Coffey’s Usage Correlating to Minnesota’s Wins

With two games remaining in the regular season, Minnesota sits at 18-11 (8-10 Big Ten) and remains on the NCAA tournament bubble. To reach the tourney, the Gophers need to keep the Coffey flowing.

Junior Amir Coffey’s 31-point, 12-rebound performance at Northwestern propelled Minnesota to a 62-50 victory last week and continued a winning trend when Amir’s usage is high.

Before this season began, we pointed to Amir’s usage as being a key factor to Minnesota’s season:

As a freshman his usage was 19.2% (but only 17.6% in conference) and as a sophomore it rose to 22.3%, but this increase was helped by the fact he only played in 5 conference games. We’d like to see his usage be at least 24% and believe he’s capable of something in the range of 26 to 28% if there is a concerted effort, which there should be.

However, it’s difficult to project much past 24% based on his history and known traits. In 25 career Big Ten games, he’s had a usage rate of 25% or higher only twice. As a comparison, in Nate Mason’s junior year he hit 25% or higher in 15 of 20 games (including the conference tourney).

At his size, Amir’s passing and scoring ability are unique and key to Minnesota realizing their potential. The higher his usage (within reason – which probably maxes around 28% this season), the better for the team.

As expected, Coffey’s usage rate hasn’t broken the 24% mark, but it’s close at 23.8% on the season. Here’s a breakdown of conference wins and losses this season when Amir is over the 24% and when he isn’t:

Coffey’s usage is >24%: 7-1

Coffey’s usage is not >24%: 1-9

Purdue visits Williams Arena tonight in a big match up for not only the Gophers’ tourney hopes, but also a Boilermakers’ Big Ten championship.

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