NBA Stats: Breaking Down the Russell Westbrook and Paul George Factors

By Lucas Masin-Moyer and Daniel O'Boyle • April 6th, 2017

With only six games left to play in the NBA season, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has all but assured he will average a triple double — with double-digit totals in points, assists and rebounds. As of April 7, Westbrook was averaging 31.9 points per game, 10.4 assists per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Barring any unforeseen drop in form, Westbrook will be the first to accomplish this remarkable stat line since Oscar Robertson did it for the Cincinnati Royals during the 1961-62 season.

What is equally remarkable is how quickly Westbrook was able to increase his output. Westbrook began his career averaging only 15.3 points per game, yet with the departure of teammates James Harden (2012) and Kevin Durant (2016) allowed Westbrook to shoulder more of the scoring burden, increasing his points per game to 31.9.

Westbrook’s increasing playmaking ability to increase his assist output over the course of his career — he finally broke the double-digit barrier during the 2015-16 season.

Perhaps the area of Westbrook’s game which saw the most growth was rebounding. The improvement of this final aspect of his game finally put Westbrook over the top in 2016-17.

Westbrook’s 2016-17 season has been nothing short of remarkable. As the sole superstar on the team following Durant’s departure, he has upped his game to levels unseen in 50 years, the result of years of improvement. — Lucas Masin-Moyer


Data: George Holds Key to Pacers’ Postseason Success

It’s an oft-repeated fact that to succeed in the NBA you need stars who will perform in the postseason.

But which NBA star has been the most important to his team when it counts?

According to on/off stats, it’s not LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Steph Curry. Nor is it Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard or James Harden.

It’s Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George. And by quite some distance.

George is certainly a a top NBA player who is known for his ability to step up his game in the postseason. But the extent to which the Pacers have relied on the former Fresno State star in the playoffs may surprise you.

Among players with 2,000 playoff minutes played, George leads all players in net on/off rating, with a rating of 19.0. That means that the Pacers are better off by 19 points per 100 possessions when George is on the court compared to when he sits on the bench.

That stat is driven mostly by his astonishing defensive on/off rating of 15.4 — the Pacers’ opponents score 15.4 less points per game when they have to face George compared to facing lineups without him. Yet with an offensive on/off rating of 3.6, George helps his team score too, as shown by his career total of 18.4 playoff points per game.

Ranked second is Warriors power forward Draymond Green, who has proven invaluable to the most successful team of recent years. But with a net rating of 14.6, he still sits far behind George. In third is point guard George Hill, formerly of the Pacers, which perhaps shows that a lack of depth in Indiana is behind George’s on/off stats.

With the playoffs approaching and the Pacers tied for 7th in the Eastern Conference, history suggests George will again be the key to how the team performs. If the Pacers can find a way to perform with George off the court, they may become a dark horse candidate to make a deep playoff run. — Daniel O’Boyle


George Leads Pacers in Base Salary

Small forward Paul George has the highest base salary for the Pacers in the 2016-2017 season. George has played with the Pacers since 2010, and is in a five-year contract.

By the 2018-2019 season, George will have a base salary of $20.7 million compared to this year’s $18.3 million. The next highest base salaries of the Pacers are held by Thaddeus Young, Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson. — Lauren Fox


Olympic Swimming: 2008 Set the Gold Standard for Records

By Caelin Miltko • April 6th, 2017

Swimming features some of the most well-known athletes in the Olympics. Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson and Mark Spitz were some of the superstars from their given Olympic years.

The record for most Olympic gold medals earned in a single Olympics has been held by two swimmers. Spitz earned it in 1972 and Phelps earned it in 2008.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was an especially fast year for swimming. It was the year of the LZR Racer suit, which has since been banned from competition. The suit increased buoyancy and compressed the body. Some competitors wore more than one to increase the effect.

The 2008 Olympics were called the ‘fastest ever’ in swimming because of these suits and a look at the numbers seem to prove it. More swimming records were broken at that Olympics than any since 2000.

The United States generally dominates Olympic swimming, as illustrated in the map below.  A chart showing the full data set can be found at the bottom of this post.

Individually, Americans also dominate. The two most decorated Olympic swimmers, Michael Phelps and Jenny Thompson, are both American.


Studies: Indiana Ranks in the Middle Nationally for Religiosity

By Claire Radler and Grace Watkins • April 6th, 2017

A recent study by Gallup found that Mississippi is still the most religious state in the United States, 59 percent of it’s residents said they are “Very Religious.” Mississippi has been the most religious state in the U.S. for the past nine years, while Vermont remains the least religious state. According to the study, just 29 percent of it’s residents said they are “Very Religious.”

Indiana falls just around the average, coming in as number 22 on the list, with 41 percent of its residents saying they were “Very Religious.” Vice President Mike Pence hails from Indiana, and is known for his commitment to Evangelicalism, yet this is not the trend for the majority of Indiana residents.

This infographic uses data from Gallup and the Pew Research Center to bring religiosity into focus. — Claire Radler


A Deeper Look at Indiana …

Vice President Mike Pence is known for his evangelical faith. His commitment to the “Billy Graham Rule” made national headlines last week. Pence’s home state of Indiana is also widely regarded as religious.

Do Indiana residents really live up to this expectation of religiosity, and can we learn anything about Pence by examining his home environment? — Grace Watkins

Indiana Starting to Make Strides in the Exploding Craft Beer Market

By Teagan Dillon • April 6th, 2017

The craft beer industry is experiencing tremendous growth in the U.S. in recent years.

According to the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry now represents 12 percent market share of the total beer market, more than double than what it was in 2011. The following infographic shows where Indiana ranks among the nation in this craft beer craze.

Indiana Unemployment Rate Continues to Dive, Lowest Since 2001

By Joe DiSipio • March 3rd, 2017

An analysis of monthly reports of the Indiana unemployment rates during the Obama administration illustrates the lingering recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics captures the sharp increase of joblessness as the Great Recession hit hard in 2009. But it also shows that despite political rhetoric, Indiana may have reached a level of recovery under President Obama.

Much of the 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric centered on the economy, specifically on the creation of jobs in the industrial Midwest.

Jobs were an issue of particular interest to voters in Indiana. At the height of the Great Recession, unemployment levels reached a high of 10.9 percent in June 2009.

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Compared to the BLS national averages, Indiana started at a lower level but once the effects of the crisis set in, it averaged an unemployment rate of almost a full percentage point higher than that of the country as a whole.

Voters didn’t forget that feeling of desperation between 2009 and 2014. The “America First” candidate Donald Trump was able to capitalize on that lingering feeling while the data shows that Indiana unemployment levels actually fell to below 2009 rates by the end of President Obama’s term.

 Trump based some of his candidacy on bringing back jobs. He followed through  with his controversial Carrier deal during the transition in November 2016.

Study: Indianapolis Among Top 10 Cities for School Choice

By Cassidy McDonald • March 2nd, 2017

School choice —a movement to provide alternatives to public school — is sure to be a top priority for President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, during his first joint address to Congress, Trump called for a bipartisan school choice bill which would aim to help disadvantaged children trapped in failing schools. Indianapolis is one of the top U.S. cities for giving parents a choice on where to attend schoo.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made headlines this week, however, when she called historically black colleges and universities — which were created in response to racial segregation — “pioneers” of school choice.

She later backpedaled on this statement, but continued to draw parallels between school choice and historically black colleges and universities.


Take a look at the top 10 cities that currently allow some form of school choice, as graded by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an ideologically conservative research organization.

These cities have seen mixed results in their alternative education programs, but offer the policies, public support and programming most conducive to school choice:

(City rankings from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute)

Map: Indiana’s Affordability Ranks Among the Best in America

By Manny DeJesus • March 2nd, 2017

Ever wonder how much it costs to live in the lovely state of Indiana? Luckily, according to Graphiq.com, the largest cities in Indiana, which was ranked the eighth most affordable state in the country, are all relatively very affordable for married couples with one child.

Graphiq took data from the Economic Policy Institute, The Council for Community and Economic Research and The Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure up the cost of living in some of the largest cities in Indiana.

Considering housing costs, healthcare, transportation and taxes, the cost of living is also compared to the national average. It’s also important to note that when you click on each city on Graphiq’s website, you can see the adjusted cost of living for a single person or family with four children.

Maps: Tracking the Best of Indiana, South Bend and Beyond …

By Staff • March 2nd, 2017

Where are the best places to hike? Best co-working spaces? Best tourist attractions?

Our team takes you on a tour of what to do around South Bend and Indiana with these maps.


Great Parks Near South Bend

Those seeking to escape the city life of South Bend can make the short drive to any of these great county and state parks just outside the city limits, like Saint Patrick’s County Park and Madeline Bertrand State Park, which lie just across the Indiana-Michigan border from each other. They’re just a short, 10-minute drive away from downtown.

Those seeking a more adventurous afternoon can visit some of the other parks on this list, all of which are within an hour’s drive of downtown South Bend. — Zach Klonsinski


10 Must-Visit Literary Locations in and Around Indianapolis

Whether you want to learn more about Naptown native Kurt Vonnegut, buckle-down and find a solitary corner of a library to get some work accomplished, or kick back with a nice cold one and a book, Indianapolis has got you covered.

This map of Indianapolis and a few surrounding cities displays 10 locations that book-loving Hoosiers must visit. Monthly poetry readings, a library converted into a restaurant, and craft-beers named after books are just a few of the literary-related items Indiana has to offer. — Lauren Fox


Indiana Museums to Visit

There’s plenty to see and do all throughout Indiana, from the northern part in South Bend, to the capital city of Indianapolis, to the southern city of Evansville. Using information from TripAdvisor, this map illustrates the best museums to visit in Indiana.

A big part of Indiana’s culture and history is the automobile industry, and that’s reflected in the map. Five of the ten museums pertain to cars, while the rest cover science, history and the arts.

Scroll through the map and click the pins to see each museum’s name, location, description and a YouTube video. — Kevin Culligan


Co-working Spaces Flourish in South Bend

Co-working is the startup’s testing ground. Less expensive than leasing a whole office and more focused than working from home, coworking offers space for individual workers and small companies to get the job done.

Co-working spaces started in larger cities but have started to flourish in smaller places such as South Bend. The eight co-working spaces mapped below have different membership structures, different setups and different communities to serve, whether entrepreneurs, employees who only need occasional office space, students, artists or the people on the cutting edge of tech. — Emily McConville


10 Interesting Things to Do in South Bend

Featured on the map are 10 interesting locations in South Bend. Each location is either an educational or community building opportunity in the city. All are family-friendly and affordable.

While sports events often attract tourists to South Bend, there are many other local events of historical, environmental and artistic interest.

For example, the Potawatomi Zoo is the oldest in Indiana. The History Museum and Studebaker National Museum both host interesting permanent and traveling exhibits. The Civil Rights Heritage Center and Pierre Navarre Log Cabin preserve local history.

The Unity Gardens presents a way for families to engage with the community and the environment, while Erasmus Books and the Chicory Cafe are perhaps most well-known and well-loved.

Many of the community centers on the map are relatively new. Some, like the Birdsell Project and Circa Arts Gallery, were converted from abandoned properties. This follows a national increase in interest in converting abandoned buildings into community spaces. — Grace Watkins


10 Things to Do in South Bend in 2017

Whether you’re interested in art, nature or sports, South Bend offers a wide variety of activities and entertainment to meet the needs of its residents.

From a newly enhanced Notre Dame Stadium to an April lineup at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 2017 is packed with exciting opportunities to immerse in the city. By no means exhaustive, the following list provides 10 Things to Do in South Bend for people of all ages and abilities. — Teagan Dillon


Exploring South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart

Thousands of people converge on the University of Notre Dame on any given football weekend. Those same people are missing out on–and might not even know about–what lies beyond the Dome. Below are a few places to check out in the South Bend-Mishawaka-Elkhart area. — Dakota Connell-Ledwon

Map: Buttigieg’s Campaign Trail for Democratic National Committee Chairman

By Lucas Masin-Moyer • February 26th, 2017

In a surprise move, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race for Chair of the Democratic Committee (DNC) Chairman on Feb. 25, and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, was elected.

Despite Perez’s election it was Buttigieg, heralded as the future of the Democratic Party, who perhaps made the most noise.


Buttigieg, the first openly gay executive in the state of Indiana, former Rhodes Scholar and veteran of the War in Afghanistan, campaigned across the country in his unsuccessful bid to run the Democratic Party.

Over the course of his campaign, Buttigieg received endorsements from former DNC Chairmen Howard Dean and Ed Rendell. Track Buttigieg’s campaign trips in this interactive map: