Monday, February 11, 2013

Sun Belt Update

It's been a long season for the HarperManiacs at WKU.  The Hilltoppers have lost seven of their last 10, and have fallen well off the pace in the Sun Belt.  On Saturday, they were drilled at home by Arkansas State, which jumped out to an early 20-9 lead and cruised to a 67-49 victory.  Western's defense is mediocre -- the Hilltoppers are 152nd in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.  But the offense is a complete train wreck.  Look at these numbers:

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency:  95.6 points per 100 possessions (243d in the country)
3-point shooting percentage:  31.2 percent (273d in the country)
Turnover percentage:  23.1 percent of possessions end in turnovers (304th in the country)
Free throw percentage:  66.3 percent (258th in the country)
Percentage of shots that are blocked:  10.7 percent (266th in the country)

What is really disturbing about these numbers is that Western is trying to play a bombs-away sort of style.  They shoot three-pointers 37.4 percent of the time, well above the national average.  But look at these numbers for their three-point shooters:

T.J. Price:  52-146 (35.6 percent)
Brandon Harris:  41-142 (28.9 percent)
Kevin Kaspar:  27-87 (31.0 percent)
Teeng Akol:  10-37 (27.0 percent)
Caden Dickerson:  5-30 (16.7 percent)

These are horrific numbers, and I have to believe that a lot of those missed three-pointers are turning into easy baskets at the other end.

As for George Fant, Western's major inside threat, he has made only 74 of his 130 free throws this year -- for a percentage of only 56.9 percent.  He is the main reason Western's free throw percentage is so poor.

Not surprisingly, the folks at (home to the world's angriest message board) are not pleased.  Most folks over there seem to think that WKU needs better talent, and they are probably right.  But I am still concerned that so many poor shooters are taking so many three-pointers.

As for the rest of the Sun Belt, we are basically waiting to see if MTSU -- which is by far the best team in the league -- can survive the conference tournament:

Here are the standings (conference games only) with Ken Pomeroy's rankings next to each team:

26.  Mid. Tenn St:  14-1
201.  S. Alabama:  11-4
190.  Fla. Int'l:  8-7
199.  W. Kentucky:  7-7
245.  Fla. Atl:  6-9
285.  Troy:  5-9

207.  Ark-Little Rock:  9-5
126.  Arkansas St:  9-6
225.  La-Lafayette:  5-9
240.  N. Texas:  4-11
321.  La-Monroe:  2-12

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