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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee – Getting Antsy For Games Edition

December 27, 2021

So I don’t know about you but I’m getting antsy for the hoops season to restart for our Rams after this COVID pause. Too many memories of last season with the first pause that hit our guys with COVID, then later in the season going weeks without playing due to pauses in other programs.

As a fan, I always worry about how the pause might affect the guys physically. I want them to be healthy. And then there’s the intangible of all the momentum that gets built up during the out of conference schedule. Will the Rams not skip a beat, will there be rust, will they lose the momentum completely? These are the Nervous Nelly questions to which there aren’t any answers until they actually return to the court.

My money is on the Rams not skipping a beat. They went through a lot last season and prepared themselves to be exactly where they are this season. There is no reason to believe they will do anything but continue to move forward and grow even further.

The Map

Baylor and Iowa State meet on New Year’s Day so one of them will fall from the undefeated ranks shortly. LSU has Auburn on the road on 12/29, followed by Kentucky at home. Doubtful the Tigers will survive unscathed. So CSU should be in a position to be among the last three unbeatens.

Has Joe Parker issued a speech yet that it is CSU’s Manifest Destiny to go coast to coast?

CSU’s Resume in Quad 1 and Quad 2 Games

The Rams have played three such games against Mississippi State, Saint Mary’s, and Creighton and obviously won them all. But a look at the advanced analytics show that their performances in those games in Top 10 worthy,

From BartTorvik.com, an advanced analytics site, here’s where CSU falls in the pecking order:

Top 10 performance against the top teams bodes well as CSU is about to enter the conference portion of their schedule and they look to have about 10 or so Quad1/Quad2 opportunities. It also bodes well for a post-season where you pretty much exclusively play Quad 1 opponents.

You might ask the question, why is CSU lower than the Top 10 in the NET Rankings, KenPom, BartTorvik etc. And that answer lies in the fact that the advanced analytics aren’t kind to the Rams when it comes to Quad3/Quad 4 games. While the Rams have won every one of those games, they haven’t smashed their opponents by big enough scoring margins. Other teams build their resumes by smashing Quad 4 opponents. The Rams are doing it by winning at all levels, not by running up scores against weak teams.

The Top 10 Players in the MWC to Date

I suggest you take a look at this article written by @AztecBeakdown for the @MWCWire. It gives a wonderful in depth look at the top performances to date using some pretty heavy duty advanced analytics. Three CSU players check into the Top 10. Super-sub John Tonje at #10, Isaiah Stevens at #3, and David Roddy at #2.

I watch a lot of Mountain West basketball on TV. I don’t miss too many games. So while I enjoy advanced analytics, I also rely on my own eyes to evaluate performances. Remarkably, this list compiled by advanced analytics lines up beautifully with what my eyes have told me to date.

Some Other CSU Player Evaluations Based on Advanced Analytics

I really like the BartTorvik.com site for some of this stuff. There are a ton of different sorts you can do with the data. His site gives you the ability to compare players by position. And he has broken the positions down even further by assigning players to categories like Pure Point Guard, Scoring Point Guard, Combo Guard, Wing Forward, etc.

Obviously its tricky to pick a category for a player, especially a team like CSU who play a 5-out system that has some positionless aspects to it. But here’s how some of the players fall in their respective categories:

At Pure Point Guard, Isaiah Stevens checking in at #4:

At Wing Forward, David Roddy checking in at #3:

And at the Stretch 4 position, Dischon Thomas checking in at #18:

And Finally…

I will attempt to do a bit of an MWC Preview in the coming days as the conference slate gets going. It should be a remarkable season as for the first time since the 2012-13 season when the MWC was in its prime, there are seven teams currently ranked in the KenPom Top 100. Spots 1-7 are clearly up for grabs.

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