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    Rabid Crowd Theory 2: Parity Index

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, July 29, 2005


    The last post about home court advantage by conference generated quite a bit of e-mail traffic. It was actually only three people that responded, but that represents half of my readership at this time of year. The point raised in the e-mails was that [major conference] was at a disadvantage because dominant teams at the top of the conference artificially bring the home winning percentage down by winning almost all of their road games. While I intended this post to be about why the future of possession-based stats is dependent upon Utah State winning the WAC this season, I feel duty-bound to slog through another post about the randomness of home court advantage.

    Let me say first that part of the theory is sound. A team going unbeaten (or winless) will naturally drive the conference home record towards .500. However, a couple of points need to be made before we…

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    Rabid Crowd Theory

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, July 12, 2005


    There's nothing like an unsubstantiated assertion to motivate me to post.

    The principal difference between the ACC and the Big East is the level of home-court advantage. Sure, there are a few dominant courts in the Big East, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a weak one anywhere in the ACC. Even traditional bottom-feeders, such as Clemson and Florida State, can pack 'em in and chase away road teams. - Andy Katz, ACC Summer Session

    I've had this theory that I don't think I have expressed here yet: home court advantage isn't much different between, say playing at Duke, as compared to playing at Savannah State. Most of the home court advantage is the result of simply being able to maintain one's normal routine, play in familiar confines, etc. Sure, it's harder to win at Cameron Indoor, but that has much more to do with the team you have…

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    The Value of Ben Gillery

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, July 5, 2005


    After John Thompson said goodbye to Patrick Ewing and before he said hello to Alonzo Mourning, he had a void at the center position. In light of the quality of the aforementioned players, it was a huge void. In 1987, Thompson brought seven-footer Ben Gillery to Georgetown from the junior college ranks. Gillery, in a word, was a "project" and he never quite panned out. What I remember about him was that he would start a game, be pulled at the first stoppage, and never return. I marveled at box scores where he was listed as a starter, played 2 minutes, and the rest of his line was filled with zeroes. It was like his only purpose was to win the jump ball.

    In truth, my memory can't be too accurate, since according to Jazzy J's site, Gillery averaged about eight minutes a game during his career. So the…

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    Going, Going, Gonzaga

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, June 9, 2005


    It's been real slow around here, which is somewhat of a shame since the season moves too fast and the off-season provides a time to catch up on things I missed in frantic weeks of February and March. I am working on things behind the scenes (that is, in the rare times I am sitting at my computer), so posting will be light for the next couple of months. But I'll tackle one of those off-season topics in this post.

    Of the eight teams that have made the tournament each of the last seven years, Gonzaga has the most unusual postseason record.

     Year W-L Seed Season ended 1999 25-6 10 Elite Eight 2000 24-8 10 Sweet 16 2001 24-6 12 Sweet 16 2002 29-3 6 First Round 2003 23-8 9 Second Round 2004 26-3 2 Second Round 2005 26-4 3 Second Round 

    Gonzaga's post-season performance has been…

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    What Goes On Here

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, June 3, 2005


    Back in the day - which was like three years ago - I read a column by Rob Neyer. Rob is a baseball columnist for ESPN.com, and despite that I was not much of a baseball fan, I was addicted to his work. In March of 2002, he wrote what I believe to be his only column about college basketball. The subject was the Kansas Jayhawks’ poor first round showing in the NCAA tourney, an 11-point victory over 16th-seeded Holy Cross that felt closer than the final margin indicated.

    I am a big fan of Rob’s because his sensible approach to baseball analysis is refreshing. The way he supports assertions not by talking to a couple of “baseball people,” but by using cold hard facts made me a religious reader of his before ESPN.com charged folks to see his work. Rob’s piece on KU was in this same style, pointing…

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    Want Job Security? Apply Within.

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, May 18, 2005


    My favorite part of the off-season is the coaching changes. Late-season recruiting and early entries are fun, but schools that change coaches are establishing the direction of their basketball squad for the next few years. And it’s an interesting time in the coaching industry, because it’s an employers market right now.

    D1 coaching changes

    Year Changes Pct. 1997 63 20.6 1998 45 14.5 1999 55 17.3 2000 53 16.7 2001 47 14.6 2002 44 13.5 2003 46 14.1 2004 37 11.3 2005 41 12.4 

    There has been a steady decrease in vacancies since 1997. It’s not a trend you should expect to continue much longer. Looking at the history of coaching changes, which you can on page 161 of the NCAA Basketball Records Book, there’s a cycle. It’s an employers market today - but within three years it will be a great job market for prospective coaches, or…

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    State of the Game

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, May 2, 2005


    Tracking 330 teams is the maddening part of following college basketball, but the strength of the sheer volume of teams is that, when taken as a whole, you get a great idea of how the game is played in general. There is a tremendous variety of decisions being made by 330 coaches and their players, some good, some bad. But they all think they are making the right decisions. After all, this isn't a simulation they are playing, each coach has his livelihood on the line. So in the end you have a well-developed consensus on how the game should be played, given the talent pool, the current set of rules, and how the game is called.

    A review of last season's stats shows two trends continue to stand out more than any other. First, the average game in 2005 was slower than it was in 2004, setting a standard…

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    Passing Fancy

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, April 18, 2005


    The best passing team in college hoops last season was Boston College. Illinois was widely admired for their ability to pass the basketball, but they had nothing on BC. I'll define the best passing team to be to be the team that can best make the difficult passes that produce points.

    One of the stats I posted last season was assist percentage. It measured the percentage of a team's field goals that were assisted on. A lot of the stats I posted during the year were meaningless, and assist percentage certainly could be placed in that group. It seemed that assist percentage was mentioned more by TV guys than it ever was in the past. It was all the rage when describing the crisp passing that Illinois often exhibited. But it turned out that across college basketball, assist percentage correlated poorly to an efficient offense.

    Not that there wasn't…

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    Closing Credits

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, April 6, 2005


    With the 2005 season in the books, posting in this space will return to the usual sporadic off-season frequency. Before I sink into the background, I need to dole out some appreciation to the folks that publicized this site like nobody else could.

    First and foremost, the statistical experiment on this site would not have generated the discussion it did without Luke Winn of si.com and Andy Glockner of espn.com referencing the efficiency numbers in their work. In addition, prominent mentions from ESPN's Pat Forde and SI's Grant Wahl brought in untold traffic.

    The following radio people bravely put me live on their air without any safety nets: Jud Easterday and Brian Hanni of KLWN in Lawrence, KS; Willy Daunic of 104.5 The Zone (WGFX) in Nashville; Dave Weekley of WCHS in Charleston, WV; and Tony Caridi of the Mountaineer Sports Network.

    Additionally, there are…

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    St. Augustine

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, April 5, 2005


    The biggest single reason why Illinois lost - lack of playing time for James Augustine.

    Augustine picked up five fouls in nine minutes of action. If he gets his usual 27 minutes (or his 33 minute average in five tourney games), the Illini have a better defender for Sean May, Illinois gets more than six trips to the free throw line, and shoots fewer than 40 threes.

    The only time a team shot fewer free throws in the championship game was Dartmouth in 1944!! It was also the most threes shot in finals history. But considering there have only been 19 championship games played with a three-point line, that doesn't put the feat in proper perspective. It was the fourth-most threes shot in any tournament contest - a total of 1,202 games. Luther Head shot 16 threes on his own, equaling the UNC team attempts and breaking the individual…

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