Monday, January 21, 2008

IU over Penn State late

The Hoosiers triumph over a wounded Nittany Lion team, 81-65. Sans the Big Ten network, the only college basketball I could watch while exercising was a pretty good Wazzu-Oregon game. There was also the Green Bay-New York football game on, but once it became apparent that old man Favre wasn't heading back to the Superbowl, it was hard for me to care about the NFL.

I caught up on the PSU game through the usual array of blogs and stats, and it looked to me like Jamarcus Ellis was player of the game. DJ was DJ, and Gordon finally hit some shots without turning it over too much, and Armon Bassett and Lance Stemler looked like the starters they had been. Bassett hit 6 of 8 shots for 17 points, and Stemler hit his only three and didn't turn the ball over once. This is why we need Stemler playing starting minutes, not so much for his clutch threes or scrappy rebounding, but for the calming affect he brings to the floor. But the game ball by all accounts should go to Jamarcus Ellis, who rebounded, scored, defended, and directed the attack that finally broke Penn State. Ellls has 12 pts, 5 rebs, 8 assists, 3 steals and a block. That dude stuffs a stat sheet.

Speaking of that, I've been working on Hoosier Fun Ball Ratings Systems for the first 4-5 Big Ten games, and even with the small sample size, it's evident that Indiana has two of the most efficient per-possession starters in the conference. And no, neither one of them is named Gordon. DJ White is only behind Jamar Butler in both effective per-game and [starters'] per-possession production (and I don't see how Butler's going to keep up his torrid pace). Jamarcus Ellis is squarely in 5th in per-posession and is third behind the DJ & Butler in per-game production. Why not Eric Gordon? Well, it pretty much all comes down to one thing for the talented freshman: turnovers. He hasn't rebounded or gotten enough assists yet to push him into a really elite level of production despite his effective scoring, but his average of five turnovers a game (five a game! That's essentially a ten-point swing in any conference game) cripples his numbers. Gordon certainly did better against PSU, but those numbers weren't included in my early calculations.

Other quick HFBR notes: NU's Kevin Coble and PSU's Jamelle Cornley round out the top five in per-game production, and while Minnesota's Al Nolen and Wisconsin's Brian Butch were the other top five starters in per-possession effectiveness, Kurt Looby's .6089 was tops overall among those who played at least a few minutes. Jamar Butler hpps came in at .5576, and 32.8 hppg and DJ's rated .5229 hpps and 29.8 hppg. Late edit: I ran Zack Gibson's numbers one more time, which were off the map, and found I had calculated his total possessions incorrectly! Cue the Simpsons' line: "math is hard!" Or just "D'oh!"


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