Separating fact and fiction from the stats

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
5:18
PM ET
They say numbers don't lie. They also say there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

So which is it? Let's take a look at some the Big East stat leaders and see what seems to be true and what looks a little fishy. Here are three categories where I think the numbers do lie:

Scoring offense: Connecticut leads at 32.8 points.

UConn might lead the Big East in scoring, but the Huskies are doing that thanks in large part to a 62-0 whitewash of Texas Southern and two outbursts against Buffalo and Vanderbilt at home. Connecticut scored only 10 against Michigan, 16 at Temple and 24 at Rutgers. This is not the league's best scoring offense.

Total offense: Louisville leads at 461.4 yards per game

The Cardinals are putting up numbers like it's the Bobby Petrino or John L. Smith era. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has done a great job utilizing the talent on hand and getting the most out of players like Bilal Powell and Adam Froman. But I suspect these numbers will drop off quite a bit once Louisville starts seeing defenses stronger than Arkansas State and Memphis.

Rushing defense: Cincinnati leads at 84.8 yards allowed

Remember how the Bearcats got mauled on the ground at the end of last year? Butch Jones' staff has done an excellent job of turning that around, statistically. Cincinnati held Miami of Ohio to 42 yards rushing last week. The defense has improved, but I don't think this is a stat that will hold up. It's more likely that Rutgers, West Virginia or Syracuse will lead this category.

And here are three categories where the stats seem true:

Scoring defense: West Virginia leads at 13.6 points allowed

We thought this Mountaineers defense would be really strong as it returned virtually every starter. That has proved true, and West Virginia has dominated defensively for the most part.

Pass efficiency: Cincinnati leads with a 155.1 efficiency rating

The Bearcats should lead this category thanks to Zach Collaros's ability to spread the ball around and avoid turnovers (he has only one interception in five games). Despite several injuries, the receiving corps is talented and should allow Cincinnati to succeed through the air all season.

Turnover margin: Rutgers leads at plus-four

The Scarlet Knights do a terrific job of going for strips and interceptions, and their special teams also often come up with takeaways. Combine that with a rather conservative offensive approach, and Rutgers should put up good turnover numbers for the second straight year.

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