So by now you should know that you can click on the stats link at the top of this page and get to the treasure trove of team-by-team pace-independent stats. I’m not going to give a remedial course on what these stats mean. You can click on the links in each page to get a guide on how to interpret the data you are viewing. If that doesn’t clear things up for you – and it may not as I am not exactly Johnny Wordsmith – the Big Ten Wonk created a library with information on such stats, both at the team and individual level, and how they can make your life simpler. Of course, you can always head over to Hawkeye Hoops to get another angle on the benefit of this stuff.

One thing I do want to point out is the somewhat quirky way I calculate efficiency. Instead of totaling the points for the season and dividing by possessions, I average the efficiency on a game-by-game basis. The reason I did this was because it just seems a little odd that a game with 80 possession would influence a team’s season-long efficiency more than a game with 60 possessions. It also make computing the adjusted numbers more straightforward. After a few games both methods return nearly identical numbers. The “four factors” pages all are calculated by totaling the season stats.

Unlike the power ratings, the stats have no starting point. All data is based on this season. That’s why Missouri State can appear to be Final Four-worthy right now. The fact that they are shooting 53% from three-point range should tell you that they will come back to earth offensively at least. Where earth is for them remains to be seen, but we’ll learn a lot about them when they play their first road game on Wednesday against Oral Roberts.

The three-point percentage category is also why Bucknell’s effective field goal percentage (57.7%, 12th nationally) impresses me as much as Indiana’s (64.5%, #1 in the nation). Bucknell is shooting threes about like they did last season (37.2% in ‘06 vs. 36.9% in ‘05). Indiana is making an unsustainable 50.5% of their threes compared to 33.7% last season. The dynamics associated with Marco Killingsworth in the post have something to do with this improvement, but I suspect luck is a bigger reason.

By the way, is there anybody else who would pay good money to get into Sojka Pavilion tonight? Bucknell may not be a top 25 team, but they have legit claims on being top 50. They haven’t done anything spectacular so far in starting 5-0, and they will have to do something special in order to beat Villanova. They are going to have a few games where they play over their head – every team does. Maybe one of them will be tonight. In addition, they may catch the Wildcats in letdown mode after their home win over Oklahoma.

I’d rather be in Lewisburg, Pa. than in lifeless Continental Airlines Arena on Saturday for #1 vs. #2 not only based on atmosphere, but also on what could be a terrific game. Kudos to Jay Wright for scheduling it.

Line o’ the Night

                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
David Padgett          30  1-2   0-0  0-0  3-3   2 0 0  1  1    2
Result: Win. Louisville 53, Richmond 45.

Having watched most of the game, I can confirm that this preseason Wooden Award nominee was indeed invisible, except when he was getting beat on the defensive end. Honestly, I was surprised to see he played 30 minutes. After a nice splash in his Louisville debut against Prairie View on Saturday, Padgett struggled against better competition on Sunday (Arkansas State) and Monday.