2018-2019 Post Mortem

#76
Good points. Let's also not lose sight of this fact: we played the entire season with a Freshman Center and no power forward and no small forward. It's an amazing thing we won as many games as we did. Let that sink in; a Freshman center and no power forward. Not even a small forward. (Sorry Kipper fans, I just can't consider him as a plus small forward.) That's just insane!!! Yes I know... "positionless .............!"
If only there was somebody that was in charge of making sure we had a balanced roster that could compete... then we could hold that person responsible for those issues.
 
#77
Like to look at the stats but sometimes don't meet the eye test. Example: I was a big fan of TJL because of his defense and ability to finish at the rim. Here is the comparison TJL/AF mins 21.4/22.3 fg% .478/.453, 3pt% .263/.270, Rebs 2.2/2.9, A/to. 1.7/1.5, pts 5.7/8.3
2.6 more pts per game (FT's accounted for 1) but effect on game tremendously improved with Dre. Sure would like to see him more of a threat with the three. Didn't think he was a better finisher at the rim but he certainly was much better at getting there than either Ayo or Trent. Guessing a combination of strength and experience.
The A/TO is a little misleading because of their roles. TJL is a pass first PG, Feliz is a bit more of a combo guard and was rarely running a true point for us. TJL turned the ball over way too much (28.7 TO%) for his role. Feliz's rate was 18.6% which is pretty decent. Feliz was also slightly better at getting to the line and significantly better when he got there. They played slightly different roles, but I think on offense Feliz was slightly better.
Defensively, I always thought TJL got too much credit. He was a very good on the ball defender, but was lost on help defense or in a zone. Feliz is a much more complete defender.

Going into the year, I thought we were going to be lucky if it was an even swap. Now I think we got a decent upgrade. I still hope the best for TJL and think he could be fun to watch next year in the smaller conference.
 
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#78
This isn't necessarily true. It is much easier to make teams successful quickly in basketball. Look at what Keatts has done his first two years at NC State as a for instance. This isn't a football rebuild. Football requires more depth and the difference in strength needed between the two sports are big. So far BU has failed. There's nothing wrong with saying that, nor does it necessarily mean he'll fail going forward. But to think this team is on the cusp of turning this around is false. The defense remained dreadful throughout the season, the offense got worse at the end. There is no reason to think if BU gets fired after year 4 (3 is too soon imo) that someone else couldn't come in and win quickly.
Uh . . . NO. No further comments so the ban gods do not descend upon me. . . again.
 
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#79
PER rankings: 15 is average

Tevian needs to stay and start. I love Da'Monte's effort, but he should be coming off the bench next year.

1Giorgi Bezhanishvili 17.9
2Ayo Dosunmu. 16.9
3Tevian Jones. 16.8
4Trent Frazier. 15.7
5Andres Feliz. 14.9
6Aaron Jordan. 14.0
7Samba Kane. 12.3
8Alan Griffin. 12.1
9Kipper Nichols. 11.3
10Da'Monte Williams 9.3
11Adonis De La Rosa. 5.4
12 Tyler Underwood. 2.7
 
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#80
PER - Player Efficiency Rating. It tells us what we aleady know. We needed more Tevian and less Da'Monte and Kipper. And our 3 most efficient players were freshmen.
 
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#81
In one of the post game interviews, BU expressly refuted the idea that our team is tired/has lost their legs in second half play. Is he wrong? Maybe. I don't know. Truly, I don't know, and I don't even have a guess -- I'm not holding back an opinion on that. So, in that context, I would offer some questions and comments (and couple of opinions I do have) for sake of discussion and entertainment . . .

Unless a player tells a reporter that he and/or his teammates are regularly running out of gas during game play, then I'm not sure how I could know what's going on with the players by watching television/video of the games. How are fans "qualified to have an opinion" on whether tiredness is a multiplayer issue in second halves of the games? How are fans to discern whether short shots, slow/sluggish-looking footwork or apparent indecisiveness of players is caused by mental, emotional or physical injury/tiredness reasons? Fans speculate (part of the fun of being fans and being on this board), but I struggle with some of the posts that seem to declare the following as facts: team-wide tiredness and/or inability of any college team to physically perform as BU envisions.

There is a sub-narrative to the tiredness opinion thread that says 18/19 year-olds do not/cannot have the same stamina as 20+year-olds. Is that a generally true proposition? Seams likely to me, but, again, I don't know. There certainly are college athletes/ex-college athletes who will report that they personally gained much greater physical stamina and greater recovery abilities as they developed from 18 year-olds to 20+, but do those experiences (or the general rule) actually answer the question of whether the 18-19 year-olds that we have on the floor for IL do or do not have the physical stamina required to play the game the way BU draws it up for them?

BU believes our players are in great physical condition and that they have been made so because they they've applied themselves to the conditioning program (including practice frequency and intensity) he has in place. BU is sitting/standing mere feet away watching (even talking to/at/with and listening to) players in real time while the games are being played, and he, the assistant coaches and players are interacting/watching/listening to each other every day ... If the players are too fatigued to play at a high level during the second half of games then wouldn't you think BU would know it?

I think it would be interesting to see the results of voting for/against these possibilities:

P1 - Our players as a team are NOT TOO TIRED to play at a high level in the second half of their games; rather, they suffer some sort of mental or emotional let downs in the second half some games and/or opposing teams adapt their second half play better than we do.
P2 - Our players in fact are TOO TIRED to implement game plans in the second halves, and the coaching STAFF DOES NOT REALIZE IT.
P3 - Players are TOO TIRED, but EMPEROR BU DOESN'T GET IT, and other coaches and players won't say that THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES.
P4 - Players are TOO TIRED, and BU KNOWS IT, but he SEES TIREDNESS AS LEAST OF THE EVILS TO CHOOSE FROM in approaching this year's games.
P5 - Players are TOO TIRED, and BU KNOWS IT, but he SEES TIREDNESS THIS YEAR AS A NECESSARY EVIL to endure on the way to making players more physically capable for next year and years after.

My current thoughts on those possibilities are:

P1 - somewhat likely (but, per opening comments, I don't know)
P2 - doubt that entire staff would not realize it, if too tired was the issue
P3 - thank me later for the no clothes BU visual, but openness of communication appears to be in BU's culture
P4 - fairly likely (see similar choices with playing time for ADLR and TU)
P5 - might actually be a reasonable approach; seems to match BU comments on long view "program" approach vs individual-year team outcomes


Couple of parting shots for fun:
View attachment 4359
There were a lot of new players on the team. First year playing in an intense pressure defensive scheme. Short offseason or no offseason to get conditioning where it needs to be. Also, opponents had multiple offseasons to improve conditioning and were better prepared to handle a whole game.
 
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#82
Compared stats 17/18 vs 18/19
Fg% .436 to .424
3 pt%. .317 to .334
Reb. 29.3 to 32.2
Pts 71.8 to 70.9
Pts Opp. 75 to 77
Players with double digit minutes
Srs. 1 to 1
Jrs. 3 to 2
Sophs. 1 to 2
Frosh. 2 to 2
Doesn't really reflect either a younger team or improvement in either offense or defense.
That's a little imcomplete, isn't it?
What I mean is that the 18/19 schedule was tougher, but the stats are the same.
Isn't that progress, even if it doesn't result in more wins?
I'm squinting and that is what I see.
 
#83
That's a little imcomplete, isn't it?
What I mean is that the 18/19 schedule was tougher, but the stats are the same.
Isn't that progress, even if it doesn't result in more wins?
I'm squinting and that is what I see.
Conference games only.
 
#84
Reason for optimism is we don't lose all guys over 6'6" , two of our top 4 scorers, and our top two rebounders. Also two +6'10" guys coming on board. Do lose our second high rebounder.
Also for the guys worried about the time TJ and AG got, consider it a pink shirt as opposed to a red shirt year which they would have got at Whisky.
 
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#85
The A/TO is a little misleading because of their roles. TJL is a pass first PG, Feliz is a bit more of a combo guard and was rarely running a true point for us. TJL turned the ball over way too much (28.7 TO%) for his role. Feliz's rate was 18.6% which is pretty decent. Feliz was also slightly better at getting to the line and significantly better when he got there. They played slightly different roles, but I think on offense Feliz was slightly better.
Defensively, I always thought TJL got too much credit. He was a very good on the ball defender, but was lost on help defense or in a zone. Feliz is a much more complete defender.

Going into the year, I thought we were going to be lucky if it was an even swap. Now I think we got a decent upgrade. I still hope the best for TJL and think he could be fun to watch next year in the smaller conference.
You gotta remember that a lot of the TJL comparisons started in the Jaylon Tate days,... and by that standard we were very appreciative of TJL's performance. It's amazing to think that about 3 years ago we were pulling our hair out for the long term lack of point guards,... now we're swimming in them.

I think the biggest delta (difference) in this year's team vs. expectations was that we thought Kipper would play like the good Kipper from last year, therefore we'd have a solid player at the 4 spot. Instead we ended up with a 4-guard line-up which is not a recipe for success.
 
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#86
You gotta remember that a lot of the TJL comparisons started in the Jaylon Tate days,... and by that standard we were very appreciative of TJL's performance. It's amazing to think that about 3 years ago we were pulling our hair out for the long term lack of point guards,... now we're swimming in them.

I think the biggest delta (difference) in this year's team vs. expectations was that we thought Kipper would play like the good Kipper from last year, therefore we'd have a solid player at the 4 spot. Instead we ended up with a 4-guard line-up which is not a recipe for success.
It could be in maybe the ACC or the Big 12, but the B1G is historically a very physical conference and 4 guards usually don't fair well unless they are uber athletic ones.
 
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#88
PER rankings: 15 is average

Tevian needs to stay and start. I love Da'Monte's effort, but he should be coming off the bench next year.

1Giorgi Bezhanishvili 17.9
2Ayo Dosunmu. 16.9
3Tevian Jones. 16.8
4Trent Frazier. 15.7
5Andres Feliz. 14.9
6Aaron Jordan. 14.0
7Samba Kane. 12.3
8Alan Griffin. 12.1
9Kipper Nichols. 11.3
10Da'Monte Williams 9.3
11Adonis De La Rosa. 5.4
12 Tyler Underwood. 2.7
And no more than 10 mpg for DMW.
 
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#90
PER rankings: 15 is average

Tevian needs to stay and start. I love Da'Monte's effort, but he should be coming off the bench next year.

1Giorgi Bezhanishvili 17.9
2Ayo Dosunmu. 16.9
3Tevian Jones. 16.8
4Trent Frazier. 15.7
5Andres Feliz. 14.9
6Aaron Jordan. 14.0
7Samba Kane. 12.3
8Alan Griffin. 12.1
9Kipper Nichols. 11.3
10Da'Monte Williams 9.3
11Adonis De La Rosa. 5.4
12 Tyler Underwood. 2.7
Win shares/ 40 presents a different picture.

1. Jones .128
2. Jordan .111
3. Ayo .100
4. Frazier .100
5. Giorgi .098
6. Feliz .096
7. Williams .070
8. Kipper .069
9. Griffin .032
10. Kane .022

https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/schools/illinois/2019.html
 
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#92
I think we all agree, he needs to get better and absolutely no to transfer. He brings value in the 7th or 8th man slot on a good BIG team.
I agree, but I don't know why a 7th guy on a B1G roster is getting no more than 10 minutes/game. Depending on his ability to start making some shots next year (I still have to believe he will figure it out because his form looks excellent by my eye), I think he'll be a 15-20 minute a game guy. If Kipper leaves, I think he'll be 20+ minutes.
 
#93
I agree, but I don't know why a 7th guy on a B1G roster is getting no more than 10 minutes/game. Depending on his ability to start making some shots next year (I still have to believe he will figure it out because his form looks excellent by my eye), I think he'll be a 15-20 minute a game guy. If Kipper leaves, I think he'll be 20+ minutes.
I was kind of shocked, but only 107 guys averaged 25% minutes played (~10 minutes) in B1G conference games this year. That's basically 7/team.
Also surprised that Illinois only had 7 over that number, with Kipper being our 7th men at ~16 minutes. I would have bet that we ran deeper than the average team.

Relevant to this discussion, by minutes played in conference, Williams was our 6th man with Feliz actually getting slightly more tick.
 
#94
Mad Scientist
Arizona, USA
Perhaps we could beat some of these teams, but no guarantees. Look at our won and loss record. We lost to some bad teams.
Look at our change in performance through the season, though. I highly doubt we lose those games if the February version of our team played them as opposed to the December version of our team.

Were we perfect at the end? Of course not, we finished on a losing streak. However, anyone who can't see the difference between the team that ended the season and the team that started the season wasn't watching.
 
#95
Mad Scientist
Arizona, USA
PER rankings: 15 is average

Tevian needs to stay and start. I love Da'Monte's effort, but he should be coming off the bench next year.

1Giorgi Bezhanishvili 17.9
2Ayo Dosunmu. 16.9
3Tevian Jones. 16.8
4Trent Frazier. 15.7
5Andres Feliz. 14.9
6Aaron Jordan. 14.0
7Samba Kane. 12.3
8Alan Griffin. 12.1
9Kipper Nichols. 11.3
10Da'Monte Williams 9.3
11Adonis De La Rosa. 5.4
12 Tyler Underwood. 2.7
This, again, assumes that he doesn't improve between this year and next. I don't know how so many of us can write off a guy who is a sophomore and still has a ton of potential to improve. Sure, pencil him in off the bench, but none of this is written in ink. If he takes this offseason and improves to the point where he is our best option to start, then start him.
 
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#97
Conference games only.
The conference has the same 14 teams every year, but those teams are not of equal quality from year to year. Even if they were, the schedules are not balanced -- we played 20 conference games this year vs. 18 last year, and drew a different set of teams that we only played once.

If you look at Illinois' adjusted efficiency margin (i.e. the stat that Pomeroy uses to rank teams), and see where it falls against the rest of the B1G, there's a pretty clear difference. Our AEM at the moment is +8.51, good for 83rd in the country and last in the conference. That AEM would have placed ahead of four teams (and just a hair behind a fifth) last season. There were ten (!) B1G teams in the top 50 this year, and 'only' six last year. There were three B1G teams outside of the top 100 last year, and none this year. The league was brutally deep at both the top and bottom, with absolutely no easy outs and an enormous amount of experienced talent on every team except maybe us and Rutgers. That wasn't the case last year.

I am not here to tell anyone to be happy about rooting for a team that finished anywhere from 10th to 14th in the league, depending on what metric you use. But it's crazy to not recognize that this year's iteration of the Big Ten was arguably as good as it's ever been -- unquestionably so if you look at the 19 years of data Pomeroy has collected -- and that it's a historically bad time to try and climb out of the cellar. This team was simultaneously worse compared to the other teams in the league and better than last season.

The good news is that the league will get at least a little bit weaker, primarily due to Northwestern and Nebraska fielding teams that are, you know, appropriate for Northwestern and Nebraska. How much talent we're able to retain and how much the rest of the league will lose is going to determine the rest of it.
 
#98
We finished the season #83 overall and 14th in the BIG on Kenpom. Does anybody know where we started??
83rd, if that wasn't a rhetorical question. But we were as low as 113 (after the first two B1G games) and as high as 62 (after the loss in Madison). The last IU loss alone dropped us 15 spots.
 
The conference has the same 14 teams every year, but those teams are not of equal quality from year to year. Even if they were, the schedules are not balanced -- we played 20 conference games this year vs. 18 last year, and drew a different set of teams that we only played once.

If you look at Illinois' adjusted efficiency margin (i.e. the stat that Pomeroy uses to rank teams), and see where it falls against the rest of the B1G, there's a pretty clear difference. Our AEM at the moment is +8.51, good for 83rd in the country and last in the conference. That AEM would have placed ahead of four teams (and just a hair behind a fifth) last season. There were ten (!) B1G teams in the top 50 this year, and 'only' six last year. There were three B1G teams outside of the top 100 last year, and none this year. The league was brutally deep at both the top and bottom, with absolutely no easy outs and an enormous amount of experienced talent on every team except maybe us and Rutgers. That wasn't the case last year.

I am not here to tell anyone to be happy about rooting for a team that finished anywhere from 10th to 14th in the league, depending on what metric you use. But it's crazy to not recognize that this year's iteration of the Big Ten was arguably as good as it's ever been -- unquestionably so if you look at the 19 years of data Pomeroy has collected -- and that it's a historically bad time to try and climb out of the cellar. This team was simultaneously worse compared to the other teams in the league and better than last season.

The good news is that the league will get at least a little bit weaker, primarily due to Northwestern and Nebraska fielding teams that are, you know, appropriate for Northwestern and Nebraska. How much talent we're able to retain and how much the rest of the league will lose is going to determine the rest of it.
So you are saying we improved, just less than the rest of the league?