This is the part of year where I have the time to laboriously explore a single topic at my own pace and you have the time to read about it. Welcome to the 2016 Summer Series. This off-season I will be digging into the issue of foul trouble.

Many smart people (mostly non-coaches) believe that benching a star player due to foul trouble is a bad idea. And many smart people (mostly coaches) believe that believe that benching a star player due to foul trouble is a good idea. It is one of the more vexing strategic issues of the sport.

Unlike similar issues in other sports – whether to go for it on 4th down in football, when to pull the goalie in hockey, or just about anything in baseball – there hasn’t been much data-driven work on this issue. The major strategic issues in other sports are able to be analyzed in a way that the motivated human can understand. And those issues have well-accepted solutions that are supported by solid research.  (more…)

Congratulations to the winner of 2016 player of the year award, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson. The senior forward finished the season with a 127 offensive rating, which was third in the country among players that used at least 24 percent of their team’s possessions. He got there by making 61 percent of his field goal attempts and 78 percent of his free throws, which produced a true shooting percentage of 64.9, easily a career high and the 25th-best figure in the land. (more…)

FIBA adopted a 30-second shot clock in 1956. Women’s collegiate basketball started using it in 1969. In 2015, men’s college basketball ended decades of trepidation and joined the rest of the world by instituting a 30-second shot clock. Even being nearly four decades behind everyone else, there was still plenty of debate over whether the men’s game was doing the right thing.

In the midst of the one of the lowest scoring seasons since 1952 (exceeded only by 1982 and 2013), 30 percent of coaches polled by Jeff Goodman supported keeping the shot clock at 35. Maybe that figure wasn’t so bad. After all, it’s difficult to get 70 percent agreement on just about any topic. If such polls were conducted before the introduction of the shot clock or 3-point line, I’m guessing we’d find similar levels of dissent. (more…)

Here’s the forecast based on the latest ratings. The biggest winners of the first week were the survivors in the Midwest thanks to the Michigan State upset. The team hurt the most was Oregon, who struggled with Saint Joseph’s and has to deal with a chalk bracket in the West.

                    Elite8 Final4 Final  Champ  1 in   Pvs
 1MW  Virginia       70.8   52.6   33.8   20.8    5   13.2
 1E   North Carolina 65.8   51.0   29.3   17.1    6   10.3
 1S   Kansas         72.7   40.9   27.2   15.4    6   15.4
 2S   Villanova      63.4   34.8   22.7   12.5    8    7.3
 2W   Oklahoma       56.1   30.5   12.6    5.5   18    5.5
 1W   Oregon         54.6   27.5   10.8    4.5   22    4.9
 5E   Indiana        34.2   21.9    9.3    3.9   25    1.6
11MW  Gonzaga        58.1   20.0    8.6    3.4   30    0.5
 3S   Miami FL       36.6   15.3    7.9    3.4   30    1.8
 3W   Texas A&M      43.9   21.2    7.6    2.9   35    2.4
 4MW  Iowa St.       29.2   15.9    7.0    2.8   35    1.3
 4W   Duke           45.4   20.7    7.3    2.7   37    1.2
10MW  Syracuse       41.9   11.6    4.1    1.3   75    0.1
 5S   Maryland       27.3    9.0    3.9    1.3   76    0.9
 7E   Wisconsin      51.6   14.3    4.3    1.3   76    0.3
 6E   Notre Dame     48.4   12.8    3.7    1.1   93    0.2

Hey coaches, need a hand with filling out your schedule for the the 2016-17 season? I can’t play matchmaker, but I can provide you a spreadsheet with a first cut of expected ratings for every team next season. These ratings use the same method that has produced the preseason ratings on my site in previous seasons. The projections are mostly based on the quality of returning players and previous team performance, but there is more discussion about the ingredients here.

Data provided will be a list of all 351 D-I teams with overall ranking, and national rankings in offense, defense, and tempo. In addition, for those of you that are into gaming the RPI, teams are ranked by projected conference winning percentage so you can identify opponents which may rack up plenty of wins but be relatively easy to defeat. This data can assist you in finding the type and quality of opponent you are looking for to fill out your schedule for the upcoming season and will not be shared with anyone outside the coaching community until October. Please send a message to ratings at kenpom dot com and we can discuss terms.

What follows is the odds for every team in the field of 68 advancing through each round of the NCAA tournament using log5 methodology and my ratings. (more…)

Big West Conference
March 10-12. All games at Anaheim.
kPOY: Michael Bryson, UC Santa Barbara.

The Big West tournament begins Thursday with quarterfinal action at the Honda Center. (more…)

Western Athletic Conference
March 10-12. All games at Las Vegas.
kPOY: Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State.

The WAC tournament gets underway Thursday with three quarterfinal games at the Orleans Arena. (more…)

Sun Belt Conference
March 10-13. All games at New Orleans.
kPOY: Shawn Long, Louisiana Lafayette.

The Sun Belt tournament begins on Thursday with two first-round games at Lakefront Arena. (more…)

American Athletic Conference
March 10-13. All games at Orlando.
kPOY: Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut.

The American tournament gets underway Thursday with two first-round games at the Amway Center. (more…)