Free Brad Waldow, fouls, and down goes the Mountain West

Free Brad Waldow

In Brad Waldow's freshman season at Saint Mary's he posted a decidedly un-freshman like offensive rating of 121.8, using just about 20% of his team's possessions. As a sophomore his usage went up (22% of possessions) while his efficiency remained intact (118.7 oRtg). But in those two seasons he was playing beside Matthew Dellavedova. In St. Mary's high ball screen offense, he'd set a screen, roll, find himself with a half step on his man, and the ball would magically appear in exactly the right spot for him to go up and lay it in due to Delly's supernatural ability to play the pick and roll. It was easy.

So when Dellavedova left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, there was a lot of concern regarding Waldow's game. How much of his success was dependent on Delly?

It turns out – at least in the early going – not much.

Through four games Waldow has been decidedly high volume (26.7% of the possessions) and his offensive efficiency could only be described as filthy. He's making 70% of his 2s, and is drawing 7.0 fouls per 40, leading to an offensive rating of 144.8. Through those four games he's averaging 19.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3 blocks a game. If he keeps that kind of production up he could be St. Mary's first conference player of the year since, well, Matthew Dellavedova.

Fouls, fouls and more fouls

For better or worse, fouls will be a major story line this season. Personally, I like the new rules, and think they will benefit the game. Refs do appear to be going overboard however, and I've seen dozens of calls where the defender simply got run into by an offensive player only to watch that offensive player parade to the foul line. At some point, contact is going to have to be allowed. If it's unclear who initiated the contact, the default can't be to punish the defense.

Already this season we have 10 players who are averaging 4.67 fouls per game. This is something I'll chart throughout the season, and here is your fist leaderboard.

  FPG Player Yr Gms Team
t1 4.67 Cole Walton Fr 3 Sacred Heart
t1 4.67 Marquis Wright Fr 3 Siena
t1 4.67 Ashton Pankey So 3 Manhattan
t1 4.67 Dauson Womack So 3 Houston Baptist
t1 4.67 Tyrell Nelson Fr 3 Gardner-Webb
t1 4.67 Brandon Conley So 3 Oral Roberts
t1 4.67 Rhamel Brown Sr 3 Manhattan
t1 4.67 Michael Craig Sr 3 Southern Miss
t1 4.67 Eric Robertson So 3 Chattanooga
t1 4.67 Tate Stensgaard So 3 Western Illinois


It's early, but damn, Mountain West

Through the first few games the Mountain West is currently rated as the 10th strongest conference according to Ken Pomeroy. Last year they were 5th. They haven't been weaker than 7th in three years, and haven't been below 9th since Pomeroy began tracking things a dozen years ago.

And it can't be blamed in the new guys, either. Yes, San Jose State is terrible (No. 287 at Pomeroy), but Utah State is one of three top-50 teams in the conference. Here are there Pomeroy rankings from this year and last, ranked by biggest negative margins. I see you, UNLV, hiding behind Air Force.

Team 2012-13 2013-14 Difference
Air Force 98 254 156
UNLV 41 159 118
Colorado State 30 83 53
San Diego State 35 65 30
Wyoming 113 130 17
Fresno State 104 117 13
New Mexico 19 22 3
Nevada 177 179 2
Boise State 54 41 13
San Jose St. 315 287 28
Utah State 118 50 68