Ranking the 10 Craziest College Basketball Stats from the Past Decade
College basketball may not have baseball's granular statistics about leading the league in on-base percentage in the month of June in afternoon games played at home against left-handed pitchers, but there have still been some staggeringly impressive statistics posted over the past decade.
The young man in the above picture is J.J. Barea from his days at Northeastern. During his senior year, Barea averaged 21.0 points and 8.4 assists per game while posting the highest single-season assist rate of the past decade.
And he arguably didn't even have the most impressive statistic among Northeastern players in that particular season.
Read on to find out what that stat was and where it ranks (in conjunction with Barea's great year) in our list of the craziest college basketball statistics of the past decade.
10. Dallas Lauderdale's Field-Goal Percentage
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take, but it turns out you also make a very high percentage of the shots you do take when pretty much all you do is dunk.
Dallas Lauderdale was hardly a scoring machine. He finished his four-year career at Ohio State with nearly as many blocks (213) as made field goals (246). But he "shot" 73.4 percent from the field over the course of those four seasons.
The 2009-10 season was his most effective for the Buckeyes. He averaged 6.5 points per game with a field-goal percentage of 77.3. As he didn't attempt a single three-pointer in his career, that was also his effective field-goal percentage (eFG) for that year, which was the highest single-season eFG of the past decade by a rather considerable margin.
In 2008-09 as well as in 2010-11, Shane Johannsen of Northern Arizona had an eFG of 72.7. He and Lauderdale are the only players in the past 10 years to play at least 60 percent of the team's minutes and post an eFG of 71.5 or better.
The irony here is that Lauderdale was actually an atrocious shooter. During his time at Ohio State, he shot just 41.0 percent from the free-throw line.
Makes you wonder why teams didn't start hacking him every time he appeared to be contemplating a dunk. On average, his field-goal attempts were worth 1.47 points, but he was only good for 0.82 points for every two free-throw attempts.
9. Connecticut's Block Percentages
Forget about Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier.
The real key to Connecticut's success over the past 20 years has been exceptional interior defense.
This past season, the Huskies blocked 15.2 percent of opponent's two-point field-goals attempts, ranking 12th in the nation. In that category, it was one of their worst years in recent history.
From 2002-2012, Connecticut ranked top three in the nation in block percentage nine out of 10 times, including five straight years at No. 1 from 2003-2008.
Be it Hilton Armstrong, Josh Boone, Andre Drummond, Emeka Okafor, Alex Oriakhi or Hasheem Thabeet, Jim Calhoun perpetually had at least one of the best shot-blockers in the country on his team. And the trend has continued for Kevin Ollie with Amida Brimah anchoring one of the country's top defenses last year.
While we're on the subject of Connecticut, another crazy stat is that the Huskies played 41 games during the 2010-11 season. A 40-0 record is the goal for a perfect season, but they had to play an "extra" game by making that five-game run through the Big East tournament before going on to win the national championship.
8. Bo Ryan Fundamentals
Including this coming season, North Carolina has landed 19 ESPN 100 recruits since the summer of 2009. With all of those studs, Roy Williams has compiled a record of 130-52, making it to the NCAA tournament four out of five times, including two Sweet 16 appearances and no Final Fours.
Then there's Bo Ryan and Wisconsin.
Over the past six summers, Ryan has signed a total of three ESPN 100 recruits—and Jarrod Uthoff didn't play a single game for the Badgers before transferring to Iowa. With a bunch of unknown kids coming out of high school, Wisconsin is 128-48 and has been in all five NCAA tournaments, including three Sweet 16 appearances and a Final Four.
That isn't meant to be a slight against Williams, but rather a testament to the fact that Ryan's fundamental system is incredible.
Say what you will about the slow tempo, but the Badgers have ranked in the top five in the nation in offensive turnover percentage in six straight seasons. They have also been in the top 30 in defensive rebounding percentage for eight straight years.
It'd be one thing if Wisconsin was consistently putting up those numbers with the biggest, strongest, fastest and most-talented players in the country. But to get such efficient numbers from players who mostly have no hope of ever playing a game in the NBA is pretty crazy and should tell you all you need to know about how great of a coach Bo Ryan has been.
7. VMI's Entire Way of Life
When Duggar Baucom became the head coach before the 2005-06 season, the Keydets were nothing short of a train wreck of a basketball program. Over the previous six seasons, they had a combined record of 50-120.
Clearly, trying to win conventional games of basketball wasn't working.
Baucom wondered: What if we play at hyper speed?
In his second season as the head coach, VMI had an adjusted tempo of 90.9. The second-fastest tempo for that season was Northwestern State at 75.6. Other than VMI, Texas State (80.1 during the 2007-08 season) is the only team in the past decade to eclipse 80.
Not only was VMI averaging more than 90 possessions per game that season, but the slowest paced team (Princeton) had a tempo of 52.9. Oddly enough, those two extremes squared off that November, resulting in a 73-possession game.
But the team still wasn't winning many games, posting a 14-19 record that season. Baucom decided to turn down the pace a smidge and crank up the three-point attempts.
Two years later, 54.4 percent of VMI's field-goal attempts were of the three-point variety—the highest such ratio of the past decade.
If you thought Creighton shot a lot of three-pointers last season, the Bluejays' ratio was only 44.5 percent. And keep in mind that VMI was still playing at a much faster pace than Creighton did last year. In total, the Keydets attempted a mind-boggling 1,224 three-pointers that year—an average of 38.3 per game!
Though it may seem about as gimmicky as the Grinnell System, VMI went 24-8 that season—its only year with a winning percentage of .630 or better since the 1970s.
6. Kenneth Faried's Rebounding Percentages
I want to put this one higher on the list because it was one of the most jaw-dropping stats that I researched. But unfortunately, there's a pretty rational reason for it.
Kenneth Faried spent four years at Morehead State. In each of those four years, he ranked in the top eight in the entire country in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage. In total, he averaged one rebound for every 2:22 spent on the court.
For sake of comparison, Jared Sullinger needed 3:12 per rebound during his two years at Ohio State.
Here's the catch, though: During the entirety of those four years, Faried was the only Morehead State player taller than 6'7" to log more than 50 minutes played.
I'm not saying he wasn't a great rebounder—the 11.7 rebounds per 36 minutes that he has posted in three seasons in the NBA would obviously suggest that he's pretty good at tracking down missed shots—but it has to be noted that Faried was really the beginning and the end of the interior presence for the Eagles. If anyone on the team was fighting for a rebound, it was Faried.
Still, bravo. It's not like his opponents were made up entirely of short people, so he still had to work hard.
Here's a fun nugget of information to show how good he was: Faried grabbed 200 offensive rebounds his senior year (2011-12). This past season, Wyoming's entire roster grabbed 171 offensive rebounds.
5. Northern Colorado's 3-Point Shooting
Over the past six seasons, Northern Colorado has typically been one of the better three-point shooting teams in the nation, ranking in the top 50 in team three-point percentage in each of those years.
But leading the nation at 45.1 percent for the 2011-12 season was pretty darn impressive.
To put it in perspective, Creighton led the nation this past season by making 41.4 percent of its three-pointers. On average, a Creighton three-point attempt was worth 1.243 points, whereas a Northern Colorado three-point attempt was worth 1.353.
A difference of 0.11 points might not sound like much, but Creighton attempted 859 three-pointers last season. If the Bluejays shot as well as Northern Colorado did three years ago, they theoretically (without accounting for offensive rebounds) would have scored an additional 94.5 points last season.
Even more impressive about what the Bears of Northern Colorado accomplished is that everyone was in on the act. They didn't have some Stephen Curry character shooting better than 50 percent and taking 70 percent of the shots. They had six different players who attempted at least 15 three-pointers. Five of them shot 44.8 percent or better, and the sixth was no slouch at 39.4 percent.
Tate Unruh (pictured above) was the primary three-point threat, making 60 of his 130 attempts that season.
Of course, it didn't help the Bears win many games. Thanks to one of the worst defenses in the country, they went 9-19.
4. Charles Garcia: Foul Magnet
Charles Garcia played just one year of D-I ball, but he drew more fouls in that 2009-10 season with Seattle than many players draw in four full years.
Like most people, when I think about college basketball players who draw a ton of fouls, I think about Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough ranked in the top 10 in the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes in each of his four years with the Tar Heels.
Hansbrough's highest rate was 8.1 during the 2007-08 season.
Garcia drew 10.4 fouls per 40 minutes. No other player in the past decade has had a higher rate than 9.4.
While playing just 26.0 minutes on average, Garcia averaged 9.8 free-throw attempts per game. My personal favorite was an early January game in which he scored 34 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had 18 free-throw attempts while committing just two fouls of his own—and the Redhawks still lost the game.
Garcia bolted for the draft that summer, but has yet to appear in a regular-season NBA game.
3. Derek Raivio's Free-Throw Shooting
Love it or hate it, free-throw shooting is one of the most important parts of college basketball. In the six games leading to last year's championship, Connecticut incredibly shot 87.8 percent from the free-throw line, scoring 23.5 percent of its tournament points from the charity stripe.
In general, shooting 70 percent from the free-throw line is slightly better than average, 80 percent is quite solid and 90 percent is "Whatever you do, don't foul that guy."
But Derek Raivio was in a completely different class of one-point shooters.
In his four-year career at Gonzaga, Raivio shot 92.7 percent from the free-throw line. But rather than following in J.J. Redick's footsteps and becoming a bit fatigued as a senior, Raivio's best year was his last one when he shot 96.1 percent (148-of-154).
I'm lucky if I can eat a meal without staining an article of clothing 24 out of 25 times, but that's how effective Raivio was from the free-throw line that season.
2. Northeastern's 2005-06 Season
What are the odds of two players from the same team in the same season leading the nation for the entire decade in two wildly different statistics?
I have no clue, but Northeastern did it during the 2005-06 season.
Shawn James averaged 6.53 blocks per game and 9.52 blocks per 40 minutes—both of which are the highest of the past 10 years. Alabama A&M's Mickell Gladness almost matched him with 6.27 blocks per game in 2006-07, but no one else came within one full block of either of those records.
(He somehow didn't set the record for block percentage, though, because opponents attempted a ridiculous amount of two-pointers against Northeastern despite James' presence in the paint.)
And at the other end of the stat spectrum was J.J. Barea's assist rate of 54.2 percent.
Assist rate is calculated as number of assists divided by number of field goals made by teammates while a player is on the court, and Barea is one of just two players to have an assist rate higher than 50.0 percent in the past nine years. Jason Brickman averaged 10.0 assists per game this past season and had an assist rate of 52.5 percent.
(Barea "only" averaged 8.4 assists per game during the 2005-06 season because he was himself responsible for 21.0 points per game.)
Despite having one of the greatest point guard-center combos imaginable, Northeastern went just 19-11 that season and failed to make the NCAA tournament.
1. Micah Mason's 2013-14 Three-Point Shooting
Over the past decade, there have only been a few players who have attempted at least 100 three-pointers in a season while making at least 52.0 percent of them.
Salim Stoudamire pulled it off during the 2004-05 season, making 52.5 percent of his 204 attempts for Arizona that year. Harris Mansell did a bit better, hitting 53.0 percent of his triples during the 2006-07 season for Rider. And T.J. Campbell shot a very impressive 54.5 percent for Portland in 2008-09.
But Duquesne's Micah Mason takes the cake by shooting a cool 56.0 percent from behind the arc last season. The Dukes didn't win very many games last season (13 in total), but Mason shot 65.0 percent in wins.
We have to put an asterisk next to his name in the history books, though, because he broke his freaking shooting hand less than two weeks into the season.
Talk about recovering nicely from an injury.
Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.
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