Scoring, winning & entertaining is all connected

Hoiberg, Fred_UMKC_2014-15_3

There’s been some debate this winter about the popularity of college basketball in an era when scores continue to plummet. Many final scores have left people scratching their heads.

Iowa State, under the direction of Fred Hoiberg, continues to buck that trend. The Cyclones are scoring 77.5 points in Big 12 play and are one of four league schools averaging at least 70 per game. That quartet – ISU, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia – has posted a 31-14 league record.

Scoring at least 70 points per game in league play is a good indicator of winning play. Here is some data from the other Power 5 Conferences:

  • ACC – five schools – with scoring norms above 70 in league action – have a 35-24 record
  • SEC – four schools have a 33-11 record
  • Pac-12 – four schools have a 32-11 record
  • Big Ten – three schools have a 25-10 record

Several times recently, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla has talked about coaches being creative on the offensive end. He believes creativity can lead to more scoring, which most fans enjoy. Each time Fraschilla has discussed the topic, he ends up citing Hoiberg and the Cyclones as a shining example of entertaining offense.The same thought that scoring is entertaining and successful plays in the National Basketball Association.

In the NBA, there are just 10 teams – Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Golden State, Houston, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix, Portland and Toronto – scoring more than 102 points per game. Those teams have won 67.2% of their games.

Scoring and winning and entertainment go hand-in-hand.

As people continue to debate the future of college hoops and how its rules impact scoring, I hope there is strong consideration to encouraging good offense.

Last night, there were 12 Division 1 teams that failed to score 20 points in the first half. In the Big Ten, Thursday’s halftime scores included 22-20, 26-19 and 23-19.

So far, there haven’t been many opinion shapers taking up the promotion of those games.


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