Friday, March 4, 2011

Jordan Taylor had one of the most impressive games this year

It wasn't the highest point total scored this season, but the 39 points that Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor scored in a 77-67 win against Indiana might just be the season's most impressive performance.

Let me explain. (For those of you fluent in Kenpom-ian, move along): Tempo-free stats -- things like efficiency, offensive rebounding percentage, points per possession -- came into existence to allow us to compare two teams that play at different speeds. Assuming that a team like North Carolina is better offensively than a team like Wisconsin simply because they score more points is inaccurate because the pace that the Tar Heels play at affords them more opportunities to score. By looking at stats per-possession -- or tempo-free -- we can compare the efficiency with which North Carolina and Wisconsin score. When you do so, you will see that, in fact, the Tar Heels are an elite defensive team while Wisconsin is in a league of their own on the offensive end of the floor.

That is the bare bone basics of tempo-free statistics, but you get my gist.

We can use this kind of analysis to look at individual performances as well.

And it will give you an entirely new appreciation for what Jordan Taylor did last night. On the surface, it was an incredible performance. He scored 39 points in 39 minutes while making 11-19 from the field, 7-8 from three, and all ten of his free throws. While he only had one assist, Taylor committed just a single turnover, par for the course for Taylor.

He scored 14 straight points and 17 of 19 during a 10 minute stretch of the second half where Wisconsin took control of the game.

No think about this -- Wisconsin only had 55 possessions. 55! That means that Taylor averaged 0.71 PPP last night. Texas, during the stretch where they were playing their stingiest defense, was allowing just over 0.80 PPP to entire teams. If Jimmer wanted to score with the same efficiency as Taylor, he would have needed 57, no 47, points against Utah.

This shouldn't be a surprise, either. He's been doing it all season long, averaging 18.6 ppg, 4.9 apg, and 4.3 rpg for the slowest team in the country.

And you wonder why we say he should be an all-american?

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