Here are the depth ratios for the 11 Big Ten teams during this past conference season:
This would further illustrate that, while depth appears to be a preqrequisite to success for Izzo-led teams, that’s not necessarily true for all college basketball teams. Of the four NCAA Tournament teams from top four teams in the Big Ten besides MSU, Purdue led the league in depth ratio, but IU, Wisconsin, and Ohio State were all in the bottom four. (Iowa basically only had seven players this season, putting their depth ratio off the charts.)
Note that the three teams that were successful with a lack of depth all do things that Izzo doesn’t want his team doing under ideal circumstances: relying on one or two stars to carry the team (IU), playing a deliberate half-court game on offense (Wisconsin), and playing a zone defense (Ohio State).
The excellent depth ratio numbers posted by Penn State and Michigan point to a previously-observed problem with measuring depth: The fact that you have nine guys playing significant minutes can mean that you have nine good players. It can also mean you only have two or three good players and, beyond that, you might as well play seven or eight other guys on your roster fairly equally because they’re all uniformly mediocre.
Next week’s tempo-free historical inquiry: Pace.