Senior-Heavy Big 10, By the Numbers

[Bumped for pregame reading. -KJ]

It is pretty well known that most of the league's best players this year are seniors and that there will be a lot of turnover next year, so I thought it would be interesting to find out just how much each team in the conference relies on seniors.  The following table shows a breakdown (by percentage) of the points and minutes each team gets from seniors (numbers current as of 2/18/11):

Team Seniors % Minutes % Points
PSU Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones, Steve Kirkpatrick 65.5% 77.5%
Illinois Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole 54.6% 56.7%
Purdue JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore 34.1% 52.4%
Wisconsin Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz, Brett Valentyn, JP Gavinski, Wquinton Smith 45.5% 48.7%
MSU Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Mike Kebler 33.6% 42.2%
OSU John Diebler, David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, Eddie Days 41.9% 36.3%
Minnesota Blake Hoffarber, Al Nolen 25.2% 26.2%
Northwestern Michael Thompson, Mike Capocci, Jeff Ryan, Ivan Peljusic 26.3% 24.4%
Iowa Jarryd Cole, TJ Sayre 12.1% 10.6%
Indiana Jeremiah Rivers 11.4% 5.3%
Michigan None 0.0% 0.0%

Here are the league averages:

Minutes Points
34.9% 37.6%

Some notes:

  • If you factor in Sullinger for OSU (who is likely to leave after this year), both numbers jump to well above 50%.
  • PSU and Illinois will lose the most after this year.  PSU's top 4 scorers are seniors and Illinois' top 3 scorers are seniors.  After the seniors, PSU only has 1 player who plays over 17 minutes per game (Tim Frazier), and he averages 5 points per game.  Illinois is in a little better shape, but Richardson, Paul, and Richmond the only significant non-senior contributors.
  • The difference between the two numbers is interesting as well, which illustrates how heavily the seniors carry the scoring burden relative to their minutes.  For most teams, the numbers are pretty close, which makes sense.  The big outlier, however, is Purdue.  Johnson and Moore only play 34.1% of the minutes, but they score 52.4% of the points.  This means that while Purdue will only lose 2 players, those players score a disproportionate amount of points relative to minutes played.  Purdue's 3rd leading scorer, Lewis Jackson, averages 7.6 per game.  On the flip side, OSU has the largest spread in the opposite direction, with its seniors contributing fewer points relative to their minutes, as Sullinger and Buford are the leading scorers.
  • The MSU angle: relative to the rest of the league, MSU is right in the middle of the pack for its reliance on seniors (5th in points, 6th in minutes).  Right now, MSU has a very good balance, with 3 seniors, 3 juniors, 2 sophomores, and 2 freshmen making up the playing rotation.
  • Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan will basically return every significant contributor next season.  Not surprisingly, the youngest teams also find themselves at or near the bottom of the standings.

The senior-heavy nature of the league this year jumps out even more when compared to last year's numbers.  Here is a table comparing each team's senior contributions for last year and this year:

% Minutes % Points
Team 2010 2011 2010 2011
PSU 0.0% 65.5% 0.0% 77.5%
Illinois 5.7% 54.6% 6.4% 56.7%
Purdue 27.5% 34.1% 20.1% 52.4%
Wisconsin 34.5% 45.5% 40.2% 48.7%
MSU 14.6% 33.6% 16.4% 42.2%
OSU 17.0% 41.9% 12.3% 36.3%
Minnesota 28.5% 25.2% 33.8% 26.2%
Northwestern 17.2% 26.3% 12.9% 24.4%
Iowa 7.5% 12.1% 5.1% 10.6%
Indiana 10.4% 11.4% 10.0% 5.3%
Michigan 20.9% 0.0% 32.2% 0.0%
  • Last year, Wisconsin had the highest percentages of both minutes and points from seniors.  This year, those totals would rank Wisconsin 5th and 6th, respectively.
  • Michigan is the only team that saw a significant decrease in senior production from last year to this year, which can essentially be attributed to Manny Harris' decision not to return for his senior year.
  • Iowa and Indiana have now gone basically 2 years in a row with no significant contributions from seniors, a product of the insane player turnover for those programs recently.

Finally, the differences for the league averages are striking:

% Minutes % Points
2010 2011 2010 2011
18.4% 34.9% 18.9% 37.60%
  • From last year to this year, the minutes and points scored by seniors in the league have basically doubled.

So, does this mean anything besides being interesting?  I think the biggest significance is that there will be a lot of turnover at the top of the league and very little at the bottom of the league next year.  The top 3 teams this year (OSU, Purdue, and Wisconsin) will all have massive holes to fill, especially depending on any early departures (such as Sullinger, Buford, and Jordan Taylor).  Two teams from the middle of the pack (PSU, Illinois) will lose nearly every significant contributor.  For all of those teams, a lot of returning players who have not been major contributors will be playing much larger roles, along with the incoming freshmen.  All of that points to the league being more "wide open" next year than in recent memory. 

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

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