Category Archives: Gophers

Minnesota Gophers Basketball

Fact Check: Does Gopher Football have the #1 APR among public universities?

Fact Check: Does Gopher Football have the #1 APR among public universities?

A couple of weeks ago the Minnesota Gophers’ football recruiting coordinator tweeted that Minnesota football currently holds a 994 APR score, making it the fourth best in the nation and #1 among public universities.

BillyG4
Then, on May 12, assistant recruiting coordinator John Schaekel tweeted the same thing.

John Schaekel

These gentlemen hang out with football recruits and their families. To be able to say the football program has the best APR among all public universities is a great thing to be able to share… but is it true?

Question: Does Gopher football currently hold the best APR among public universities?

Answer: No.

What went wrong?

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Minnesota: Conference Shooting Splits

Minnesota: Conference Shooting Splits

In Richard Pitino’s first season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers shot an impressive 52.3% eFG in Big Ten games (#3 in conference). This year that figure is down to 48.4% (#9) and is the primary reason they’re not scoring as well in 2014-15 (on a points per possession basis).

The team’s 3-point shooting isn’t the issue.  This year’s squad is shooting better (35.1% vs. 34.5%) and more often behind the 3-point stripe. (37.7% 3FGA/FGA vs. 34.6%).

Minnesota’s 2-point shooting has taken a significant dip from 52.5% (#2 in B1G)  to 45.9% (#10).

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Minnesota’s 2FG% Dooms Them at Nebraska

Minnesota’s 2FG% Dooms Them at Nebraska

Free throws (9/19 for 47.4%) get the attention from many, but they weren’t the primary issue in Minnesota’s loss at Nebraska.

Although the Gophers could have used some more made free throws in the 52-49, there were more important factors to them losing.

The biggest one factor was 2-point field goal shooting. Their mark of 25.0% (8/32) was the program’s worst performance going back at least five years. Had Minnesota made slightly less than the D-I average of their 2-point attempts (D-I average is approximately 47.5%; Minnesota averages better than 50.5% on the season), they would have scored an additional 14 points.

Free throw percentage is nearly irrelevant to a team winning or losing a basketball game.
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Minnesota: Conference Advanced Player Stats

Minnesota: Conference Advanced Player Stats

Notes and details on the Gophers’ team and player stats (see PDF) through the first four Big Ten games are included in this article.

Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Minnesota 96.0 45.8% 21.0% 35.6% 33.5%
Opponents 104.6 49.8% 20.4% 34.6% 40.5%

Minnesota’s eFG% lags far behind their opponents, but in two of their four losses the Gophers have shot better than the other team.

at Purdue – 72-68 loss: Minnesota was the better shooting team, but Purdue held slight edges in turnovers and rebounding and a big advantage in free throw rate.

at Maryland – 70-58 loss: The Gophers shot a miserable 36.1 eFG%, the worst performance of any Richard Pitino-coached team (including FIU).

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Pitino’s Former PF Excelling at West Virginia

Pitino’s Former PF Excelling at West Virginia

Upon Minnesota’s hiring of Richard Pitino we wrote COULD RICHARD PITINO BRING A STAR FORWARD TO MINNESOTA? (April 3, 2013). The article discussed FIU-bound Jonathan Holton and his JUCO teammate Kevin Thomas, noting that, “[p]ower forward is a position of need for next year’s team and Pitino could potentially deliver in a major way.”

Late Night Hoops visited a Palm Beach State (Fla.) practice several months prior to the article and believed either player could be provide a significant boost to the roster.

As things turned out, Holton wound up at West Virginia and Kevin Thomas at Troy. Let’s take a look at how they are performing this season.

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Fact Check: Star Tribune on Kill’s Contract

Fact Check: Star Tribune on Kill’s Contract

The Star Tribune (link to their article is at the bottom of this article) recently said, “Kill is being paid an average of $2.3 million a year on his current salary and is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the country at a major program.

This isn’t even close to true. The Star Tribune’s claim is completely baseless and false.

Star Tribune: “For example, look at Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. He signed a 10-year contract in 2010 extension that paid him approximately $4 million this season. If he were to stay on through the end of his contract in 2020, he is due an additional $21 million.

The Ferentz contract is about the most absurd single example one could come up when trying to argue that Kill is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the country at a major program.

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Gophers: 2014 vs. 2013 Nonconference Advanced Stats

Gophers: 2014 vs. 2013 Nonconference Advanced Stats

First off, there is a lack of strength at the top of the Big Ten. A mediocre team can absolutely finish in the conference’s top 4 and the margin of error for a team to finish 8-10 instead of 10-8 is small.

The Gophers have an excellent opportunity given this season, but so do a number of their peers.

Late Night Hoops calculated advance statistical data for both the team and individual players for pre-conference, non-conference games against D-I opponents. In other words, we calculated statistics for the first 12 games of this year (excluding Franklin Pierce) and compared them to last year (excluding Chaminade). Although Minnesota’s efficiency margin (offensive efficiency less defensive efficiency) is higher this season, we see reason for concern. (See also: Does Minnesota Have an Assist Problem?)

OFFENSE Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2014 110.38 55.4% 18.7% 30.1% 35.6%
2013 114.17 51.0% 16.3% 36.4% 39.9%

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