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Crunching the numbers during Georgia State’s streak

Curtis Washington is working his back into form for Georgia State.

Curtis Washington is one of the reasons behind Georgia State’s good defense.

If you missed my story yesterday on myajc.com or in today’s paper, Georgia State is playing historically good defense the past six games.

The Panthers have held each of their past six opponents to less than 30 percent shooting. No team has done that dating back to 1996-97. Only Kentucky has done it five consecutive games, and that it occurred earlier this year. No other team has even done it four times since STATS, Inc.’s database began keeping those records.

I thought it might be interesting to take a by-the-numbers look at the defense Georgia State is playing during this streak, compared to its season averages:

                                                    Streak           Season

Opp. points per game                 48.33               62.1

Scoring margin                            20.33              10.7

Opp. FG percentage                     27.0               38.0

Opp. 3-point FG percentage        23.0               32.0

Opp. 3-pointers per game             4.83                7.2

Opp. FT made per game              16.5                15.0

Rebounding margin                       3.5                 -0.8

Turnover margin                           4.33                4.9

Blocks per game by GSU               5.0                  4.3

A few things jump out.

The opponents’ points per game is almost 14 points less during the streak, resulting in a scoring margin increase of almost 10 points per game.

Why?

Because the opponents’ FG percentage is 11 points less, and their 3-point FG percentage is nine points less.

Combined with Georgia State’s improved rebounding margin, opponents aren’t getting a lot of second chances after they miss.

Were the teams that Georgia State beat during the streak good shooters?

Let’s take a look at a few key stats this season for each of the vanquished teams:

Opponent                          Points per game                FG percentage

Arkansas State                                     63.8                              40.8

Georgia Southern                                 70.6                             42.8

South Alabama                                    68.8                              41.9

Texas State                                            61.6                             40.3

Appalachian State                                 63.1                             39.0

It must be said this isn’t exactly like facing Loyola Marymount during its heyday.

The Mountaineers are the worst shooting team in the league. Texas State is 10th out of 11. The Red Wolves are eighth. The Jags are seventh.

The Red Wolves, Mountaineers and Bobcats are the three worst scoring teams in the league.

The only team that can score and shoot, Georgia Southern, handed Georgia State its sole loss during the six-game streak.

Still, Georgia State’s defense did what it was supposed to do against all six, so credit is deserved.

Now, can Georgia State keep it going?

Upcoming opponents          Points per game               FG percentage 

UALR                                                        68.8                                 41.6

Troy                                                          66.5                                 42.3

ULM                                                         65.8                                 43.9

Georgia Southern                                   70.6                                 42.8

Streaking the streak to seven will likely be tough. Of course, a defense that can hold someone to 30 percent is absurdly low number.

Kentucky, considered one of the defensive teams in college basketball history, is holding opponents to 34.2 percent this season.

Holding opponents to 35 percent might do the trick if you are a Georgia State fan.


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