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When stats don’t tell the whole story

What to make of Wednesday’s Louisville-West Virginia game?

The Cardinals (15-4 overall, 4-2 in the Big East) are coming off a surprising loss at Providence, in which their defense couldn’t force many turnovers and they couldn’t get the Friars to run much.

In terms of efficiency, they’re even with West Virginia during Big East play. Both teams feature a 0.09 efficiency margin. Still …

The Mountaineers (13-5, 4-2) get to play at home, but few teams have more issues right now. Freshman Noah Cottrill quit, sophomore Dan Jennings is a “non-entity” right now, and senior Casey Mitchell – their best player – is suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

All of which is to say, I’m not buying that efficiency margin for today’s game. That’s a good example of how you can’t take numbers at face value, no matter how convincing they are.

But hey, John Gasaway admits as much in this week’s Tuesday Truths (the basis for those efficiency margins). Thus the crooked eyebrow at St. Mary’s impressive .29 margin. That is the same team that just got smoked by Vandy, right?

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.