Between just us, here's a little secret: I didn't watch a second of Maryland's basketball game against St. Francis (Pa.?) on Friday night. I had a big exam on Saturday morning and, thus, watched Netflix and went to sleep early.
But what's cool about advanced statistics in basketball is they can paint - I think - a pretty reliable picture of how a game went. Specifically, the "four factors" that key team efficiency: effective field goal percentage (eFG%), turnover percentage (TOV%), offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%) and free throw attempts per field goal attempt (FT/FGA).
So let's try something: I'm going to say exactly what happened in the game, without looking at a single individual player's stat line. All I know is that Maryland won by a lot and that my roommates told me Ivan Bender got some minutes. And you'll tell me if this aligns pretty well with what actually happened at Xfinity Center. Cool? Cool.
Maryland: 77.2 eFG% / St. Francis: 35.5 eFG% / National average: 49.4 eFG%
Holy crabcakes! Maryland must have shot the lights out. A 77 percent eFG% is absolutely ginormous, and a 35.5 percent rate is, uh, not. It's virtually impossible not to win a game with that kind of shooting split between the teams. It must have been a lot of fun, huh?
Maryland: 14.5 TOV% / St. Francis: 15.8 TOV% / National average: 18.6 TOV%
This seems straightforward enough. Maryland didn't force many turnovers but also secured the ball pretty well, and it doesn't seem like anything all that frustrating could have happened here. Mark Turgeon was probably happy about it.
Maryland: 23.5 ORB% / St. Francis 32.5 ORB% / National average: 30.5 ORB %
Well, it seems like Maryland didn't do a terrific job on the glass. That's sort of discouraging against a tiny NEC team, but then again: How much does it matter if you never miss on offense and never give up made shots on defense? I suppose this is a wash.
Free throw attempts
Maryland: 0.543 FT/FGA / St. Francis 0.177 FT/FGA / National average: 0.373 FT/FGA
Oh, heavens. Melo Trimble must have spent, like, 45 minutes on the free throw line. But, wait: I was told he barely even played? It looks like Maryland got fouled on half its shots from the field and just lived on the line. That's a hallmark of a dominating performance. This must have been Maryland's best game of the season.
So, you tell me: Was this really how it was?
For a detailed accounting of Maryland's advanced-stats efforts in every game so far, go here.