Because I'm expecting an extremely slow news day I thought I'd delve into the team aspect of this 2007 Red Raider basketball team. This is going to preface a lot of what I repeat with a number of players simply because stats don't lie. Let me first say that without a doubt this team overachieved. This team played better than their ability and I give a standing ovation to Bobby Knight and the entire coaching staff. These kids played above their head. That being said, we're going to take a look at lots of different numbers, but the first set of numbers will just be numbers relative to the Big 12. Later this week, we'll take a look at some of the KenPom numbers.
All of these stats are final stats from the Big 12.
- 7th in points per game (71.6)
- 11th in rebounds per game (30.8)
- 10th in assists (13.4)
- 12th in turnovers (11.8 which is really the best)
- 5th in steals (6.9)
- 12th in blocks (1.9)
- 7th in field goal percentage (45.3%)
- 1st in free throw percentage (73.8%)
- 2nd in 3-point percentage (41.2%)
So what can we gather from this group of numbers. There's some obvious things, for instance that Tech has to be better on the boards. Only Nebraska was worse in the conference and they averaged less than 30 boards a game. For those of you who are like numbers, that's .77 rebounds per minute while league leader Kansas (who's still playing) averages a little over full rebound a minute. With a little research (remember, we have plenty of time) I bet that's true of a lot of the teams still playing, they don't allow other teams second chance points.
Tech was a little worse than average in scoring this year. I don't really feel like this is truly indicative of anything except the more talented teams seem to score more points (Texas and Kansas score the most) while there's somewhat of a combination of good and bad teams above Tech (Missouri, Texas A&M, OSU and Baylor).
That assist number really bothers me. As I said right after the game against BC, and I've thought this most of the year, but haven't said anything about it, but what's so great about Burgess? The best thing is that he's careful and doesn't turn the ball over, but don't you have to break some eggs to make an omelet? Every time I think Burgess has a fast break opportunity, he'll pull back and set up the offense. Don't get me wrong, the offense can be a beautiful thing to watch, but easy buckets are wonderful and I never felt like his position was a clear advantage over the opponent. In other words, he wasn't a difference maker.
A little better than average in steals, which isn't bad, but average, is just well, average. I also don't think that steals are indicative of defensive performance, so I try not to put a ton of stock into steals unless you're a team like Missouri that gets a ton of steals from it's pressure defense.
Last in blocks. So Jon Plefka and Darryl Dora are not great shot blockers, who would have guessed.
A little less than average in field goal percentage, which is quite telling of this team. The Red Raiders relied almost solely on the jumpshot. There was literally no inside presence whatsoever. There was your occasional put-back, but nothing consistent. That's really amazing. Take a look at the teams ahead of Tech and what do they have in common, a fairly consistent inside post presence: Texas A&M, Kansas, OSU, Missouri, Baylor, and Nebraska. I'm actually very impressed with how this team performed from an offensive perspective. No complaints here.
Much of this commentary also applies to the 3-point shooting percentage. This Tech team got off to an incredible start, but even then, this team shot incredibly well beyond the arc. That includes not having any sort of big man to take the pressure off of the perimeter players is a true testament to how well this team played.
First in free throw percentage, that once again goes in line with having good shooters in general, but much of this has to do with practice and patience and concentration. That's a statistic that usually indicates how good a team is (see Phoenix and Dallas in the NBA, both are over 80%), or in Tech's case, pushes a team that may not be as talented over the edge to compete with some of the bigger and better teams.