Dieng And Behanan Emerging As Elite Frontcourt Duo

I've always been a fan of the "big man." Probably because I'm a big guy. Little league, middle school, rec leagues, pickup games,.... you name the setting, and whenever I've played basketball I was either a center or a power forward. When you grow up in a small town, 6"2(&1/2), 230lbs automatically makes you a "Big Man" whenever you step onto the court. Anyway,.... I've crunched a few numbers dealing with our offensive efficiency over the last 5 games (since the team meeting), of which we are 4-1 with the only loss coming at Marquette, with no Kuric.

Interesting stuff; and to me, very telling about several things. Most notably, where our proverbial bread is now buttered on offense. Here is a chart, with some pontification after the jump......


These are the offensive numbers for the 6 "key contributors" over the last 5 games. These six have played almost 80% of the minutes in the last 5 games; and, had Kuric played his average of 36 minutes in the two he missed,... these six would have logged 96% of the minutes over the 4-1 stretch. Over that same time frame, these six players have combined to score 94% of the teams points.

I realize that this is not the depth that we all thought we'd have this year, but it's become pretty obvious that these are the six guys who are going to have to play the bulk of the minutes, and get it done. This seems to be a recipe for success if you go by the last few games. Of course, you're going to have a Swopshire/ Justice/ Ware/ and even a Price on the floor in spot duty, and when foul trouble dictates it; but, a six man rotation seems to be what Rick has settled on, barring the miraculous return of "Fat-Asthmatic Wayne", or major improvements in of the aforementioned players.

Gorgui and Chane have emerged as the two most efficient offensive weapons during the recent up-tick, they're getting less shots than any of the six, except Siva, and it's really not his job on offense to get himself shots. Gorgui's numbers, especially, are borderline ridiculous. While the big guy has taken less shots than anyone, he's shooting 72% from the field which is far better than anyone on the team. He's also flat out getting it done from the free throw line where he's connecting at an 82% clip.

Chane isn't quite as good as the Gorgs from the free throw line, or the field; but, he does have a better FG% than anyone else not named "Gorshgee Shang" (if you watch highlights on ESPN.COM,.. you know what I'm say'n). These numbers are especially telling when you contrast how efficiently our big men are scoring the basketball, with the number of shots they're taking,...... and then compare those same numbers to the other 4 players.

Gorgui is averaging a shot about every 6 minutes. Chane is getting up a shot about every 4 minutes. Now look at the other four players. Chris and Kyle are taking a shot for every 3 minutes played. Russ (as you might expect) is getting up more shots than anyone with one every 2 minutes played. Siva just doesn't take a lot of shots, but for reference, he's taking a shot every 6 minutes played. Again, these numbers are only from the last five game stretch where we've gone 4-1; so, you might be saying to yourself "and, what's your point,... we're 4-1."

My point is, that we could be better. My point is, that it's time to start pounding the ball inside and let the offense flow through the players who have become our most effective scorers, and also happen to get to the line far more often than anyone else. The next step in the evolution of this team,... to go from just getting wins,.... to playing really good/ great basketball, is to start taking it to every front line we play. We have two legitimate scoring threats on the interior, and they don't get the ball nearly enough. I would argue that one of them needs to get, at least, one touch in the post on every trip down the floor; if for nothing else than to let the defense know it's something they have to pay attention to.

We need the other players on the floor to start looking for those guys more often. We need the other players on the floor to use their presence to get themselves better shots. We need the other players on the floor to get it out of their minds that we absolutely have to make a bunch of threes to win games. For Gorgui to play 38 minutes/ game over the last five, while shooting 72% from the field, and not have more than 13 points in any one of those games,....... well, that just seems a bit off the map to me. It's time to start feeding the beasts, guys. It's time to bring the pain to every front line we play.

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