Of 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.
Team Statistics (Big East Conference Play)
|Statistic||Value||Nat'l Rank||BEC Rank|
|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 Per Game||67.1||182||12|
|Total Rebounds Per Game||38.2||46||3|
|Offensive Reb Pct||35.3||89||7|
|Offensive Rebounds Per Game||12.5||88||7|
|Defensive Reb Pct||63.2||297||10|
|Defensive Rebounds Per Game||25.7||45||1|
|Team Rebounds Per Game||2.9||217||10|
|Assists Per Game||12.8||148||13|
|Assist to Turnover||0.85||230||16|
|Steals Per Game||6.2||189||11|
|Turnovers Per Game||15.1||58||2|
|Blocks Per Game||7.1||3||1|
|Fouls Per Game||15.6||309||15|
Connecticut Player Statistics
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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)?
- Shooting the Ball Well: 48.8% (Nova better at 53.4%)
- Taking Care of the Ball: 21.4% (Nova better at 19.1%)
- Offensive Rebounding: 36.9 (Nova better at 39.9)
- Getting to the Free Throw Line: 44.5 (Nova same at 44.5)