Back to this again, because the trend continues to be important. Two games later, we're 42nd defensively at 0.930 PPP (adjusted for schedule).
When you look at this on a relative basis, dividing the opponent's PPP by their schedule-adjusted average PPP, you can look at a game-by-game trend for the season to this point:Note that a ratio of 1 means we let the opponent score exactly their average PPP, so above 1 is bad and below 1 is good.
It appears that ETSU (December 23rd), a game we narrowly won at home, was the turning point. After that game we were 5-6 with an RPI rank in the high 200s, and the natives (especially me) were highly restless. After ETSU the defense would improve and never
be as bad as it was before. Now this doesn't map perfectly to wins and losses because the offense has been a little worse overall and woefully inconsistent. Of course there are still games to play but all indications are that this is now a team that will hold opponents to less than their typical offensive output.
The original post was made just after the Oakland loss, which was just the beginning of a maddening month of bad basketball. ReVOLver asked for an update right after the UConn game, and my next update was after the South Carolina game (ironically our worst defensive effort since December).
With five games to go, sitting at 14-12, we need the defense to keep this up. If it does, we are likely NIT-bound and have an ever so slight chance of clawing our way to the NCAAT bubble.