Black and Gold StatBreak

We got a lot of positive feedback on the comments section, in the UWMFreak forum, and through e-mail for our posting of the Panthers’ numbers last week.  Therefore, I’ve made the decision to start doing this every week following the last game of each week.  Since the UALR game is our last of the week, we’ll go ahead and take a look at the numbers now.

Plus/Minus and Roland Rating available for D-I games only

Player Offensive Rating Plus/Minus Roland Rating Effective Field Goal %
James Haarsma 123.6 37 32 58
Ryan Allen 111.8 33 24 51.5
Kyle Kelm 88.8 44 46 48.6
Ja’Rob McCallum 103.5 19 -4 47.3
Kaylon Williams 94.7 48 54 53.5
Paris Gulley 90.3 15 -12 36.3
Evan Richard 91.1 26 10 31.4
Ryan Haggerty 55.7 1 -40 25
Demetrius Harris 64.3 7 -28 50
Shaq Boga 57.7 -3 -57 26

So what can we tell from these numbers?  By taking the aggregate Plus/Minus and Roland Rating numbers, we can see how the score has gone with X player on the court and how the team does without him.

The Roland Rating is looked at as the evolution of the Plus/Minus.  Sure, it’s good to know how a team does with a player in the game, but what about when he’s not on the court?

There are five players who have a positive Roland Rating compared to all but one (Shaq Boga) who have a positive Plus/Minus score.  It is interesting to see that four of the five are members of the starting five – Kyle Kelm, James Haarsma, Ryan Allen, and Kaylon Williams – and the fifth is freshman Evan Richard, who plays the same position as the lone negative Roland Rating starter, Ja’Rob McCallum.  Very interesting.

This isn’t to say that McCallum should be sitting down.  On the contrary, while Richard’s scoring has been so-so this week in sparse playing time, McCallum has continued a beastly run with an effective field goal percentage of 85.7% against TSU and 75% on Saturday against UALR.  It is only disappointing to see that his numbers didn’t fare well against Michigan State (25%), but he is now shooting at a significantly superior clip compared to Richard.  I question the validity of comparing the two players with vast differences in their playing time, but the question is there – if McCallum is shooting so much better than Richard, why does the team score more and opponents less when Richard is in the game?  Richard definitely isn’t a slouch – even though his Effective Field Goal percentage is weak (31.4%), he still boasts a pretty decent Offensive Rating (91.1) and could see both numbers rise if he were given more playing time.

If there is one thing I draw from this table, it’s this – the Panthers are a much, much better team with Kaylon Williams on the court, and James Haarsma is a better shooter than advertised.

Nothing is more important than making your shots – in the Four Factors of winning, Dean Oliver puts more emphasis on shooting than the other numbers, saying that Effective Field Goal Percentage is as much as 40% of the winning formula.

Notice that in the game against UALR, despite shooting poorly from inside the arc, the Panthers managed a 54.5% eFG based on the 12-for-24 shooting.  This doesn’t mean we need to shoot from the outside, but it shows how we won in spite of a poor inside offensive game until the latter moments.

It is interesting to see what the coaching staff does with this knowledge heading into practice to prepare for Loyola and UIC.

Panthers dispatch UALR; eyes on the Horizon

It sure as hell wasn’t pretty.

The Milwaukee Panthers overcame poor shooting inside the arc and at the line, a loss on the boards and a seven-point second half deficit to take a game from the UALR Trojans in Little Rock, 59-54.

It was quite a sight to see – the Panthers shot just 6-for-20 in the game from inside the arc and 11-for-21 at the line, but knocked down 12 of 24 three-pointers to secure a road victory against the Sun Belt’s reigning NCAA automatic qualifier.

Milwaukee’s lead at the end was not statistically safe until they scored the final two points of the game to make it a five-point victory for the Black and Gold.  Leading the way for the Panthers was James Haarsma, who racked up 17 points and a surprisingly low five rebounds to pace Milwaukee.  Haarsma’s 6-for-9 shooting from the field was also the best for the Panthers, which was 66.6% but came in at 77% in Efficient Field Goal percentage.

Head coach Rob Jeter’s crew did not overcome the scoring drought problem in this game, but still won when it was all said and done.  The Panthers went from the 10:40 mark of the first half following Evan Richard’s two-ball until the 4:03 mark when Paris Gulley canned a three-pointer to make a six and a half minute field goal scoring drought.

The good part for the Panthers is that they came out firing in the second half and did not let a three-point halftime deficit become more.  James Haarsma dropped in a three-pointer to open the second half and Kaylon Williams made another of his own to open the half on a 6-1 run.

Following a Paris Gulley turnover, the Trojans took the lead on a Chuck Guy layup and immediately put the Panthers in a seven-point hole with some solid play by Englishman Will Neighbour. In the 10-1 Trojan run, Neighbour got a steal, an offensive rebound, a dunk, a blocked shot, and a three-pointer before Milwaukee scored again.

The story for the Panthers was their three-point shooting, and that’s what kept them in it.  Haarsma eliminated the halftime deficit with a three.  Kaylon Williams ended the 10-1 run with a three.  Ja’Rob McCallum hit another one to cut the deficit to one, and after a UALR bucket, Haarsma banged home a trey to tie the game at 40.

After that, the game went back and forth and Milwaukee didn’t have a two-possession lead until Haarsma made a layup on a Williams assist with just over a minute to go.  The lead grew to six after Williams stole the ball with :46 seconds left and passed it to Haarsma for another layup, but the possibility of overtime was still in hand until Haarsma iced the game with two free throws with a fraction of a second remaining.

Milwaukee returns home and opens Horizon League play with struggling conference member Loyola on Thursday.  The Ramblers got their first victory of the season Saturday with a 64-50 decision over the Atlantic-10’s Fordham University.  The game marked Loyola’s first game in the newly renovated and rechristened Gentile Arena.  Let me tell you, I’m very excited to see it and will likely not wait for the first Panther game there on February 25th to go there.

It was the Ramblers who handed Milwaukee their first conference loss of the season last year, making the Panthers 1-1 in a game they should have won.  Milwaukee will try to wipe the bitter taste of that loss out of their mouths and send the Ramblers whimpering up to Green Bay.