Thursday, July 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Penn State 38, Illinois 33

A box score to consider slowly, and an interesting look at the RPIs of teams the Schuylkill 16 have played this season.

Penn State 38, Illinois 33

Consider the box score from Penn State's 38-33 upset win in Champaign.

(No, it is not a football box score, though it may resemble one in some ways.)

Take it slowly, as you would a glass of red wine or maybe a plate full of brussels sprouts and asparagus.

Be deliberate in considering all the numbers: the field goal percentages, the assists, the turnovers, the points per possession, the tempo.

Here we have a BCS-conference basketball game in which the leading scorer had 11 points and no other player registered more than seven. No player made more than three field goal attempts in the 40 minutes of play.

Penn State's Talor Battle made three of 11 shots, Jamelle Cornley was 2-for-8 and Stanley Pringle was 1-for-9. Illinois' Demetri McCamey was 2-for-11.

The pace was slow, only 57 possessions per side. Yet the winning team scored 0.66 points per possession, and recorded a floor percentage - the percentage of offensive possessions in which there is at least one point scored - of 33.9 percent.

That latter figure was lower than the losing team's floor percentage of 35.4 percent.

But it is good on a morning like to remember one of the great sporting aphorisms of recent years. Italian soccer star Christian Vieri once said that "goals are like children: they are all beautiful."

If Penn State hears its name on Selection Sunday, the final score of this game will be forgotten. All that will matter is that the Nittany Lions beat a ranked conference opponent on its home floor for the second time this season.

And we can take comfort from having seen far worse since this blog's inception.



Before we leave the land of bad basketball and return to normalcy, we have some more data to consider as March draws ever nearer.

You all know that Kyle Whelliston was at the NCAA Mock Bracket event last week. While he was in Indianapolis, he requested and received the rights to post all 330 team sheets used to create the bracket on Basketball State.

That would be enough of a coup. But in bringing this data to the public eye, Whelliston also highlighted perhaps the single most important function of these sheets. In stunningly simple fashion, they display the RPI of every opponent that a given team has played, separated into four parts: teams ranked 1-50, 51-100, 101-200 and 201+.

The sheets also list the average opponent RPI in all a team's wins and losses.

I have put together a table with the number of Top 50 wins and 201+ losses and the average RPI win and loss for the Schuylkill 16. I have also done a table for select other teams that I think are of interest to our region from the A-10, Big East, CAA and Ivy League.

You can see each team's entire sheet by clicking on their name in the table. You will have to have a Basketball State subscription to see them all, but that seems to me to be the least you can do as a means of thanking Kyle for the service he has provided to college basketball fans.

I know the economy is in the tank right now but we also all know how much college basketball struggles for prominent coverage in print and online, so having resources like this available to us matters.

Teams are listed in order of this week's Schuylkill 16 rankings.

Team
Top 50 wins
201+ losses
Avg. win
Avg. loss
6
0
126
21
1
0
153
62
4
0
169
34
0
0
201
67
0
1
172
79
0
2
191
104
0
1
244
70
1
2
201
130
0
4
194
143
0
4
271
182
0
2
299
116
0
6
236
216
0
8
190
180
0
11
245
196
0
8
255
153
0
13
252
102


Selected other schools

Team
Top 50 wins
201+ losses
Avg. win
Avg. loss
Connecticut
10
0
110
20
Pittsburgh
8
0
95
14
Marquette
5
0
142
52
Louisville
5
0
113
47
Providence
3
0
170
35
Syracuse
5
0
115
30
West Virginia
3
0
120
22
Cincinnati
3
0
156
23
Georgetown
3
0
115
34
Notre Dame
3
0
169
30
Dayton
2
0
160
128
Xavier
5
0
126
39
VCU
0
2
181
132
George Mason
0
2
178
135
Northeastern
0
2
185
122
Cornell
0
1
218
112

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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