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Buffalo Bulls Men's Basketball: Fun with Rate Stats

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

I very nearly included chunks of what would become this post in this morning's look at the eight-man rotation, but decided it better fit on its own. Maybe it would have been ideal to include it in the nonconference roundup, but I didn't think of it in time.

I've always been really interested in the /40 rate stats, which level differences in points, rebounds, what-have-you per game by scaling everyone's stats to what they would be if a player played a full 40. It's not wildly complicated: Imagine two players, Player A scoring 10 ppg in 26 minutes a night, and Player B scoring 7.5 ppg in 20 minutes a night. On the stat sheet, Player A will always come above Player B, but they do score at the same rate: 15 points/40.

This doesn't necessarily mean they're the same quality: maybe Player B doesn't have the fitness to play 26 minutes a night, maybe he fouls too much, maybe he never ventures inside the three-point arcs. But it's an interesting way of looking at things.

In the table below, find the minutes/game of each player that I used in this morning's post, along with the /40 rate stats for points, rebounds, and fouls. I have once again excluded Mory Diane.

Player Games Minutes/Game Points/40 Rebounds/40 Fouls/40
Shannon Evans 12 34.8 18.4 4.8 2.7
Jarryn Skeete 9 31.7 13.8 4.9 2.8
Justin Moss 12 29.6 22.2 12.7 4.3
Will Regan 12 28.8 10.3 5.9 2.1
Lamonte Bearden 12 28.4 13.1 3.6 4.9
Rodell Wigginton 11 23.1 13.1 7.1 3.0
Xavier Ford 10 20.0 13.6 12.6 5.2
Raheem Johnson 12 12.8 7.8 7.8 8.4
Bobby Frasco 6 1.7 0.0 4.0 4.0
Christian Pino 5 1.4 11.4 0.0 11.4

Here's what I see and think is notable:

  • Keep in mind that not every player with low minutes and a high foul rate is playing less because they commit more fouls. Oftentimes, a player like Raheem Johnson this year or Justin Moss last year is able to be more aggressive knowing that he'll rarely see more than 20 minutes in a game.
  • Fouls and rebounding are not at all negligible, but after Moss and Evans, it's good to see all of the other major players at about the same spot. It kind of went unnoticed, but Moss had an off day (11 and 4) against Cornell. If anyone has an off day, there's still five other guys who are a threat to hit double digits.
  • Seeing these numbers, I'm happy with Hurley's choice of who's the starting five, and who's coming off the bench. What Regan is giving up in points and rebounds to Wigginton and Ford he more than makes up in a low foul rate on the defensive end. At the same time, either Wigginton or Ford would be an excellent sixth man getting about 20 minutes a night, and both are putting up strong numbers.
  • Bearden's foul rate is a bit surprising. Among the guards, only Pino's is higher, and Christian has played so few minutes that's not a reliable indicator. Lamonte has only committed less than three fouls in two games: Cornell and Drexel, and those two games are also his season highs in assists (10 and 8, respectively). Bearden is rarely down low defensively, so many of those fouls are steal attempts.
  • As we talked about the short bench this morning, these foul rates (other than Bearden) are encouraging to me. Moss is only slightly above McCrea's pace last year, but with 10% fewer minutes the total fouls/game is about the same.


What sticks out to you?