Bearcats Breakfast 1.9.13

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For those of you who see these occasional journeys into the statistical abyss and pound the scroll button faster than pressing back-back-A while playing with Scorpion in a game of Mortal Kombat, be warned. I'm going in today.

Been thinking about the progress made with the passing game against Notre Dame and the effect a great passing attack can have on a defense, ala, the Irish offense. All of that means consistently playing with a higher assist percentage to create higher percentage shots.

I was wondering, as I often do, how much effect does assist percentage have on field goal percentage and true offensive efficiency for this year's Bearcats. So, to gauge it, I took the 10 game against who I would consider non-cupcakes and looked at the connection between assisting on a high number of baskets and what percentage of shots were made.

Here's what I came up with, UC's assists percentage against non-cupcakes:

  • Opponent: FGs/Assists -- Assist percentage -- FG percentage
  • Iowa State: 25/11 -- 44% -- 42%
  • Oregon: 24/13 -- 54% -- 38%
  • Alabama: 23/7 -- 30% -- 39%
  • Marshall: 29/14 -- 48% -- 45%
  • Xavier: 21/8 -- 38% -- 33%
  • Wright State: 26/12 -- 46% -- 38%
  • New Mexico: 20/11 -- 55% -- 31%
  • Pittsburgh: 21/7 -- 33% -- 41%
  • St. John's : 19/8 -- 42% -- 31%
  • Notre Dame: 23/18 -- 78% -- 47%
  • OVERALL: 231/109 -- 47% -- 38%
--- Here's my main takeaway from these numbers. Consider the top five of the 10 games in assist percentage: 1. ND, 2. New Mexico, 3. Oregon, 4. Marshall 5. Wright State

Four of those (ND, Marshall, Oregon, Wright State) ended up being in the top six of field goal percentage. The other one? That was New Mexico where UC missed an absurd 21 shots in the paint inside 10 feet. (Top 5 games in FG%: 1. ND, 2. Marshall, 3. Iowa State, 4. Pitt, T5. Wright State/Oregon)

--- Now, UC's proven it can hit a high percentage of its shots without a great assist rate, as seen with Pittsburgh and Alabama, but those are the only two games where the field goal percentage was higher than the assist percentage. For the majority of the time, this team isn't hitting a high efficiency of shots when creating one-on-one. In essence, all these numbers back up a basic principle of basketball, playing one-on-one off the dribble will never equal as efficient an offense as breaking down the defense and moving the ball around.

--- That appears to be a principle that UC learned on Monday against Notre Dame with their relatively astronomical assist numbers. Mick Cronin said the passing was also much better at practice on Sunday. Making the extra pass and being dedicated to finding the easiest shot instead of forcing up contested jumpers off one-on-one breakdowns seems to be the difference for this offense finding its way. All the numbers here back that up.

---  In the end many of these
percentages are within a few points of each other. They amount to about two or three baskets per game, probably. When you consider the majority of Big East games are decided by single digits, you be the judge how important this development could be.

--- Enough of the journey into a statistical wonderland, on to some randomness ...

--- Shout out to WR Kenbrell Thompkins, who said on Twitter he has been selected to The NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

--- This is why you have The Big Lead.

--- Pittsburgh pulled out of its spiral for a 28-point win at Georgetown last night. The Big East will continue to do what the Big East always does in its swan song basketball year. These teams always beat each other up and anybody who can crack 60 percent winning percentage will be sitting pretty.

--- The Wall Street Journal
weighs paid vs. unpaid internships. Wait, there were paid internships?

--- Apparently the sharks
and other fish didn't find Ray Lewis' dance disrespectful, or I assume they would have eaten this dude.

--- The concept of watching Jim Leyland attempt to figure out how to get a cell-phone signal at Comerica Park makes me support this new idea 100 percent.

--- As always, shoot me your comments, questions or disdain for statistical overkill to or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.

In the meantime, it's Jimmy Page's birthday and Led Zep is still doing it with this Celebration Day concert release. Better believe I would still wait in line to see these guys.

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