Canisius, MAAC Shines in Low-Major Value Add Top 100

This is a guest post from John Pudner on mid-season Value Add. You can check out his work on the site. But here’s a dive into some of the teams. (Please note: Low-major is a distinction that Pudner uses to designate the divide in his player rankings. I’m not a huge fan of the moniker, but the context does provide some interesting insight as well.)

Canisius shines in Value Add rankings this week as the only low major team with two of the top 100 players in all of basketball through Monday’s game. Billy Baron has been the best in the country since Christmas to come in at #6 overall and #1 in the Low Major rankings. The top 100 Low-Major players list features 9 MAAC players, 6 from the NEC, 5 from the Ivy League and 2 from the American East.

MAAC: Canisius has the perfect inside-out combination with 6-foot-10 Jordan Heath coming in as the 92nd best player in the country and 40th best Low-Major player. However the great duo will have to carry almost all of the weight to win the MAAC as no other Canisius player is among the top 25 MAAC players.  Iona has four of the top 15 and Manhattan has four of the top 20 including the second best player in George Beamon. (Check out all of the low-major players here.)

IVY LEAGUE: Harvard looks dominant in the Ivy League, boasting not only the biggest star in Wesley Saunders (17th best Low Major, 52nd overall), but six of the top 18 players in the league. However Columbia’s trio of Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg and Grant Mullins are among the six best in the league, so don’t be surprised if either Columbia or a typically balanced Princeton team can pull out a win against Harvard at least at home.

AMERICAN EAST: In the American East, Jameel Warney has been one of the top front court players in all of basketball and ranks 9th of all Low-Major players. Combined with three of the AE’s other top 14 players (Eric McAlister, Carson Puriefoy and Anthony Jackson) they look tough. However, Vermont looks a little stronger with three of the top five players in the conference (Clancy Rugg, Sandro Carissimo and Peter Hooley) in what looks to be a pure two-team race for the title.

NORTHEAST: The talent is much more evenly spread out in the Northeast Conference, with the top seven players coming from six schools. Robert Morris is the only school with two of the top seven (Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones in the top five), so probably has the edge despite a 7-10 mark against a vicious schedule including Kentucky avenging last year’s NIT upset. However, Bryant has four of the top 12 players in the conference (Dyami Starks, Alex Francis, Corey Maynard and Joe O’Shea) and St. Francis Brooklyn will likely go as far as Jalen Cannon can take them.

EXPLANATION OF RATINGS: The simple explanation of the Value Add rankings is that the number (14.09 Low-Major Value Add for Billy Baron here) estimates the change in the margin of each game if the player was replaced by a Low-Major 9th or 10th man. Canisius tied Notre Dame through regulation, so in theory if Baron had not played they would have lost by 14 points. In that particular game (Baron had 33 points, 6 steals, 6 rebounds and 5 assists) he had an even bigger impact. If you switch to the overall page you see that Baron is the sixth best player in the country with a 8.21 Value Add, which means the University of Virginia is probably about eight points worse a game because Baron did not continue his career there – basically the guy getting Baron’s minutes at UVa is going to be six points better than the guy who would have had to replace him at Canisius. So UVa would have probably pulled the upset at Duke this week if Baron was still there.

Thanks to John Pudner for this guest post. You can check out all the of the Value Add rankings on the site. It’s pretty interesting stuff.