Friday, November 2, 2012

Sobering Analysis of Effect of Gasser's Injury

Dan Henner has this very thoughtful post about the effect of Gasser's injuries on expectations for Wisconsin. According to Henner's detailed predictions, the injury drops Wisconsin from the 12th best team to the 33rd best team in the country:
[t]he loss of Gasser should get our attention for a number of reasons. First, Wisconsin was a Top 25 team in almost everyone’s preseason rankings, and their returning tempo free numbers suggested they were a borderline Top 10 team. So any injury for Wisconsin should get our attention nationally. But more importantly, Wisconsin doesn’t have any natural substitutes for Gasser in the lineup. He was expected to carry a tremendous load for Wisconsin as a ball-handler this season, and the type of players who will replace Gasser in the lineup have substantially lower expectations. Gasser might not be a preseason all-conference selection, but because of the drop-off at his position with Gasser not in the lineup, Wisconsin’s expectations now plummet. While the tempo free numbers suggested Wisconsin was the 12th best team in the nation prior to the injury, my model now pegs them as the 33rd best team in the country.
I still expect Wisconsin to be a top-25 team and hopefully make a run to the Sweet 16. But it's hard to argue with Henner's underlying analysis—the Badgers suffered a huge blow last Saturday.

Meanwhile, even with the injury to Gasser, the initial rankings put Wisconsin at 5th in the country—but 4th in the Big Ten.

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