In the early part of the college basketball season, a lot of our time is spent trying to find signal amid the noise — be it the small samples of what our eyes see on the floor or what the numbers are saying. We’re seven games into the Friars’ season, and while that’s not nothing, it’s still not a great sample, especially considering the opposition PC has played this season.
Still, it’s enough information to try to make some determinations based on limited information. So, let’s play the famous icebreaker “Two Truths and a Lie.” I’m going to parse the information based on the games I’ve watched and what the stats are showing to determine two things that we’re seeing that are real and one that is not.
Truth No. 1: Bryce Cotton is the man.
It’s hard to convey just how good Bryce Cotton has been this season. This game log gives us some idea, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Get this: Bryce Cotton is sixth in the nation in Offensive Rating (through Tuesday’s games, courtesy Kenpom.com) among all players responsible for at least 28 percent of his team’s possessions when he’s on the floor. He’s one spot ahead of preseason All-Big 12 selection Pierre Jackson of Baylor and one spot behind preseason All-Big Ten selection Deshaun Jackson of Ohio State.
Replacing Vincent Council as the team’s primary ballhandler (and thereby becoming the team’s only ballhandler), Cotton has put up assist rates just slightly lower than Council’s last year while taking even better care of the ball than the Friars’ injured senior. (It’s only fair to note that Cotton’s competition has been much worse than what Council faced over the course of last season) He’s put up these performances while missing only two minutes of action in the six games he played, much like Council did last season (indeed Council only sat 10 total minutes in the 18 Big East games he suited up for). It’s probably just a mild exaggeration to write that Cotton has been a better-shooting version of Council.