Men’s BB Post Mortem

With the season mercifully over, some thoughts. I think this team had the talent to earn a postseason bid, but Collins mismanaged playing time and lineups that could have gotten them there. (As mentioned here before, Nick Medline on twitter has pointed out lineup and minutes management problems over and over, so credit there.)

I have a simple efficiency metric that I use because you can easily grab it from box scores. (There are better ones no doubt, but I’m not going to dive that deep into this.) Give a point each for PTS, RBS, AST, STL, BLK. Take a point away for TOs, missed FGs, and missed FTs. I ran the numbers for NU’s 10 rotation guys then converted it to 40 minutes per game.

Player, Efficiency, Minutes rank on team

1. Nance 25.6, 2nd

2. Young 23.2, 8th (!)

3. Beran 16.2, 4th

4. Buie 16.2, 1st

5. Audige 13.2, 3rd

6. Roper 13.0, 7th

7. Williams 12.2, 9th

8. Berry 11.9, 5th

9. Greer 11.1, 6th (!)

10. Simmons 9.3, 10th

OK, I get that you can’t just trot out a lineup of your five most efficient players. It could lack cohesion and there’s only one ball to go around. BUT, OMG you have to play Ryan Young so much more! Nance is elite in terms of efficiency while Young is REALLY good. And I think their skills are complimentary. On D, put Young on the other team’s big and keep Nance out of foul trouble to maximize his minutes.

Audige and Greer should have seen less time. Audige’s role should have been defensive stopper off the bench. Bring him in when someone on the other team gets hot, and do NOT give him the green light on offense.

Another problem I’ve long had with Collins is that the offensive scheme as a whole isn’t efficient. Daryl Morey’s an alum! Let’s play some Moreyball! Try to get shots at the rim (and FTAs) and 3s when you’re running the offense. We shoot about as many 3s as our opponents (though we hit them at a much lower rate) but we get crushed at the line. (Yes, caveat, this is likely skewed some by end-of-game scenarios where we’re fouling while behind but still within reach, which was a lot this year.) In 25 games against major conference opponents, we had 379 FTAs while giving up 500 FTAs. Young led the team with 102 FTAs while playing the 8th most minutes. It’s so frustrating to see such a valuable piece on the team left on the bench. Drawing fouls is good! You can get the other team in foul trouble, you get to the Bonus sooner, etc.

All that said, I doubt Collins will make any adjustments going forward and I’m ready to move on. We’re probably stuck with a zombie season next year because I doubt NU will eat whatever cost a buyout is. I’d be surprised (and disappointed) if he’s still the coach heading into the 23-24 season. I’d love to see us hire a coach that uses analytics. I don’t see anything from Collins suggesting he does.