Category Archives: Gophers

Minnesota Gophers Basketball

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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Does Minnesota Have an Assist Problem?

Does Minnesota Have an Assist Problem?

Minnesota’s assists to field goals made ratio (“A/FGM” or “assist rate”) puts them in the top 5 of all D-I programs. You’ll hear many extol the virtues of assists and how wonderful it is the Gophers “share the ball.” However, assists don’t make an offense good (efficient). They’re just assists. Making a basket without an assist counts just as much as scoring with some help from a teammate.

An assist rate can indicate a number of things, but more than anything it helps to describe a team’s style and tendencies. A high assist rate is not a good indicator of an efficient offense.

Last year Creighton attempted (and made) a lot of 3-point shots off of passes. Their high assist rate helped push their offensive efficiency to excellence.

For some teams a high assist rate is due to the lack of offensive creators. In order to score, their offense needs to operate as a team.
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Minnesota’s Banham Can Return in 2015-16

Gopher star and senior guard Rachel Banham tore her ACL and is done for the year. As we’d expect, the traditional media is baffled by what this means in terms of a potential hardship waiver. Some are saying they don’t know, others are providing incorrect information.

A favorite is from Kare11.com, who says, “Players that lose more than 30% of a season due to injury can be awarded that and an extra season of play.” That’s not even close to true.

We’ll step in and help.

There are several requirements for a medical hardship waiver. The one at question – for some – is the 30% rule. A player can participate in up to 30% of a team’s games and still be eligible for a hardship waiver (and they must also meet all the other requirements, of course).

Not only are there are nuances as to what is counted as a “game” in the calculation, but the math used per the NCAA Bylaws isn’t an example you’re going to see used in the classrooms of America. Due to time constraints, we’ll explain this one fairly quickly: Minnesota has 30 regular season games scheduled. In addition, they have the Big Ten tournament.

By rule, a conference tournament counts as one game. Thus, the denominator in the calculation is 31.
31 games multiplied by 30% is 9.3 games. By NCAA rule, this is rounded up 10. That is, the maximum number of games a Gopher can play in and still be considered to meet the “no more than 30%” requirement is 10 games.

Banham has played in 10 games.

Accordingly, we see no mystery here. Based on NCAA Bylaws and the nature of the injury, Banham’s hardship waiver request would be a simple administrative task.

Had the injury occurred one game later, she would not have met the requirements. “Timing is everything.”

For those with additional questions regarding hardship waiver requirements, please email us at latenighthoops@latenighthoops.com.

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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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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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