The country’s top duos

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While reading about UC Santa Barbara’s 68-62 win over No. 22 UNLV last night, I noticed something.

The Gauchos have two players currently averaging over 20 ppg. After last night’s game, Joe Nunnally is averaging 22.0 ppg while Orlando Johnson is checking in at 20.3 ppg. They are the only team in the country that can make that claim.

So I dug a little deeper.

I took a look at Kenpom’s percentage of possessions used rankings. For those that don’t know what it is, %Poss is:

a measure of personal possessions used while the player is on the court. Simply assigns credit or blame to a player when his actions end a possession, either by making a shot, missing a shot that isn’t rebounded by the offense, or committing a turnover.

Lo and behold, Johnson and Nunnally just so happen to form the highest-usage duo in the country. Both Johnson and Nunnally play more than 75% of their team’s minutes (over 30 mpg). Nunnally uses 31.1% of the Gaucho’s possessions while he is on the floor. Johnson’s number is higher, as he is the eighth highest-usage player in the country at 34.3% of possessions.

So I got to wondering: what other teams are two man shows? I went through Kenpom’s site and found seven teams that had one players using more than 30% of the possessions, another player using at least 27% of the possessions, and both players averaging at least 60% of their team’s minutes played (%Min, %Poss, PPG):

  • Colorado: Alec Burks (73.3%, 31.3%, 20.5 ppg), Cory Higgins (76.7%, 27.4%, 16.9 ppg)
  • Colorado State: Andy Ogide (65.3%, 29.2%, 16.7 ppg), Travis Franklin (59.6%, 32.0%, 15.3 ppg)
  • Indiana: Christian Watford (72.8%, 28.9%, 17.9 ppg), Verdell Jones (62.5%, 32.5%, 13.2 ppg)
  • Kentucky: Terrence Jones (80.0%, 30.5%, 18.9 ppg), Brandon Knight (84.2%, 28.3%, 17.4 ppg)
  • Nicholls State: Anatoly Bose (87.7%, 37.0%, 24.4 ppg), Fred Hunter (63.2%, 29.5%, 14.1 ppg)
  • SMU: Robert Nyakundi (70.7%, 31.0%, 15.6 ppg), Papa Dia (79.2%, 27.2%, 17.3 ppg)
  • Washington State: Klay Thompson (81.3%, 31.1%, 20.8 ppg), Faisal Aden (69.4%, 29.5%, 18.3 ppg)

*The individual stats on Kenpom’s site have not been updated since Sunday, Dec. 12th.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.