Is it midseason? No. Are we lazy and weren’t able to post this until now? Yes. Deal with it.
The college basketball season has seen some ups and downs already, as Kansas has a loss, Texas has two games they should have lost, and John Calipari is paying his players and the refs at an alarming rate. Let’s take a gander at the best of the best and the worst of the worst this season.
Biggest Surprise – BYU
The Cougars have leaped out to an 18-1 start with their lone loss coming to Utah State. They’ve beaten both Arizona and Arizona State, and look to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. They have the 3rd best eFG in the country, and in close games they have a big trump card: they’re the 2nd best free throw shooting team in the country. Their 3 primary ball handers shoot 92%, 87% and 81% from the line.
Defensively they are statistically great, but they haven’t played a team that can really shoot the three yet, so it will be interesting to see what happens there.
Biggest Disappointment – UConn
I actually had a really hard time thinking of one for this. I was going to go Purdue but you can hardly blame the team for losing to Wisconsin and Ohio State. Granted they lost to Northwestern, but I think road wins are going to be generally hard to come by this year. I was also going to go Minnesota because they are just 12-6, but because of the Royce White nonsense you can hardly blame them for all of it.
Instead we travel to Storrs. The Huskies have been a top 10 team for much of the season, but a quick check of the Big East standings finds them in 11th. Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker, 2 of their 3 best players, have O Ratings under 100. The Huskies best non-con win was William and Mary (though they did almost beat Kentucky) and righ tnow they are on the outside of the NCAA field looking in.
Coach of the Year – Jim Boeheim
After losing Johnny Flynn to the NBA and Eric Devendorf to a meth rehab facility, many thought that Syracuse would suffer a drop off in the Big East. But with the help of Iowa State transfer Wes Johnson, Syracuse is ranked 4th in the Pomeroy Ratings and I think as close to a lock as you can get for the Final Four. This is due to their unique style and the fact that they have the perfect type of defenders for the top of that zone.
The Cuse have the 2nd best eFG in the country and are the 2nd best team from two. One hindrance to March success: They turn it over in over one fifth of their possessions.
National Player of the Year – Jon Scheyer, Duke
Most every place will have either John Wall or Evan Turner. The list of reasons we have Scheyer are plenty.
Scheyer plays in 90% of Duke’s minutes. Turner is at 52.4%, although because of his injury you can’t really read much into this, and Wall is at 70%. So Scheyer is a huge factor in Duke’s standing as the #1 ranked team in the Pomeroy Ratings.
All three play point guard, at least nominally. But only Scheyer is a true point guard. While it’s true that Wall and Turner have higher assist rates than Scheyer, they also have much higher turnover rates. Turner is at 23.1%, Wall at 24.7%, whereas Scheyer has been flirting with single digits all season. If you subtract TO rate from assist rate, Scheyer’s is by far the highest.
John Wall is a shoot first point guard. He has an eFG of 53.6% and a TS% of 59.7%. Jon Scheyer’s shooting is a secondary skill. He has a 54.9 eFG and a 61.9 TS%. As in better than John Wall. Turner is shooting better than Scheyer from the field (59.2% eFG) but when it gets to the end of the game in a close game, Turner, as the primary ball hander for the Buckeyes, isn’t exactly a hindrance as he’s shooting 72% from the line, but Scheyer nails it down, shooting over 90% from the line. Scheyer is also shooting 10% higher than Turner from three, although again Turner hasn’t taken many due to his injury.
I know this won’t convince everyone, but hopefully it shows that Scheyer deserves to be in the discussion, and I’m not doing this just to be contradictory.
The rest of the 1st team All-Americans are below
G – Evan Turner, Ohio State
F – Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
F – Jimmer Fredette, BYU
C – Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Honorable mention that I really wanted to put on there: Marqus Blakely, Vermont