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CBS Sportsline Player Rankings: Big Men

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Shocking, I tell you, shocking!

Not really.  Gary Parrish is an unabashed Tyler Hansbrough fan which probably makes all the other fans who read his columns crazy.  If memory serves, these rankings are three years old and Parrish has ranked Hansbrough #1 among big men(centers in 2006) every time.  So, I should have nothing to complain about right?  Well I did find one thing:

It's possible the top three players in the country not named Stephen Curry are big men.

Ranked by hype, they look like this:

1. Tyler Hansbrough
2. Blake Griffin
3. Luke Harangody

Ranked by production, they look like this:

1. Luke Harangody
2. Tyler Hansbrough
3. Blake Griffin.

Ranked by NBA potential, they look like this:

1. Blake Griffin
2. Tyler Hansbrough
3. Luke Harangody

Ranked by me, they look like this:

(Don't forget to read the explanation on these rankings.)

1. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)

Why he's here: Hansbrough has his detractors, but you can't argue with the numbers. He has never averaged fewer than 18.4 points, never averaged fewer than 7.8 rebounds, and that he has done all this at a storied program while playing within the normal flow of the game is why he will go down as one of the best players in the history of the ACC, if not college basketball.

2. Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)

Why he's here: Yes, Harangody is more productive than Hansbrough, at least in terms of points and rebounds per minutes played. Harangody averaged 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 29.0 minutes last season while Hansbrough averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in 33.0 minutes. So as I pointed out in a column last month, I really don't think most people understand how dominant of a college player Harangody has become.

The one issue I have, which is probably a nitpick, is the idea that Notre Dame's Luke Harangody is more productive than Tyler Hansbrough.  Parrish uses something called "points and rebounds per minute" which means he took total points/rebound and divided them by minutes player to get his stat.  The argument Parrish is making is Harangody gives you more points/rebounds per minute on the court than Hansbrough does.  How much more?  Not much really:

Harangody-Points Per Minute: 0.70, Rebounds Per Minute: 0.36

Hansbrough-Points Per Minute: 0.68, Rebounds Per Minute: 0.31

So yes, by the numbers Harangody gives you slightly more points and rebounds for the time he spends on the floor.  The problem with this statistic is it does not account for efficiency which is really the rage of basketball statistics currently.  Ken Pomeroy has made a name for himself for posting all kinds of basketball stats in terms of efficiency.  ESPN, likewise, add a  "points per shot" column to the stats listed on their site which also points to general efficient.  In this case, Parrish says Harangody is more productive because he gives you more points/rebounds per minute albeit to a small degree.  What is missing is the fact Harangody touches the ball more than Hansbrough does but yet is less efficient with it.  Hansbrough shot 54% from the floor last season and had an offensive rating of 125.2 which is defined as the points scored per 100 possessions.  Harangody shot 50% from the floor and had an offensive rating of 110.2.  That basically means that for every 100 possessions Hansbrough will give you 15 more points than Harangody will.  In my mind that is far more productive than Harangody scoring two-tenths of a point more than Hansbrough per minute.

As I said it is a nitpick on my part.  Both are very good and if the bracket breaks right in Maui, UNC could face Notre Dame in the championship game affording us a rare opportunity to see two All-American big men face off.  A rare sight in these days of early defections to the NBA.