ESPN's Eamonn Brennan wrote a really nice piece (read here) on me and Value Add, but he did point out that like anything else, "these are just projections. Value Add by no means is a magic bullet for individual advanced statistical rankings."
Right now www.kenpom.com gives Marquette a 15% chance of going into Gainesville, FL (Thursday, 8 p.m. CST, ESPN2) and getting a win, and I hate to say looking at Value Add it looks like 15% is too high. But that is why these games are such an opportunity. If Marquette can even hang within single digits against Pomeroy's #3 team on the road then MU will shoot up from it's current 35th spot.
"... (Projected Value Add is) just projections. Value Add by no means is a magic bullet for individual advanced statistical rankings." - ESPN's Eamonn Brennan
Pomeroy predicts a 12-point Gators win, and I'm not sure that he has factored that Casey Prather - stepping into replace the guy who torched MU out of the Sweet 16 last year (Bradley Beal, NBA) - is just coming back from preseason concussions. Yes, with him Florida would rank even higher than No. 3 and be more than a 12-point and 85% favorite. The daunting task when looking at Value Add rankings of player as of today is that the three best players on the court to date will all be wearing Gators jerseys, and the best two are right around the 9% Value Add that indicates a player should be an All-American (Kenny Boynton 9.18% and Erik Murphy 8.62%).
Best Value Add Players on the Court Thursday
|Kenny Boynton||Florida||6' 2"||Sr||7.55||-0.63||1||9.18||7.48||PG/SG|
|Erik Murphy||Florida||6' 10"||Sr||7.47||-1.15||0||8.62||3.77|
|Scottie Wilbekin||Florida||6' 2"||Jr||3.45||-1.87||0.5||5.82||2|
|Jamil Wilson||MU||6' 7"||Jr||4.55||-1.15||0||5.71||3.56|
|Davante Gardner||MU||6' 8"||Jr||3.62||-1.24||0||4.86||4.87|
|Patric Young||Florida||6' 9"||Jr||0.85||-2.97||0||3.82||5.77||PF|
|Mike Rosario||Florida||6' 3"||Sr||2.33||-0.35||1||3.68||1.37|
|Will Yeguete||Florida||6' 7"||Jr||0.49||-2.59||0||3.09||3.34|
|Trent Lockett||MU||6' 5"||Sr||1.55||-1.4||0||2.95||1.29|
|Chris Otule||MU||6' 11"||Sr||2.03||-0.66||0||2.69||2.09|
|Juan Anderson||MU||6' 6"||So||1.02||-1.3||0||2.32||2.33|
|Jake Thomas||MU||6' 3"||Jr||1.81||-0.51||0||2.31||1.49|
|Michael Frazier||Florida||6' 4"||Fr||0||-2.08||0||2.08||1.95|
|Junior Cadougan||MU||6' 1"||Sr||0.18||0||1.5||1.68||2.61|
|Steve Taylor||MU||6' 7"||Fr||0.65||-0.45||0||1.1||1.68|
|Jamal Ferguson||MU||6' 4"||Fr||0.45||-0.6||0||1.04||1.43|
|Derrick Wilson||MU||6' 1"||So||0.08||-0.14||0.5||0.72||0.97|
|DeVon Walker||Florida||6' 6"||Fr||0.51||-0.06||0||0.57||1.32|
|Vander Blue||MU||6' 4"||Jr||0||0||0.5||0.5||3.52|
|Dillon Graham||Florida||6' 4"||Fr||0.23||-0.24||0||0.48||0.63|
|Braxton Ogbueze||Florida||6' 0||Fr||0||-0.35||0||0.35||2.32|
|MU w/o Mayo||25.88||25.84|
Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner are very close to Florida's 3rd best player, and their 5.71% and 4.86% are way ahead of the 3% that indicates a strong BCS starter. However, the next best player based on Value Add is NBA prospect Patric Young, who we hope Gardner will match up better against this year than when he was basically on one leg against him last year. Then we have Mike Rosario, who torched MU for 12 minutes as a freshman at Rutgers to cut an MU lead from 57-36 to 73-71.
Then at the bottom of the list we have Prather returning. Meanwhile, MU is without Todd Mayo, the one guy who really broke out against Florida in the Sweet 16 last year to keep the game from being a blowout. Ironically, MU almost exactly as good in Value Add as they were projected to be without Mayo - as MUs projections on www.valueaddbasketball.com were a 25.84 (41st best team in the country) and to date MU's players total a 25.88. While Gardner is almost exactly what he projected (4.86 actual vs. 4.87 projected), Jamil Wilson is now much better (5.71 vs. 3.56), and despite his great play in a couple of games, Vander Blue's early missed 2-pointers and turnovers have held him down to (0.5 vs. 3.52 projected). The problem is that Florida is just much better than projected.
Value Add projected the Gators to drop to 15th in the country with Beal gone, coming in at 32.11. Even with Prather out, they are at 37.69 in Total Value Add. The reason this is not a gloom and doom piece is that these are the kind of games that can totally change your standing as a team. MU is hurt by Value Add because their level of opponent has been very low to date. MU has played the 316th toughest schedule to date (out of 347), with great balance facing the 313th toughest offenses and the 316th toughest defenses according to www.kenpom.com.
Despite some really great numbers being put up, Value Add's calculations basically conclude, "Sorry, I can only give you so much credit for stopping those terrible offenses and overcoming those defenses." As mentioned, the Butler game was crucial because it killed MUs early RPI and www.kenpom.com rating by putting a terrible Mississippi State in the opponent column instead of UNC. So now MU could get stomped by Florida and realize they were just beefing up on easy opponents and have to take it up a notch for the rest of the season and try to stay off the bubble ...
... OR Jamil, Davante, Vander and the rest of the team could keep it tight and show that they can also produce against one of the best teams in the country with another close loss ...
Or of course, they could ... win ... and completely redefine this as a team that can not only make the tournament but threaten to win games. Let's hope for the breakthrough.