in the middle of the pack, NDSU will likely fall in the six or seven seed range. Even though the team has many young contributors, it feels like the Bison have underachieved this season. While they could still pull out a few wins in the stretch run, I'm left thinking that they'll continue on as they have so far, leaving some two or three seed scared come March.

- The efficiency difference measure does not like IPFW much. Even though the Mastodons are in third place in the standings, this figure puts them in sixth and declining. The cause of the collapse: defense. Early in conference play, IPFW was holding opponents to well under 1.00 points per possession, but in recent games that defensive intensity has been missing (for example, the team gave up a season-high 1.304 PPP in the loss to IUPUI last week).

- UMKC has vastly improved its efficiency difference over the last three weeks. The team has jumped up by 4.8 points to come closer to getting out of the negatives. The Roos have experienced a small uptick in offensive efficiency, but a majority of the difference has come on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Matt Brown has done a solid job this season, enough so that no one should be calling for his job at season's end. While there is still work to do, it is great to be talking about UMKC basketball once again in a positive light. It appears that the team finally has some firepower on offense and intensity on defense despite its very short rotation.

- Southern Utah owns the distinction of being the best of the worst. The Thunderbirds are trending upward thanks to a spark in offensive efficiency over the past few weeks, but the team's defense continues to struggle mightily.

- All hope is not lost for Western Illinois. Though its offensive efficiency has continued to plummet, the team is holding its own in defensive efficiency despite a true lack of manpower. That's good news for a defensive-oriented coach like Jim Molinari. The bad news is that the team has seemingly run out of scoring options.

- Centenary: bad offensive efficiency, bad defensive efficiency. That makes for an efficiency difference so low that we probably won't see anything similar until reclassification claims another Division I team.

No comments:

Post a Comment