A third wheel is a good thing at UIC

For some background on what's going on here please check out the post from Wednesday and this one about Loyola from yesterday.
Before we begin there's something you need to know about the difference between UIC and Loyola. The Ramblers were much more dependent on their offense to win basketball games.
As a team Loyola's offensive efficiency had an 83.6% correlation with their scoring margins. That's really high. UIC's on the other hand was only 64.8%. It stands to reason then that no matter what a Flames player did on the court they wouldn't be able to have the impact of Terrance Hill or Geoff McCammon.
For UIC I started by looking at just two players: Paul Carter and Robo Kreps. No one else had what can be considered a "measurable impact" on the games. The only other player to play at least 50% of the team's minutes on the season was Brad Birton, and he used just 15.8% of the team's possessions while he was on the court.
The results for UIC:
  • Paul Carter: 0.403
  • Robo Kreps: 0.273
And now the same players' numbers for Horizon League play:
  • Carter: 0.169
  • Kreps: 0.048
Well, then. It seems like these numbers don't provide us with much to go on. Apparently Carter and Kreps were going to get their points no matter what. While they might've been slightly more efficient about it in wins, there wasn't much to move the needle. But check out this:
Correlation between offensive efficiency and team scoring margin for Dipanjot Singh in Horizon League play: 0.424. Singh played 57.4% of the available minutes during conference play that he made an appearance in and he had a very tangible impact. Seems like having that "third scorer" was the key for the Flames in Horizon League play.
Moving forward the Flames are probably going to have even more balance. It's possible that if this study were run next season no one would come up as having a very strong impact. In an ideal world my guess is that the correlations in Howard Moore's offense look more like those at Purdue, where JaJuan Johnson had a correlation of 0.267 last season, than the superstar driven systems at Connecticut or Arizona. It'll certainly be something worth watching moving forward.

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