The Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix roll into Milwaukee tomorrow night with a KenPom ranking of 187, a record of 4-5, and the starkest of home-road splits: the Phoenix are undefeated at home, having defeated Wyoming, Illinois Chicago, Loyola Chicago and something called "Mary" (it's unclear if that's a school or if UWGB's first game was played against a solitary lady named Mary) in Green Bay and having dropped all five of their contests on the road. Green Bay's most recent contest came on Wednesday against the Badgers in Madison, where the Phoenix found themselves suffocated by Bucky's boa constrictor defense and on the wrong side of a 70-42 dumptrucking.
With a hat tip to StatSheet.com for the poop on the numbers, here's a brief, by-the-numbers look at Green Bay:
(1) Your offense is offensive. Green Bay is probably going to be one of the more offensively-challenged teams Marquette runs into this season: the Phoenix have an offensive efficiency of just 92.5 in 2011 (that's 0.925 points per possession, if you didn't want to do the math), and they're languishing at or near the bottom of the national rankings in almost every category on offense: Green Bay shoots just 39% overall from the floor (309th among D1 schools), making just 41% of their two-point attempts and converting a woeful 27% of their three-point attempts -- and if you remove the numbers for senior Steve Baker (12-25 from three) and junior big man Brennan Cougill (6-12 from deep), the percentages get downright scary.
UWGB's assist-to-turnover ratio is ugly (0.74), as they only average 10 assists per game while turning the ball over about 14 times per contest. To top it off, the Phoenix hardly get to the free throw line: Green Bay's free throw rate is just 26.5%, good for 320th in the nation, and they only shoot 65% from the charity stripe. Truth be told, the nicest thing you can say about Green Bay's attack is that they grab a fair number of their misses on the offensive glass (37.9%), which you'd probably expect from a team that misses as often as the Phoenix do. Slender sophomore seven-footer Alec Brown leads the charge on the glass, as he's collected 28 offensive rebounds thus far for an average of 3.1 per game.
(2) There's not much to write home about on defense, either. To be fair: the Phoenix aren't nearly as inept on the defensive end of the floor as they are on offense, but the defense isn't anything spectacular, save for the number of blocks Green Bay gets from its big men. The Phoenix hardly ever steal the ball from their opponents (8.7% steal percentage for the year) and they're right around the national average for shooting percentages allowed (41.3% overall, 32.8% from distance).
Green Bay does a pretty good job keeping the opponent off the boards, but the best thing UWGB has going for it on defense is the ability to alter shots in the paint: the Phoenix have 35 blocks on the young season (which ranks 86th in the nation), with Brown blocking 22 shots by himself thus far. That said: if Green Bay isn't able to block the shot, they're probably going to put you on the line. The Phoenix give up a free throw rate of 36.5%, and they've committed 171 fouls (or 19 per game) already. Brown leads in that category, too, averaging 2.8 fouls per game; Brown fouled out of Green Bay's loss to Indiana State and had four fouls in losses to North Dakota State and Virginia.
(3) Youth movement. Green Bay has five freshmen and five sophomores on its roster this year, and, though seniors Steve Baker and Jarvis Williams and junior Brennan Cougill start every game, the youngsters are getting plenty of action in the early part of the season: Brown averages 30 minutes a game (highest on the team), and fellow sophomores Daniel Turner and Terry Johnson gets 20 and 17 minutes per night, respectively. Meanwhile, freshman guard Keifer Sykes (23 mpg, 5.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.8 apg) has started from day one, while wing Aaron Armstead has started three games and gets 18 minutes of run per contest.