The guys have been doing an exceptional job of protecting the ball – last night included. Our turnover percentage (i.e. the percent of our possessions that end in a turnover) is 18.1%, 2nd in the B10 behind traditional ball protecting leader Northwestern and good enough to be 27th in the nation.
Give the team an UL Seal of Approval for their ball protection.
Our offensive rebounding has been equally spectacular. We have been grabbing 40% of the available rebounds on the offensive glass. Traditionally, a good number is considered anything above 1/3 of the boards. 40% ranks us 28th in the nationally, and 4th in the Big Ten behind the ever strong rebounding monster Michigan St (47.3 – 1st nationally), Minnesota (44.2 – 3rd nationally), and Wisconsin (40.7 – 20th).
Score one other UncleLar Seal of Approval for team offensive rebounding
On the opposite side of the coin, there’s one thing that stands out like a sore thumb statistically – and one that every fan is well aware of. We are 329th in the country (and last in the B10) in free throw rate. Free throw rate measures how effectively you get to the line and MAKE your free throws (it’s calculated by dividing your made free throws by your field goal attempts). We’re not particularly good at getting to the line but we are incredibly horrible at making our shots. Our free throw shooting percentage is 60.0% which is 314th nationally (Illinois is worse than us however at 58.8%).
One oddball thing that makes the free throw number stand out is that that our opponents free throw shooting is the diametric opposite – it’s 73.2 percent which is 299th in the country. So we sure can’t blame it on the rims, bad arena lighting, or some other nonsensical factor. Our opponents are nailing their free throws in the very same games that we are clanking them.
Another horrid measure it blocked shots. Our opponents are blocking 12.1% of our shots, that ranks 290th (and last in the B10). Unfortunately, there’s no such individual stat called “getting your shot blocked” so there’s no way to tell who it is that’s getting the ball smacked back at them (btw – that’s a bugaboo to many of us tempo free stat guys – there should be some symmetry to every statistic – if the scorekeeper is going to report shots that a player blocks, then he ought to also report when a player gets his shot blocked).