Turnovers or Shooting - What's Eating Michigan State?

Turnovers are probably one, if not the most frustrating aspect of watching Spartan basketball games.  The Spartans are on the fast break! - and the outlet pass gets lodged in a tuba.  Someone drives toward the basket - traveling. Kalin's setting up a play - and Hightower gets told by a unicorn to call a five-second violation.  Make no mistake, turnovers can be costly.  In the games where Michigan State has had their six worst performances in regards to TO% (> 26.0% of possessions), they are 3-3.  Contrast that to MSU's six best performances in TO% this year (< 15.1% possessions), and MSU is...3-3.

Huh.  Could it be that MSU's performance is more independent of its TO% than in previous years?  More analysis after the jump.

First, let's take a look at MSU's record in previous years in their ten best and worst games in TO%.

Season Record with high TO% Record with low TO%
2009-2010 6-4 7-3
2008-2009 6-4 9-1
2007-2008 5-5 8-2
2006-2007 4-6 7-3
2005-2006 4-6 7-3
2004-2005 8-2 8-2
2003-2004 4-6 5-5
2002-2003 4-6 7-3
2001-2002 3-7 9-1
2000-2001 8-2 9-1
1999-2000 4-6 10-0

 

It appears that the current season is much like the seasons ending in 2001, 2004, and 2005: All seasons where the difference in win-loss record between high and low TO% was one game or less.  Let's analyze these three seasons to see if any of the other four factors can tell us what's going on.

Season Record with high OR% Record with low OR%
2009-2010 8-2 7-3
2004-2005 10-0 6-4
2003-2004 7-3 6-4
2000-2001 9-1 7-3

 

Well, offensive rebounding was a big help to the 2005 team, but not this iteration of Michigan State Basketball.

 

Season Record with high FTR Record with low FTR
2009-2010 8-2 6-4
2004-2005 8-2 6-4
2003-2004 6-4 4-6
2000-2001 9-1 7-3

 

Nothing significant here, each one of these teams had a difference of two games due to free throw rate.

Season Record with high eFG% Record with low eFG%
2009-2010 9-1 6-4
2004-2005 10-0 6-4
2003-2004 10-0 3-7
2000-2001 10-0 8-2

 

Now there's your significance.  In a stunner, when Michigan State shoots very well, they almost always win.  You can see why Izzo's been so incensed with shot selection the last couple days, as it appears that the Spartans have a greater chance to win with a high TO% then with a low eFG%.  Keep in mind the statistics aren't always exact - any comparison involving the 2000-2001 team will not show a lot of variation since they only lost five games, and, as always, nothing in basketball ever happens in a vacuum.  However, the statistics analyzed so far only deal with Michigan State's offense.  I wonder if a defensive statistic can be telling...

Season Record with high Opp. eFG% Record with low Opp. EFG%
2009-2010 5-5 10-0
2008-2009 5-5 10-0
2007-2008 4-6 7-3
2006-2007 3-7 10-0
2005-2006 4-6 9-1
2004-2005 5-5 10-0
2003-2004 3-7 9-1
2002-2003 4-6 10-0
2001-2002 4-6 10-0
2000-2001 7-3 10-0
1999-2000 8-2 10-0

 

Game, set, match.  While the correlation with turnovers and winning appeared flimsy, the relationship between opponents' effective field goal percentage and wins is much more sound.  While the Spartans' turnover problems during their first-half lulls aren't helping matters, their inability to help on defense in the paint and the perimeter is much more damaging, and the statistics bear this out.  So on Sunday, be a little concerned if Raymar commits a couple of turnovers, but be more concerned if he allows JaJuan Johnson to dunk repeatedly.

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