Friday, March 30, 2007

Breakdown – The Players

Instead of the usual style of comparing players (like a Hibbert versus Oden comparison), and in keeping with our stats obsession here at Saurian Sagacity, we are going to look at individual stats and the top 6 players in each stat from all the teams combined.

Why this method? Well, it can tell us several things. If, for instance, a team doesn’t have a single player in the top 6 (about 10% of the available players overall), it means that team is severely lacking in that attribute. Likewise, if one team has several, it shows real strength there.

Minutes per Game

1 Arron Afflalo (UCLA) -33.3
2 Taurean Green (UF) -33.1
3 Jeff Green (GT) -33.1
4 Darren Collison (UCLA) - 32.9
5 Jessie Sapp (GT) - 32.9
6 Jonathan Wallace (GT) - 32.1

Not surprisingly, the “floor generals” like UF’s Green spend a lot of time on the court. Georgetown has 3 guys who have played many minutes this season. OSU’s top player is Jamar Butler, who would have been 7th on this list at 31.4 mins per game.

Points per Game

1 Arron Afflalo (UCLA) -16.9
2 Greg Oden (OSU) - 15.4
3 Jeff Green (GT) -14.4
4 Taurean Green (UF) - 13.3
5 Al Horford (UF) - 13.2
6 (tie) Corey Brewer (UF) -13.1
6 (tie) Josh Shipp (UCLA) – 13.1

It is interesting that 3 of Florida’s players are in the top 6, all averaging better than 13 points a game, and shows that UF has some options when it comes to scoring. UCLA, although relying heavily on Afflalo, has Shipp tied for 6th, and Darren Collision at 8th. OSU’s Ron Lewis is also tied for 8th, with Georgetown’s Hibbert at 10th.

This stat illustrates the critical nature of Oden, who is somewhat unfairly characterized as “offensively challenged”.

Rebounds per Game

1 Greg Oden (OSU) - 9.5
2 Al Horford (UF) - 9.2
3 Joakim Noah (UF) - 8.5
4 Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA) -7.5
5 Roy Hibbert (GT) - 6.9
6 Jeff Green (GT) - 6.2

Is Oden important to OSU? Look no further than this stat. The next rebounder on the list for Ohio State is Othello Hunter, who averages only 4.6 a game.

Hibbert of Georgetown was a surprising 5th on this list. At 7’2”, one would expect him to have more rebounds per game.

Finally, who knew Al Horford was rebounding at nearly the rate of Oden? I didn’t.

Assists per Game

1 Mike Conley Jr. (OSU) - 6.1
2 Darren Collison (UCLA) - 5.7
3 Jamar Butler (OSU) - 3.7
4 Taurean Green (UF) - 3.6
5 Jessie Sapp (GT) - 3.4
6 Jeff Green (GT) - 3.2

Never mind here the top 6 – just look at the top 2. Conley Jr and Collision average more than 2 assists per game better than any other players in the Final Four.

Blocks per Game

1 Greg Oden (OSU) -3.3
2 Roy Hibbert (GT) - 2.5
3 Al Horford (UF) - 1.9
4 Joakim Noah (UF) - 1.8
5 Lorenzo Mata (UCLA) - 1.2
6 Jeff Green (GT) - 1.2

Once again, a clear indication of the dominating play of Greg Oden. (And I hear him called overrated sometimes…). However, it must be noted that Florida’s duo on this list average just under 4 blocks per game, as does Georgetown’s. UCLA’s lack of overall team size is apparent in this stat.

Field Goal Percentage (Minimum 100 attempts)

1 Chris Richard (UF) - 0.677
2 Roy Hibbert (GT) - 0.67
3 Lorenzo Mata (UCLA) - 0.647
4 Al Horford (UF) - 0.618
5 Greg Oden (OSU) - 0.616

Surprising to see a bench player at the tops here. Other than that, obviously the domain of big men.

Free Throw Percentage (Minimum 75 attempts)

1 Jonathan Wallace (GT) - 0.872
2 Jamar Butler (OSU) - 0.855
3 Taurean Green (UF) - 0.845
4 Darren Collison (UCLA) - 0.807
5 Arron Afflalo (UCLA) - 0.795
6 Jeff Green (GT) - 0.78

The “money” list. Also, comparatively, perhaps UF’s weakest spot. It shows why in the waning moments of games Florida always tries to get the ball in Green’s hand when the other team is going to foul.

Three Point Percentage (Minimum 100 attempts)

1 Jonathan Wallace (GT) - 0.486
2 Darren Collison (UCLA) - 0.463
3 Lee Humphrey (UF) - 0.455
4 Daequan Cook (OSU) - 0.422
5 Russell Westbrook (UCLA) - 0.409
6 Taurean Green (UF) - 0.404

Where as UCLA lacks big men, they don’t lack shooters. Neither does Florida. Interestingly, if we took the attempt minimum down to 67, the leader would be UF's Walter Hodges, with over a 50% success rate.

What can we get from all this? Well, some of it is a pretty clear statistical characterization of what might be considered “common knowledge” .

However, these stats really do emphasize some points.

1. Greg Oden is crucial to OSU.

He is the leading (and only) top rebounder, leading shot blocker and OSU’s top scorer. Sure, Conley Jr’s assists per game is impressive, but who do you imagine most of those go to? If Oden isn’t on the floor for reasons like foul trouble, OSU is in trouble.

2. UCLA is small.

With their tallest player coming in at 6’9”, UCLA lacks rebounders and has very few blocks.

3. Arron Afflalo is the best scorer you have (maybe) not hear of.

Maybe it is an “east coast bias” thing (especially because Pac 10 games tend to be late). But at nearly 17 points per game, Afflalo rules everyone remaining in the tournament.

4. Florida shares the load.

3 of the top 6 scorers. 2 of the top 6 rebounders. 2 of the top blockers. And 2 of the top 3 point shooters. Yet, they don’t have the leader in any of the 4 categories.

5. Forget Roy Hibbert – Jeff Green is Georgetown’s most critical player.

Green plays the most for GT (33.1 mins per game). He is their top scorer (14.4) He is their second leading rebounder, just .7 a game behind Hibbert. He is one of their leading assist men, and a leading blocker. Finally, he is a top free throw shooter. The guy does it all.

Overall, these stats show 4 very talented teams, with many of the individuals listed near the top of that stat in the nation.

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