Horizon League Points Contributed

NCAA First Round: Butler Bulldogs v LSU Tigers

Over the weekend I was finally able to run the numbers necessary to calculate points contributed for the Horizon League during the 2008-09 season. (Read about the statistic in the FAQ.) The Horizon League numbers tended to disagree with the postseason awards - except for one spectacular player - but that might be because I used full-season instead of conference data. Still, I think the data reveals some trend and performances that are worth highlighting.

One of the main things is the importance of defensive rebounds in the Horizon League last season. I calculated that each defensive rebound in the Horizon League was worth .73 points contributed. Crash those boards. Also, steals were very important in the Horizon League. Turnovers resulted in -17.2 points per game last season in the Horizon League making each turnover worth -1.29 points on its own. Be sure to take care of the ball.

The best way to succeed in the points contributed formula is to have a strong all-around game. That's why Butler's Matt Howard (above) - last season's conference player of the year - was also the leader in points contributed per game by a long shot. By my calculations Howard was worth almost 2 more points per game than any other player in the Horizon League last season.

The rest of the Top 10 and some more about defense in the Horizon League is after the jump.
Here's the complete Top 10 according to Points Contributed / Game from last season:

  • Matt Howard, Butler
  • Gordon Hayward, Butler
  • Cedric Jackson, Cleveland State
  • Ryan Tillema, Green Bay
  • Scott VanderMeer, UIC
  • J'Nathan Bullock, Cleveland State
  • Urule Igbavboa, Valparaiso
  • D'Aundray Brown, Cleveland State
  • Rahmon Fletcher, Green Bay
  • Terry Evans, Green Bay

One of the most interesting things about this Top 10 list is that while the two Butler frontcourt players head the list, there are three Cleveland State Vikings in the Top 10. That's why CSU was able to upset Syracuse and Wake Forest last season, it had a number of talented options.

Fletcher returns this season for Green Bay and is expected to be one of the top players in the league. Also, it appears VanderMeer might've been stiffed in the postseason award voting because UIC underperformed as a team in the minds of voters. (For the record, Loyola's first person on the list is J.R. Blount at 26th.)

Defensive points contributed focuses on three things - defensive rebounding, blocks and steals - but even that small subset is enough to start to get a feel about how a player contributes on the defensive end. Here's the Top 10 for total defensive points contributed last season in the Horizon League.

  • Cedric Jackson, Cleveland State
  • Scott VanderMeer, UIC
  • Gordon Hayward, Butler
  • J'Nathan Bullock, Cleveland State
  • Terry Evans, Green Bay
  • Matt Howard, Butler
  • Justin Cerasoli, Loyola
  • Woody Payne, Detroit
  • George Tandy, Cleveland State
  • Sirlester Martin, Youngstown State

A number of those players also appeared in the previous Top 10, but the bottom of the list is very interesting. The combination of Jackson, Bullock and Tandy was one of the reasons the Vikings finished 38th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to Kenpom. Also, if you watched Loyola play, it was obvious that Cerasoli's length on the wing bothered opponents. The fact that the Butler boys are on this list to appears to be a testament to the hard work they both put in on both sides of the court.

It should be noted that Jackson actually won Defensive Player of the Year in the Horizon League last season and that VanderMeer certainly should've been considered a very worthy second choice.

Other notables and their rank in points contributed per game:

  • Shelvin Mack, Butler - 13th
  • Josh Mayo, UIC - 14th
  • James Eayrs, Milwaukee - 19th
  • Todd Brown, Wright State - 24th
  • Darrin Williams, Loyola - 28th
  • Robo Kreps, UIC - 30th
  • DeAndre Mays, Youngstown State - 32nd
  • Justin Cerasoli, Loyola - 42nd
  • Tone Boyle, Milwaukee - 46th

Note: There were 129 players overall in the data set.

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