Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

March 5, 2009

The Truth about Northwestern

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 11:17 am

For one thing they beat Purdue 64-61 in West Lafayette last night, giving the Wildcats wins at both Michigan State and Mackey Arena. That helps any resume.

Another truth: as of this moment NU is functionally equivalent to Penn State on a per-possession basis.

On the Brink of History in Evanston? 
Through games of March 4, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession    Opp. PPP: opponent points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

                                    Opp.
                     Pace    PPP    PPP      EM
1.  Michigan St.     63.4    1.07   0.94   +0.13
2.  Purdue           63.3    1.04   0.95   +0.09
3.  Wisconsin        57.6    1.06   1.00   +0.06
4.  Illinois         61.1    0.98   0.92   +0.06
5.  Minnesota        62.5    0.98   0.96   +0.02
6.  Ohio St.         61.3    1.07   1.06   +0.01
7.  Michigan         61.3    1.00   1.03   -0.03
8.  Northwestern     60.0    1.03   1.07   -0.04
9.  Penn St.         60.0    1.00   1.04   -0.04
10. Iowa             57.0    0.98   1.08   -0.10
11. Indiana          63.4    0.93   1.11   -0.18 
 

Is it just me or does Bill Carmody look strangely hip these days with his Tony Bennett look? Someone needs to do a rigorous tempo-free study on how well Northwestern does when Carmody doesn’t wear a tie. He’s almost 19 years older than Matt Painter, but last night it was Painter who looked like the up-tight tie-enslaved elder statesman. Carmody on the other hand looked like someone who was calmly going about the business of winning a road game and then was going to go out for some tofu. Neither of those things are easy to do in West Lafayette. 

Anyway, the answer to the question could Northwestern actually get a bid is: of course. Win Sunday at Ohio State, finish 9-9, win a game or two at the Big Ten tournament, see what happens. The Buckeyes, however, will have other ideas. 

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