Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Big 10 = Perimeter-based? (NERD ALERT!!)

For the last few decades, the Big Ten has had a reputation much like your sister - it likes to bang it inside.  However, prompted by a phone call from Snacks as he watched his precious money leak away while Wisconsin "sat around and did nothing but shoot threes" to beat Michigan State, I did a little digging.  The info was worthwhile enough for me to write a super boring post about it.  Put on your nerd calculator hat.

The original question was something along the lines of "how many threes does Wisconsin shoot compared to everybody else."  Luckily, was made just to answer these types of questions.  In fact, 39.7% of Wisconsin's field goal attempts come from behind the arc, good enough (bad enough?) to rank 42nd in the country.  Pretty high.  With 347 teams in D-I, that puts them in the top 12% or so of teams.  The follow up was then, "I bet there are a bunch of other Big Ten teams high on that list."  So I looked. 
1.  Samford, 52.3%
2.  NC A&T, 48.2%
3.  Iowa, 48.1%
4.  Eastern Kentucky, 48.1%
5.  Northwestern, 47.7%
6.  William & Mary, 47.2%
7.  VMI, 45.5%
8.  Denver, 44.6%
9.  Chattanooga, 44.5%
10.  Mercer, 44.3%
11.  Arizona State, 44.3%
12.  Michigan, 44.0%
Notice anything?  The bold will tell you there are three Big Ten teams in the top 12, but if you look closer you'll notice there is only one other Major Conference team in there, ASU at 11th, and you don't even get a second-tier conference school from the MWC or CUSA or A-10, either.  Before you accuse me of being arbitrary with a top 12 just to get Michigan in there (which I was), you should know that there is only one other Big Conference team in the top 20 (Mississippi State - 14th), two more in the top 30 (Auburn-21, Oklahoma-22), and three more in the top-50 (Wisconsin-42, Louisville-44, Okla State-47).  So out of the top 50 teams in this metric, four belong to the Big Ten with just six other major conference schools making an appearance.

Here is the complete list of Big Ten Schools with their rank:
3.  Iowa, 48.1
5.  Northwestern, 47.7
12.  Michigan, 44.0
42.  Wisconsin, 39.7
77.  Ohio State, 36.8
80.  Penn State, 36.6
204.  Minnesota, 30.8
217.  Purdue, 30.5
273.  Indiana, 28.3
286.  Illinois, 27.9
311.  Michigan State, 25.7
Interesting.  Pretty huge separation between the top 6 and bottom 5.  And look at the conference records:  Top 6 = 17-38, bottom 5 = 36-20. 

I also wanted to take a look at 3-point accuracy in the conference:
24.  Minnesota, 39.3
35.  Ohio State, 38.6
79.  Northwestern, 36.6
110.  Illinois, 35.5
130.  Indiana, 35.0
166.  Wisconsin, 33.9
200.  Michigan State, 33.2
230.  Penn State, 32.6
245.  Iowa, 32.1
262.  Purdue, 31.6
325.  Michigan, 29.2
First off, holy god this conference can't shoot.  Secondly, it doesn't take a nerd to figure out that if you shoot threes at a high-volume and can't make them (I'm looking at you Michigan and Iowa) you aren't going to win.  At least Purdue and Michigan State had the decency to realize they aren't good shooting teams. 

Finally, I wanted to take a look at how the Big Ten compares to the other conferences:

As you can see, the Big Ten not only ranks first in attempting threes as a percentage of total attempts, but also last in three-point shooting percentage.  The conference has transformed and is no longer like your sister, but is more like Rick Rickert.

There's a lot more I'd like to do here, such as calculate some stats when you take out the crappy teams that drag the numbers down as well as looking at more historical trends, but I don't have all day.  Hopefully you at least found this a little interesting, and if not, I warned you I was going to get nerdy up in here so it's really your own damn fault for reading.  Maybe you should think a little harder about what you're going to read next time.


Dr. Acula!. said...

If I had known that you were going to write nerdy garbage, I wouldn't have pushed you out of the ditch this morning.

Anonymous said...

Hudson to the Twins, you heard it here third. hmmm maybe the Twins are slowly building something here.

Black Snake said...

Was WWWWW wearing a tomlinson jersey when you pushed him out of the ditch?

Dr. Acula!. said...

Wife beater and cutoff 501's.

Anonymous said...

New SSF post!

Anonymous said...

Um, where's my Frodo reference of the day?