For some background on what's going on here please check out the post from yesterday.
Loyola had three players this season that played over 45% of the team's minutes and used more than 20% of the team's possessions: Geoff McCammon, Terrance Hill and Walt Gibler. Three other players: Ben Averkamp, Courtney Stanley and Andy Polka, were significant contributors in the rotation. Which one was the most important? Well here are their correlations to Loyola's scoring margins this season.
- Terrance Hill: 0.550
- Geoff McCammon: 0.435
- Courtney Stanley: 0.371
- Ben Averkamp: 0.256
- Andy Polka: 0.045
- Walt Gibler: -0.078
Now, some of these numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Gibler missed some playing time because of injuries and that's definitely having an affect on these numbers - though I have taken those games out of the sample for him. But a lot of these numbers make a ton of intuitive sense. This isn't to suggest that Polka wasn't important to Loyola, he was one of the key drivers of the Ramblers' defense and his offensive rebounding prowess sometimes greatly changes his offensive ratings, but there were other things at play as well.
Look at the top. Remember yesterday Kemba Walker had a correlation of 0.547 in a similar study, well Hill is above that rate. When Hill had a strong offensive game Loyola won, when he faltered the Ramblers lost. Hill's best game of the season? Loyola's 28-point blowout of Alabama State. His best Horizon League game? The 20-point victory at Valparaiso. Hill's worst game? The loss to Kansas State. Hill's worst Horizon League game? The Butler game on Dec. 1.
There's one game that Loyola won last season that Hill had a poor offensive game - against UIC on January 22. He committed five fouls and scored six points while using 11 possessions for a 54.5 offensive rating. It was one of his worst games of the season, but some how the Ramblers managed to win.
What about McCammon? Well, he scored over a point per possession in that Butler game, but in general the correlations between McCammon's efficiencies and Loyola's victories in the Horizon League were very high. (0.583 to be exact.) As a jump-shooter, McCammon struggled mightily in losses against Valparaiso, at Cleveland State, Wright State, Milwaukee and at Detroit in the conference tournament.
Against Horizon League opponents Hill's correlation dropped to .505. So maybe Brad Stevens was on to something after all. It looks like shutting down Geoff McCammon played a big role in shutting down the Ramblers in conference play. (But shutting down Terrance Hill certainly didn't hurt either.)