Let’s start this week’s kPOY update with an e-mail.


Neat idea.  Just curious if you were concerned about using raw totals not adjusted for the level of competition?  I suppose the team strength brings that into play, but doesn’t Jimmer Fredette have some kind of advantage over most of the rest of the players by the end of the season if his conference is weaker?



There’s nothing more boring that writing formulas, and I can’t imagine it’s any fun for most of my audience to read them. But in its simplest form, the kPOY is computed from this…

player's internal value * team strength

Neither of these factors are directly related to the strength of the competition. The internal value of a player is relative to his teammates, so even if we adjust for competition it doesn’t change the equation. The goal is to find how much each player is responsible for his team’s strength. Players contributing a lot to strong teams will be rated highly.

If BYU is going to drum Chicago State for 1.25 points per possession, Fredette better be doing the lion’s share of the work. In fact, playing lopsided games tends to work against kPOY candidates as we’ll see in this week’s update. Thad Matta is likely to play Jared Sullinger as much as his foul situation will allow during Big Ten play, but in a rout of Oakland he was on the floor for just 19 minutes, which is a consideration in the internal value component.

Standings consider data through Sunday, December 26.

1. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State (Rating of .495, last week: 1st) Sully just barely maintains his lead this week after the aforementioned Oakland game. If there’s one way to game the system, it’s to play for a coach who would prefer to not use his bench. Thad Matta appears set to go to a seven-man rotation for the big games, with only Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft coming off the bench.

2. Terrence Jones, Kentucky (.494, LW: 2nd) While the public race is between Walker and Sullinger, Jones is a forgotten, but legitimate, option. I suspect part of the reason he’s forgotten is that there’s a bias against freshmen. Kevin Durant is the only freshman to win either the Naismith or Wooden awards. Jones will get a high-profile chance to state his case against Louisville on Friday.

3. Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young (.468, LW: 5th) Fredette had the most impressive performance against quality competition of anyone on this list last week, tallying 25 points and nine assists in a home rout of a decent UTEP team.

4. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin (.466, LW: 3rd) As long as Leuer is making half of his three’s and 80+% of his free throws he’ll have a place on this list. Well, that and Wisconsin needs to be relevant in the Big Ten race.

5. Derrick Williams, Arizona (.445, LW: 6th) Much like the Arizona offense as a whole, Williams continues to be a spectacular model of efficiency. He’s gone 29 of 31 from the free throw line over his past three games.

6. Kemba Walker, UConn (.438, LW: 4th)The Pitt game, not included here, damaged Walker’s chances further. But I find it odd that so many are jumping off the UConn bandwagon. If you thought they were the fourth-best team in the land (which if you are a reader of this site, you didn’t) before the Pitt game, I don’t understand why losing to an outstanding team on the road would change your opinion that much, even if the result was kind of lopsided.

7. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue (.412, LW: 10th) Johnson’s rise is bordering on meteoric, and it will only continue in next week’s update when yesterday’s Michigan game is factored in. In a surprisingly easy road win, Johnson went for 22 and 8 with 3 blocks and no turnovers. Johnson’s microscopic turnover rate of 9.3% may be his most impressive – and overlooked – stat. The kPOY takes pride in recognizing players like Johnson that fill up the box score but are even more efficient than the turnover-ignoring crowd thinks.

8. Jordan Hamilton, Texas (.405, LW: NR) The only newcomer this week is Hamilton, who didn’t put up a dominating performance against Michigan State, but the team effort to beat a quality opponent lifted the Longhorns’ star into the list.

9. E’Twaun Moore, Purdue (.403, LW: 7th) Moore’s statistical profile is a copy of Johnson’s except for, naturally, a lack of rebounds and blocks. It’s rather impressive that Purdue’s not completely horrible offense (OK, it’s actually above-average even by Big Ten standards) is supported by two players. And here’s guessing that Ryne Smith’s 17-point performance against Michigan yesterday will be an outlier. He takes just one of eight Purdue shots when he’s on the floor. No, this is a two man offense, but it’s worked well so far.

10. Nolan Smith, Duke (.392, LW: 8th) Smith is 6-2 and making 60% of his 2’s. And unlike most guys that can say that, he takes the vast majority of his shots inside the arc.