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How well is BYU starting games recently?
Well... at the 10:00 mark of each of the last four first halves, here's what we've got:
Eastern Washington: BYU leads 31-2
v. Nevada: BYU leads 32-27
v. Nebraska: BYU leads 33-5
@ Arizona: BYU leads 37-16
So, for fun, if we were to take those four 10-minute spans and make a 40-minute game out of them, we'd get:
Considering three of the last four opponents are in the RPI Top 100, that's not a bad 40-minute tally.
Of note, only one of the four games was a home game, and home floors generally help to facilitate the kinds of runs on which BYU is going with stunning regularity.
Clearly, BYU's starting group is giving Dave Rose exactly what he wants to begin the game. BYU has had some trouble with bench consistency, but the staff still has a great deal of confidence in the reserves, and they will play a significant role in BYU's success as conference play approaches.
BYU is 8-0 since Noah Hartsock entered the starting lineup, and BYU's shooting and scoring numbers are up since the lineup change was made--
Offensive Efficiency*: 121.2
Offensive Efficiency*: 121.2
* using points/posessions x 100 [where possessions = fga - off reb + to + (.475 x fta)]. Certain efficiency ratings fluctuate slightly depending on the particular rebound calculations and free throw coefficients used.
Note: BYU's offensive efficiency is not higher post-lineup change, due to turnover trouble; BYU averaged 10.1 to/gm before the switch, and 13.0 to/gm since.
Before the switch, Jonathan Tavernari was averaging 11.0 ppg on 34%fg (7.4 ppg on 40%fg since), while as a starter, Noah Hartsock is now averaging 7.4 ppg on 59%fg (5.3 ppg on 65%fg before the switch).
So, let us conclude that while the change in the starting lineup appears significant, it's not because of any offensive productivity impact at the "4" spot--rather, it appears to be because of how the starting guard line (Fredette, Emery and Haws) has responded and how the offense in general is operating since the switch.
All three players are shooting and scoring better in the last eight games than they were in the opening six games. All three are taking more shots, as more shots are available with Noah Hartsock taking fewer shots than Tavernari at the "4" spot (as a starter, JT averaged 12.8 fga/gm; Hartsock is averaging 5.5 fga/gm). As noted above, since the change, BYU is actually taking 4.0 fewer shots per game as a team, yet scoring 3.4 more points per game.
Quite obviously, the player who has benefited most from the change has been Tyler Haws, who has doubled his productivity since the lineup change. And credit the coaches for getting Haws more involved in the offense--among the guards playing 10+ minutes per game, Haws has BYU's best shooting numbers, and his two-point field goal percentage of 64% is off-the-charts accurate for a wing player.
Simply put, lower percentage misses have been replaced by higher percentage makes, and BYU is the better team as as result.
On a related note, BYU's five starters all shoot between 50% and 61% from the field. And when Jimmer Fredette (50% fg) is the worst shooter among your starters, you're in pretty good shape.
While it may seem that the above breakdown is harsh relative to Jonathan Tavernari, it bears noting that he continues to make contributions as the team's second-leading rebounder (4.4/gm), fourth-best assist man, and his 15 steals are third on the team.
Of course, he has put his name in the BYU record books as a three-point shooter, and I'm confident that he will get his stroke back and yet have big games that help BYU win important outings. Assuming he re-discovers his mojo, he can give BYU a weapon that few other MWC teams can bring off the bench--an all-conference performer with championship experience and a big-shot reputation. JT's head may not be in a great place right now, but the final chapter in his story remains to be written.
Today's BYU ratings of note--
Ken Pomeroy: 5th
Jeff Sagarin: 13th
Jerry Palm (RPI): 41st