Syracuse-Michigan is the most recent national semifinal. Which ones are the best, though?

Visualing Mitch McGary’s season

Mitch McGary has been all over the news. He makes the team whole. He's one of the top freshman ever in the NCAA Tournament. He rides a unicycle!

A lot of this is hyperbole written by people who have watched him play parts of five games this season. When a story begins "The legend of Mitch McGary," then you know you've got a problem. But part of it is genuine. He's been a huge boost to the Wolverines.

Being a visual person, I started playing around with the data to see how to visualize his season. Reading about statistics is boring. My eyes glaze over. I'd rather have a simple, clear graph that illustrates the point. But graphs can cause problems as well. So many stories have graphs that are too busy or fail to be intuitive. Just make a point, and do it simply.

I started with just his average points per game, which looks like this:

That's a pretty boring graph. It gets the point across, I guess. He's hovered around six to seven points all season and then put together a few huge games in this tournament.

Here's another shot which his his point and rebound total for every game this season.

That's a little better. It's busy, but that's aright. It looks like he's only been shut out on the scoreboard once this year, and that his biggest games have come lately. His rebounds have been all over the place this year, but it looks like he had 10 or more at least eight times.

The last shot at visualizing his tournament impact is by looking at a 3-game running average of his points. That looks like this:

I like this one the best. It's clean. It really shows the tournament impact.

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