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    Field Goal Percentage Difference

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, March 3, 2005


    Back in November, I played around with how the national leaders in various statistics accumulated wins and losses during the 2004 season. One of the statistics that correlated best with winning was field goal percentage difference. You shoot better than your opponents, you win games. It's not a revelation that will rock the foundation of basketball, but it's something worth investigating at the early part of March.

    All other things being equal - namely turnovers, offensive rebounds, and free throws -  the team that shoots better will usually win (the exceptions occuring when three point shooting mucks this up). And those things often are more equal in March than at other times of the year.

    So on the stats page, field goal % difference has been posted for all 330 D1 teams. The stat is simply offensive FG% minus defensive FG%.

    Some observations...

    The highest ranked losing team…

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    There’s Nothing To See Here

    Luke Winn has a piece at si.com about three teams that changed personalities this season without a coaching change. It's kind of an extension of the Basketball ShrinkTM I introduced a while back, with the respective coaches trying to explain the changes. This is especially nice because 1) We all get to read something by somebody who took more than just 'Technical Writing' in college, and 2) I can take a day off. It's a win-win, or a win-Winn. Yeah, whatever.

    Over at ESPN, Andy Katz takes a nice stab at some championship week hype. But the discriminating mid-major connoisseur will be over at the midmajority over the next couple of weeks as Kyle documents all the mid-major tournaments in digest form and attends 32 games on his own. Methinks Kyle shouldn't be surprised if at some point during that time the Official WifeTM

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    Minutia

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, March 2, 2005


    Slowest paced games this season by possesions per 40 minutes (score in parentheses)...

     1 46, 2/4 Princeton(42) at Dartmouth(50) 2 47, 11/20 Princeton(46) at Temple(48) 3 47, 11/15 Air Force(60) vs. Mississippi(36) 4 48, 12/8 Rutgers(40) at Princeton(53) 5 49, 1/31 UNLV(48) at Air Force(64) 

    Fastest paced games this season by possesions per 40 minutes...

     1 93, 1/22 North Carolina A&T(86) at Florida A&M(93) 2 92, 11/23 Mercer(67) at Maryland (93) 3 92, 1/8 Maryland(75) at North Carolina(109) 4 91, 12/24 Houston(63) at Washington(110) 5 89, 12/30 Quinnipiac(71) at Connecticut(123) 

    Best shooting games by a single team this season...

     1 80.0%, 1/24 Air Force(51) at Utah(63) 2 77.8%, 11/27 UC Davis(55) at Utah State(81) 3 69.2%, 2/5 Utah State(80) at UC Santa Barbara(50) 3 69.2%, 1/15 New Mexico(62) at Air Force(64) 5 68.6%, 12/30 Indiana State(69) at Drake(74) 

    Best rebounding games by…

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    The Best of Bowlsby

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, March 1, 2005


    Bob Bowlsby 1/3/05 - "[W]e want the RPI to be the best tool possible. We believe this adjustment accomplishes that."

    Bob Bowlsby 2/23/05 - "The committee has talked till we're blue in the face that [the RPI] is just one of many tools. ... But the fact of the matter is it serves a role, it serves an enhanced role now that it's been refined a little bit. I think it's a better tool."

    If the basketball committee chairman believes this RPI is better than before, why would anyone think it will be used less? If a top 30 ranking was sacred before, then it should be even more so now. If teams like Vermont and Miami of Ohio are denied at-large bids should they need them, then we know that Mr. Bowlsby did not truly believe what he said. I can only take him at…

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    Sorting out the Big East

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, February 27, 2005


    It used to be that the tournament committee would use conference record as a handy tool to separate bubble teams within the same conference. It made sense - the team that does better in a group of 16 to 18 common games has proven to be better.

    But that was before we had mega-conferences and the imbalanced schedules that come with them. Of the power conferences, only the Pac-10 still employs a balanced schedule. In 2005, when it's time to evaluate bubble teams within a conference, it not only matters who was on a team's out-of-league schedule, but also who they played within their conference.

    The Big East schedule uses an NFL-style parity system. For television purposes, good teams (as judged before the season) play other good teams more often than the bottom-feeders. With Notre Dame's loss to UCLA on Sunday, there are four teams in the conference whose at-large…

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    Block Percentage

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, February 24, 2005


    I'll admit it. I am in love with blocked shots. Dominating shot blockers are rare, and teams that have one seem to be very good defensively as a team. But this was just my subjective opinion until today, when we can look at (on the stats page) how often each of the 330 D1 teams rejects the opposition.

    block percentage = (blocked shots) / (opponents' field goal attempts)

    Block percentage is the percentage of an opponent's shots a team blocks. Sure enough, this stat correlates well to a good defense - better than turnover percentage, anyway. Among the top 30 in block percentage are seven of the top 15 defenses in the nation. None of the top 15 defenses can be found in the bottom 129 of this stat. Not surprisingly, UConn dominates this metric, sending back one shot for every seven the opposition attempts.

    As usual, there…

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    Wacked Out Wednesday

    I've had a love-hate relationship with West Virginia all season. More like a love-ignore relationship. I forecasted good things for them before the season. I founded the D'Or Fischer fan club after the 10-0 start. Then I sheepishly had to abandon the Mountaineers (and the game diary concept) after it became apparent they were a team that relied on the jump shot, but didn't have enough guys who could make one.

    The Mountaineers came back from the dead on Wednesday - both in the game they played and for the season. They overcame a 14-point deficit with ten minutes left to win at #18 Pittsburgh. Simultaneously, nearly every other bubble team in action lost - and a few of them suffered crippling defeats that should forever take them out of the at-large discussion.

    Miami of Ohio, Georgia Tech, Old Dominion, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, George Washington, Memphis,…

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    Coach of the Year…Again?

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, February 23, 2005


    What do you do when the national coach of the year does a better coaching job the next season? Well, you don't make him coach of the year, that we know. It's just not possible. But there are certain honors one can receive that exceed what any group of sportswriters can bestow. One of those is being the recipient of a John Chaney temper tantrum.

    After cruising to a 63-56 win at Temple's Liacouras Center, Saint Joseph's sports a lofty 12-1 record in conference play. The Hawks are in position to make a run at a dance bid by winning what could be a winner-take-all A-10 Tournament. Not bad for a team that started 3-6. (Memo to coaches who avoid scheduling challenging games in November and December to "build confidence": Apparently it is possible to suffer non-conference losses without killing one's confidence.)

    So how has Martelli done it this season?…

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    Bubble Wrap

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, February 22, 2005


    Half-heartedly, I provide another look at the bubble. I'm getting the impression that folks out there care as little as I do. Last week I left Saint Mary's off the bubble list and received no complaints, despite the fact that nearly every other projection has them in.

    The Gaels have two top 100 wins to go with five losses outside the top 100, and there aren't any more good wins to be had before a possible date with Gonzaga in the WCC championship. It's an ugly portfolio, but I suppose being the second place team in the seventh best conference will count for something.

    I've dropped one team from the lock list I produced last week:

    Wichita State - suffered their third loss in a row by losing at Miami Ohio on Saturday. None of the three losses are horrible, but collectively they mean WSU must win this Saturday…

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    High Five

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, February 21, 2005


    The five most interesting games from the weekend:

    5) Old Dominion 82, William & Mary 66. The game itself wasn't particularly noteworthy. However, in the midst of Bracket Buster Saturday, one of the nation's hottest mid-majors, ODU, was stuck playing a conference game against a team around 300 in the RPI.

    4) Arizona 91, Oregon State 70. Lute Olson has been rather aggressive in promoting Salim Stoudamire as the best three-point shooter in the nation. The question shouldn't be whether Stoudamire is the best shooter in the nation, but whether he's the best since the three point line was instituted in 1987. And Lute Olson is the expert on this one. After Stoudamire's 9-for-14 performance against the Beavers, he's sitting at 56.0% on the season. The NCAA record (minimum 100 made) is held by Steve Kerr at 57.3%.

    3) Belmont 81, Campbell 63. The bad news is Campbell drops to…

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