USI and the GLVC, an update

Three undefeated men’s basketball teams remain in the Great Lakes Valley Conference: No. 11 University of Indianapolis (8-0), No. 4 Bellarmine (8-0) and No. 9 Kentucky Wesleyan (7-0). No. 14 Drury was undefeated until it lost 72-69 to No. 5 Western Washington in Las Vegas. Then it  lost again, falling 82-72 to unranked St. Mary’s (Texas), dropping Drury’s record to 7-2. And Maryville — a Princeton-offense-playing team very similar to the Nova Southeastern University squad that handed USI its first loss of the season — is now 10-2 with a pair of victories this week.

A quick look at the league stats shows USI leading in overall scoring average (87.4 points per game), just ahead of KWC (86.9); in overall rebounding average (44.0 per game); defensive rebounding average (28.1); and offensive rebounds per game (15.0). A most interesting number may be in 3-point shooting: USI ranks next to last in that category, at 30.3 percent, while archrival KWC leads at 44.3 percent.

More disturbing for the Eagles — they are next to last in 3-point shooting defense, giving up an average of 38.6 percent. The Nova Southeastern loss contributed mightily to that; Nova shot 10-for-25 (40 percent).

Sure, your eyes might glaze over with all those numbers, but they can go a long way in explaining why a team is playing well or not. They can also indicate future results. In other words, the GLVC season could turn out to be extremely difficult for USI if it doesn’t start “guarding the line” and improve its 3-point shooting defense. Three of the best teams in the league are already shooting over 40 percent in that area: KWC (44.3 percent), Drury (40.8) and Bellarmine (40.0).

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