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Bo Ryan & Kim Anderson, are they really that similar?

We've all seen the teases and comparisons by various members of the media. I wanted to dig intot he #'s a bit further and find out how close these two really are.

Harry How

Bo Ryan coached the division 3 UW–Platteville Pioneers from 1984 until 1999. His Pioneers weren't just good at the D3 level, they were a machine. His teams won 4 national championships (1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999) and 8 conference titles. Ryan posted  a 352–76 overall record, an .820 winning percentage in his 15 seasons at Platteville. During Ryan's tenure, UW-Platteville was the winning-est NCAA men's basketball team of the 1990s (all divisions) with a 266-26 (.908) record. 26 losses in 10 years, that's not sucking.

Now, we all know Wisconsin as a defensive grinding team that can be boring to watch at times and he certainly set tht foundation at Platteville. Ryan's 1997 team set a D3 (not mighty ducks) record for lowest ppg allowed over a season, 47.5. Thats just sick.

Kim Anderson has one D2 national title and 2 other D2 final fours. He had 6 regular season titles. His total record at UCM was 274-94 (.745).

For the purposes of this comparison and because I was lazy and dealing with a super emotion pregnant wife last night, I decided to gather stats from the last 5 years for Ryan at Platteville and Anderson at UCM. I figured it was close to a wash as those were the most successful years for both coach. Now these were total season stats and not game by game stats. I couldn't find possession stats for Ryan's teams back in the 90's so I didn't try and figure out pace and all that jazz that I'm sure Bill C. will crush me for.

Any who, lets jump right into this sucker and see what we can find out about our new coach and how he stacks up to Ryan.

Shooting Defense

Averaged out over the final 5 year stretch of each coach, these two programs were almost mirrors of each other when it came to defensive scoring percentages. Both teams held their opponents to 42% shooting inside the arc.  Behind the 3 point line Plattleville gave up 35% while UCM came in a bit lower at 33% defense.

I'd take a 42% and 33% D. This sounds like Anderson is the defensive coach that others have been telling us he is. The biggest difference between these teams however is the amount of shots that were allowed to go up (its tough to quantify this as Anderson's last 5 years were 15 years later than Ryan's and the rate of play has certainly gone up, which will certainly increase the amount of shots taken). The rate of play is best shown I think by the amount of shots taken by the teams opponents. Platteville's opponents averaged 1429 shots per season, again super low. UCM's opponents average 1708 shots per season, almost 300 more shots per season (or about 9 more per game).


I think I was surprised as anyone to see Wisconsin actually score some points this year. I'm not sure if they had been doing this all along (again I'm too lazy to look that up) or if they finally had the horses to get some buckets. On the whole Ryan's teams at Platteville were solid scoring teams and didn't just win games by 3 or 4 points in slug fests. Over the final 5 years of his tenure, Ryan's UW-P teams averaged 74.42 ppg and gave up on average 55.72. That is an average of +18.7 ppg differential (they were routinely destroying teams).

UCM could fill up the bucket as well. The last 5 years Anderson's teams averaged 77.84 ppg and gave up an average of 66.64 ppg. That is an average of +11.2 ppg differential (very solid).

The Glass

Any good defensive team wants to take care of the glass. They want to rebound, block shots and force turnovers on the defensive end. Both of these teams rebounded well. UWP averaged 35.3 rebounds per game and held their opponents to just 28.3 rebounds per game, an average of +7 rebounds differential. UCM averaged 36.6 rebounds per game and held their opponents to an average of 32.4 rebounds per game, an average of +4.2 rebounds per game differential.

Blocks can be a weird thing. You can have a dominate 7 footer inside that just has to stick his 47 meter long hands in there air and swat everything, or you can have that 6'7" guy that just knows when to jump and tip the ball at the right time. It doesn't appear UWP had either of those. UWP only managed an average of 36.6 blocks per season, or just over 1 per game. Their opponents on the other hand had almost 2. 5 times as many blocks, an average of 84 per season. UCM averaged 92.6 blocker per season and were blocked by the opponents an average of 75.8 times each year. (I'm honestly wondering if Ryan's system just doesn't ask guys to try and block shots as much as be in good defensive position each time and stay on the ground as much as possible).

Turnover stats are much more of what you'd expect from a Bo Ryan squad. His teams play hounding, tenacious, sound defense at all times and rarely (if ever) look out of positions. His UWP teams forced on average 17.2 turnovers per game over his final 5 years while only turn over the ball themselves an average of 11.2 times. This +6 TO differential would make Bill's BCI swoon like nothing before. UCM was not quite the turn over machine that UWP was. The mules averaged 11.3 turnovers per game and forced and average of 13.2 TO's per game, a +1.9 differential. When looking at season win totals for UCM, all you have to do is look at the TO comparisons, their best 2 years (1 NC and 1 FF) were by far their best TO margin years.


While UCM has had some very solid teams, on both sides of the ball, they certainly were not the dynasty Ryan had going up in Wisconsin. Ryan's teams destroyed their opponents on defense and simply pulled away on the scoreboard after grinding them out and his  Wisconsin teams still do this today. I do believe, however, from all this that Kim Anderson is a solid defensive coach that will put our guys in a better half court D than I've seen since high school. Anderson's teams have shown the ability to win on a big stage multiple times and face up against some of the best lower division talent available. I'm ready to see his philosophy in action.

Opponents thoughts

So, my wifes cousin (Alex North) just happens to be a red shirt junior at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. He has had the opportunity to face off against UCM basketball multiple times over the last 4 seasons and had some great things to say about Anderson.When asked what he thought of the hire "Anderson seemed like a great guy who really appreciated and enjoyed his players." I asked Alex about HCKA's coaching style "He's not a big in game talker. He's pretty quiet out there. He must really set a game plan ahed of time and stick to it." Asked about anything else he could add Alex said that he had a chance to talk to Anderson before a game last year about a K-State game that same night and he could tell just how much the coach loved basketball. He had that game dvr'ed at home and was excited to watch all the big time games when ever he could and learn more about it.