It is no secret that I am a big fan of breaking down statistics in sports. This stems from my background in baseball which is a game that relies heavily on the analysis of statistics. Baseball has even taken its analysis of statistics to another level with the ‘moneyball effect’ and this is slowly creeping into other sports. College basketball is no different and we now have statistical services tracking the hockey born and bred plus/minus statistic on the hardwood. The plus/minus is a very simple statistic to compute. When a point is scored, every player on the floor for the team scoring is credited with a “plus.” Every player on the floor for the team scored against gets a “minus.” A player’s overall total is calculated by subtracting the minuses from the pluses. This statistic offers a broad measurement on how valuable a player is when on the floor.
Below is Wyoming’s plus/minus chart per game for the season so far with stats courtesy of statsheet.com. For comparison purposes the highest plus/minus per game in college basketball this year (for those with 18 or more games played) is +20 by Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. The Mountain West is led by New Mexico’s Drew Gordon (+16.6) and UNLV’s Oscar Bellfield (+12.8) with our own Francisco Cruz ranking third at +11.3. Not surprisingly, every player who receives regular playing time has a positive rating due to the team’s stingy defense. Additionally, our best three offensive players Cruz, Martinez and Washington have the highest ratings on the team due to their scoring prowess. What do you take away from this information?