If Jae Crowder’s averages for the last 7 games were for the entire year, then he would rank 1st in the country in steals (3.1 per game), 4th in points per game (22.9), 6th in rebounds (11.0) and 10th in 2-point field goal percentage (65.6%), which the Wall Street Journal recently reported (and we already knew) is one of the best indicators of future NBA success.
What makes this even more impressive is that most season long leaders beefed up their numbers against early season creampuffs, while these are Crowder’s averages during a 7-game stretch during which on average he was playing against the 35th best team in the country in Pomeroy except for the one game against 120th ranked Rutgers.
The incredible run could end against #9 Murray State tomorrow (see preview below) or against Missouri or Michigan State next week, just as Wade’s run almost ended in narrow victories over Holy Cross, Missouri and Pitt, but the similarities in the two performances are uncanny:
|Stat||Crowder last 7||Wade last 8 before KS||Crowder Nat'l rnk|
|2-point field goal%||65.6%||50.9%||10th|
|MU Pomeroy Rank||17||16|
|Ave opp rank||47||35|
Wade’s 8-game run started AFTER a couple of non-top 100 teams (Charlotte and TCU) with the 28 point/8 rebound/7 assist win at Louisville and continued through wins against UAB, Cinci, Holy Cross, Mizzou, Pitt and Kentucky, with the only loss being a loss in the OPENING round of the CUSA tournament. One of MUs only two losses during the current 7-game stretch was in the OPENING round of the Big East tournament.
I do need to go to the Big East tournament one year, but I’d still rather save ourselves for the NCAA.
If you take out Crowder’s game against Rutgers, the opposition was exactly as strong – both went up against the 35th toughest team in the country during their stretches. When you add Rutgers, Crowder’s opponents averaged 47th in the country.
Beyond that, Pomeroy says MU is the 17th best team in the country and was the 16th best with Wade, while both selection committees said MU was a No. 3 seed.
If you are curious about the top 10 rankings Crowder would have if the last seven games were the whole season:
Steals - 1st in country ahead of current leader Threatt (DSU) 3.0
Points - 4th in country behind Hamilton (Oak) 25.7, Lillard (Web) 24.5, McDermott (Crei) 23.2
Rebounds - 6th in country: Anosike (Sie) 12.5, Robinson (KU) 11.8, Hagins (Del) 11.3, Jones (WV) 11.1, Roberson (Col) 11.1
Two-point field goal % - 10th in the country and 2nd among non-centers behind Hornung (Col St) 68.3%
One thing I will hope critics of DJO and Junior will note is that while Wade was dominating the world, he was turning the ball over an average of 5.1 times a game during these 8 games. The fact is that when you are making things happen, you are going to turn the ball over as well. Yes, DJO occasionally gets stuck in the air when three players are surrounding him because none of them can take him, but the fact that he draws all of those defenders helps Crowder and others score a lot. Yes, Junior had a terrible opening four minutes of the second half yesterday, but the fact is he is bringing the ball up the court more than 50 times a game to get the offense going and when a point guard makes a mistake it’s obvious in a turnover vs. another player who misses a cut. I don’t believe anyone wanted Wade benched when he turned the ball over 10 times in the loss to UAB.