Sunday, January 11, 2009

More MBB Notes

The five-game homestand is now down to three games, setting up a very busy week for the Panthers. After this week’s three games in six days, UWM will play twice a week from here on out, with the exception being the week of the single game at Green Bay. But, before this busy week gets started, here are a few other items as we look ahead …

Thanks to the late start and then an overtime finish, things were hectic behind the scenes following the game Friday. So, there was no real chance to share a bit more on UWM’s free throw record (20-of-20) set Friday night. As I noted in the game notes for Monday’s game with SIUE, the best effort from a UWM team before Friday night was last year at Youngstown, when the Panthers made all 15 of their free throws. And, the old league record was 16-of-16, set three times.

But, those notes sent me in search of the NCAA Division I record. It isn’t often something happens in a game that has you checking the national records, and you may or may not be surprised to find the Panthers actually weren’t all that close to a national mark. The best-ever perfect free throw mark is 34-of-34. UC Irvine first did it in 1981 and Samford then did it in 1990.

Now, some fans might suggest the Panthers should have had a chance to make 34 free throws instead of just 20, but that’s another discussion for another time …

Special thanks to Patrick Herb at Wisconsin who passed along his list of teams with the best records in games decided by three points or less. He sent it my way late Thursday and, sure enough, the Panthers played a close game Friday. UWM had an 11-4 mark in such games since 2004-05 entering Friday night, a mark which ranked it seventh in the nation. It’s current 11-5 mark won’t drop it too far down the list. Here is the full list Patrick put together, with records entering this past weekend.

1 – Georgetown 17-3/0.850
2 – Wisconsin 17-4/0.810
3 - Arkansas-Little Rock 18-5/0.783
4 – UCLA 19-6/0.760
5 – Stanford 15-5/0.750
6 - Norfolk State 14-5/0.737
7 – Milwaukee 11-4/0.733 (now 11-5)
8 - Grambling State 16-7/0.696
George Washington 8-4/0.667
10 – Hofstra 21-10/0.677
11 – Gonzaga 14-7/0.667
McNeese State 12-6/0.667
13 - Eastern Kentucky 15-8/0.652
14 - Air Force 12-7/0.632

This did make the game notes in much shorter fashion, and I’ll keep an eye on this list throughout the rest of the year …

As we get deeper into the season, there is an opportunity to study the stats and see if there are any trends that jump out. Sometimes those trends are straightforward enough that I put them in the game notes, like the fact that UWM is 9-0 when shooting at least 40 percent from the field. But, other trends could probably use a little more data to become something to truly watch, while others might be obvious – like that the Panthers shoot it much better when they win than when they lose.

So, take these additional “when they win, when they lose” stats for whatever you think they are worth. Maybe they’ll make the cut for the game notes at some point.

In wins, UWM shoots 46.7 percent; in losses, UWM shoots 36.0 percent

In wins, UWM has a +1.0 rebounding margin; in losses the rebounding margin is -7.7

In wins, the tandem of Avery Smith and Tone Boyle has averaged 33.4 points per game and made 33 three-pointers; the duo is averaging 25.0 points per game and has made 15 three-pointers in losses

In wins, Tony Meier is averaging 9.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, is shooting better than 47 percent from the field and has made 16 three-pointers; in losses, T Meier is averaging 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, while making 8-of-27 from the field and just six 3-pointers.