Monday, 16 November 2009

Joe Scanlon's latest

Today Joe takes a look at defensive stats, borrowing from "Obie" Bob O'Billovich who has roots in CIAU basketball prior to becoming a high-profile CFL coach and player personnel executive.


Although most sports’ addicts probably think of Bob O’Billovich as an Ottawa football quarterback and a Toronto football coach, O’Billovich was also a very good basketball player. He not only made it to the University of Montana on a basketball scholarship, he was Montana team captain in his final year. One season in high school he scored 407 points in 24 games, an average of nearly 17 points a game, seventh on the school’s all-time scoring list. He also turned out to be a good basketball coach at Algonquin, Carleton and Ottawa U - where he took the Gee Gees to the Nationals twice, when they were played at Waterloo.

In 1971, when he was coach of the Carleton Ravens – one of the players he recruited was Paul Armstrong -- O’Billovich wrote an article for The Canadian Coach with the title, “Carleton University’s Basketball Bible.” In the article he listed his 10 commandments for offence and for defence. One of those commandments stated:

“From a defensive standpoint, outscoring your opponent means if you can hold your man scoreless and score one point then you have outscored him. If all five players can accomplish this feat, then you have won the ball game…. I personally feel an individual who can shut out an opponent is every bit as impressive as the player who scores 30 points.”

Though I suspect I may be the only one who remembers that – the magazine had a very short life span – the maxim clearly applies to today’s Carleton Ravens.

Let me explain.

In looking over the first batch of individual statistics I thought the most interesting individual statistic is the one that isn’t. Not a single Carleton Raven is anywhere near the top in any statistic. To find a Carleton player in scoring for example you have to go to fortieth -- Kevin McCleery is averaging 16.5. To find a Carleton player anywhere else you have to go further down the list.

Yet some Ravens have, in my opinion, been outstanding. Take, for example, Cole Hobin who has replaced Rob Saunders as defensive specialist. Hobin has put up only 13 shots in four games but has made nine, 69.2 per cent. He is also three of five from three-point range. Since his assignment is to play defence, inevitably he leads the team in personal fouls since he is usually guarding the top scorer on the opposing team. But he also has 11 steals and three blocked shots. Hobin is a major reason for Carleton’s success.

He is not alone.

Out of curiosity I look at the scoring records of the teams Carleton has played this season. My analysis is not perfect since I compared how many points a team scored against other teams in conference play to how many points that same team scored against Carleton, whether the game was played before or after the regular season started. That was easier than trying to track down any pre-season game involving two CIS teams.

The statistics are compelling. On average the 10 teams Carleton has played have averaged 10 points less when they played Carleton than when they played other teams. Even though I was one a Maths major in university, I admit that it’s easy to make mistakes in doing calculations of this kind; so I have listed the records as I have them:

Carleton 104 Bishop’s 51 Bishop’s one conference game 67 - 16
Carleton 92 UPEI 52 Other two 77.5 -25.5
Carleton 97 Saskatchewan 79 Other three 81.75 – 2.75
Carleton 75 Fraser Valley 70 Others 75.5 -5
Carleton 84 Alberta 64 Others70.1 – 6.1
Carleton 76 Victoria 70 Other two 77 – 7

Carleton 75 Guelph 74 Other three 82.6 – 8.6
Carleton 83 Brock 63 Other three 87 – 24
Carleton 95 Windsor 62 Other three 91.3 – 29.3
Carleton 80 Western 72 Western’s three other conference games 82.6 -10.6

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