Tuesday Truths - Horizon League and Great West

Going to expand the analysis of per possession statistics today to include the Horizon League and Great West. These numbers are for conference games only. Obviously I have a vested interest in both races, but as you'll see the Chicago teams aren't doing very well in either league.

First off the Horizon League:

Team - Efficiency Margin (per possession) -

1. Butler - .22
2. Wright State - .08
3. Detroit - .07
4. Cleveland State - .05
5. Valparaiso - .01
6. Green Bay - .01
7. Milwaukee - (-.01)
8. Loyola - (-.11)
9. Youngstown State - (-.14)
10. UIC - (-.15)

Some thoughts on the Horizon League numbers:

  • Not much movement at the top. Butler is gunning for an undefeated conference regular season and the bet here is that they finish it off. The Bulldogs have the best offense in the conference officially now and their defense ranks first as well. It'd be a big upset if someone is able to trip them up.
  • Green Bay and Valparaiso are part of a group of 5 teams battling for second place, but they're the pretenders in this group. Cleveland State has currently played 1 fewer game than the rest of the competitors for the spot and I think the Vikings have an inside track for the other double-bye spot in the league. Next weekend at Green Bay and Milwaukee will be the deciding factor for Gary Waters' team.
  • The numbers still look ugly for UIC, but there is some hope. Three of the Flames' 4 best games on offense in terms of points per possession were the last three contests they played. Part of this is the opponents, but at least the offense has a chance of getting to somewhere respectable.
  • Speaking of offense, 4 teams are scoring less than a point per possession in conference play. They are: Milwaukee, Youngstown, Loyola and UIC. No wonder those 4 teams find themselves at the bottom of the conference race.

And now the Great West. We're somewhere between halfway and a third through conference play so these numbers are already starting to highlight trends. The Great West is one of the least consistent conferences I've ever seen. Teams play great one night and terribly the next, so there is a lot of fluctuation in these numbers. But this is how they stand right now.

Team - Efficiency Margin (per possession) -

1. N.J.I.T - .11
2. South Dakota - .09
3. Texas-Pan American - .02
4. Houston Baptist - .02
5. Utah Valley - .00
6. North Dakota - (-.08)
7. Chicago State - (-.11)

And some thoughts on these numbers in bullet points.

  • Alright, raise your hand, who though N.J.I.T. would be the leader in anything in any conference after the 1-30 record the Highlanders had a season ago. N.J.I.T. is 2-2 in conference, but those 2 wins have been epic blowouts at home. The fact that the Highlanders lost by 13 in both their conference road games probably means Highlander fans shouldn't book those C.I.T. tickets just yet.
  • Utah Valley - one of the conference favorites heading into the season - has been all over the map this season during the Wolverines' 7 league games. It has all balanced out to 422 points scored and 421 points allowed in 437 conference possessions.
  • There is only one team scoring more than a point per possession in conference play. That's South Dakota. The Coyotes are 4-1 in conference and are currently on top of the league standings. There is only one team allowing more than a point per possession in conference play. That's North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux are 2-3 in conference.
  • Chicago State has had an epically poor offense in conference at .88 points per possession, but things have picked up since the Cougars have returned home. These numbers are being held back by a .55 points per possession performance at N.J.I.T. on January 23. Carl Montgomery was named the player of the week in the conference after the Cougars split at home with the two Texas teams and he had double-doubles in both games.

Both of these numbers will be published again next week. So stay tuned.

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