For the second consecutive year, the basketball committee showed that it puts more emphasis on conference tournaments that any other games during the season. It also puts the ACC tourney above any others. Last season, Maryland earned a four seed based on three ACC tournament games. This season, Georgia Tech earned a five seed based on three games in the ACC tournament.

Georgia Tech elevated its play at the MCI Center. Georgia Tech also happened to be without an injured Isma’il Muhammad for those three games. Coincidence?

Player         Rtg. %Poss %Shots %Min  PPG   TO% FTA/M FTA/FGA OR%
Jack, J........113  22.2   20.2  84.7 15.5  26.3 .132   .447   1.0
Elder, BJ......103  24.0   31.0  45.4 13.0  15.1 .073   .161   4.7
Bynum, W.......104  24.2   25.3  67.0 12.5  20.0 .154   .417   2.5
Schenscher, L..108  20.4   20.3  65.0 10.2  20.6 .108   .365  11.5
Muhammad, I.... 94  23.2   20.5  54.5  9.0  23.4 .162   .540   9.3
Morrow, A......112  19.4   26.1  30.3  5.5  12.8 .046   .121   6.7
Dickey, R......106  23.0   19.7  23.8  5.1  25.0 .205   .711  12.0
McHenry, A..... 96  11.1   10.2  59.1  3.8  25.9 .038   .252   3.4
Smith, J.......107  13.1   10.8  16.8  3.1  19.3 .089   .563  11.5
West, M........108  13.5   12.2  22.8  2.0  13.8 .112   .633  10.9

I’ve defined most of these stats before, but there are some new ones. They’re simple, I promise.

First, a couple to measure the player’s ability to get to the line.
FTA/M = free throw attempts per minute played.
FTA/FGA = free throw attempts per field goal attempt.

Then this one to measure offensive rebounding ability.
OR% = percentage of the team’s missed shots that are rebounded by that player. Playing time is factored in so that this only accounts for shots taken while the player is in the game.

Muhammad ranks as Tech’s weakest player offensively while using more than his fair share of possessions. The drain on Muhammad’s rating is his 47% free throw shooting, and the fact that he gets to the line a fair amount. Normally getting to the line is a good thing, but not when you can’t make half of your free throws.

In the interest of full disclosure, Tech’s improvement on offense at the ACC tourney in some respect was due to great offensive rebounding, which is Muhammad’s strength. So it’s not fair to give all the credit for improved play to Muhammad’s absence, especially when you consider that many of his vacated minutes were used by one of the three guards. But if you picked Georgia Tech to go deep in the tourney because you are expecting Muhammad’s return to make them even better than they were in the ACC tourney, prepare yourself for disappointment.

Other observations on Georgia Tech…

1) Why isn’t Ra’sean Dickey getting more time? The freshman forward is efficient offensively and a beast on the offensive boards. Look for him to become more familiar to ACC fans next season.

2) I don’t have a lot of experience with offensive rebound percentage, but a Jarrett Jack offensive rebound is more rare that a JR Giddens free throw. Only one out of 100 Georgia Tech missed shots end up in Jack’s hands. Obviously a point guard isn’t going to crash the boards, but without any offensive rebounds to speak of, Jack is third leading rebounder on the team.

3) I like to look at turnover percentage to get an idea how the guards are used. In this case Jack is clearly the point with his high TO%, and Elder is purely a shooter with his low TO%. I know you probably already knew that, but it’s nice to see the numbers back it up. Despite the TO% disparity, Jack’s offensive rating is much higher than Elder’s. From what I have seen, this is rare. Almost always the shooting guard has a better offensive rating than the point. It tells me that while Tech was unspectacular when Elder was injured, if it had been Jack that went down, we wouldn’t be talking about the Yellow Jackets as a NCAA team right now.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ike Diogu’s season ended tonight in a first round NIT loss to UNLV. He scored 29 points including 8 for 11 on free throws. His made free throws gave him 248 for the season, breaking the Pac-10 record of 243 that he set last season. Fittingly, his season ended at 2:02 AM EST, once again depriving eastern fans a chance to witness that marvel that is Diogu.