Minnesota probably won’t have Al Nolen the rest of the season because of a broken foot. Tubby Smith’s reaction summed it up nicely:
“That’s a real blow to us,” Smith said.
But just how big? The No. 16 Gophers have had their share of adversity this season, notably with injuries and Trevor Mbakwe’s off-court issues. Nolen’s stats – 8.4 points, 3.7 assists, 33 percent shooting – don’t overwhelm you, but his presence matters more than just stats.
Then again, let’s use stats to illustrate just how important Nolen is to the Gophers.
Dan Hanner over at Yet Another Basketball Blog did a massive breakdown on how injury or suspension splits affected teams. Are teams better or worse without their stars? Dan has answers.
Tale Minnesota. The Gophers are 11-3 with Nolen, with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 115.9 and an adjusted defensive efficiency of 93.4. Without him, they’re 4-1, but the numbers drop to 104.3 and 99.6. That an incredible difference. And in the brutal Big Ten, it could be killer.
Other differences to note: Notre Dame and Carleton Scott, Kansas and Josh Selby and Cal with Gary Franklin, among others. I don’t want to spoil the whole list, so go read it. It’s great stuff.
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