It really is past time for some aspiring Velma in Des Moines to walk right up to a “Drake” player like, I don’t know, “Adam Templeton” or “Ryan Wedel,” yank off the latex mask that quite obviously conceals said player’s true identity, and exclaim with knowing triumph: “Jon Scheyer!”
How else to explain the startling and indeed incomprehensible turnaround executed by the Bulldogs in still-young calendar 2010? Just seven days ago Ken Pomeroy’s pitiless number-crunching robots were pointing their ominously apodictic and metallic fingers at Mark Phelps‘ unprepossessing group and singling them out as The Most Likely Non-Fordham Team in the Nation to Go Winless In-Conference This Year. (Try fitting that on a commemorative ball cap.) And while, at the risk of over-sharing, I don’t happen to be a robot myself, at the time I could only read that post and nod earnestly in agreement, because here is what I was looking at on the morning of January 6:
Doomed! Doomed, I tells ya!
Drake tips off its 2010 Missouri Valley season with a team-wide seizure
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession Opp. PPP: opponent points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP - Opp. PPP)
Pace PPP Opp. PPP EM
vs. Bradley 66.9 0.88 1.00 -0.12
@ Wichita St. 67.0 0.57 0.92 -0.35
vs. Indiana St. 62.5 0.74 0.96 -0.22
TOTALS 65.4 0.73 0.96 -0.23
Just how bad was that? A team that scores a mere 0.73 points per trip in-conference is on-track to be the single worst offense I’ve seen since I started tracking this stuff way back in the previous decade. I mean, this team lost at Iowa for goodness sake. Ken’s bots were right to be chuckling behind Drake’s back last week.
Phelps: “That’s absurd! My players aren’t wearing latex mas– DON’T PULL ON THAT!”
Drake continues its 2010 Valley slate
Pace PPP Opp. PPP EM
@ Creighton 67.5 1.02 1.08 -0.06
@ S. Illinois 63.4 1.10 0.93 +0.07
vs. Missouri St. 65.5 1.34 1.18 +0.16
TOTALS 65.4 1.16 1.09 +0.07
This is mostly an instance of a perimeter-oriented team starting, at last, to make shots from the perimeter. Over their past three games the Bulldogs are hitting 43 percent of their threes. (Previous three games: 23 percent.) As will often happen in such cases, great shooting from the outside has had a huge impact on the interior, and Phelps’ team is now making its twos as well.