by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
"offense is behind the defense early in the season"
This is not usually true. It may be true for some teams, but not for college basketball as a whole. Here's the season-to-date scoring average for Division 1 by date over the last six seasons...
2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 12/1 139.3 140.2 141.4 144.1 140.1 138.6 1/1 139.6 140.8 141.9 143.6 140.5 139.0 2/1 139.0 140.0 142.1 142.8 140.3 139.5 3/1 138.7 140.3 142.0 142.5 140.4 139.8 End 138.5 140.0 142.0 142.3 140.2 139.8
In four of the last six seasons scoring peaked sometime in late December. Only in the 98-99 season was there a noticeable increase in scoring after January 1st. So offenses may be rusty for the first few weeks of the season, but there's a 50/50 chance that defense will improve more by season's end.
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, September 27, 2004
Three unrelated topics to start off the week...
Daneluis Part Deux
Both Dave and Yoni had some criticisms about my post on the value of Vytas Danelius to Wake Forest, citing a perfectly reasonable position that his 2003-04 numbers themselves were of little value because of his gimpy state. But there is some value in his numbers, especially when he played the most. Danelius was not affected by his injury equally throughout the year. There were times when Skip Prosser thought Danelius was worthless and did not play him at all (probably because he couldn't walk). There were other times when the Skipster gave him big minutes, presumably because he felt Danelius was healthy enough to be valuable. We can test this theory for ourselves, comparing Danelius' production in the games he played most to what he did in 2002-03. First, let's look at his numbers compiled in…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, September 20, 2004
The start of practice is one month away. The exciting thing about the upcoming season is that there's no obvious choice to be king of the mountain. The top spot in the polls will probably get passed around by a few teams over the course of the year. For evidence, take the fact that the expected preseason number one lost 10 of their last 20 games in 2004, and their last two wins were nailbiters over double digit seeds.
This isn't necessarily a slam on Wake Forest, there just isn't a clear-cut favorite to start the season and they deserve consideration given that they return last year's team in tact. However, it is interesting that they are getting a little more press than a team in their own conference, North Carolina, whom also returns everyone from last season and has the only impact recruit between the two teams.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, September 9, 2004
I wasn't planning on continuing the discussion of college rules experiments this soon, but there's been some breaking news. Unbeknownst to me, the WNBA altered its three point line this year from 19-9 to 20-6, mimicking the college rules experiment. (Also unbeknownst to me, the WNBA season is actually in progress.)
Kevin Pelton, who works for the Seattle NBA/WNBA franchises, has posted the data on what has transpired in the WNBA this season. Go ahead and read his piece on it, I'll wait.
The WNBA data tends to support the trends we saw in the NCAA exempt games last year. Scoring has decreased along with the pace of play. There are some differences - most notably 3 point accuracy somehow has improved at the longer distance, while the number of attempts has decreased more than it did for the college men. Scoring hasn't dropped as much as it…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Last week I mentioned the fact that preseason polls do a good job at predicting the future, with some notable exceptions. I detailed the few teams that were ranked in the preseason top 10 and missed the NCAA Tourney.
In this election year, it’s only fair to give equal time to the other side – the surprises that were overlooked in the preseason. I arbitrarily decided that getting a #1 seed in the tournament would define a great season. What follows is the list of teams that were not ranked in the preseason top 20 (AP poll) and earned a number 1 seed in the postseason prom. It has happened more often than I expected.
What's striking about this list is how poorly these ten teams fared in the dance. There's only one final four team in the bunch and four of these teams were second round losers. Not…
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, August 26, 2004
Check it out, it's my 100th post. It only took me 9 months to get here. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I have so many memories from the last year. Like remember that time I predicted great things for Portland? Or when I said LSU would get an at-large berth? Good times. Good times, indeed. I look forward to bigger and better things in the next century of posts. At some point I may even select a presentable name for this thing as well. What I can promise is that I will continue to fight the injustices and misconceptions surrounding college hoops. I am super-blogger.
For instance, it's time for mid- and low-major schools to stop whining about how hard it is to schedule quality teams. I don't think there's a better time to be a "have-not" with respect to scheduling.
First, there's the fabulous Bracket Buster…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, August 23, 2004
Polls don't mean much in a sport where the champion is decided on the playing field. But in college hoops the preseason poll is a pretty good gauge as to which schools will be the power brokers in March. Since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only seven teams ranked in the preseason AP top 10 have failed to make it to the tournament. That works out to a 96.5% success rate - and it's higher if Steve Alford isn't associated with the team. Here are the seven that dissapointed...
1984-85 Indiana (preseason #4) - Indiana upset UNC in the sweet 16 the previous year, then lost to Virginia with a Final Four bid on the line. With Alford as a sophomore, this team imploded when Mike Giomi was booted off the team for academic reasons. The Hoosiers lost 9 of its final 13 regular season games…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, August 20, 2004
Schedules for the '05 season are coming out at a breakneck pace now. The ACC and SEC recently finalized their respective conference slates, allowing most of its member teams to release their full schedules this week.
One of the interesting aspects of these schedules is the participants in the pre-season exhibition games. As you may remember, this past summer the NCAA legislated that exhibition opponents must be college teams. (As with any NCAA regulation, there are a few exceptions to this.) This was largely in response to Jim Calhoun's tactic of using one of last season's exhibition games as a way to send a $22,000 check to incoming freshman Rudy Gay's AAU coach. In fairness, Calhoun wasn't the only coach who used such methods. The practice became more prevalent across big-time college hoops in recent years.
So instead of UConn vs. the Beltway Ballers, we get Mount Olive vs.…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Just like with my post on the unlucky teams, I'm going to start this post on the lucky teams with a look at what happened two years ago. The following are the ten luckiest teams - as measured by wins over expected - from 2003 with their actual 2003 conference record in parenthesis.
1 Niagara +2.5 (12- 6) 2 Mercer +2.5 (14- 2) 3 Prairie View A&M +2.4 (14- 4) 4 Southern Illinois +2.4 (16- 2) 5 Wake Forest +2.3 (13- 3) 6 Wyoming +2.3 ( 8- 6) 7 Weber St. +2.2 (14- 0) 8 Massachusetts +2.1 ( 5-10) 9 William & Mary +2.1 ( 7-11) 10 Wichita St. +2.1 (12- 6)
In 2004 the teams above lost an average of 3.5 more conference games than in 2003. This shows much more of a decline than the unlucky teams showed improvement.
Here's the top 10, plus…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, August 6, 2004
Before I get to the teams that were the most unlucky last year, I should show if this method is effective or not. Below are the top 10 teams from 2003 who ended up with a worse conference record than they deserved as measured by wins below expected, using the Pythagorean formula mentioned in my previous post. For each team, wins below expected and 2003 conference record are given.
1 Pacific -3.1 ( 7-11) 2 Howard -2.9 ( 9- 9) 3 Canisius -2.6 ( 6-12) 4 NC Greensboro -2.6 ( 3-13) 5 Arizona St. -2.5 (11- 7) 6 Toledo -2.4 ( 7-11) 7 Kansas St. -2.3 ( 4-12) 8 Detroit -2.3 ( 9- 7) 9 Alabama A&M -2.3 ( 4-14) 10 American -2.2 ( 9- 5)
In 2004, these teams improved their conference record by an average of 1.5 wins. So a little less than this method would…