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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…


    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, 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 charged folks to see his work. Rob’s piece on KU was in this same style, pointing…


    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…


    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…


    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…


    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 and Andy Glockner of 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…


    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…


    Heads Will Roll…

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, April 4, 2005 the Blah, Blah, Blah fact checking department.


    I have not researched this and know you are just reporting what I have seen elsewhere but I don't see how UCLA and UK could have been Nos. 1 and 2 before the 1975 NCAA Tournament as IU was undefeated until losing to UK in the Mideast Regional Final and had beat UK by 24 during the regular season.

    I am just wondering whether they continued weekly polling back then and UCLA and Nos. 1 and 2 reflected poll after the Regional Finals.

    I have enjoyed reading your web site throughout the season!


    Quint is exactly right. To be clear, I wasn't just reporting what I heard elsewhere. I did the research myself, using the trusty NCAA Record Book. The book has a section labeled "Final Season Polls." That section has two sub-headings. One labeled "Final Regular Season Polls" which (I…


    Letdown Saturday

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, April 3, 2005

    There isn't much that needs to be said about the games on Saturday. Given what happened last weekend, and given the potential for Monday's game, this Saturday will be forgotten before too long.

    I never really got into the Illinois/Louisville game. For a reason I can't explain, I thought the game would not be all that tight. I decided to save my "watching energy" for the second game, which I thought would be close. As the Illini were putting away the Cards in the second half, I couldn't help but think how this kind of dominating performance might make Illinois a favorite against UNC, when the (betting) public consensus for a while has been that UNC was slightly better.

    Then UNC put up the kind of dominating half against Michigan State that folks were used to seeing from them in January. UNC is getting a lot of praise for…


    A One and A Two

    by Ken Pomeroy on Saturday, April 2, 2005

    It hasn't happened yet, but it's a real possibility. The teams ranked one and two before the tournament are a game away from meeting in the championship game. It doesn't happen very often. It happens even less often than I thought. The last time was a long, long time ago.

    Here are all of the instances since the AP poll began in the '49 season that #1 and #2 have met in the final:

    1975 UCLA/Kentucky

    1965 Michigan/UCLA

    1962 Ohio State/Cincinnati

    1961 Ohio State/Cincinnati

    1957 UNC/Kansas

    1949 Kentucky/Oklahoma State


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