Jimmy Collins knew the UIC offense didn't work

And it seems like he's try to fix it. The Flames have struggled in Horizon League play thus far. Teams are locking down on Robo Kreps. Unless he gets to the free throw line 18 times, there's no way he can be an effective scorer with all the attention that's being paid to him.

Originally it looked as if Zavion Neely was going to take over some of the scoring burden, but he hasn't been very effective. Then last weekend the strategy changed again. Now senior forward Jeremy Buttell has become an integral part of the scoring offense. And while it hasn't changed the outcomes - UIC lost both games over the weekend - it is improving the offense.

UIC's offense has moved from abysmal - approximately .80 points per possession, to merely below average - approximately .95 points per possession. That's a good increase and it shows that someone has noticed how to best use his personnel. Check out the graphs after the jump.

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There is a graph of UIC's points scored per possession on a game-by-game basis in the Horizon League. There are three noticeable segments they break into conveniently because of the three weekend series. The Flames have improved during each weekend segment and played the best - on offense at least - last weekend on the road. That's surprising. But here's the reason why.

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The shot distribution has drastically changed over those six games. Buttell instantly went from taking fewer shots than Kreps and Neely to taking way more. There's no gradual ramp up, no trend to make us think that maybe Buttell was just being more aggressive. Nope, this was a deliberate philosophy change. It paid off too. The senior forward is a much more efficient scorer than either of the two guards and that's why you see the offensive numbers rising.

I am sure the Horizon League defenses are going to begin keying on Buttell, but when they do it plays into the hands of the Flames. Then Kreps will have the open looks that made him such a dangerous threat the past two seasons.

What I really wonder is why it took 6 games, or a 1/3 of the conference season to get to this point. Still, it's good for the Flames that it has. Loyola has a new guy to worry about on Friday.

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