December 17, 2007

Rebel bench a positive

It's a statistical measure with its root in hockey. The plus-minus rating has been helping hockey fans and players measure effectiveness in the simplest of terms.

Simply, it's a ratio showing a player's effectiveness on the ice.

Followers of the NBA may have seen the plus-minus rating shoot its way over from the ice, and places like YahooSports.com have begun to use the measurement in its box scores.

In simplest terms, the measurement shows the difference in the score while one player is on the court.

In Ole Miss' 76-71 win over Winthrop, it'd be easy to guess at whose plus-minus rating would be highest.

Senior forward Dwayne Curtis dominated when he touched the ball, hitting 10-of-12 shots for 22 points. He also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

It wasn't him.

Chris Warren is almost always one of the most important players on the Rebels (8-0), but it's not him either.

What the plus-minus rating shows from the Rebels' last win is something no one would say about the Rebels last season - this team is deep.

The three players with the best plus-minus ratings come off the bench.

Sophomore guard David Huertas had to play big minutes with Trevor Gaskins picking up two quick fouls.

In Huertas' 20 minutes on the floor, the Rebels outscored Winthrop by 14 points.

Senior forward Jermey Parnell and junior forward Terrence Watson didn't log big minutes like Huertas - Parnell played 10 and Watson seven - but the two players both finished with plus-7 in the plus-minus category.

Here's a full list at how the Rebels finished in the plus-minus category last Thursday against Winthrop:

Huertas +14
Watson +7
Parnell + 7
Warren + 6
Zach Graham +1
Curtis even
Brian Smith -1
Eniel Polynice -2
Gaskins -3
Kenny Williams -4

This doesn't mean Williams had the worst game or that Huertas had the best. In fact, it's not the most accurate measure of a game.

It doesn't take into account the things that don't result in points like not turning the ball over or playing tough defense off the ball.

But it does give a glimpse into one of this team's biggest strengths - its depth. Against Winthrop, Ole Miss got valuable minutes from each of the 10 players who played.

And it's that depth that will pay off as Ole Miss takes the next step towards the Top 25 and SEC play.

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