Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ISU Basketball Rankings for 1/4/12

I like writing these while watching the games, so once again, tonight's game against Texas isn't included.  However, fueled by a good first half defensive showing and prodigious offensive output (with the notable exception of free throws), Iowa States rankings should improve.

Ken Pomeroy rankings
Rank - 83 (8th out of 10 in the Big XII)
Record by projected wins and losses - 15-16 (5-13 in Big XII)
Aggregate projected record - 16-15 (6-12 in Big XII)

Sagarin rankings
Rank - 68 (7th out of 10 in the Big XII)
Record by projected wins and losses - 17-14 (7-11 in Big XII)

Revisiting last week's prediction - Bubu Palo has played a little more (40.2 percent of minutes vs. 40 percent) but more importantly, his usage is up over the last three games (20.1 percent of possessions used vs. 19.3).  I predicted this would help Iowa State's turnover percentage on defense.  It doesn't appear to have had an effect (18.3 vs. 18.5).  

However, Bubu's fouls against has risen to 7.0 per 40 minutes of play.  This is the best on ISU (Royce White is second at 6.0) and good for 25th nationally.  This stat plays into one of the four factors - free throw attempts per field goal attempt.  This stat has increased from .437 just a couple of weeks ago up to .455, good for 32nd in the country.  Why would this be important?  It means the team is getting the opportunity to score with the time stopped.  Unfortunately for Bubu, the added play seems to have had an adverse effect.  He's banged up with a wrist injury and seems to be a step slower than earlier this year.  His minutes are up 15% over last year and usage is up 35%.

A little qualitative bonus note - it seems like Iowa State has figured out how to allow Royce White bring the ball up the court.  It was effective tonight (vs. Texas) against man defense.  The big man guarding White had to come out to him at the top of the lane and allowed White to either penetrate or kick to a shooter if the big man got help.  It continued to stink against zone, where the big man can hang back in the paint and White was picked up by a guard.  Also the zone allows more rotation to cover the shooters and minimizes the passing lanes.  ISU needs to be quick to adapt to changing defenses to continue this effectiveness.

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