Big East Player of the Year Race

With less than one week of games remaining, we’re down to the home stretch of the Big East season. Marquette finds itself in unprecedented territory boasting not one but two candidates for Big East Player of the Year.

We made the case for Jae Crowder last week — as has the great Cracked Sidewalks blog, Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale — while some national pundits like ESPN’s Jason King believe DJO is still ahead at the moment, with the ever present Kevin Jones lurking in the shadows with his impressive numbers.

Some of us, and by us I mean myself, are not very good when it comes to interpreting numbers. I’m a more visual kind of guy and need to see pretty pictures to fully understand concepts. With this in mind, I crunched some basic box scores and charted the results for some visual analysis.

We begin with Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette’s leading scorer and resident shot maker. To get his chart I added up his points, rebounds, assists and steals in Big East play last year then did the same with this  year’s numbers. I know there are much more effective measures of not only effectiveness but impact, but I stuck to some of the more down to earth stats like the plebeian that I am.

I wanted to see if DJO was playing better than he was last year and if so by how much. By comparing the past two years, I could determine if his improved recognition had more to do with better play, or Marquette’s higher win total.

This graph shows that on the whole, DJO has been better than last year, reaching a higher high, and not having as dramatic a low — which happens to be last Friday’s game where he was suspended for a half. His three highest “cumulative point totals” — CPT for lack of a better term — have come this season and his conference CPT is only 6 below last year’s with two games to play (422-416).

Next up is the artist formerly known as #Jaemazing, temporarily dubbed Jaewarrior after seeing this tremendous drawing on Twitter.

The graph clearly shows the dramatic improvement, putting up only three lower  CPT scores in 16 games. Numerically, he is already 77 points better than last year, and as you’ll notice, he put up two clunkers to end the conference season so playing just an average game for him should put Crowder at least 100 CPT points better than last year.

Now comes the tough part, having to choose which child you love most. For this graph I only used 2012 numbers, the only ones used for judging this season’s BEPoY.

And it’s Crowder quite handily. He posted a higher CPT score in 11 of 15 games, and save for a massive dip in the Notre Dame game, has been steadily increasing his productive capacity. Jae is also finishing much stronger than his teammate, scoring higher CPT scores in five consecutive games. DJO has been very consistent this season, but Crowder definitely has the head to head edge.

Now, what if we were to throw KJ — Kevin Jones — into the equation?

KJ had a seven game stretch of absolute domination just after the start of the Big East season, giving him a huge lead over the field from the get-go. Since then, however, Jae Crowder has gotten the best of him in five consecutive contests. The CPT leaderboard stands at KJ-8, Jae-7, DJO-1 with Marquette yet to play its 17th conference game. When you factor in that Marquette is 13-3 in the conference while the Mountaineers are 8-9, you can definitely see how the tide has turned in Crowder’s favor.

There are still games left to play, though, and as the Golden Eagles has proven time and time again, no lead is safe when Marquette is involved.


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