Thursday, January 24, 2008

Four Point Play (Mini Version)

-I know I’ve hyped Basketball Prospectus a lot, but I have to link to John Gasaway again this week. His four point play column is quickly becoming my favorite weekly read. In honor of his column style here are four quick thoughts:

Not Living Up to the Hype

Terrific matchup Thursday Night in the A10 between BCS slayers Xavier and Dayton, but the game turned into a blowout. With all apologies to Xavier, which obviously played well in the game, the fact that Dayton was playing without injuryed freshman Chris Wright was huge.

Chris Wright, Dayton, 61.0 eFG%, 21.8 DR%, 10.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG

Dayton’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder is out with a stress fracture and I hope the prognosis is correct and Wright makes it back in time for the A10 tournament. With these cross-state rivals both having terrific seasons it would be nice to see them face off at full strength.

At Least He Didn't Get Poked in the Eye

Lost in all the hype of how Mayo became a team player and helped USC to beat UCLA is the fact that UCLA essentially has no depth right now. With Michael Roll out for over a month the team was down to a 7-man rotation.

(Yes I know the team started playing James Keefe, but I don’t consider that to be a bonus. James Keefe was possibly the most disappointing MAA freshmen last year, and there’s a reason Howland was planning to redshirt him this year. On a side note, I would love to see James Keefe in the Jan 31st game against Eric Boateng of Arizona St. just to see which MAA is more disappointing.)

And then the 7 man rotation took another hit when Mbah a Moute was injured. I love this description courtesty CBS Sportsline

“Junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute pulled a groin muscle in practice early in the week, but played against USC -- for a while. He sustained a concussion in the first half, returned briefly after halftime then left the game.”

Moute was 1 of 7 from the field when he was in the game, as the injury clearly limited him.

Under Ben Howland UCLA has had one of the top defenses in college basketball but they are going to have trouble sustaining that level of defense if the starters don’t get more opportunities to rest.

N is better than R

I get bored watching Kansas destroy Big 12 North teams, but I watched some of the Iowa St. game while running on the treadmill Wednesday. To my surprise the announcers pointed out that Darnell Jackson has actually become the top post player for the Jayhawks. After Julian Wright left for the NBA, I had long expected Darrel Arthur to fill his shoes, but the senior forward is coming close to surpassing the more often discussed sophomore.

Arthur 13.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 53.5 eFG%, 105.9 ORtng
Jackson 12.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 67.9 eFG%, 124.0 ORtng
Kaun 7.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 68.5% eFG%, 116.9 ORtng

Now Arthur’s numbers may be lower because defenses are keying on Arthur or because Jackson is getting more garbage time baskets, but the former 8th man in the rotation has suddenly become a star for the Jayhawks. For other teams struggling to develop stars, it hardly seems fair.

Well, nobody wins in Madison, Bloomington, or East Lansing

Remember how Big Ten teams used to struggle on the road? Not anymore. It is amazing how a lack of conference depth can change a traditional cliche.