With the Final Four starting today and the Jayhawks no longer playing, I'm having a hard time getting motivated to watch basketball. Anyone else? Sure, we can all root for the "mid-major" to knock off one of the most successful programs of the last decade. Of course we can all root against Duke...which means you are rooting for Bob Huggins. Maybe that's not a bad thing, Joe Posnanski had a great post about Huggins earlier in the week. If you can't get yourself to care or cheer for a team today, I can't blame you. However, I'm guessing a lot of you will be still be watching. If you are, care to help us out?
Once Kansas was knocked out of the tournament, I've been trying to think of things that happened this year with the basketball team that we didn't cover. A lot of questions have popped up in the comments on various posts and a lot of them can't be answered accurately by us or anyone else with the information available. For example, there was a very good discussion in the comments about Cole Aldrich and his jump shot this season. Labbadabba found some great information at statsheet but I'm not convinced it's the best we can do. KC's report card on Brady Morningstar also brought up some good questions and discussion about his play. Does he feed the post better than everyone else on the team? How about his hustle? I can remember different times this year where he got a hand on a loose ball and knocked it to a teammate, something that helps the team win but doesn't show up in a box score.
So I'm asking you guys for ideas and thoughts on how to better cover games next year. Below I've listed a few ideas that I can think of right for right now.
Shot charts (pdf) for each game. If they're online anywhere, I haven't been able to find them. It's something that would be fairly easy to track as long as the game is on television. If we had somewhat accurate shooting data, we'd be able to answer how many jumpers Aldrich really shot this year. We would have information about where certain players shoot the highest percentages. I read something like this and wish I could compare it to the guys and team I care about. What about something like this?
- Specific instances of plays that benefit the team but don't show up in the box score. What plays could be added or tracked that will help us recognize each player's contribution on the court. I'm guessing I'll use some form of my plus/minus next year to track each player's stats, so should I add in a bonus category that rewards players for smart plays? A player making a pass to the post because he recognized a mismatch is something that could be counted. Tipped loose balls that end up in the hands of a Jayhawk could be counted. And as much as I hate "false hustle", getting on the floor could count. I don't remember seeing many Jayhawks diving for loose balls this year but I don't have anything to back that up.
- Defensive matchups are another thing I'm really interested in right now. Brady Morningstar is often described as a great perimeter defender, while Tyrel Reed has been described as a defensive liability at times. Is there anything we can do that will help prove that point? Can we chart where he forces his man to shoot or how often he keeps his man from getting to the basket or getting a rebound? We can and it will take a little work. If there's interest in it, I'm all for it. Think a consistent focus on VoC type posts.
- Possession analysis similar to this. There were times this year where the offense seemed to stall for the Jayhawks and if I had all the games on DVR, we could look to see if the ball stopped moving. Maybe touches by a certain player really helps the offense because he allows things to develop or makes a great pass that puts players in a good position to attack the defense or maybe a player holds the ball and kills the offense.
You might be wondering why post this now instead of October or November as we're gearing up for basketball season. First, basketball is still fresh in our minds and maybe you'll see something in the remaining three games that interests you. Second, football still takes up a lot of interest early in the year. Basketball starts slow with the non-con games and we're slow in getting our minds to switch gears sometimes.
Asking for your help, share any and all comments.