"...but I will go ahead and say that there is no reason Olukemi and/or Brown shouldn't be on the floor most of the time (and really I prefer both). They add so much vertical game and athleticism to the floor that Sidorakis and Page/Penn at the SG are lacking."
- Samuel Bryant - 1991-2012
That was a quote of mine from my Oklahoma State/Missouri State recap from Saturday night. (side note: It is kind of amazing considering my arrogance, narcissism, and persistent correctness that this is the first time I have started a post off by quoting myself.) And boy was I right about this Jean-Paul Olukemi, Markel Brown thing. Not that it is all that earth shattering of an observation... surely anyone that has watched this Cowboy team all season saw the marked improvement in athleticism and, as a result, ball movement when those two were on the floor. But I am still taking credit as the first to put it in the title of an article.
So now that the intro paragraph is mercifully over... on to the 5-man-unit Plus/Minus table (For Plus/Minus explanation, read the intro of this post):
|D Williams, Moses, Olukemi, Brown, Page||10||04:31|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Olukemi, Brown, Dowell||8||01:58|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Olukemi, Brown, Page||6||04:35|
|D Williams, Moses, Olukemi, Brown, Penn||3||01:57|
|Pilgrim, Moses,Olukemi, Page, Penn||2||00:53|
|D Williams, Moses, Sidorakis, Penn, Page||2||00:38|
|D Williams, Pilgrim, Brown, Olukemi, Page||1||01:41|
|D Williams, Moses, Olukemi, Page, Penn||-1||03:50|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Brown, Penn, Page||-1||02:02|
|Pilgrim, D Williams, Olukemi, Sidorakis, Page||-1||01:52|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Olukemi, Brown, Penn||-2||00:52|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Sidorakis, Penn, Page||-3||08:13|
|Pilgrim, D Williams, Olukemi, Page, Penn||-3||04:39|
|Pilgrim, Moses, Olukemi, Penn, Dowell||-3||00:38|
|Moses, D Williams, Brown, Page, Penn||-4||01:41|
Oh..My...Sutton... look the four best units and whose names are in the SG/SF positions. Just look at it. That is incredible. For the game the combo of Olukemi/Brown finished with a +26 in 15:46 of action together, and individually Olukemi finished with a +20 in 27 minutes while Brown managed a +19 in 19 minutes. Whether you put a lot of faith in Plus/Minus or not.... those are amazing numbers.
Jump for more Plus/Minus-ing
The most notable other 5-man unit would be the starting five of Pilgrim, Moses, Sidorakis, Page, and Penn finishing with a -3 in 8:13 minutes. The upgrade in ball movement and good looks was very noticeable without Sidorakis in at the SF and with only one of the members of the 5'9 Militia, or Reger Dowell in there running the point. I don't want to get too excited about this since it was only one game and the Olukemi/Brown duo was only in for 16 minutes, but to me it felt like one of those situations where something clicked into place. We have known all season that there was a lot of talent on the court, it was just a matter of getting them some experience, and finding the right combination of guys to put out there. I am hoping that this Missouri State game is one we look back on and view as the turning point.
And speaking of my least-favorite 2-man unit... the 5'9 Militia of Keiton Page and Ray Penn finally proved me right and finished with a -10 in 21:24 minutes of action together. For those that have not been following the Plus/Minus posts, this is the first time since I started tracking it (Murray State) that they have actually finished with a negative Plus/Minus in spite of how overmatched the 2-guard usually looks on the defensive end, and how one of them usually seems to be relegated to the corner on most offensive possessions.
As for the new combo I want to start tracking of the 2-man combos of bigs down low:
|Moses, D Williams||8||12:07|
|D Williams, Pilgrim||-3||08:12|
This game was the exact opposite of the Tulsa game where the Darrell Williams / Matt Pilgrim duo finished with by far the best Plus/Minus. I will say that I noticed a marked improvement in Marshall Moses defense in this Missouri State game as he was coming out high and playing the ball screens very well, and even pulled off the Williams trap move a few times. The team also handled the Moses double teams well often finding the open man or using the open space that Moses was creating by pulling that extra defender to him.