Category Archives: Arizona Wildcats

Claiming Joy in the midst of Sorrow

This afternoon, my two boys (Ryan & Luke, 10 & 7) decided for the first time to sit and and actively watch an entire Arizona basketball game with me. They are usually so preoccupied with so many other things that they don’t last more than 10 minutes – but they sat and asked questions of me, cheered with me, and cared about Arizona winning for the ENTIRE game. I paused a ton to answer all their questions, it was my first time having my two boys care so much about something that really matters to their dad – and to be able to sit with me for well over two hours and take it all in. It was completely unexpected (I never asked them to do this), and it was glorious.

With every inconceivable Badger three made – we’d all yell “what?”. We wanted Kaminsky in foul trouble so bad – that with every whistle in which he was on the screen they’d ask “is that on Kaminsky?”. Both called every Arizona player by name as well as a few Badgers not even named Kaminsky 12 minutes into the game – reveling in the roller coaster ride of Elite 8 basketball. They both knew immediately Kaminsky “faked” a foul to get Zeus in foul trouble – even if the ref wasn’t smart enough to see it. We all cheered SO hard. Again, it was glorious.

Yet, we lost.

I ended that game with such a mixed bag of internalized emotion – the extent of which I have never felt before. Luke, my 7 year old, seeing TJ with 9 seconds left, hugged his mom hard while the tears streamed. Ryan, my 10 year old, didn’t say a word for 5 minutes – I could tell he was just trying to hold it together like I was. I BARELY held it together.

After a little time passed, after the UK & Notre Dame talk started on tv, my boys began to ask me why the Arizona players cried – why was it SO important to them even though Arizona will play again in November (I had told them early in the game whatever team lost would have their season and and wouldn’t start a new one until November). I had to explain how THAT group of guys would never get to play together again for their school for THAT coach. I had to explain how TJ McConnell had played his last game for a school and coach he loved, and that he would have to move on to play for someone else in the pros. I had to explain that most of the names they now somehow knew so well (so quickly) wouldn’t be back for Arizona – they would be moving on to play basketball for a living and for money. We ended the talk with me showing Allonzo Trier highlights to them, explaining that Arizona will have some new players to root for next season to root for along with some of the returnees (PJC is an early fav – they think it’s awesome he’s so short).

Today was so difficult for me – yet I know I experienced something on a personal level with my sons that we ALL will always remember and share. You always remember the first time you watched a whole game with your dad, you rooted hard, and you cried when the result didn’t go the way you had hoped. My first time was Georgetown/UNC championship in ’82 – I just decided I so badly wanted this small school to upset the big time program. I felt SO bad for Fred Brown when he made that unexplained pass right to Worthy that out of the blue the tears came. I remember vividly.

Today, my boys FELT it ALL with me. This was much bigger than Georgetown/UNC – my dad really didn’t care who won then, I just decided I cared. Today, my boys cared about this game more than anything because they knew it was important to their dad. I hugged and thanked my boys for caring so much and so hard with me. I am sad, but I’m going to claim MY joy from this shared experience with my sons. Now, when my sons and I celebrate that 2nd Arizona championship in the unforeseen future – it’ll be THAT much sweeter because of what we experienced today, together.

Beardown.

Dan

Sweet 16: Arizona vs. Xavier

Let’s start with the players who are projected to play possible meaningful minutes with their common stats, ranked by HnI (ignores missed games on the season, better for game predictions than HnR).  The Rank is the player’s national rank out of 3053 “qualified” players (more than 20% of available team minutes). If there is no rank, the player played less than 20% of the available team minutes during the season. M? is the predicted minutes played for each player to best optimize team rating while still adhering to previous 2015 NCAA Tourney precedence and seasonal playing time.

Overall player rank:
HnI Rank Player Team Mn/g Pt/g Rb/g A/g S/g B/g T/g TS% M?
172 7 T.J. McConnell Arizona 30.1 10.1 3.9 6.3 2.2 0.1 2.0 0.567 39
155 39 Stanley Johnson Arizona 28.4 14.0 6.6 1.7 1.5 0.4 2.2 0.545 31
154 44 Matt Stainbrook Xavier 26.5 12.1 6.9 2.4 0.6 0.6 1.9 0.647 35
149 68 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 28.4 11.3 6.9 1.6 1.1 0.9 1.6 0.568 34
142 115 Jalen Reynolds Xavier 20.1 9.9 6.1 0.4 0.6 1.0 1.2 0.626 27
138 156 Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 10.0 3.0 1.4 1.8 0.3 0.0 0.7 0.528 13
137 175 Brandon Ashley Arizona 27.8 12.2 5.3 0.7 0.6 0.7 1.5 0.566 22
133 219 Gabe York Arizona 22.9 9.1 2.1 1.3 0.5 0.4 1.0 0.604 23
132 234 Dusan Ristic Arizona 8.9 3.6 2.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.614 4
130 258 Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 25.9 9.2 5.1 0.3 0.4 0.6 1.4 0.604 20
122 400 Dee Davis Xavier 32.7 8.9 2.4 6.0 1.3 0.0 2.4 0.502 40
122 414 Trevon Bluiett Xavier 28.4 11.3 4.3 2.0 0.6 0.1 1.4 0.543 29
121 433 Myles Davis Xavier 27.0 10.7 2.4 2.1 0.9 0.0 1.3 0.573 21
116 593 Remy Abell Xavier 27.6 8.5 2.0 1.3 0.6 0.1 0.9 0.600 28
114 647 James Farr Xavier 15.6 4.3 5.4 0.4 0.4 0.8 1.1 0.472 14
113 679 J.P. Macura Xavier 13.3 5.5 1.2 0.6 0.7 0.1 0.9 0.557 6
97 1486 Elliott Pitts Arizona 15.0 3.6 1.1 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.542 14

131 is the average HnI for a Sweet 16 player, while going into the tourney 118 was the HnI for the average NCAA Tourney player, 99 average for a D1 player.

Eight of the top 10 rated players are Wildcats, although two of them (Jackson-Cartwright and Ristic) play limited minutes because of how talented the roster is.

I keep reading about how gritty TJ McConnell is, how he’s the glue guy, etc. Honestly, TJ McConnell has turned into a STAR player. He does about everything well to exceptionally well, he just doesn’t take many shots.

We have four players in this game ranked in the top 70 nationally.

Scoring rating:
Player Team Sco Mn/g Pts/40 TS%
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 112 20.1 19.6 0.626
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 108 26.5 18.3 0.647
Stanley Johnson Arizona 101 28.4 19.7 0.545
Brandon Ashley Arizona 95 27.8 17.6 0.566
Dusan Ristic Arizona 94 8.9 15.9 0.614
Gabe York Arizona 92 22.9 15.9 0.604
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 86 28.4 15.8 0.568
J.P. Macura Xavier 83 13.3 16.5 0.557
Myles Davis Xavier 82 27.0 15.9 0.573
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 82 25.9 14.2 0.604
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 77 28.4 15.9 0.543
T.J. McConnell Arizona 73 30.1 13.4 0.567
Remy Abell Xavier 68 27.6 12.4 0.600
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 59 10.0 11.9 0.528
Elliott Pitts Arizona 49 15.0 9.6 0.542
Dee Davis Xavier 47 32.7 10.9 0.502
James Farr Xavier 43 15.6 11.0 0.472

An average Sweet 16 Scoring rating is 75, average NCAA Tourney Scoring rating is 69, while the D1 average is 59.

Rating from 2 point range:
Player Team 2pt Mn/g 2p/40 2pA/40 2p%
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 92 20.1 8.1 13.0 0.623
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 79 26.5 7.0 11.2 0.622
Dusan Ristic Arizona 67 8.9 5.8 9.6 0.603
Brandon Ashley Arizona 58 27.8 5.8 10.9 0.535
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 56 25.9 5.0 8.7 0.579
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 50 28.4 4.9 9.0 0.541
T.J. McConnell Arizona 47 30.1 4.5 8.2 0.552
Stanley Johnson Arizona 41 28.4 5.0 10.4 0.477
James Farr Xavier 29 15.6 3.6 7.3 0.485
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 29 28.4 3.4 6.8 0.497
Remy Abell Xavier 28 27.6 2.8 5.0 0.552
J.P. Macura Xavier 25 13.3 2.6 4.8 0.537
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 22 10.0 2.9 6.3 0.460
Gabe York Arizona 20 22.9 2.0 3.8 0.526
Dee Davis Xavier 17 32.7 2.4 5.5 0.447
Myles Davis Xavier 11 27.0 1.9 4.6 0.413
Elliott Pitts Arizona 10 15.0 1.2 2.5 0.471

Average Sweet 16 2pt rating is 36, average NCAA Tourney 2pt rating is 31, average D1 is 26. Xavier’s fortunes and offensive efficiency really lie on Reynolds’ and Stainbrook’s ability to score efficiently from the paint. Considering Xavier hasn’t faced a team all season with the defensive ability, size, and length of Arizona – it’s going to be quite a tall order for those two.

Dusan Ristic would be be a star post player offensively for about 90% of D1 programs.

Rating from the free throw line:
Player Team FT Mn/g FT/40 FTA/40 FT%
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 36 28.4 5.4 7.6 0.703
Stanley Johnson Arizona 34 28.4 5.0 6.8 0.736
Myles Davis Xavier 30 27.0 4.2 4.8 0.868
Brandon Ashley Arizona 29 27.8 4.5 6.5 0.691
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 29 26.5 4.3 5.6 0.767
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 27 25.9 4.1 6.1 0.676
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 25 28.4 3.8 5.1 0.746
Gabe York Arizona 21 22.9 2.8 3.5 0.814
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 20 20.1 3.4 5.1 0.656
J.P. Macura Xavier 19 13.3 2.8 3.7 0.762
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 17 10.0 2.8 4.3 0.647
Dee Davis Xavier 16 32.7 2.5 3.5 0.725
Remy Abell Xavier 14 27.6 2.2 3.1 0.705
Dusan Ristic Arizona 13 8.9 2.8 5.4 0.512
T.J. McConnell Arizona 13 30.1 1.8 2.2 0.800
Elliott Pitts Arizona 10 15.0 1.4 1.8 0.792
James Farr Xavier 4 15.6 1.1 2.3 0.469

The average FT rating for both the Sweet 16 and the NCAA tourney is 19. D1 average is 16.

Rating from three point range:
Player Team 3pt Mn/g 3p/40 3pA/40 3p%
Gabe York Arizona 52 22.9 3.0 7.7 0.396
Myles Davis Xavier 41 27.0 2.6 6.8 0.385
J.P. Macura Xavier 39 13.3 2.8 8.1 0.348
Elliott Pitts Arizona 29 15.0 1.9 5.4 0.356
Remy Abell Xavier 26 27.6 1.5 3.7 0.413
Stanley Johnson Arizona 25 28.4 1.6 4.3 0.373
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 23 28.4 1.8 5.2 0.336
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 19 10.0 1.1 2.9 0.391
Dusan Ristic Arizona 14 8.9 0.5 0.7 0.800
Dee Davis Xavier 14 32.7 1.2 3.6 0.318
T.J. McConnell Arizona 13 30.1 0.9 2.6 0.343
James Farr Xavier 9 15.6 0.9 3.1 0.295
Brandon Ashley Arizona 7 27.8 0.5 1.4 0.343
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 0 28.4 0.2 1.1 0.214
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 0 26.5 0.0 0.2 0.250
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 0 25.9 0.0 0.0
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 0 20.1 0.0 0.1 0.000

Sweet 16 average 3pt rating is 20, NCAA tourney average is 19, D1 average is 16. Davis and Macura, and their willingness to launch from three, might be the key to Xavier having a chance for an upset. Let’s just say Xavier needs them to get hot – and for Arizona’s Gabe York to not do the same.

Rebound rating:
Player Team Reb Mn/g Orb/40 Drb/40 Rb/40
James Farr Xavier 65 15.6 3.4 10.5 14.0
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 59 20.1 3.7 8.5 12.2
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 50 28.4 3.0 6.8 9.8
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 50 26.5 3.0 7.3 10.4
Dusan Ristic Arizona 49 8.9 2.8 6.8 9.6
Stanley Johnson Arizona 48 28.4 2.9 6.4 9.3
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 41 25.9 2.4 5.5 7.9
Brandon Ashley Arizona 40 27.8 2.6 5.0 7.6
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 30 28.4 2.0 4.1 6.1
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 26 10.0 0.8 5.0 5.8
T.J. McConnell Arizona 24 30.1 0.9 4.2 5.1
J.P. Macura Xavier 19 13.3 1.3 2.4 3.7
Gabe York Arizona 16 22.9 0.3 3.4 3.7
Elliott Pitts Arizona 16 15.0 1.1 1.8 2.9
Myles Davis Xavier 15 27.0 0.4 3.1 3.5
Dee Davis Xavier 13 32.7 0.4 2.6 3.0
Remy Abell Xavier 13 27.6 0.4 2.4 2.9

The average Sweet 16 rebound rating is 34, NCAA tourney team average is 31, D1 average is 28. If Farr, Reynolds, and Stainbrook can stay in the game and get quality minutes, Xavier should be able to hang with Arizona for the most part on the boards. If those three can’t top their average minutes per game by a decent margin – Xavier will get manhandled. Arizona is a deep rebounding team – four starters rebounding like power forwards, with good rebounding point guards to boot.

Ball handling & passing rating:
Player Team BH Mn/g Ast/40 TO/40
T.J. McConnell Arizona 64 30.1 8.4 2.6
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 51 10.0 7.3 2.8
Dee Davis Xavier 48 32.7 7.4 2.9
Myles Davis Xavier 14 27.0 3.2 2.0
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 10 28.4 2.8 2.0
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 10 26.5 3.7 2.9
Remy Abell Xavier 6 27.6 1.9 1.3
Gabe York Arizona 6 22.9 2.2 1.7
Elliott Pitts Arizona 5 15.0 1.2 0.8
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 1 28.4 2.3 2.3
Stanley Johnson Arizona -4 28.4 2.4 3.0
J.P. Macura Xavier -8 13.3 1.9 2.8
Dusan Ristic Arizona -9 8.9 0.3 1.2
Brandon Ashley Arizona -11 27.8 1.0 2.1
James Farr Xavier -15 15.6 1.1 2.7
Jalen Reynolds Xavier -16 20.1 0.7 2.4
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona -17 25.9 0.5 2.2

Sweet 16 average rating here is 9, NCAA Tourney team average is 6, D1 average is 2. There is no player in the nation that is TJ McConnell’s rival in this rating, he stands alone. His backup, Jackson-Cartwright, has the 2nd highest handles/passing rating of all Sweet 16 players. Much like Ristic, he would star at about 90% of D1 programs as a true point guard.

Xavier’s Dee Davis ain’t no slouch himself – he has the 5th best rating here of all Sweet 16 guys – only Ulis of Kentucky and VanVleet of Wichita State come between him and Jackson-Cartwright.

But, again, no one runs a team like McConnell. If Arizona is able to win it all this season, it’ll be very largely due to having a truly elite floor general. For this game, the match up between him and Dee Davis should be fun.

Defensive stops rating:
Player Team Df Mn/g Stl/40 Blk/40 PF/40
T.J. McConnell Arizona 29 30.1 3.0 0.1 2.4
Stanley Johnson Arizona 21 28.4 2.1 0.6 3.6
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona 20 28.4 1.6 1.3 3.4
James Farr Xavier 16 15.6 0.9 2.1 4.4
J.P. Macura Xavier 16 13.3 2.2 0.3 4.4
Jalen Reynolds Xavier 13 20.1 1.2 1.9 6.1
Dee Davis Xavier 11 32.7 1.6 0.0 2.9
Gabe York Arizona 10 22.9 0.9 0.6 2.2
Brandon Ashley Arizona 8 27.8 0.9 1.0 4.0
Matt Stainbrook Xavier 8 26.5 0.9 0.9 3.7
Myles Davis Xavier 7 27.0 1.3 0.0 2.8
Parker Jackson-Cartwright Arizona 7 10.0 1.4 0.1 4.0
Remy Abell Xavier 6 27.6 0.8 0.1 1.8
Kaleb Tarczewski Arizona 4 25.9 0.7 0.9 4.6
Trevon Bluiett Xavier 3 28.4 0.9 0.1 3.2
Elliott Pitts Arizona 1 15.0 0.9 0.1 4.1
Dusan Ristic Arizona -2 8.9 0.3 1.2 5.8

Sweet 16 and NCAA Tourney average rating is 13, D1 average is 10. I’d be willing to bet there aren’t two better on the ball defenders outside the post in the same lineup in the nation than McConnell and Hollis-Jefferson. It’s a safe bet.

The Prediction:

Using the the predicted minutes (M?) for the players in this game – here’s how the team ratings look:

Sco 2pt FT 3pt Reb BH Def HnI
Arizona 82.8 41.7 24.3 16.7 34.7 13.4 15.3 144.6
Xavier 78.2 41.7 20.7 15.9 32.1 11.7 9.0 128.6
Sweet 16 Average 75.1 36.1 19.4 19.7 33.6 9.1 13.3 131.2
NCAA Tourney Average 68.6 31.1 18.6 18.8 30.9 6.1 12.6 118.1
D1 Average 58.8 26.1 16.5 16.3 28.4 2.2 10.0 99.5

Arizona has the advantage across the board. Xavier will have to keep their three big rebounders and post defenders out of foul trouble – and they’ll need to hit their threes – to stay in this game.

Ken Pomeroy has Arizona winning 74-64. With the optimized lineups based on the player ratings, I come up with Arizona winning by 8.1 points, a 73.0 to 65.0 final.

Dan

Hoops Nerd Pac 12 All Conference Team

Tomorrow the Pac 12 Awards will be announced. As an Arizona alum and an unabashed fan, I and my fellow Wildcat fans are hoping that our senior point guard, TJ McConnell, wins Pac 12 POY. Fingers crossed.

But, I’m a basketball analytics freak who believes that, after everything is properly accounted for, the proof is in the pudding. Despite my incredible bias and knowledge that he has been playing exceptionally in conference, does my main man TJ really DESERVE the POY honor? Well, I decided to take a few hours of my Sunday afternoon to find out.

Thanks to sports-reference, it is very easy now to pull college player data that is accumulated only in conference games. I assume since we are trying to put together the best possible list of the statistically most deserving Pac 12 players – unlike my weekly national rankings it is probably best to use only Pac 12 games when crunching the numbers.

Now, this is different than my normal college player rankings. I love to use WAR in my NBA ratings, so I think I’ll do the same here. A fairly even strength of schedule among the Pac 12 teams (I know, not perfectly even, but when is anything ever perfect) allows me to simplify my calculating of relative team strength as TmPts/OppPts*100 (just Pac 12 outcomes obviously). 100, then, would be a completely average Pac 12 team. I don’t have the patience to run regressions at the team level to get a more “precise” team rating, but since everything with WAR gets tied back to actual team wins – the slight noise of the team ratings smooths out quite a bit. Trust me.

I’m actually approaching these ratings exactly how I would ANY “pro” league with a relatively balanced schedule. My overall desire, just like my NBA ratings, is to have a final WAR, WAR per minute (WAR/40 – it’s actually the player’s WAR projected out as if they played EVERY minute of the Pac 12 season), HnR (the rating I use for the national rankings I do every week – but this will be based solely on Pac 12 results with 100 being Pac 12 average instead of D1 average), and HnI (HnR that ignores missed games, the best at the moment “impact” rating of the player when he’s actually available to play – the one I use for game projections).

The player stats here get “adjusted” to a uniform league norm – this allows for my ability to look at ANY league’s player production as if it were pretty close to current NBA pace and statistical ratios. In this case, assists are a little “rare” compared to  the NBA (not as “rare” as most Euro leagues though), while turnovers and especially personal fouls are a bit more prevalent. So, this should help my man TJ a little (as well as Deron Wright), as his best statistical skillset (assist rate and A/TO ratio) stands out more in this season’s Pac 12.

As always with any of my ratings, all player stats are compiled at the team level before they are broken down back to the player level in terms of ratings as each statistical skillset. This properly adjusts then for pace, team defense, maybe having overly generous home scorekeepers, etc.

Finally, WAR should be an interesting result here. In the NBA, teams play 82 games, and over the course of an entire season their team ratings will correlate fairly closely to actual team wins. But in this case, we have just 18 conference games. Utah, based on their team rating in conference of 123, would have been expected to win about 15 games. Circumstances would have it (being “unlucky”, not being clutch,, etc. – just plain losing close games while winning with big blowouts) that Utah won just 13 games. Oregon had a team rating of 103 – a bunch of close wins with some bad blowout losses – yet instead of winning the expected 10 games with that rating, they won 13 just like Utah.

So, while Utah players in general will have a much better HnR & HnI because of a much better team rating, their WAR will be based of the same 13 wins as Oregon. The Oregon players, just as the team, deserve to be given the credit for those wins, even if they are probably based much more on luck than they would be in a much longer schedule (like the NBA) that smooths out the WAR “noise”. Since we are attempting to create a viable all conference team that “looks” at performance like actual Pac 12 voters (all the while adjusting for all the team factors much better than the average voter would) – WAR and it’s tie to team wins and player playing time almost certainly will really help do that. If want to rank the best conference players this season on a points per possession basis, understanding some of the better Pac 12 players are buried behind better players on some teams, we use HnR (where 5 of the top 9 Pac 12 players are Arizona Wildcats, two of the top 6 Pac 12 players are Utes).

But, if we want to reward players based on how much their specific impact probably tied to actual team wins – and while the results may be noisier with just an 18 outcome sample size for each team – we’d look at player WAR. While Oregon did “dominate”, they pulled out 13 wins in 18 games. That means something – and while it’s not predictive of future outcomes, it’s important when rewarding players with 1st or 2nd team Pac 12 honors.

OK, I got all of that out of the way. Here is every Pac 12 player who played even just 1 minute in conference based on WAR – along with all their conference stats, WAR/40, HnR, HnI, and even conference rating percentile rank in various statistical subsets:

 2014-15Pac12SeasonRatingsUPLOAD

There’s a bunch of info there obviously. EVERYTHING I’m about to talk about can be found in that spreadsheet in much greater detail. It can be sorted any way you’d like, to your heart’s desire.

Pac 12 POY

Since the moment you open the spreadsheet it’s staring you right in the face, I’ll just start from the top.

An unexpected leader in WAR – Gary Payton. Oregon State won 8 conference games, despite a conference team rating of  just 93. They were a bad offensive team and a good defensive team who played a really slow pace – so nobody statistically is going to look “great”. But, Gary Payton still stands out. Over half the team wins are directly attributed to him, which is amazing. The team rating drops over 13 (from 93 to 79) if we take Gary’s production and minutes out of the team results – EASILY the most important player to his team in the conference.

But, a great player on just an 8 win team won’t win POY. We have two guys who arguably would be more “deserving” of the award – BOTH who played less per game but were THE stars on teams that were loaded with good players – Deron Wright and TJ McConnell. Both had better WAR/40 than Gary Payton (they played quite a few less minutes to get to their respective WAR totals), as well as much better HnR and HnI.

But, much to my chagrin, Deron edges out TJ, in all four metrics I mention. Utah slightly underachieved in terms of wins relative to team rating – BUT Deron Wright was the unquestioned star on a strong Utah team. TJ was the best player on a team full of stars, the perfect floor general to feed the egos of his teammates by feeding them the ball. However, you take Deron from Utah, they drop 10.3 rating points. You take TJ from Arizona, and they drop 6.1 rating points (133 to 126) – and (theoretically) are still the best team in the Pac 12.

Pac 12 POY: Delon Wright of Utah.
POY Runner Up: TJ McConnell of Arizona.
POY Honorable Mention: Gary Payton of Oregon State

ALL that being said, TJ McConnell winning POY would by no means be crazy. His Pac 12 season was exceptional, even if it measures out just a tick below Delon’s by my metrics. He still was the best player on easily the best team – and voters often vote that way. This wouldn’t be voting Kevin Pangos over Kyle Wiltjer as WCC POY – THAT was crazy.

Pac 12 All Conference Team

The Pac 12 awards 1st team All Conference to TEN guys. Weird. I’ll do the same, but I’ll order them into a top 5 and next 5, so it looks better to me.

Top 5:

Deron Wright – Utah

TJ McConnell – Arizona

Gary Payton – Oregon State

Joseph Young – Oregon

Stanley Johnson – Arizona

Joseph Young’s WAR, as I explained before, is much higher than one would expect based on his HnR. But, Oregon tied for 2nd in conference, and he played a TON of minutes as their best player. If I were drafting a team of Pac 12 players to play some important game tomorrow against China (winning the game would relieve the USA of all China debts) – my HnR and HnI (and my personal intuituion) says Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would be the man for this starting spot on the first team. I’m ignoring positions in the fantasy world – just want the five best.

If the Pac 12 played an 82 game season (or even a 41 game season), the high WAR ranking of the Oregon guys would settle down a bit toward their HnR, since their winning % would end up more 55% (based on the team rating) than the 72% it was this 18 game season. On the opposite end, the low WAR of the USC guys would settle up a bit – their team win % would be closer to 33% than the 17% it ended with.

Next 5:

Rondae Hollis Jefferson – Arizona

Chasson Randle – Stanford

Kevon Looney – UCLA

Norman Powell – UCLA

Brandon Taylor – Utah

I diverted from the WAR total here with the last guy – giving Taylor and his slightly lower WAR and WAR/40 the nod over Elgin Cook of Oregon, because Taylor’s HnR and HnI were 20 points higher each. Gotta beat China.

2nd Team:

Anthony Brown – Stanford

Josh Hawkinson – Washington State

Elgin Cook – Oregon

Askia Booker – Colorado

Brandon Ashley – Arizona

You’ll notice I ignored the slightly higher overall WAR of Shaquielle McKissic of ASU for the slighly higher WAR/40, and the definitely higher HnR & HnI of Brandon Ashley. The difference in the latter metrics more than makes up for it in my mind – plus, um, I’m an Arizona alum/fan. Need I say more?

Overall – I think the WAR results we get here on their own correlates pretty well in terms of how I see fan and voter perception of the players. Gary Payton is an outlier – his huge minutes with a very good WAR/40 (THE star on a good defensive slow paced overachieving team) getting him the overall WAR edge – but the actual POY will will be one of the top two in HnR. One could fashion the All Pac 12 teams based directly on the WAR rankings – and I don’t think there’d be much (if any) media or fan uproar.

Oh wait – almost forgot….

All Freshman Team

Stanley Johnson – Arizona – FOY

Kevon Looney – UCLA

Jakob Poeltl – Utah

Jordan Bell – Oregon

Dillon Brooks – Oregon

If you are still reading this, and are thinking this Hoops Nerd guy has nothing on so & so when it comes to college basketball &/or Pac 12 analytics – get on twitter and let me know who else may be crazy enough to crunch these numbers. Sometimes I feel like I’m kinda alone here.

Dan