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Injury Splits, Part 2

Click Here for Part 1.

Team

Adj Off

Adj Def

W

L

Pyth.

Northwestern

103.7

93.0

7

3

0.7542

Northwestern (without Drew Crawford)

105.9

96.2

5

6

0.7277

 

 

 

 

 

 

Providence (missing players)

103.1

90.7

8

4

0.7874

Providence (Full Strength)

111.2

98.7

2

6

0.7735

           

North Dakota St.

108.0

91.8

13

3

0.8405

North Dakota St. (without Taylor Braun)

97.7

90.7

1

2

0.6819

Northwestern has been able to compensate for Drew Crawford’s lost offense, but they have not been able to compensate for the athleticism he brought to the defense. He was one of the only players with the quickness and size to frustrate opposing wing players.

Providence has had a nightmare of a season. First Kris Dunn was injured. Then Vincent Council was out. Plus, Bryce Cotton has missed games occasionally. And yet with one or more of those players out at the start of the season, Ed Cooley got his players to buy in and play team basketball. They knew they had to play great defense to have a chance, and the players responded. But now that everyone is at full-strength, the defensive commitment just isn’t there. Pretty much from the moment that Kris Dunn debuted, Providence has stopped playing defense. And the team has gone 2-6 since then.

North Dakota St. was one of the true surprises of the early season. They were extremely dominant and looked like a real challenger to Nate Wolter’s South Dakota St. team for the Summit League title. But the injury to leading scorer Taylor Braun has completely derailed NDSU’s offense.

Team

Adj Off

Adj Def

W

L

Pyth.

Georgetown

97.8

85.2

10

3

0.8055

Georgetown (without Greg Whittington)

110.0

83.4

4

1

0.9445

           

Memphis (without Geron Johnson)

102.4

97.9

2

1

0.6136

Memphis (without Tarik Black)

114.1

95.3

4

0

0.8637

Memphis (Full Strength)

102.1

86.2

10

2

0.8508

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

106.3

90.4

9

4

0.8401

North Carolina (without Leslie McDonald)

110.2

91.5

3

2

0.8709

This next group features three players whose absence was not a huge problem. Georgetown sat at 0-2 in the Big East and had just been blown out at home by Pittsburgh when they found out Greg Whittington was academically ineligible. Since then the Hoyas have gone 4-1 including an upset of Louisville over the weekend. Georgetown’s improvement without Greg Whittington is a little bit of a surprise, but likely has two causes. First, with Whittington academically ineligible, the Hoyas have stopped rolling out one-guard lineups. The offense has simply moved more crisply with two guards on the floor at once.  I appreciated John Thompson III’s creativity with four forwards on the floor, but there is a reason most teams don’t do that. Second, un-related to the suspension of Whittington, head coach John Thompson III has stopped trying to run the offense through center Michael Hopkins. Hopkins was the team’s least efficient offensive player, and Hopkins playing time has plummeted in recent games.

Memphis had its best offensive day of the season (against Tennessee) when Tarik Black was out, but I wouldn’t necessarily be convinced that the team is better off without him. That seems like a bit of a fluke.

North Carolina hasn’t really missed Leslie McDonald and I don’t think anyone is surprised. North Carolina has a plethora of two-guard/wing players. What the Tar Heels are missing is a second legitimate post-player to compliment James Michael McAdoo. PJ Hairston and Reggie Bullock were well-positioned to replace McDonald’s playing time.

Team

Adj Off

Adj Def

W

L

Pyth.

UNLV (without Khem Birch)

108.1

87.0

7

1

0.9025

UNLV (Birch but no healthy Mike Moser)

109.9

91.2

5

1

0.8707

UNLV (Full Strength)

112.5

90.1

3

2

0.9075

           

Virginia

105.1

90.0

7

3

0.8298

Virginia (with Jontel Evans)

99.7

83.0

4

2

0.8675

Virginia (with Jontel Evans without Darion Atkins)

109.8

78.3

3

0

0.9696

           

Washington (without Andrew Andrews)

109.4

110.3

2

1

0.4788

Washington (without Scott Suggs)

103.9

100.3

2

1

0.5911

Washington (Full Strength)

109.3

95.3

8

6

0.8035

I took a little liberty and grouped the North Carolina game in the “Moser-injured” category because he clearly wasn’t 100%. The good news for UNLV fans is that they are a better team with Moser in the lineup. The bad news is that even with the team at full-strength, they have only been a borderline Top 25 team. UNLV has Top 10 talent, and Anthony Bennett might be the best freshmen in the country, but they haven’t quite been able to put it all together.

Virginia’s splits aren’t really about Evans so much as they are about a team that has improved throughout the season. The Cavaliers started out playing mediocre basketball, began to play better defense once they added a PG with the quickness of Evans, and even with Darion Atkins going down they have continued to improve. That last split probably isn’t sustainable, but Virginia is the rare team that can say they are playing much better now than in November.

Although you might not guess it from their 8-6 record, the Washington Huskies have been at their best at full-strength.

Team

Adj Off

Adj Def

W

L

Pyth.

Miami (without Durand Scott)

96.8

100.1

2

1

0.4163

Miami (without Reggie Johnson)

104.8

85.2

6

2

0.8931

Miami (Full Strength)

119.0

78.2

7

0

0.9867

           

St. John's

101.3

91.1

9

3

0.7462

St. John's (with Jamal Branch)

99.2

92.7

4

4

0.6678

           

Creighton

118.7

93.5

7

1

0.9201

Creighton (without Josh Jones)

120.7

91.1

11

2

0.9471

           

Lehigh

110.8

99.6

8

4

0.7499

Lehigh (without CJ McCollum)

102.0

92.9

5

1

0.7230

Durand Scott missed Miami (FL)'s loss to Florida Gulf Coast early in the season. And Reggie Johnson just missed a string of games and hasn’t quite looked 100% since returning. Miami has only had their full-lineup for 7 games, but when you include a blow-out win against Duke in that sample of seven games, you look pretty good.

I’m not sure mid-season transfer Jamal Branch has been a negative influence on St. John’s. But he just so happened to miss St. John’s best win of the season, at Cincinnati, with an eye injury. And he was around for St. John’s embarrassing home loss to UNC Asheville.

Meanwhile, I feel for Creighton’s Josh Jones having to give up basketball due to a heart condition. But as crazy as it sounds, his 109 ORtg was actually a drag on Creighton’s fine offense. The Blue Jays are in the rare position of having an embarrassment of riches in their rotation right now.

After NCAA tournament hero CJ McCollum went down, I thought Lehigh would have to cede the Patriot league title to Bucknell. But by buckling down on defense, Lehigh won its first five games against D1 competition without McCollum, and shockingly picked up the road victory at Bucknell. They actually looked like they might be the Patriot league favorites after all. But a home loss against Lafayette emphasized what was already true. Without McCollum, Lehigh’s offense isn’t nearly as good. Perhaps by emphasizing their new defensive identity, they can still win the league. But it isn’t going to be nearly as easy without their star.

Team

Adj Off

Adj Def

W

L

Pyth.

St. Louis

105.7

90.0

8

3

0.8382

St. Louis (with Kwamain Mitchell)

103.4

90.5

6

2

0.7968

           

Alabama

100.4

98.0

2

5

0.5608

Alabama (with Andrew Steele)

106.7

87.6

9

2

0.8833

           

Syracuse

113.1

81.0

15

1

0.9684

Syracuse (without James Southerland)

122.7

96.1

3

1

0.9240 

Kwamain Mitchell’s ORtg is only 88.9, and he is one of only two St. Louis players with a sub-100 ORtg. Given how the team played without him, I think it is worth asking whether he is hurting the St. Louis offense.

Andrew Steele can’t be as important as the numbers here show. But his absence corresponded to the team’s December swoon. And I’m certainly willing to believe that the senior guard is an important cog to the team’s offensive and defensive chemistry. I just know that given his limited role on the team, there are other factors at play here.

Finally, Syracuse was playing like the 2nd best team in the nation in the games before the Southerland academic suspension. Since then, the upset loss to Villanova has the Orange playing more like the 15th best team in the nation. Still, that loss to Villanova felt like one of the annual games where an opponent got hot from three. Syracuse usually loses at least one of those. I’m not sure we have an accurate feel for the Orange without Southerland yet.

Final Notes: The following injuries are not worth a split since they were so short, but they will likely show up on NCAA scouting reports at the end of the year.

-Mike Bruesewitz missed Wisconsin's loss to Marquette.

-Justin Jackson missed Cincinnati's loss to Notre Dame. Given Jackson’s general struggles this year, I'm not sure anyone can count that as meaningful, but I'm sure it will show up on the NCAA committees report from the Big East. 

-Brady Heslip missed Baylor's loss to Charleston. I watched this game and his absence really seemed to hurt the flow of the Baylor offense.

-Xavier Thames missed San Diego St.'s loss to Wyoming.

-Dwayne Davis missed Southern Miss's loss to Arizona with the flu. It didn’t seem that important at the time, but given how well Southern Miss is playing in CUSA this year, it could matter come selection Sunday.

-Roy Devyn Marble missed Iowa's 3 point loss to Michigan St.

-PJ Hairston missed North Carolina's loss to Indiana.

-Sam Grooms missed Oklahoma's loss to SF Austin.

-Cory Remekun missed St. Louis's loss to Santa Clara.

-Terone Johnson missed Purdue’s loss to Bucknell.

-Rotnei Clarke missed Butler’s loss to La Salle.

-Milton Jennings missed Clemson's loss to Purdue.

-Nate Wolters missed South Dakota St.'s loss to Minnesota.

-Akron was missing Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney in their season opening losses to Coastal Carolina and Oklahoma St. The latter came in OT so the NCAA may very well care that these players were missing.

-Stanford was missing Aaron Bright for the Missouri and Minnesota losses, but oddly the team has played worse basketball since he has returned. Perhaps his 23% three point shooting has something to do with that.

-Finally, I'm not going to say much about players who missed the opening game or opening three games (Shabazz Muhammad) because with the recent games weighting on Kenpom.com those games have already been deemphasized. But there remain a number of recent injuries to keep an eye on in February. Oregon's Dominic Artis, UCLA's Travis Wear, Notre Dame's Scott Martin, Boise St.'s Jeff Elorriaga, and Texas's Jonathan Holmes have only recently joined the inactive list.

 

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