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    Week in Review VI, 1/16-1/22

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 23, 2015

    Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 16th and Thursday, January 22nd…

    Biggest upsets

    3) #272 Rice 73, #118 Charlotte 68 (OT) (10%), Saturday. The last time Rice won a conference road game was February 29, 2012. They ended the 17 game losing streak by taking 34 of their 52 shots from beyond the arc. Under first-year head coach Mike Rhoades, the Owls have now taken 410 3-pointers and 410 2-pointers against D-I foes. Rice is not in a position to contend for the Conference USA title, but they are probably fun to watch. They overcame a six-point deficit with three minutes left in regulation to upset the 49ers.

    2) #299 South Alabama 89, #131 Louisiana Lafayette 82 (10%), Saturday. This is purely anecdotal, but one formula for an upset is to let the favorite build some false confidence early in the game. The Jaguars spotted the Ragin’ Cajuns a 25-10 lead and one might have thought that the game was over. USA had just two wins over D-I teams to this point, but they hung around and used 54 second-half points to pull away for a comfortable win.

    1) #331 South Carolina State 73, #174 Maryland Eastern Shore 72 (OT) (7%), Monday. Clearly, the Hawks let my praise of head coach Bobby Collins go to their head. That is the only way to explain blowing a late 11-point lead at home to South Carolina State. I hope it’s not the beginning of the end for the Cinderella story that is UMES. We’ll continue to monitor.


    Starting over and over and over

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, January 22, 2015

    The MinutesMatrixTM posted on the expanded player page can tell a story about a team over the season. Some programs are blessed with good health and overall stability while others suffer through injuries, suspensions, transfers, and unsteady play which requires the coach to constantly reevaluate how he doles out playing time. In looking over some of this data, it is striking how rare it is for a team to stick with one starting lineup through the entire season.

    According to my information, a total of seven teams made it through last season with just one starting lineup: Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Providence, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Utah Valley, and Wisconsin. Collectively, these teams went 93-31 in conference play which is part of the equation for lineup for lineup stability.


    Week In Review V, 1/9-1/15

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 16, 2015

    Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 9th and Thursday, January 15th…

    Biggest upsets

    3) #173 Rutgers 73, #4 Wisconsin 62 (7%), Sunday. Wisconsin was missing Frank Kaminsky in this one, so maybe Rutgers’ true chances were more like, I don’t know, 10 percent? The Badgers blew an early 14-point lead and witnessed Rutgers uncharacteristically hit 57 percent of its 2’s. The Scarlet Knights now rank 302nd in 2-point accuracy.

    2) #74 Miami FL 90, #4 Duke 74 (7%), Tuesday. Duke posted back-to-back defensive performances that were vintage 2014. The Blue Devils allowed 1.24 points per possession to N.C. State and 1.21 to Miami. It’s possible both figures will hold up as the best offensive game for both teams in ACC play.

    1) #104 Kansas State 66, #7 Oklahoma 63 (OT) (6%), Saturday. Sure, maybe the laptop got a little too excited about the Sooners after a 21-point win at Texas on January 5th. And maybe it was a little harsh on Kansas State after close non-conference losses to Pitt, Tennessee, and Texas Southern. Buddy Hield scored 31 for the Sooners and players not named Buddy Hield went 12-for-32 on 2’s and 0-for-6 on 3’s to go with 12 turnovers.


    First-year coach of the year

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    When Oregon State knocked off Arizona late Sunday night, it put Wayne Tinkle on the map for the job he’s done in his first season in Corvallis. Tinkle has taken a roster that lost its top five minutes-earners from last season—without much to replace them—and has built a squad capable of beating really good teams at home. That’s high praise at a program that hasn’t had a winning conference record since 1990. However, he’s not doing the best job of any first-year head coach.

    It’s true that it’s easier to improve a bad program than a good one, but Maryland-Eastern Shore is a special case. Many people have tried and failed to build the Hawks into a winner over the past 40 years. Their last winning season in the MEAC was in 2001. Their last winning season overall was in 1993. Their last winning season before that was 1980. If we were compiling a list of worst programs in the nation, UMES would get serious consideration. But under first-year head coach Bobby Collins, that is changing.


    Week in Review IV, 1/2-1/8

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 9, 2015

    This is the Week in Review, where the previous week of unusual occurrences in college basketball is reviewed.

    Biggest upsets

    3. Thursday: #139 Pepperdine 67, #27 BYU 61 (10%). The WCC has long been a conference where the home-court doesn’t provide much advantage. But in the first two weeks of conference play, that idea is being taken to the extreme with home teams posting an 8-14 record so far. Coming off consecutive 30+ point road wins, BYU fell at home in a game it never led. Pepperdine got 23 and a whole lot of other things (eight boards, two assists, two blocks, and two steals) from junior wing Stacy Davis and is now 2-0 on the road in league play.

    2. Saturday: #307 Navy 69, #125 Lafayette 65 (9%). Before DePaul was doing its thing in the Big East, lowly Navy was getting off to a 2-0 start in the Patriot League. They have since lost to Boston U., but at this moment in time they were on top of the league, with all 19 players on its roster dreaming of an improbable perfect season after a non-conference slate that included losses to The Citadel and Maryland-Eastern Shore.

    1. Wednesday: #279 Ball State 60, #104 Eastern Michigan 59 (OT) (9%). The MAC has surged this season, with four teams currently ranked inside the top 100. Eastern Michigan, with its stingy zone defense, was on the doorstep of that club before its conference opener against the Cardinals, but the Eagles’ offense once again let them down.


    Ted Valentine hates to call fouls

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    “Our conference is in the worst condition officiating I’ve ever seen. When people come out and steal basketball games from our young people like that crew did, they deserve to be put in jail and not working basketball games” - Lute Olson, March 6, 1982

    There’s nothing treated less objectively in college hoops than the analysis of officiating. Even the most measured individuals will claim that [conference your team is in] has the worst officials in the country. And it’s a well-known fact that [team you root for] always gets screwed on the big calls. And then you get Lute Olson, who at one point in his career advocated imprisoning referees that missed a call.

    Nobody, in the media or otherwise, will claim that a particular conference has the best officials and certainly no team’s fan base revels in always getting the calls. Nobody’s ever going to say, “this was the best season for officiating that I can remember”. It’s not going to happen because while officiating may suck, people also suck at evaluating it.

    If we had officiating statistics, that would be different, if only slightly. If we knew that a certain official had the highest accuracy rate in the land, we could put a missed call in context.  However, that’s not the world we live in, and nobody is going to take the time to monitor whether Verne Harris likes to call the arm bar in the post, so we are left with officiating in [name of conference] sucks.



    Weeks in Review III, 12/5-12/18

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 19, 2014

    I used to do this every day, then every week, and now it’s every two weeks. I’d like to do it every day, but I’d go crazy. So here are the last two weeks, reviewed:

    Public service message: But first, this message. This time of year people will often say something like “ predicts team X will win its next seven games” or something. But that’s usually not true! Just because a team is favored in its next seven games does not mean it is expected to go on a seven-game winning streak. It is very rare that is the case, actually. If a team was favored to win each of those games with a 51% chance, we’d expect then to go 4-3 because there’s a large chance of an upset in each of those games. Don’t confuse being favored in a bunch of games with being expected to win ALL of those games. Now the review…

    Biggest upsets

    3. Dec. 17: #336 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61, #175 Houston 56 (OT, 8%). This one was especially fun because Houston was down 45-35 with just under five minutes left. Then the Cougars woke up and scored the next 10 and eventually withstood Tevin Hammond missing two free throws with six seconds left in regulation. So the game went to overtime and the Cougars got new life.

    A wise man once said, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That man never said, “you never get a second chance to avoid an upset.” Because this was a case where Hammond’s misfortune at the line gave the Cougars another shot at avoiding embarrassment. However, Houston squandered that chance, too. This will be the best win a SWAC team gets all season, and this game serves as another reminder that changing coaches, even if you hire a big name like Kelvin Sampson, is often a painful process at first.


    Introduction to the PASR recruiting model

    by Jackson Fambrough on Monday, December 15, 2014

    Note: Making its debut on the site today is PASR (Predictive Analytics for Successful Recruiting), a model created by Jackson Fambrough using economic principles, that predicts where college basketball recruits will go to school. The predictions cover the top 150 recruits (as determined by Rivals) for future classes and will be updated approximately once a month. (The forecasts are linked from the player section of the team page for teams that are involve with at least one recruit. Or bookmark this link for future reference.) Jackson provides a description of the model below. You can contact him with your questions and comments at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on twitter @JackFambrough

    The theory for the model is based on an economic term called utility maximization. Utility, in an economic sense, means the satisfaction or happiness received from consuming a good or service. The model’s main purpose is to show which school will provide a recruit with the highest possible expected utility. Expected utility is divided into two different categories, short-term utility (the 1-4 years the recruit is in school) and long-term utility (the years after they leave the university).

    There are several factors that play a part in generating short-term utility, such as winning percentage. A recruit is more likely to go to a school with a higher winning percentage over the past five years because they want to be with a more successful program than a less successful one.


    On unbalanced conference schedules

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    With many conferences increasing in size in recent years, there are fewer leagues playing a balanced conference schedule. Unfortunately, an unbalanced schedule introduces conference schedule strength as an additional variable that can influence the chase for a conference regular-season title. However, if this is keeping you up at night, it shouldn’t. It’s rarely that big of a deal.

    One way to demonstrate this is by looking at the conference record projections on my site (or anybody else’s). If an unbalanced schedule were a big deal, there would be inconsistencies between the order of the teams’ ratings and their projected record, given than most conferences have yet to start conference play. But there are very few of these. As of Wednesday, here are the inconsistencies between national ranking and projected record among conferences that do not play a balanced schedule…


    Play-by-Play Theater: Quickest individual 3’s

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, December 8, 2014

    Welcome to Play-by-Play Theater, the very irregular feature where I mine play-by-play data from the past five-plus seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in darkest corners of the college basketball universe.

    At the Maui Invitational, BYU’s Chase Fischer went on a 3-point shooting tear for the ages in the first half against Chaminade, making seven 3-pointers in a 5:10 stretch of the first half. Which begs an edition of Play-by-Play Theater to find the quickest 3-point barrages of all time. Or actually since the 2009-10 season, since that’s the beginning of the NCAA’s generosity in providing the universe with comprehensive play-by-play data for all schools.

    What follows is the shortest time to making a certain number of 3-point shots in games over the past five-plus seasons - keeping in mind I’m only looking at D-I on D-I action, which includes 28,306 games…


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