Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Posts Tagged ‘ncaa basketball’

MSU Bulldogs Dominate WKU Hilltoppers With The Long Ball

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 6, 2009

Well, live and die by the three it is…..and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are riding a crest in the 3-point economy.

How much so? Well, the Bulldogs set a team record last night against Western Kentucky for most three-pointers made in a game with 14.

So long to the Hilltoppers and their falling RPI (now at 54), and hello to the momentum building Mississippi State Bulldogs whose RPI has “risen” to 142. That Strength of Schedule is still at 171…..yikes!….I knew that despite the politicking of Rick Stansbury, this year’s schedule was way below par.

[All of this RPI stuff according to this site: RealTimeRPI.com]

Key Game Stats [Box Score]:

  • Offensive Rebounds: WKU 16 – MSU 5
  • 2nd Chance Points: WKU 16 – MSU 4
  • Fast Break Points: WKU 10 – MSU 6

Look, I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this Bulldog team will NOT fare well come SEC time being deficient in the categories above, especially the first two. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, second chance points are a killer. Living and dying by the trey ball is one thing, but once you depend on the land beyond the arc, a flat-line will be inevitable at some point.

Game Stories:

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Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Better Bulldog Shot-Blocker: Jarvis Varnado or Erick Dampier? A Statistical Analysis

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 25, 2008


At face value, the answer is simple. Having surpassed Erick Dampier’s all-time Mississippi State record of 249 career blocked shots this past Saturday, Jarvis Varnado is clearly more prolific at sending the ball back from where it came. Even more amazing is that Varnado needed 20 less games than Dampier to amass his current career total of 255 blocks.

But totals are one thing, is Jarvis Varnado a better shot blocker than Erick Dampier? The stats point to yes.

Per game statistics don’t tell the whole story as they don’t always indicate how a player performs with the minutes he is given. Dampier averaged 2.7 blocks per game for his career. So far, Varnado is swatting 3.5 per game.

Part of the deeper tale is how many blocks a player is getting in his minutes on the court. For his career, Dampier averaged 28.4 minutes per game. So far, Varnado is clocking in at 21.1 per. To even the playing field, let’s compare how many blocks each player swatted per 25 minutes on the court in each of their first three years.

Full Raw Data Spreadsheet

As you can see, while Dampier remained a consistent shot blocker throughout his three-year career (a 2.36 blocks per 25 minutes average), Varnado is improving his rate. Of course, the 08-09 sample is small as Varnado has only played four games against inferior competition. However, Jarvis’ rate increased 14.5% between his freshman and sophomore years, while Dampier’s went down 4.6%.

What percentage of opponent shots are blocked?

If the opponent is shooting more shots, then there are more opportunities for blocks. Part of assessing the shot blocking prowess of Dampier and Varnado is looking at what percentage of opponent field-goal attempts end up being blocked by those individual players. However, it’s hard to directly compare because Varnado only averaged 13.5 minutes per game his freshman year while Dampier averaged 23.4 minutes per game in his first season at Mississippi State.

I don’t have a way of measuring exactly how many shots were taken while Varnado and Dampier were on the court. I’m sure those in-depth statistics are kept by someone, but they are not available to me. So, for each respective season, I’ll adjust total opponent field goal attempts to match the ratio of each player’s average minutes to the full 40 minutes of a college basketball game. It’s an imperfect statistic, but it better compares the percentage of opponent attempts blocked when the players are averaging different amounts of minutes per game.

If you want to better understand, you can check the full data here. Similar to blocks per 25 minutes, Dampier’s numbers remain relatively flat throughout his career. I won’t necessarily discuss this current year for Varnado since, as mentioned, the sample size is so small. Dampier blocked about 6% of opponent shot attempts adjusted to his time on the court (6.13% career average). Varnado, in contrast, has sent back more than one out of every 10 opponent field-goal attempts adjusted for his time on the court (10.67% career average).

Block, but don’t foul.

Blocking shots is an art. A player must have discipline and cannot go after every shot that comes his way or he’ll be spending time on the bench, unavailable to help his team. So, an obvious comparison would be to look at how many shots a player blocks against how many fouls he is committing.

Raw Spreadsheet Data

Both players have similar blocks-per-foul ratios for their first seasons (Dampier – 0.79, Varnado – 0.91). However, in year two, when both players averaged similar minutes per game (Dampier 28.4, Varnado – 28.5), and when both players committed 99 fouls on the season, Varnado swatted 79 more shots than Big Damp.

SEC Record Book

Last year, Jarvis Varnado tied Shaquille O’Neal for most blocks by an SEC player in a season with 157, albeit O’Neal accomplished that number in four less games.

SEC Record Book [PDF]

Currently, with 255, Varnado ranks 9th on the SEC’s list for most career blocks:

  1. Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (90-92) – 412
  2. Kyle Davis, Auburn (01-04) – 360
  3. Lavon Mercer, Georgia (77-80) – 327
  4. Steven Hill, Arkansas (05-08) – 318
  5. Robert Horry, Alabama (89-92) – 285
  6. Dwayne Schintzius, Florida (86-90) – 272
  7. Jamaal Magloire, Kentucky (97-00) – 268
  8. Roy Rogers, Alabama (93-96) – 266

Will Varnado finish his career as the SEC’s all-time leader in shots blocked? Undoubtedly. For one, I simply cannot see Varnado jumping to the NBA after this season. If he were three inches taller, maybe. But the kid is still skinny and his offensive game has a long way to go. Of course, that’s not to say he can’t be in the league as a hustling, defending big who runs the floor like a gazelle, yet with not much offensive game to speak of. However, NBA players have the strength and know-how to avoid getting their shot blocked, so Varnado would be much better prepared for the next level with four full years of college seasoning.

If Varnado repeats his sophomore block amount of 157 in each of these next two seasons (which would total 538 career blocks), he’d not only shatter the SEC career record, but would also break the NCAA Division I career shots blocked record. (The list: Wojciech Mydra, Louisiana Monroe: 1998-2002 – 535; Adonal Foyle, Colgate: 1994-97 – 492; Tim Duncan, Wake Forest: 1993-97 – 481; Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown: 1988-92 – 453; Ken Johnson, Ohio State: 1997-2001 – 444).

With 19.7% of last year’s total through only four games, Varnado is well on his way to breaking more records. No, he won’t continue to face the North Alabamas and Fairleigh Dickinsons of the world, but I imagine that Varnado’s minutes, currently 24.5 per game (down 4 minutes from last year), will increase as the competition increases.

Either way, don’t blink Mississippi State fans, you may be watching the best shot blocker in college basketball history, much less Mississippi State school history.

Other Notes:

Varnado was also named the SEC player of the week, here are the media coverage links:

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, erick dampier, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Gearing Up For Basketball: The Mississippi State Bulldogs

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 24, 2008

Media days have come and gone. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are entrenched in preparations for a scrimmage this Saturday, and the first preseason game on Saturday, November 1st. There has been a lot of media coverage surrounding the Bulldogs, especially Jarvis Varnado. Below are the best excepts……the added commentary comes at no charge.

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Mark Gottfried’s eyes widened a bit when asked about Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado becoming an offensive threat this season………Varnado said he can hit a jump shot as far out as 15 feet.
[“Bulldogs’ Varnado broadens his game,” NE Mississippi Daily Journal – Brad Locke]

Still…..teams are going to give Varnado space, he needs to be ready to take advantage from the get-go.

“[Jarvis Varnado] leads by example for the most part with his effort every day,” [Rick] Stansbury said. “He’s not a guy we have to prod very often to get him to play hard. We just have to get him to play hard for more minutes…..He’s a good person and a good kid. Those kind of people you don’t have to worry about much. You don’t have to go to that whip very often with Jarvis.”
[“Varnado wants to be bigger offensive threat,” The Commercial Dispatch – Danny P. Smith]

Uhhh….coach? I know you consider the kids you coach horses….but I still don’t think you wanna talk about whipping black kids in the South….I’m just saying.

Varnado still seems to have that shot-swatting body – he’s still thin as a rail, maybe having gained five pounds in the off-season…..On the 20-minute flight to Birmingham on Wednesday from Starkville’s Bryan Field, he couldn’t even finish a sandwich from Arby’s……”I can eat two of them,” Stansbury said. “He can’t even eat one of them.”
[“A defensive threat, Varnado goes to work on his offensive game,” Clarion-Ledger – Kyle Veazey]

Wait, is Arby’s good for you? No matter…..just reading about Arby’s had my mouth salivating like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of a bell.

“I think the real strength is my creativity,” [Barry Stewart] he said. “You have to find a way to get your shot sometimes. If a (defensive) guy is playing me tight, I might use the big guys as a pick or to run plays off of. You also have to move without the ball.”
[“Stewart, Bulldogs shoot for SEC crown,” The Mississippi Press – Tommy Hicks]

Boy….if Stewart can become a Reggie Miller/Richard Hamilton type (on the college level), then this Mississippi State team can be scary….then again, Rick Stansbury coached teams have been offensively challenged in the past, and the Bulldogs haven’t had a knock-em-down shooter worthy of constantly running ball screens for in a long time.

“I love Dee Bost,” Stansbury said. “He’s got a chance to be as good as we’ve had and that’s a big statement. There’s not many holes in his game right now except he’s a freshman and he’s about 163 pounds. Besides that, he possesses everything that I want a guy to have right now. He’s got a toughness about him. He can defend that ball. He can score it. He’s a terrific passer. But he can defend that basketball, and I love that about him. He’s just young and new.”
[“SEC basketball: Blame the economy for sluggish ticket sales,” Memphis Commercial Appeal – Marlon Morgan]

Hey, I already like this kid better than Gary Ervin.


Suggested Reading:

Zebra Talk – Inside Mississippi State Sports with Brad Locke

Talk about getting grown….the college three point line has been extended a full foot.

“Donovan center of discussion over SEC’s best coach,” Orlando Sentinel – Jeremy Fowler

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »