Basketball: Top teams of the first half (men's edition)

Here's a look at some of the first-half stats, both team- and player-based, as we wrap up 2009.


When I say top offence or defence, I mean Offensive or Defensive Rating (ORtg, DRtg), which is simply points scored (or allowed) per 100 possessions. This is a better measure than straight points scored/allowed, since a team that has more chances to score will often score more points due to those extra chances, and not because of any greater offensive ability. The same applies to defence. For example, UBC and Victoria have given up almost exactly the same number of points, but UBC has had about 10 more possessions per game which they must defend, so their defence on a per-possession rate is probably better.

These stats are built up from the individual game statistics, so whenever the boxscore itself isn't linked to the player's page (like here) or doesn't even exist (like a few games here), those games are ignored. This means we're missing out on a fair bit of some players' successes, but if a team is unhappy that they aren't getting enough recognition, they can always go back and upload the boxscore correctly.

Top teams in Offensive Rating (at least 10 points better than average)
112.5 Carleton
109.8 Western
109.6 St. Francis Xavier
109.3 McGill
106.6 Saint Mary's
105.2 Windsor

Top teams in Defensive Rating (at least 10 points better than average)
77.5 UBC
78.6 Laval
80.6 Calgary
81.1 Ottawa
82.9 McMaster
85.9 St. Francis Xavier
85.9 Cape Breton

The Ravens were just out of the top list here, with an 88.2, and Carleton and StFX are the only two near the top in both measures so far.

Putting the two together (subtracting DRtg from ORtg) gives us Net Efficiency, the top 10 of which are below, with latest CIS Top 10 in parentheses:
24.3 Carleton (2)
23.8 St. Francis Xavier (3)
22.1 Laval (13)
20.9 UBC (1)
19.9 Calgary (4)
18.7 Cape Breton (5)
16.3 Windsor (7)
16.2 Ottawa (11)
14.6 Western (NR)
13.5 Victoria (NR)

The highest-ranked team not in this top 10? No. 6 McMaster, who are 11th because their fifth-ranked defence was brought down by their offensive ranking (which is in the low 30s, and might have something to do with Keenan Jeppesen being their only real offensive threat).

And how about that surprise team in Thunder Bay? Well, if you followed the parenthetical links above, you'd know they were missing a lot of their game statistics so far, but they don't rate very well anyway, mostly because their Pace Factor (possessions per 40 minutes) is by far the highest, meaning a per-possession measure will be lower for Lakehead. There does not appear to be any one supremely excellent dude among the great group of them; their success so far is what cliché-heavy commentators dub a "team effort."

Let's go back to the top 10 teams from the previous list. These are all fairly good teams, but some of them have areas for development that their coaches are no doubt working on (or should be, hint-hint):

Carleton: Defensively, their turnover rate is lower than most, and their opponents get to the free-throw line quite a bit. Neither is a large weakness, though, and they can afford them anyway.

UBC: The Thunderbirds' effective field-goal percentage is only 48.6%, a far cry from the Ravens (55.3%) and X-Men (54.6%), and lower than four Canada West teams: Calgary, Victoria, Brandon, and SFU. Their No. 1 defence, however, has kept them at the top of the coaches' poll, our RPI, and their division, and there's no reason that can't continue.

Ottawa: The Gee-Gees are another high-ranked team with weaker shooting, and even though they have the 5th-best free-throw percentage in the country, they only have one free-throw for every five shots taken; compare that to Carleton (nearly one for every three), St. F-X , Calgary, or UBC (all about one per four).


So that's how the teams stack up, but what about the players?

The top game scores in our database just happened to occur on the same weekend, and they belong to SMU's Mark McLaughlin from Nov. 22 (box), McGill's Matthew Thornhill on Nov. 20 (box), and Calgary's Ross Bekkering on Nov. 21 (box). It's not sporting to tell you who has the worst game score so far, so I'll just point to the game in question and you can guess.

The leaders so far in average game score are Boris Bakovic (Ryerson), Showron Glover (Saskatchewan), Joey Haywood (SMU), Matthew Thornhill (McGill), Mark McLaughlin (SMU), Manock Lual (UPEI), Keenan Jeppesen (McMaster), Jacob Doerkson (TWU), Ross Bekkering (Calgary), and Mitch Leger (Queen's). None of those names should surprise you, as they went 1-5-9-59-43-2-4-6-20 in the MUBL draft. (Proper, though grudging respect to Chris Lund, who picked up Thornhill in the tenth round.)

At the end of the year, we'll have a more detailed look at all of this, but for now, that's where we stand going into 2010.

(The women's version of this will be posted later in the week.)
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