Mark Matthews is Denver's Density: Pioneers' Scoring Distribution

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 28: Henry Miketa #35 of the Denver Pioneers walks off the field with the team after losing to to the Virginia Cavaliers 14-8 at M&T Bank Stadium on May 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Last year, I did a bunch of these distribution/share charts:

The idea behind them is to try and crack another statistical nut: Points, goals, and assists on a stat sheet only show us the final generation; a distribution/share chart show us which players are working best together to generate tallies (if players are working together at all). For example, if I see that Pannell had six goals and four assists in a game, how did he get his six goals? Where did his four assists end up? A cumulative box score, because it's a treacherous fool, doesn't always give us that.

It may be a little early in the season to pull one of these together, but whatever; I don't have anything better to do and as you're reading this, you obviously have time on your hands. (Which reminds me: You need a hobby. May I suggest model ship building or actual ship building? They both keep idle hands active (one providing more calluses than the other).) I decided to take a look at Denver, mostly because the Pioneers have dumped in a bunch of goals this season. Admittedly, two-thirds of their schedule so far has been abysmal, but I'm not trying to define what is going into a great offense, but rather trying to figure out who is doing what with whom thus far for those Western slingers of guns.

It should come as no surprise that Mark Matthews has been the hub to which the Pioneers have been generating its offense in 2012. Alex Demopoulos is a close second, but he's still more a spoke than a core. The following chart illustrates Denver's scoring distribution on the year. It's pretty easy to understand. For example, Demopoulos and Jeremy Noble have hooked up for a score three times this season (Demopoulos has provided Noble with one assist; Noble has provided Demopoulos with two).

DENVER'S SCORING DISTRIBUTION
RANK TANDEM FREQUENCY
1. Matthews-Unassisted 4
2. Demopoulos-Noble 3
Flint-Unassisted 3
Matthews-Law 3
5. Carraro-Unassisted 2
Demopoulos-Unassisted 2
Law-Archer 2
Law-Berg 2
Demopoulos-Law 2
Law-Flint 2
Matthews-Demopoulos 2
Matthews-Noble 2
Miketa-Unassisted 2
14. Adamson-Dodds 1
Archer-Unassisted 1
Berg-Archer 1
Matthews-Berg 1
Berg-Rogers 1
Berg-Unassisted 1
Cannizzaro-Unassisted 1
Carraro-Flint 1
Demopoulos-Rogers 1
Dodds-U 1
Ekeroth-Unassisted 1
Demopoulos-Flint 1
Matthews-Hercher 1
Law-Miketa 1
Noble-Unassisted 1
Rogers-Unassisted 1


So, pretty simple, right? Denver is getting most of its actual scoring out of Matthews and his disgustingly slick stick work. However, there are a few other things going on here that probably deserve a highlight.

More after the jump.

Here's the sharing chart for the Pioneers' top-six point producers. It shows assists-in and assists-out. Bullet points on what's going on here after the explanation of the chart:

Denversharechart_medium

Here's how to read this thing. Everything is color coded, so even a six year-old can figure it out. Follow the colors. For example, Matthews has provided Law two assists; Law has provided Matthews with one. Demopoulos has provided Noble with one assist; Noble has returned the favor to Demopoulos with two. So on and so forth. Just follow the colored stripes to and from each name.

Again, only three games played. Writing this is ridiculous, but:

  • Check out Eric Law. All of his goals have been assisted this season with eight of those helpers coming from Denver's most dangerous guns. That's the hallmark of a finisher, and if you want to stop him you're going to need to keep your head on a swivel from numerous directions. He doesn't discriminate against who should give him hand outs.
  • I'm a little surprised to not see a ton of action between Demopoulos and Matthews. Then again, Matthews has been getting most of his heat unassisted, so it's not all that shocking. It'd be interesting to track that relationship throughout the season.
  • This sticks out most prominently: Bill Tierney is, unsurprisingly, getting a ton of offense out of his close attack and his first midfield. I left Chase Carraro off the list, but he's essentially a flip-flop with Wes Berg. That midfield and close attack have worked well together this season -- and last season, for that matter -- and are a dangerous six (or seven, smart guy). It'll be interesting to see if injuries or something else throws this chemistry out of whack. If you look at the tandem chart above, that fact truly shines: Of the 31 tandems in the top-five, only about 13 percent don't include a name from the Pioneers' first-line midfield (that includes Carraro and Berg) or the close attack.

That's what I see. What do you knuckleheads see?

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