Monday, November 12, 2012

#TBIronMen for College Basketball's Opening Weekend

This will become a Monday staple here on TBI. I like to call it the #TBIronMen of the Week. Since all we have is three days of work to operate from, it's more like #TBIronMen of the Weekend.

What it is: a purely statistical look at the top 20 or so player performances of the week(end). Candidates are culled from the daily leaders at and their performances are weighted using the ESPN efficiency formula, which reads:

Pts + Reb + 1.4*Ast + Stl + 1.4*Blk -.7*TO + FGM + .5*TGM -.8*(FGA-FGM) + .25*FTM - .8*(FTA-FTM)

Got all that? Good.

Anyone who records a 40-plus rating in the course of a game is a candidate, and all their linescores over the course of the week(end) will be examined. Players have to pack an overall average rating of 35 or better to be #TBIronMen candidates.

Players who have multiple 30-plus games will get precedence over guys with just one big game and some slow nights, even if the more consistent guys' averages don't quite measure up. The repeat studs will also get a five-point bonus to aid their ranking.

In addition, there are bonuses and deductions for team performance.

  • If a player's team loses, it's a five-point deduction unless that team is considered to be playing a paycheck game against a power program. Examples include Southern Utah's loss to Gonzaga and NJIT falling to Providence (although in the Friars' case, "power program" is used very loosely).
  • If a player is on a power team that loses what should be a paycheck game (see: Florida State vs. South Alabama), that's a 10-point deduction and pretty much screws his chances from the jump. Conversely, winning that kind of upset is grounds for a five-point bonus.
  • If your team is playing a non-Division I opponent, it's a three-point deduction even with a win. Grow a pair and play someone with a pulse. Lose to a non-D-I opponent (lol, Howard and Rice), and you can simply GTFO.

I keep including the hashtag in front of TBIronMen as a subtle hint. I won't ask you to plug your favorite players' linescores into the formula, but you can still feel free to tweet me, using that hashtag, or leave comments here nominating your favorite IronMen of the week(end). Because I'm a full-service blogger, I'll do the math for you, and we'll see how many deserving guys get left out.

I'll get into more detail as we go along, so click on past the jump and let's check out the inaugural top 20.

"It's so pretty, I'ma just leave this up here a minute."
--Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, 44.1 rtg.
(win vs. Slippery Rock: 25 pts., 10 reb., 3 ast., 1 stl., 2 TO, 8-10 FG, 5-5 3s, 4-6 FT)
Tim was a victim of the DII deduction. Great game, but pick on someone remotely close to your own size.
--Dwight Powell, Stanford, 43.35 rtg.
(win vs. San Francisco: 27 pts., 7 reb., 2 ast., 1 stl., 1 blk., 9-14 FG, 2-3 3s, 7-9 FT)
Powell was in strong form offensively, even while the Dons were killing the Cardinal on the glass, 41-25.
--Kenny Boynton, Florida, 43.1 rtg.
(win vs. Alabama State: 22 pts., 6 reb., 5 ast., 8-10 FG, 4-4 3s, 2-3 FT)
That was about as smooth and efficient a performance as any you'll see from a conscience-free-gunner-turned-point-guard all season. However, the Hornets' nine first-half points said a lot about the quality of UF's opposition.
--Mason Plumlee, Duke, 42.65 rtg.
(win vs. Georgia State: 19 pts., 14 reb., 2 ast., 1 stl., 4 blk., 3 TO, 8-12 FG, 3-7 FT)
MP2 nearly had that double-double by halftime. GSU never quite went away, despite Coach K keeping the rotation short.

20. Mike Groselle, The Citadel, 35.1 avg.
(win vs. VMI: 21 pts., 15 reb., 2 ast., 2 stl., 2 TO, 9-11 FG, 3-4 FT)
(loss to Air Force: 17 pts., 8 reb., 1 ast., 1 stl., 2 TO, 6-11 FG, 5-6 FT)
By season's end, Groselle may make a convincing case as the SoCon's best big man, Jake Cohen be damned. Air Force was carried to the All-Military Classic title by Michael Lyons absolutely making it rain. (More on him in a moment.)

Remember, for those of you ready to quibble over Groselle's inclusion ahead of those guys above: multiple good games > one great one. It's not a strict ranking of whose averages were best.

19. Michael Lyons, Air Force, 36.3 avg.
(win vs. Army: 19 pts., 3 reb., 1 ast., 1 blk., 3-13 FG, 1-6 3s, 12-13 FT)
(win vs. The Citadel: 33 pts., 3 reb., 1 ast., 2 stl., 11-16 FG, 7-12 3s, 4-5 FT)
Whatever was in Lyons' eye on Saturday night certainly worked its way out by Sunday. His shooting and Citadel's 16 turnovers were the only reasons the AFA had any business winning that game.

Even Crowley thinks scheduling his ridge is unholy.
18. Jud Dillard, Tennessee Tech, 45.25 rtg.
(win vs. Crowley's Ridge: 25 pts., 9 reb., 4 ast., 2 stl., 11-18 FG, 2-4 3s, 1-1 FT)
What in the blue flames of the ninth circle of hell is Crowley's Ridge? Enormous scrub deduction only partially negates the fact that Dillard balled out of his mind.

17. Kedren Johnson, Vanderbilt, 44.2 rtg.
(win vs. Nicholls State: 25 pts., 6 reb., 6 ast., 1 stl., 1 blk., 2 TO, 8-14 FG, 3-7 3s, 6-9 FT)
In the first half, every doom-and-gloom proclamation regarding Vanderbilt basketball this season looked absolutely valid, with NSU hanging within six points. In the second half, Johnson and the 'Dores hit everything in sight.

16. Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State, 44.55 rtg.
(win vs. Central Arkansas: 17 pts., 12 reb., 9 blk., 3 TO, 8-10 FG, 1-3 FT)
UCA coach Corliss Williamson needed to borrow a time machine and get himself back to his prime, since that was about the only chance the Bears had of stopping Bachynski.

15. James Woodard, Tulsa, 45.95 rtg.
(win vs. LSU-Shreveport: 28 pts., 5 reb., 4 ast., 9-12 FG, 5-6 3s, 5-5 FT)
It only took 20 minutes for Woodard to rack the kind of debut that hasn't been seen in Tulsa since Golden Hurricane icon (and current assistant coach) Shea Seals was breaking kids off. Still, gotta hit him with the scrub deduction.

14. Jackson Stevenett, Southern Utah, 45.65 rtg.
(loss to Gonzaga: 29 pts., 6 reb., 2 ast., 2 TO, 11-15 FG, 2-3 3s, 5-6 FT)
No scrub deduction here, and no loss deduction either. The T-Birds got rolled right out of Spokane, but Stevenett didn't go without a fight.

Yes, I called him Little Mac. This here's Big Mac.
13. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina, 38.775 avg.
(win vs. Gardner-Webb: 26 pts., 14 reb., 2 ast., 1 stl., 1 blk., 10-20 FG, 6-11 FT)
(win vs. Florida Atlantic: 19 pts., 11 reb., 2 stl., 3 TO, 8-17 FG, 3-4 FT)
A pair of dub-dubs will get TBI's attention all week, but let's see Little Mac do it against some big-boy opponents.

12. Ahmad Starks, Oregon State, 39.875 avg.
(win vs. Niagara: 18 pts., 7 reb., 1 ast., 1 TO, 6-14 FG, 6-11 3s)
(win vs. New Mexico State: 33 pts., 5 reb., 5 ast., 4 stl., 2 TO, 11-21 FG, 2-7 3s, 9-12 FT)
Much better all-around work against the Aggies on ESPNU. If Starks turns out to be the kind of player who excels when the lights are brighter, is he an All-Pac-12 player? I'd shoot him a vote.

11. Pierre Jackson, Baylor, 41.35 avg.
(win vs. Lehigh: 14 pts., 2 reb., 12 ast., 2 stl., 4 TO, 3-7 FG, 1-5 3s, 7-9 FT)
(win vs. Jackson State: 25 pts., 4 reb., 7 ast., 3 stl., 2 TO, 9-16 FG, 2-5 3s, 5-6 FT)
We saw both sides of Pierre this weekend. Against Lehigh, he knew his bigs had the advantage over a shorthanded opponent. Against JSU, he saw the chances to get his own shot and still managed to deal seven dimes. I put Pierre on an All-American ballot for B/R this season. So far, I'm comfortable with that pick.

10. Alex Len, Maryland, 44.15 rtg.
(loss to Kentucky: 23 pts., 12 reb., 4 blk., 10-18 FG, 0-1 3s, 3-4 FT)
Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein be damned, Len was the best big man on the Barclays Center floor on Friday night. The size of the occasion, caliber of opposition and drama of the game meant I didn't have the heart to hit Alex with the loss deduction. Bless his borscht, he just balled too hard.

9. John Brown, High Point, 48.6 rtg.
(win vs. UNC-Greensboro: 28 pts., 8 reb., 1 ast., 5 stl., 3 blk., 2 TO, 12-22 FG, 4-6 FT)
Allan Chaney got the feel-good headlines, but Brown was the engine driving High Point to a victory. He scored the first six points of the game for the Panthers and eight of the first 14 in the second half. 

8. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 48.9 rtg.
(loss to Baylor: 36 pts., 8 reb., 2 ast., 3 stl., 2 TO, 14-32 FG, 2-5 3s, 6-8 FT)
Again, C.J. was spared the loss deduction because Baylor...well, Baylor is already ranked and is also one of my preseason Final Four picks. He did have to strap that team to his back, but it's hard to hang when the rest of the team shoots less than 33%.

7. Nate Wolters, South Dakota State, 48.55 rtg.
(loss at Alabama: 30 pts., 3 reb., 3 ast., 3 stl., 2 TO, 10-15 FG, 5-6 3s, 5-5 FT)
I could hear Matt Norlander groaning all the way from my house as Trevor Lacey's last-second bomb dropped to send the 'Rabbits home with the L. The Tide were all about defending the arc last season, which makes Nate's long-range efficiency all the more impressive. If his threes drop at even a 40% rate this season, he can lead the nation in scoring.

6. Isaiah Sykes, UCF, 48.4 rtg.
(win at South Florida: 26 pts., 11 reb., 8 ast., 2 stl., 3 TO, 10-16 FG, 6-14 FT)
A near-trip-dub is nice. Getting one in a win over a studly defensive team that made last year's NCAA tournament is nicer. Getting one by sticking with a postseason-ineligible program when the exit door was wide-open? Absolutely fantastic. The Knights may miss MJ's kid as a ticket-selling curiosity, but if Sykes balls like this more often, they may not miss Marcus on the court at all.

5. Cory Jefferson, Baylor, 45 avg.
(win vs. Lehigh: 26 pts., 13 reb., 1 stl., 2 blk., 1 TO, 12-16 FG, 0-1 3s, 2-3 FT)
(win vs. Jackson State: 14 pts., 7 reb., 6 blk., 1 TO, 6-7 FG, 2-2 FT)
C-Jeff put on a dunking clinic against Lehigh, then focused on swatting JSU shots like King Kong swatted planes. Don't expect him to keep shooting around 80%, but do expect him to be a hell of a lot more intense than Perry Jones ever was.

And watch out for her elbows, too.
4. Kevin Foster, Santa Clara, 51.6 rtg.
(win vs. Simpson University: 27 pts., 4 reb., 9 ast., 3 stl., 1 blk., 9-17 FG, 7-15 3s, 2-2 FT)
Simpson U. got booted all the way back to Springfield as Foster put on a show for the Broncos. On a related note, Marge would make one hell of a center. You try shooting over that hair.

3. Gabas Maldunas, Dartmouth, 50.05 rtg.
(win vs. Maine: 25 pts., 10 reb., 1 ast., 3 stl., 4 blk., 2 TO, 10-15 FG, 0-1 3s, 5-6 FT)
I came very close to breaking out the coin to decide between #2 and #3. Sometimes, simply sorting by rating will suffice. Maldunas brought it on both ends...

2. Ryan Anderson, Boston College, 52.45 rtg.
(win vs. FIU: 29 pts., 17 reb., 1 ast., 2 stl., 1 TO, 9-16 FG, 0-1 3s, 11-14 FT)
...but Anderson is an ACC All-Freshman selection who knows he'll need to play at an All-ACC level if BC's going anywhere this season. In the end, the résumés decided this one.

1. Dee Davis, Xavier, 54.25 rtg.
(win vs. Fairleigh Dickinson: 22 pts., 4 reb., 15 ast., 1 stl., 3 TO, 8-11 FG, 5-7 3s, 1-1 FT)
Yes, FDU made the Washington Generals look like the 1968 Celtics on Friday night. Still, it was starting to look like Xavier wouldn't even have enough players to field a team. Davis made an emphatic statement that freshman savior Semaj Christon can take all the time he needs to get over his infected elbow. (Not really, since the Musketeers will need all hands on deck to face Butler tomorrow.)

Once again, tweet me up @4QuartersRadio, and use #TBIronMen to let me know if I forgot somebody.

Or hit the 4QR Facebook page.

Or leave a comment below. Something.

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