Substitution Similarities

25 Jan

On Monday I did some serious number-crunching to evaluate the depth of Big 12 basketball teams for the story I wrote for the Associated Press about the Wildcats’ depth. Here’s the conclusion: No. 22 Kansas State (14-4, 3-3) and unranked Texas Tech (7-11, 0-6) have a bit more in common than meets the eye …

Still armed with the Excel sheet of data from my research, I looked at the court time of players on Kansas State’s upcoming opponent Texas Tech. Surprisingly, the Red Raiders spread minutes around almost as liberally as the Wildcats do.

Kansas State is the only team in the Big 12 that has 12 players who average at least 5 minutes per game. But next in line, with 11 players getting at least 5 minutes per game, is Texas Tech.

Most other teams in the conference do not give reserves significant opportunities. Missouri has just seven players averaging over 5 minutes per game. Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State routinely use only eight guys.

While both Kansas State and Texas Tech go much deeper into their bench than others, the Wildcats average a middle-of-the-pack 70 points per game, while the Red Raiders only put up 54 points per contest.

Unfortunately for Texas Tech, it seems that giving more time to backups is one of the only traits it shares with Kansas State.

By the scoring numbers, the Red Raiders do not appear to have any standout, go-to guy, while Rodney McGruder is the league’s leading scorer.

The Wildcats are the Big 12’s best offensive rebounders by a wide margin – currently going at a clip of 17 per game – while Texas Tech is tied for the last spot with a little over 8 per game.

To summarize: the Red Raiders are last or next-to-last in the Big 12 in almost every statistical category. The Wildcats rank at least fifth out of 10 teams in most numerical measures.

If Kansas State leaves Lubbock without its third consecutive win tonight, it would be a drastic upset.

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