Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Big East advanced stat wrapup, Part II: Four Factors

Our Big East Conference advanced stat review continues with the middle installment of a three-part series profiling the Four Factors of college basketball games: Effective field goal percentage, free throw rate, offensive rebound rate, and turnover rate. Additional insight on ball handling and percentage of shots will follow a series that began by highlighting tempo and efficiency in its opening metric. In this review, only the 18-game conference regular season was taken into account, with any and all statistics reflected within gleaned from the individual stat pages or final game notes of each school.

Effective field goal percentages, from highest to lowest:
1) Marquette (.579)
2) Villanova (.569)
3) Creighton (.561)
4) Butler (.533)
5) Providence (.510)
6) Xavier (.5095)
7) Georgetown (.509)
8) Seton Hall (.494)
9) St. John's (.488)
10) DePaul (.480)

Analysis: Marquette's emergence as the most efficient team in the conference from a shooting standpoint can be explained in two words: Markus Howard. The freshman prodigy, who turned 18 years old on the final weekend of the regular season, led the nation in long distance shooting, connecting on deep balls in Big East play to the tune of an eye-popping 57 percent clip. Individually, Howard's personal effective field goal percentage was a blistering .677, which only underscored his importance to the Golden Eagles and their NCAA Tournament campaign. Providence, although further down the list, was buoyed by the marksmanship of Jalen Lindsey (48 percent from three-point range in conference play) and steady hand of Kyron Cartwright (6.2 assists per game) to post a higher mark than fellow field of 68 participants Xavier and Seton Hall.

Defensive effective field goal percentages, from highest to lowest:
1) Villanova (.482)
2) Georgetown (.483)
3) Creighton (.507)
4) Seton Hall (.513)
5) Providence (.521)
6) Butler (.527)
7) Xavier (.536)
8) Marquette (.537)
9) St. John's (.551)
10) DePaul (.581)

Analysis: Interestingly, only two teams posted sub-.500 totals in this department, with one; Villanova, coming as no surprise given how the Wildcats dominated the Big East season. For the well-attuned fan, Georgetown's high ranking here should also be expected. When profiling defensive points per possession, we mentioned just how understated the Hoyas' defensive tendencies were, and that consistency was on full display here. Georgetown conceded shots at a mere 43 percent over the conference season, second only to Villanova, yet the gritty efforts were concealed by the lackluster record that ultimately led to John Thompson III's ouster.

Free throw rates, from highest to lowest:
1) St. John's (42.7 percent)
2) DePaul (42.6)
3) Georgetown (41.5)
4) Butler (36.1)
5) Marquette (35.4)
6) Villanova (34.9)
7) Xavier (34.8)
8) Seton Hall (34.4)
9) Creighton (30.8)
10) Providence (29.7)

Analysis: Coincidentally, the top three free throw rates belonged to the bottom three teams in the conference standings. In the case of St. John's, their ability to get to the foul line was a direct result of their three leading scorers being aggressive in their drives to the basket, as the trio of Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett and Bashir Ahmed each made 84 or more free throw attempts in Big East play. The same willingness to draw fouls was also prevalent in DePaul and Georgetown, but to a lesser extent than that of the Red Storm. In terms of individual free throw rate, no player was fouled more than Seton Hall's Angel Delgado, as the first team all-conference forward took 112 trips to the charity stripe en route to leading the nation in rebounding. Speaking of rebounding...

Offensive rebound rates, from highest to lowest:
1) Xavier (33.86 percent)
2) Seton Hall (33.859)
3) DePaul (31.0)
4) St. John's (29.5)
5) Butler (28.3)
6) Providence (27.8)
7) Marquette (27.6)
8) Villanova (26.9)
9) Georgetown (26.0)
10) Creighton (22.7)

Analysis: Big East Digital Network correspondent John Fanta, who covers the conference as well as anyone, told us shortly after the release of the first part of our review that rebounding had become Xavier's forte. Sure enough, he was proven right when crunching the numbers, as the Musketeers crashed the offensive glass better than any other team in the league. Five of Chris Mack's players, including Edmond Sumner before his torn ACL sidelined him for the remainder of the season, pulled down four or more boards per game in general, with five players also grabbing 23 or more offensive caroms over the conference slate. The team rebounding dynamic was able to power Xavier past Seton Hall's Delgado-driven attack. For as much as the Pirates enjoyed the presence of Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nzei down low, they were more of a defensive force in the rebound department, with Delgado responsible for cleaning up the majority of the misses for The Hall.

Turnover rates, from lowest to highest:
1) Butler (15.3 percent)
2) St. John's (17.1)
3) Creighton (17.3)
4) Marquette (17.6)
5) Villanova (18.0)
6) Providence (18.1)
7) Xavier (19.3)
8) Seton Hall (19.7)
9) Georgetown (20.2)
10) DePaul (20.5)

Defensive turnover rates, from highest to lowest:
1) St. John's (21.6 percent)
2) Villanova (20.2)
3) DePaul (19.8)
4) Providence (19.0)
5) Creighton (18.8)
6) Butler (18.3)
7) Marquette (17.1)
8) Seton Hall (16.5)
9) Xavier (16.0)
10) Georgetown (15.5)

Analysis: Chris Holtmann and Butler have always practiced exceptional care for the basketball, and nowhere was that more evident than in the Bulldogs' remarkable 15.3 percent turnover rate, a mark that every team in the nation would clamor to possess. Ideally, 20 percent is regarded as par for the course in this department, and nearly everyone; save for Georgetown and DePaul falling a handful of decimal points over, stayed on the south side of that number. On the defensive end, St. John's athleticism and burgeoning transition game took on a greater importance in Chris Mullin's second season, spearheaded by Ponds and LoVett. Together, the two accounted for 74 steals in Big East play, more than half of the 135 collective thefts amassed by the Red Storm. It was their swarming defense that was the central figure in home victories over a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in Marquette and Seton Hall, and the numbers posted this past season should only grow stronger as the backcourt on the corner of Union and Utopia now has a year of experience from which to draw going into what is expected to be a big season in Queens.

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