Gophers’ Schedule Will Punish Their RPI in 2014-15

Gophers’ Schedule Will Punish Their RPI in 2014-15

Minnesota’s RPI in recent years has been helped by a strong strength of schedule (SOS). As a reminder, SOS is not a good measurement of schedule strength or difficulty. It’s a calculation that’s called SOS. Many believe SOS to be a good indicator as to how challenging a schedule is, but such thinking is inconsistent with logic.

At any rate, the Gophers have been helped in past years by playing few teams with horrible win-loss records. Based on our projections, the win-loss records of this year’s nonconference opponents as compared to 2013-14 will have a negative impact on the team’s RPI of approximately .0175.

To put in perspective, Minnesota’s Selection Sunday RPI in March was .5778 – good for #50 in the nation. Adjusting downward by .0175 would have pushed them to #73 (adding .0175 would’ve elevated them to #37). Under most circumstances .0175 is not insignificant.

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Marquette Travels to our Big Ten #1 Ohio State

Marquette Travels to Our Big Ten #1 Ohio State

On Friday we released our predicted order of finish for Big Ten teams in 2014-15, with the Buckeyes as our #1.

Marquette travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State this Tuesday and so today we look a brief look at some of the individual players for the Buckeyes for the benefit of MU fans and other interested parties.

We believe this game breaks down simply to shooting. Ohio State should have an advantage in the areas of rebounding and turnovers. Marquette is going to need have an advantage in eFG%.

A fair line on this game in our view would be Ohio State -12. The Warriors need an off shooting night from the Buckeyes and a strong performance of their own.

This year’s Ohio State team is deeper and considerably more potent offensively than a year ago.
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2014-15 Big Ten Predictions

2014-15 Big Ten Predictions

Our apologies for the grotesque format of these predictions, but opening day is here and we need to put our thoughts on record before the season starts. Let’s get to it.

1. Ohio State
Aaron Craft has been the face of Ohio State, but they’ll survive without him. Craft’s %Shots of 15% and 24% turnover rate can be replaced, but his defense will certainly be missed. That said, teammate and returning senior Shannon Scott had the team’s best steal rate in 2013-14.

LaQuinton Ross is also gone after posting an ORtg of 106 to go along with a 28% usage. His 49.8% eFG% was solid, but lower than the team average of 50.3%.
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The State of the Gophers

The State of the Gophers

“How the team performs over the next two years is important, but the roster outlook – including the program’s standing with recruits – will be highly relevant in evaluating Pitino’s performance two years from now.”

The selection of Richard Pitino
Pitino is a good coach and can become a great one. Excluding long-established D-I coaches, there are few other options that we’d put on the same level as Richard Pitino who were possibilities for Minnesota when hiring leader of the men’s basketball program. It was an intelligent hire. Nothing is promised, but we like Pitino as much or more than other options.

Recruits won’t fall into his lap
Being the son of Rick Pitino has its advantages, but few if any kids will come to Richard Pitino just because of his last name. He’ll need to work hard to earn everything he gets. We believe he can eventually be highly successful in the area of recruiting, but it won’t be because of his last name.
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Ask LNH: Is Tyus Jones Overrated?

Ask LNH: Is Tyus Jones Overrated?

No. If anything, the 2014 RSCI #7 Jones is underrated.

His feel and understanding of the game of basketball is truly special and nothing short of remarkable. You’ll often see him described as a “pass first point guard” along with a comment about his relative lack of athleticism. The “pass first” description is fine, but make no mistake – Tyus Jones can put points on the board with the best of them and will get flat out nasty scoring the ball when he needs to.

College basketball fans across the country will say, “Wow, I didn’t know Jones could do THAT” this year.

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Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part V: Rebounding & FT Rate

Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part V: Rebounding & FT Rate   

Rebounding
Minnesota’s drop in offensive rebounding between last season and this year could be one of the largest seen in college basketball over the past decade. It’ll be dramatic.”  — LateNightHoops.com, Preseason 2013-14

It may have sounded like hyperbole, but it wasn’t. The Gophers saw an enormous drop in their offensive rebounding percentage from 43.8% to 31.4%. Minnesota’s 12.4% OReb% change year-over-year was by far the largest in all of college basketball (351 D-I teams, including those transitioning in). Only one other team had a change (positive or negative) of greater than 10% (Idaho St. +10.6%).

Here’s how Minnesota stacked up against the other Big Ten teams:
orebchange1

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Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

You know, my first year at FIU we were top ten in the country in steals. We certainly were not that last year. I think that number will go up…” – Richard Pitino at Big Ten Media Day

In fact, the Gophers had the 23rd best steal rate among 351 D-I teams (including teams transitioning in). Only Ohio State, who boasted one of the nation’s best defenses, was better among conference peers.” – LateNightHoops.com

Head coach Richard Pitino has talked about more steals as a way to improve the 2014-15 Gophers, but the Gophers aren’t likely to improve their defense much by creating more steals. Last season was already very good and the team’s top thief has graduated (Austin Hollins).
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Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part IV: Turnovers

Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part IV: Turnovers

On Offense…
Turnover percentage in 2013-14 was down throughout college basketball, dropping to 18.3% from 20.0% a year earlier. The decline is largely attributable to the increase in fouls called by referees.

So, while Minnesota’s improvement in offensive turnover percentage was good last season, it wasn’t as remarkable as it may initially appear.

Minn D-I % Diff
2013-14 18.1% 18.3% -1%
2012-13 21.5% 20.0% 8%

 

The Gophers turned the ball over at about the same rate as the average D-I team this past year. In Tubby Smith’s last run with Minnesota, the squad’s turnover percentage was 21.5%, or 8% higher than the D-I average.
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