Wednesday Night Links
- Kalin Lucas is OK despite bruised hand
Please, no more injuries.
- Conference Check: Final Reality Edition
We finished in a tie with Illinois for lowest defensive efficiency in the Big Ten (more on that below).
- Conference Tournament Odds: Log5 Style
BP’s system gives us a 33.7% chance of winning the BTT title.
- Big Ten Tournament history
Sadly, we rank only 5th in all-time BTT winning percentage.
- Big Ten Tournament Round 1: #8 Minnesota vs #9 Northwestern
NW-side preview of the game that we play the winner of.
- Big Ten Tournament Preview: Day 1
Hammers and Rails.
That’s Not Enough: Even MORE Evidence of How Smart I Am!
And, for this occasion, I’ll got out on a limb and say that at least one banner gets hung in the Breslin Center at the start of the 2009-10 season–be it for the Big Ten regular season championship, the Big Ten Tournament championship, or a Final Four appearance.
Can We Put It All Together?
A graph of game-by-game offensive (blue) and defensive (red) efficiency figures for MSU in conference play this season, based on last year’s methodology:
The graph tells a pretty simple story: We got much better on defense as the conference season progressed, but we also regressed some on offense. There are three factors I can point to in terms of our offensive efficiency going down:
- Raymar Morgan’s illness (which contributed to our offensive rebounding percentage falling off somewhat).
- The late-season 3-point shooting slump.
- Playing Illinois/Purdue–and their ball-hawking, turnover-inducing man-to-man defenses–three times in the final six games.
On defense, the team really came together playing Izzo’s man-to-man scheme–which requires a lot of switching and hedging–as they avoided mental lapses resulting in good 3-point looks. Of our final 9 conference opponents, only two shot better than 30% from 3-point range.
If we can regain the offensive rhythm (and rebounding dominance) from early in the conference season and combine it with the much-improved defensive cohesiveness the team showed down the stretch, we’re going to be a legitimate Final Four contender. Of course, if the offense doesn’t regain it’s early form and our defense doesn’t hold up against unfamiliar conference opponents, the forecast is much less rosy.
I’m not going to post the full group of graphs for all 11 teams this year (I don’t see as many interesting stories this year; lots of .500 teams that played at a .500 level for most of the season). But I will say one thing: Beware the Badgers. Per usual, they appear to be peaking at the right time.