Since I already wrote about tempo-free predictions earlier today I thought I would continue the discussion with some interesting notes about player statistics that you can find by going to Ken Pomeroy's massive statistical database. The player statistics have been updated through last night's games, so there is a huge database of information available. I went searching through it and here were some of the more interesting things I found.
-Chicago guys play a lot: Four Chicago players rank in the Top 50 in the country in percentage of team's minutes played. Northwestern's Michael Thompson leads the way in 2nd place at 94.7%. DePaul's Will Walker is 19th, UIC's Robo Kreps is 33rd and Thompson's teammate John Shurna is 44th.
Thompson defines a tough player. He was throwing up during halftime of the Purdue game, but he managed to regroup and play 39 minutes. Shurna played 38 minutes.
-Don't foul! Kreps takes this maxim to the ultimate length. Even though he plays a ton of minutes he rarely commits a foul. He ranks 11th in the country in fouls committed per 40 minutes. He commits just 1.2 fouls per 40 minutes. Against Loyola on Friday he committed 2 in 40 minutes, obviously screwing up his average. Walker also ranks high in this category at 1.4 per 40 minutes, good for 31st.
-Make them foul you! Walt Gibler is like the opposite of Kreps. By Pomeroy's estimates Gibler has drawn 7.7 fouls per 40 minutes, 18th in the country. Some people just go to the line a lot. One of those guys is Chicago State's Antonio Lofton. He ranks 20th in the country in free throw rate.
-He knows how to pass. Spencer Stewart was a welcome addition to the UIC lineup at midseason for one big reason, his playmaking skills. Stewart is justifying the hype. He's 50th in the country in assist percentage at 32.9%. The only problem is he's also getting into trouble by turning the ball over. His turnover percentage is a whopping 40.8%. Stewart's opposite is Walker. The DePaul guard ranks 63rd in the country in turnover percentage at 10.4%.
-Rebound and play defense. Loyola is a very good rebounding team in general. Part of that is the play of Andy Polka. Polka ranks 87th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage. The defense is also helped out by the interior presence of freshman Ben Averkamp. He ranks 123rd in block percentage. Looking at Averkamp and Gibler's skills it's obvious why Jim Whitesell is doing a lot of offense-defense substitutions late in games with these two players.
-The workhorse. Being the only offensive weapon on a team can be tough. Ask Carl Montgomery. He's using 28.0% of Chicago State's possessions when he's on the court, but his efficiency has fallen to 94.4 this season from 116.8 a season ago when David Holston was feeding him dunks.
-The sharpshooter. Nobody expected Drew Crawford to shoot this well during his freshman season. He's 51st in the nation in effective field goal percentage at 61.5%. His fellow freshman, Alex Marcotullio, ranks 36th in the nation in steal percentage.