Nearing the midway point of this pandemic-altered season, the ‘Cats sit at 6-5 overall, 3-4 in conference play and in the midst of a four game losing streak. Here are five numbers that help explain how Northwestern has gotten to this point. All stats are via BartTorvik, Synergy Sports and ESPN.
1. The losing streak (0-4)
Chris Collins’ squad has been struggling as of late despite a 3-0 run at the outset of the Big Ten season. The ‘Cats have yet to win in 2021, as the team extended its skid when they fell to Ohio State on Wednesday night.
2. Miller Kopp’s unguarded catch and shoot efficiency (1.947 Points Per Shot)
Miller Kopp was a great perimeter shooter last season, shooting at a 39.6% clip, but his accuracy this year has been key to Northwestern’s offense. Even though his points per game average has only risen from 13.1 to 13.8 this year, his deadeye accuracy on wide open shots (99th percentile in the NCAA) has stretched opponents’ defenses to their limits, a major key during the ‘Cats’ 3-0 start to conference play.
3. Points scored by Boo Buie in Northwestern’s last three games (5)
Both Northwestern and Buie got off to a hot start. During the team’s 3-0 start to Big Ten play, the sophomore averaged 18.3 points per game. However, Buie’s scoring regression has created problems for the ‘Cats, as the team has yet to win a game in which he has scored less than eight points.
4. Offensive rebounds per game (5.9)
Even when the ‘Cats were winning games, it was not due to second chance points. Northwestern ranks last in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game and has struggled on the boards despite the team’s size advantage.
5. Chase Audige’s usage percentage (28.4%)
The William and Mary transfer has taken a plethora of shots this season. The percent of the team’s possessions ending in an Audige shot or turnover, also known as usage percentage, is by far the highest on the team at 28.4%. Of all Northwestern players to play over 50% of the available minutes this season, Buie ranks second in usage, yet his 22.5% rate is still far below that of Audige. Despite being the team’s second leading scorer, Audige has the lowest true shooting percentage at 46.9%.