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Connecticut Huskies Tale of Two Seasons

Connecticut HuskiesOf all the preseason predictions made by those who call themselves pundits, none was further off the mark than the sports staff at New York Magazine, who predicted that Connecticut would finish #2 in the Big East. They reasoned that "Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Gavin Edwards and Stanley Robinson would capably fill the void left by the departures of A.J. Price and Hasheem Thabeet." Three quarters through the Big East regular season, the Huskies (14-11, 4-8) find themselves unranked, with an RPI of #61 and in 12th place in the Big East, ahead of only Providence, Rutgers and DePaul.

The season began well for Connecticut with a 9-2 record heading into the Big East Season.  Their two losses had come at Duke (-9) and vs. Kentucky (-3).  They began the Big East season 3-4, but had an impressive 88-74 win over then #1 Texas.  Things went downhill since.  An undisclosed illness forced Jim Calhoun to the sidelines for almost four weeks.  Even the return of Calhoun has not helped, as the Huskies lost their most recent game against Cincinnati, 60-48 before a shocked home crowd.  Calhoun called it "one of the worst performances I've had here at UConn in 24 years.  I'm embarrassed by it, quite frankly."

What went wrong?  Courtesy of Statsheet.com, here's every possible statistic on the Huskies to give us a clue.

Split W-L Pct
Home 13-3 0.812
Away 0-6 0.0
Neutral 1-2 0.333
Conference 4-8 0.333
Conf Home 4-3 0.571
Conf Away 0-5 0.0
Conf Neutral 0-0 -
Top 25 2-8 0.2
RPI 1-50 3-6 0.333
RPI 51-100 3-3 0.5
RPI 101-150 3-1 0.75
RPI 151-200 2-1 0.667
RPI 200+ 1-0 1.0

Team Statistics (Big East Conference Play)

Statistic Value Nat'l Rank BEC Rank
Possessions 825 159 8
Possessions 68.8 103 5
Floor Pct 52.1 127 13
Efficiency 97.6 232 13
Field Goals Made 295 155 10
Field Goal Attempts 673 165 13
Field Goal Pct 43.8 127 8
Free Throws Made 176 172 10
Free Throw Attempts 251 193 10
Free Throw Pct 70.1 138 5
3-pt Field Goals Made 39 329 15
3-pt Field Goal Attempts 137 323 16
3-pt Field Goal Pct 28.5 315 15
Effective Field Goal Pct 46.7 236 13
True Shooting Pct 50.8 209 11
Free Throw Rate 37.3 189 8
Field Goal Point Pct 63.6 4 1
Free Throw Point Pct 21.9 147 4
3-pt Field Goal Point Pct 14.5 333 15
Points Per Possessions 0.98 213 13
Points 805 183 12
Points Per Game 67.1 182 12
Rebound Pct 49.2 212 11
Total Rebounds 458 117 6
Total Rebounds Per Game 38.2 46 3
Offensive Reb Pct 35.3 89 7
Offensive Rebounds 150 119 8
Offensive Rebounds Per Game 12.5 88 7
Defensive Reb Pct 63.2 297 10
Defensive Rebounds 308 114 3
Defensive Rebounds Per Game 25.7 45 1
Team Rebounds 35 224 10
Team Rebounds Per Game 2.9 217 10
Assist Pct 52.2 189 11
Assists 154 169 13
Assists Per Game 12.8 148 13
Assist to Turnover 0.85 230 16
Steal Pct 9 211 12
Steals 74 190 11
Steals Per Game 6.2 189 11
Turnover Pct 21.9 70 2
Turnovers 181 104 2
Turnovers Per Game 15.1 58 2
Block Pct 11.1 6 1
Blocks 85 4 1
Blocks Per Game 7.1 3 1
Fouls 187 281 16
Fouls Per Game 15.6 309 15
Disqualifications 2 280 15

Connecticut Player Statistics

Player YR POS HT WT GP GS MPG PPG FG% RPG APG SPG BPG
Jerome Dyson SR G 6-4 190 25 25 33.7 18.8 40.9 4.9 4.5 1.4 0.6
Stanley Robinson SR F 6-9 210 25 25 35.0 16.0 51.6 7.6 1.0 0.9 1.2
Kemba Walker SO G 6-1 172 25 25 34.9 13.4 41.0 3.9 5.6 2.1 0.4
Gavin Edwards SR F 6-10 234 25 3 30.5 10.8 62.4 6.2 0.7 0.9 2.3
Alex Oriakhi FR F-C 6-9 240 25 25 25.6 5.1 45.3 7.4 0.3 0.4 1.9
J.Coombs-McDaniel FR F 6-7 210 25 0 10.7 2.9 27.9 1.2 0.5 0.2 0.1
Ater Majok FR F 6-11 233 17 15 15.4 2.4 43.6 3.1 0.2 0.2 1.7
Charles Okwandu JR C 7-0 255 21 7 7.5 1.1 54.5 1.6 0.0 0.2 0.4
Donnell Beverly JR G 6-4 190 24 0 9.6 1.1 34.5 1.1 1.2 0.5 0.0
Darius Smith FR G 6-1 168 14 0 4.3 0.9 42.9 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.1
Jamaal Trice FR G 6-5 220 11 0 2.6 0.2 0.0 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.0
Kyle Bailey JR G 6-3 170 1 0 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0
Alex Hornat SR F 6-5 205 1 0 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Four Factors Key to Winning

Dean Oliver, one of the leading NBA and college basketball statisticians, has identified four factors that are the most important determinants of basketball success. They are:

  1. Shooting the Ball Well (weighting = 40%), which is measured by effective field goal percentage (eFG%).  eFG% is like field goal percentage except that it gives 50% more credit for made three-pointers (since it accounts for more points).  The calculation is (0.5*3PTM + FGM) / FGA.
  2. Taking Care of the Ball (weighting = 25%), which is measured by turnover percentage (TO%).  TO% is a pace-independent way to measure ball security. TO% = Turnovers / Possessions.
  3. Offensive Rebounding (weighting = 20%), indicates a team's ability to get second chance shots, which dramatically improves efficiency.  This is measured by offensive rebounding percentage (OR%). OR% = Offensive Rebounds / (Offensive Rebounds + Opponent Defensive Rebounds).
  4. Getting to the Free Throw Line (weighting = 15%), is measured by Free Throw Rate (FT Rate). This isn't just a measure of how many free throws a team makes, but the frequency in which they go to the line. FT Rate = Free Throws Attempted / Field Goals Attempted.

How does Connecticut do in these categories (with comparisons to Villanova)?

  1. Shooting the Ball Well:  48.8% (Nova better at 53.4%)
  2. Taking Care of the Ball:  21.4% (Nova better at 19.1%)
  3. Offensive Rebounding:  36.9 (Nova better at 39.9)
  4. Getting to the Free Throw Line:  44.5 (Nova same at 44.5)