Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Boiler Down, Sober Up

NU 63 (0.88 PPP), Purdue 60 (0.83), 72 possessions, 2OT

Well, that was awesome. When Olah (and then Cerina) fouled out, I figured Purdue would just feed Hammons every possession who would then either hit a layup or get to the line. That didn't happen. Credit to NU's ball pressure as well as Lumpkin and Crawford inside for helping to keep the ball out of Hammons' hands down the stretch. Discredit to Painter for failing to press earlier in the game, for not finding a way to circumvent NU's defense and get the ball to Hammons, and for whining like a baby over missed foul calls after the game. The defense was impressive, the offense was just barely enough, and the 'Cats gutted out a very nice double-OT win.

NU's B1G Season in 3 Sobering Graphs

I want to believe that NU has found a new level of defense that will perpetuate through the rest of the conference season. This first graph, however, is screaming at me that the 'Cats defensive efficiency correlates very strongly to the quality of their opponent.

Another way of putting it is that NU is a great defensive team against mid-to-low-level B1G opponents and is abysmal against the upper echelon of the conference. The 'Cats' next three games are against upper-level teams. I am extremely interested to see how this plays out.

This next graph says something most of us know. NU is a very very bad offensive team, regardless of the opponent.

Finally, this last graph states something fairly obvious. NU can beat middling B1G competition but is likely to get blown out by better teams.

Based on this, I expect the next three games to be ugly. I hope I'm wrong.

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