Non-Conference vs. The Big Ten?

Brumby thought it would be time to once again look how the Fighting Illini have been affected by the rigors of conference play. In this article, Brumby looks at the changes in the Illini's pace, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and rebounding efficiencies.

One of the commonly held wisdoms among college basketball experts and fans alike is that once conference play begins the games get tougher for every team in the nation. The reasons given for this include:

(a) coaches know more about what their in-conference opponents will run
(b) the players know more about their opposition because they play against each other twice a year
(c) the home court advantage is more defined because fans are more energetic against conference opponents.

The question that I was looking to answers when I went to break down the statistics was whether or not that was the case for the Fighting Illini this season. The media is saying that the Fighting Illini have been able to run through the Big Ten Conference because the conference is down. How has a "down Big Ten conference" affected the Illini's statistics?

OVERALL TEAM STATISTICS
Note: The numbers highlighted in red indicate a change in a negative direction. So the Defensive Efficiency going up (which means Illinois is allowing more points per 100 possessions), is highlighted in red.

  Non-Conference Big Ten Difference
Pace 67.74 62.79 4.95
Offensive Efficiency 121.69 120.43 1.26
Defensive Efficiency 91.21 98.75 7.53
Efficiency Differential 30.47 21.68 87.79
Offensive Rebounding Percentage 36.69% 34.35% 2.34%
Defensive Rebounding Percentage 67.27% 69.67% 2.40%
Illinois' PPSA 1.21 0.98 0.24
Opponent's PPSA 0.98 1.09 0.12


PLAYER STATISTICS
Note: The numbers highlighted in red indicate a change in a negative direction. So turnovers going up, is highlighted in red, while a decrease in turnovers is highlighted in black.

  FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG TOPG ATO PPG PPSA
Luther Head 4.33 8.17 6.40 0.19 2.17 0.12 1.50 0.59 0.07
Dee Brown 4.85 3.04 13.67 0.43 1.20 0.76 0.50 0.51 0.05
Deron Williams 1.02 6.27 37.55 0.80 0.58 0.37 0.46 4.37 0.11
Roger Powell, Jr. 14.38 23.70 11.63 0.04 0.50 0.43 0.88 1.94 0.22
James Augustine 2.44 0.00 18.80 0.13 0.02 0.38 0.34 2.29 0.14
Nick Smith 4.02 13.33 53.85 1.47 0.24 0.55 1.00 0.57 0.17
Jack Ingram 7.44 54.73 4.17 0.20 0.26 0.19 1.29 1.09 0.18
Rich McBride 14.80 8.50 0.00 0.27 0.05 0.39 2.11 1.53 0.34
Warren Carter 8.98 0.00 50.00 0.37 0.15 0.04 0.33 1.58 0.21
Shaun Pruitt' 23.77 0.00 38.64 0.00 0.00 0.47 0.00 0.38 0.17
Fred Nkemdi 25.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 0.09 0.16 0.00 0.45 0.50
Total 2.74 1.12 5.87 3.54 3.49 1.73 0.04 6.83 0.02
Opponents 4.97 5.54 4.76 2.96 1.06 1.14 0.13 0.21 0.12



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