We are now halfway through conference play so it’s time to take another look at the key tempo free team statistics. I’ll run through many of the numbers and note any significant change for Penn State from the previous report that I published on January 15th.
Penn State remains 7th in the league in pace of play averaging 63.3 possessions per game which is down from the 64.7 possessions two weeks ago. This is undoubtedly a conscious decision that was made following Claxton’s injury.
Two weeks ago we were a remarkable second in the conference in offensive efficiency with a 107 rating. We’ve since dropped back to the middle of the pack with a 101 rating. We remain next to last in the conference in defensive efficiency. That means we’ve fallen from seventh to ninth in efficiency margin with a negative 11.8 rating. Not surprisingly, Michigan and Northwestern are the teams behind us.
Quite naturally our shooting percentage mirror our efficiency numbers. We’re middle of the pack in two point and three point shooting but 10th and 9th respectively in two point and three point field goal defense (with a huge delta between us and 8th place Minn in 3pt defense). That doesn’t bode well for us tonight since Purdue is the best three point shooting team in the conference. Of course the good thing with three point shooting is that pretty much no one is always on. Every team is going to have an off night some night, perhaps tonight is it for Purdue.
We made a ton of free throws against Michigan State which has solidly in fifth place in the league in free throw proficiency (FT prof measures how well you get to the line and make your free throws). Unfortunately, that’s entirely do to the fact that we’ve managed to get to the line a lot. We sure haven’t been making our free throws when we get there though as we are now dead last in the conference in FT shooting percentage at 61.1%.
Losing Claxton has meant that we have tumbled from previously being second in the conference in offensive rebounding to fifth. We haven’t slipped near as much on the defensive glass however. Previously we were tops in the conference, now we are second only a hair behind Indiana.
We continue to protect the ball well and are third in the conference in turnover rate just a shade higher than we were two weeks ago when we were second. Unfortunately, our soft defense doesn’t create many turnovers and we are only 8th in that category.
With out low turnover rate, you might think that we would sit high in the conference in assist to turnover ratio. Surprisingly, that’s not true and we are way under 1.0, 0.93 to be exact, in our A/TO ratio. That’s not good and, I believe, a symptom of our lackadaisical passing. Just the opposite is true on defense. Our soft play lets out opponents work the ball looking for the easy shot. Thus we are next to last in the conference in A/TO defense.
That’s a quick synopsis of where we stand with out tempo free numbers. Feel free to play around with the tool to check out other teams.