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NCAA Plus-Minus Data

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This may shock you, but I'm a bit of a stat fan.  So it goes without saying that I almost fainted with joy when I discovered Basketball-Statistics.com, especially when Jon at B-S.com unveiled his NCAA +/- data.  I have NO idea how he's compiled this -- in fact, I do believe I'll have to ask him -- but it is extremely interesting and tells a story that is not quite what you would expect.

As a whole, +/- data is a) easy to explain and b) not a perfect stat.  It simply measures the team's point differential when a given player was on the court.  It has been used in hockey for quite a while, and it has gained a lot of steam in the NBA statnerd community as well.  Its limitations are easy to understand -- a lot of it depends on who else was on the court at the time ... whether you were on the court with the other team's starters, or your starters, or a bunch of scrubs, will obviously help or hinder your success.  But it still manages to fill in some gaps that other stats do not, and it is a wonderful addition to the nerd arsenal.

Without further adieu, here are the current +/- stats for Mizzou's main contributors:

Here is the +/- for the offensive side of the ball:

  • Laurence Bowers +11.4
  • Steve Moore +8.7
  • Mike Dixon +7.0
  • Marcus Denmon +2.6
  • Miguel Paul +2.1
  • Kim English -1.3
  • J.T. Tiller -2.3
  • Zaire Taylor -2.5
  • Keith Ramsey -8.9
  • Justin Safford -9.4

And for the defensive side of the ball, where a negative score is best.

  • Mike Dixon -8.9
  • Kim English -5.7
  • Laurence Bowers -5.1
  • Zaire Taylor -3.3
  • Keith Ramsey -0.1
  • Miguel Paul +0.5
  • Justin Safford +2.1
  • Marcus Denmon +3.3
  • J.T. Tiller +5.2
  • Steve Moore +5.8

Needless to say, the name second from the bottom is a little surprising.

So what should we make of all this?  Probably not much, at least not yet.  If Steve Moore is in more against a team's backups than Keith Ramsey or Justin Safford, then his numbers will get a bit of an artificial boost.  But that much of a boost?  Is Mizzou really a better offensive team with whatever down-low presence Moore offers?  Is Mizzou really a better defensive team without Tiller on the court?  It will be interesting to watch these numbers develop as the season progresses, and I am infinitely thankful that Basketball-Statistics.com exists to track it now.