Using kenpom as the reference point, we’ll look at what teams under performed in the W-L categories and could be primed for an improvement this coming year..
To show an example a group of teams that fit this criteria in 2008-2009 were:
West Virginia, Georgetown, Texas and Wisconsin. Be it a lack of chemistry or a lack of luck, they’re wins and losses did equate to as good of an on court performance would have suggested. They all responded with better performances in the standings in 2010. By using numbers to suggest who can bounce back, the amount of returning players is important, something all of the above named teams had a solid amount of. Which is why a team like Cal had better numbers than W’s and L’s but won’t be poised on improvement with their three best players moving on.
Minnesota ended the regular season with an underwhelming 18-12 record and it took a strong Big 10 tournament with a run to the final to get into the NCAA Tournament which resulted in a first round loss to Xavier. The Gophers will return their top leading players in minutes; Lawrence Westbrook and Damian Johnson. However there is room for optimism. They return seven scholarship players that logged extended minutes.
Minnesota proved to be a balanced team ranking 29th in offensive efficiency and 40th in defensive efficiency nationally. With Ralph Sampson JR and Colton Iverson returning up front the defense should remain strong even with their best defender (Johnson) gone. What sticks out is there was nothing Minnesota was terrible at. They were elite in two categories, one being shooting from deep, raking 11th nationally in 3 point efficiency. Returning are Blake Hoffarber, Devoe Jospeh, Paul Carter and Al Nolen. All four shot 39% or better. With that outside shooting coupled with Iverson and Sampson on the interior, the offense should make strides. The other, was blocking shots. And again with Iverson and Sampson back that will remain.
If the Gophers can do what they’re capable of with their size, which is rebounding the ball better (middle of the road offensively and defensively), they are capable of being a Top 20 team according to Kenpom and also likely be that caliber of team on the floor this season.