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Praise for The Basketball Distribution:

"...confusing." - CBS
"...quite the pun master." - ESPN

The Orange Are Okay.

Before we begin: credit to the numbers here go out to Daniel Myers @DSMok1 and his NCAA statistical plus-minus sheet. I have my own version (which I made about a day before his :), but it didnt' respond to Sports-Reference's reformatting very well.

If we assume that Melo's minutes get replaced by Christmas, and also slightly replaced by James Southerland, we see the following:

Efficiency Margin per 100 (with Melo having high Minutes%):  31.7
Efficiency Margin per 100 (with Melo's minutes replaced by Christmas, then Southerland): 30.4

This is a difference of -1.3 points per 100 possessions, or just -0.82 points per game, in total point margin. So Syracuse moves from a (rough statistical estimate:) #6 team to a #9 team.

Why does this happen?
I will show you.

I am just making some guesses here, but:

-Melo was playing 58% of Cuse's minutes beforehand...he missed a few games. So I bump this up to 74% to compensate/guesstimate.
-Also to compensate, I bump underrated James Southerland's minutes down by 0.1%, and Christmas' minutes down by 16%.

So we then get the following:

Orange are okay! Just probably underrated by impressionable bracketeers.

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