[EDIT: Ken Pomeroy posted a treatise on plus-minus which pointed out there’s a great deal of error inherent in the use of +/- data, something which has also been pointed out to me by John Ezekowitz. At this point, I’d advise you to take everything I wrote below with a huge grain of salt. And I doubt you’ll be seeing any more +/- analysis from me.]
About a month ago, I predicted that Duke would be fine without Kyrie Irving. My reasoning was that, in the games while Irving was still healthy, Duke had actually performed better with Irving on the bench than they had while he was on the floor – about 7 net points per 40 minutes better. Well, since the toe became The Toe, Duke has actually played ever so slightly better, with a post-Irving-injury adjusted efficiency margin of 39, compared to 37 with Irving:
Obviously that difference is insignificant, but the main point is that, so far, they’ve been fine.
I fear Washington’s prognosis for life without Abdul Gaddy is not so optimistic. The same +/- data that soothed Blue Devil worries paints an uglier picture for the Huskies (click to enlarge):
Whereas Duke was 7 points per 40 minutes better with Irving on the bench, Washington has been almost 7 points per 40 minutes better with Gaddy in the lineup. Some of the Twitter buzz hoped that the injury would give freshman CJ Wilcox a spot in the limelight. That’d be great, as he has a team-high 131.8 ORtg in his limited time. Taking a quick look at his +/- data, though, Washington has struggled with him in the game, despite his good offensive rating. A safe bet here would be that Wilcox’s defense is a step down from Gaddy’s, though the KenPom individual stats don’t paint a big defensive difference between the two, other than Wilcox’s more frequent fouling. Whatever the reason for the struggles, somebody will have to step up if Washington hopes to retain its lofty rating. If I’m Seth Davis, I’m changing my Washington grade from BUY to HOLD.
[On a side note, it’ll be a shame if this injury does end up impacting Washington, as I expect it to. The Huskies were looking like a great ratings litmus test, as they were in the top 5 in both Pomeroy and Sagarin’s PREDICTOR, yet #23 and unranked in the two major polls. Now watch, instead of tearing through the Pac-10 like their namesake through the Delaware, they’ll decline due to the impact of this injury, and the “you either win or lose” crowd will get a chance to trumpet their demise as a black mark against predictive ratings.]