Dan Hanner, who crunches numbers over at RealGM.com, puts out one of my favorite columns of the year when he breaks down the offensive and defensive efficiencies of teams that suffer serious injuries throughout the season.
You can read it here and here. It’s worth your time.
Some of the most interesting numbers that Hanner produced:
- Offensively, Kansas State is significantly better with Jevon Thomas in the lineup even though Thomas has been utterly atrocious shooting and scoring the ball. The reason for this is Thomas’ ability to create offense for others. Case in point: he was 1-for-6 from the floor in the win over West Virginia, but he had eight assists and no turnovers and took the pressure to create off of guys like Shane Southwell and Marcus Foster.
- On paper, it looks like Creighton is significantly worse defensively and significantly better offensively without Grant Gibbs in the lineup. Those numbers are a bit skewed because of a blowout win over Butler at home and a blowout loss to Providence on the road. There’s an argument to be made that Creighton is better offensively with Devin Brooks getting more minutes, but where the Bluejays miss Gibbs is with his toughness and his leadership. He’s a presence. He’s not going to be intimidated going on the road to play Providence or Villanova or Marquette, and he’s not going to let his teammates be intimidated, either.
- “Notre Dame has been playing like the 109th best team in the nation with [Jerian] Grant out,” Hanner wrote. Yikes.
Just when it seemed that No. 10 Florida was getting to full strength, point guard Scottie Wilbekin went down in the second half of their win over South Carolina on Wednesday night with a sprained right ankle. Wilbekin, who missed the first five games of the season due to a suspension, accounted for 17 points and three assists before going down in the second half of the 74-58 victory.
Wilbekin injured the ankle in Florida’s one-point loss at UConn on December 2, and since that game the Gators have won six games in a row.
And according to Chris Harry of Gatorzone.com Wilbekin isn’t the only player dealing with a health issue, as senior forward Casey Prather was held out of practice after waking up with swelling in his right knee. According to the report Prather will undergo tests on the knee Thursday evening, and both players are questionable for Florida’s game at Arkansas on Saturday.
Both players are key contributors for the Gators, with Prather being one of the best players in the SEC to this point in the season. After averaging just 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game as a junior Prather’s up to 17.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest in 2013-14. He’s also leading the SEC in field goal percentage (62.4%), and Prather has surpassed the 20-point mark four times this season.
Obviously these would be big personnel losses if Prather and Wilbekin are unable to go on Saturday afternoon, especially when considering how tough Arkansas can be in Fayetteville.
With the graduation of key contributors Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith from last season’s CAA regular season champion squad, Northeastern junior guard Quincy Ford was expected to be a major contributor for the Huskies. But after playing in the team’s first two games of the season a back injury has sidelined Ford, and on Thursday he underwent season-ending surgery (lumbar microdisectomy) to address the pain he’s been dealing with.
“We want to support him and his health is of our utmost concern,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said after the team’s loss to Harvard on Wednesday. “We want to make sure he’s healthy first, and he gets the proper medical treatment. All our guys in the locker room are behind him, all our coaches are behind him. And Quincy is gonna dedicate himself to coming back better than ever.”
As a sophomore Ford posted averages of 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, earning third-team All-CAA honors. The Huskies are 2-6 on the season, with one of their two victories coming against Georgetown in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Forward Scott Eatherton (16.4 ppg, 10.6 rpg) and guard David Walker (12.2, 3.9) are the Huskies’ top two scorers, and as a team they’re averaging 68.5 points per game.
The problems have been on the defensive end, with opponents scoring 71.1 points per game and shooting 45.7% from the field. Not having Ford has made things more difficult for Northeastern, but the hope for the Huskies is that by the time conference play begins they’ll be an improved group defensively.