Written by Mark Fought, BlueGoldSports.com Data Analyst
It was a relatively light week in the Big 12 with the Christmas holiday and the approaching New Year’s Day holiday. Only eight games were scheduled and the conference did reasonably well in them, going 7-1. The lone defeat was Kansas State’s upset at the hands of Texas Southern at home.
Most conference teams have completed the out-of-conference (OOC) portions of their respective schedules and are awaiting the start of Big 12 games or have just one or two OOC games remaining.
The Big 12 continues to lead the nation in average RPI at 57.7. Other conference average RPIs are found below:
Big 12 57.70
Big East 65.90
Big Ten 75.79
PAC 12 97.50
It is also interesting to see where the Big 12 teams stand in terms of NCAA Division 1 statistical categories. Below are categories where a Big 12 team ranks in the Top 10:
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio Iowa State 2nd 1.76
Assists per Game Iowa State 3rd 19.4
Blocked Shots per Game Texas 4th 7.4
TCU 9th 6.5
Defensive Rebounds per Game Texas 2nd 30.38
Oklahoma 4th 29.45
Fewest Personal Fouls per Game Iowa State 4th 14.2
Fewest Turnovers per Game Iowa State 7th 11.0
Field Goal Percentage Iowa State 9th 50.6
Field Goal Percentage Defense Texas 3rd 33.1
TCU 6th 33.9
Free Throw Attempts Texas Tech 3rd 360
Free Throws Made Texas Tech 5th 241
Offensive Rebounds per Game WVU 1st 18.33
Personal Fouls per Game Iowa State 10th 14.2
Rebounding Margin Texas 2nd 14.5
TCU 6th 10.9
Scoring Defense TCU 6th 53.2
Scoring Margin TCU 6th 22.0
Scoring Offense Iowa State 10th 84.6
Steals per Game WVU 1st 13.3
Okla. State 8th 10.0
3-Point Field Goal Defense Baylor 7th 26.6
Total Blocked Shots Texas 2nd 96
TCU 6th 85
Total Rebounds Texas 5th 571
Total Rebounds per Game Texas 4th 43.92
Total Steals WVU 2nd 159
Turnover Margin WVU 1st 11.2
It is interesting to note that every Big 12 school is in the Top 10 in at least one statistical category . . . except the Kansas schools. While KSU is struggling at 7-5 and just lost at home to Texas Southern, the lack of the Kansas Jayhawks showing up in at least one category is a bit surprising.
There are also some trends that can be gleaned from these statistics. Iowa State is proving to be a disciplined team offensively, with high marks in the categories of scoring offense, assists-to-turnovers ratio, assists per game and field goal percentage, along with fewest turnovers. Somewhat surprisingly, that discipline isn’t translating on defense, as ISU is in the Top 10 in personal fouls per game – a statistic head coach Fred Hoiberg would love to see disappear.
Texas and TCU are separating themselves as rebounding wizards. The tall front lines of those two schools make it difficult to get second chance scoring opportunities. An interesting development to watch is whether TCU’s numbers, which have been built on a relatively weak OOC schedule, will hold up throughout Big 12 play.
Texas Tech’s free throw shooting prowess is something many Big 12 fans may not be aware of, but good free throw shooting may help TTU get a few conference wins in tight games that go down to the wire and are decided on foul shooting.
Baylor presents a stingy three-point shooting defense, so teams had better not get too far behind the Bears and be forced to jack up treys in an attempt to catch up.
West Virginia is becoming known as “Press Virginia” with its relentless, game-long, full court pressure defense. That defense is creating steals aplenty for the Mountaineers and with a relatively deep bench West Virginia may simply wear out Big 12 opponents late in games and pull away at the end of some conference tilts.
As conference play is about to get started it will be interesting to see how these trends hold up and how these statistics provide indicators of how the conference teams will fare. The preliminaries are almost over. Big 12 conference play is about to begin!
Below is this week’s Big 12 Hoops Report. Happy New Year to Big 12 hoops fans everywhere from all of us at BlueGoldSports!