Loyola plus-minus in 5 key games

Marcus Thomas launching a three

Marcus Thomas leads all Ramblers in plus-minus in the five games that were studied. He's at +33.

The Loyola Ramblers have played six games this season. Five of them should have been close - excluding the game at Kansas State in a season opener against a Big 12 school, four actually were. Those five games though give us an interesting sample to look at in terms of statistics. It includes close victories over Milwaukee, Holy Cross and Western Michigan, along with a blowout victory against Canisius and a blowout loss against Green Bay. That's a very representative sample.

I took those five games and generated plus-minus statistics for them. Plus-minus statistics go to the root of basketball. They attempt to figure out how well the team played while you were on the court. Sometimes they can be very revealing. (See this post on Northwestern plus-minus for some examples.)

The plus-minus numbers for Loyola are very revealing as well.

At the top of the plus-minus statistics for the five-game sample is Marcus Thomas at +33. The senior guard has been excellent off the bench for the Ramblers and the numbers show it. His plus-minus was in double figures against Holy Cross (+13), Western Michigan (+18) and Canisius (+16). Thomas struggled a bit with his shot over the weekend, so he had negative plus-minus scores in both Horizon League games, but he still comes out on top overall.

While he's only played in three of the five games, Aric Van Weelden also has a very strong plus-minus of +25. Interestingly enough it's another second-team player - Walt Gibler - that's number three on the list at +22. The Rambler reserves have been playing excellently this season.

Due to how the games have unfolded this season none of the starters have particularly impressive plus-minus statistics. Geoff McCammon at +1 is the highest rated starter. His numbers have ranged from +14 against Milwaukee to -11 against Holy Cross. If you take out the game against the Phoenix on Thursday when the Ramblers just got blitzed, all five starters have slightly positive plus-minus ratings. Andy Polka leads the way - as probably expected - at +17.

The player that has been the most up-and-down though is Terrance Hill. This makes some intuitive sense. Hill is a gunner that takes a lot of shots. When he's making them his numbers - and the team's - look great. When he's missing shots, watch out. Hill put up an astounding -32 against Green Bay, but he was +7 against Milwaukee and +14 against Canisius.

I'll continue to track plus-minus statistics as the season continues as long as there is substitution data available. Hopefully it'll continue to provide interesting results.

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