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    Hooray for the NCAA

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, November 10, 2005

    From Andy Katz via Yoni: The NCAA will begin revealing RPI data this season, beginning in January no less. This should have been done 24 years ago when the RPI was invented, but better late than never. I can’t understand why it took until now for the NCAA to do this. As long as at-large selections have been made, the basketball committee has encouraged teams to play a tough schedule. Yet the system by which they evaluate the difficulty of a schedule has never been publicly available. Now all that changes, probably because the college basketball universe significantly misinterpreted the formula used last season due to the NCAA’s secrecy.

    Line o’ the Night

     FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts G. McNamara, Syracuse 39 2-14 0-10 13-14 2-4 5 1 1 2 0 17

    To clarify something from yesterday,…


    Line o’ the Night

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 9, 2005

    In an effort to give myself some regular material to post in this space, I’m introducing a new feature. Every day for the remainder of the season, my team of advanced scouts will be scouring the nation for notable performances. The most notable (not necessarily the best) will be mentioned here. That player’s line may provide the basis for a longer post. It may go without any additional commentary.

    For the first few weeks of the season, it will be hard to find anything special out there. But as the season gets going with dozens of games each night, check this space for the best and most bizarre performances around the nation.

      FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Ryan Rourke, Cornell 35 7-10 2-3 9-10 1-9 1 0 1 3 0 25 

    Today, Cornell senior Ryan Rourke gets…


    America’s Most Active Player

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, November 6, 2005

    Conference USA has always been a little quirky. First there was the name - how could this be America’s conference when Houston was the westernmost team? Then there was the original three-division setup allowing no member of the 12-team league to have to admit they were worse than fourth.

    CUSA is no less quirky under its new membership. At media day, preseason accolades were given to a player of the year, and then a list of 23 “Players to Watch” - an egalitarian club with exactly two players per team (with the exception of Southern Miss that has only one watchable player).

    The two-player limit presents a problem for Memphis, where Rodney Carney and Darius Washington, Jr. made the list. Joey Dorsey was omitted and if you’re into more than sick dunks or a sweet jump shot, then Dorsey is your man. As a freshman last season, he…


    Absolutely Redonkulous

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, November 3, 2005

    Apparently I missed the memo that there was to be some sort of blogger’s midnight madness on November 1st. Between this week’s return of Big Ten Wonk and Mid-Majority, I feel content to continue my pre-season sabbatical for a few more days. If you can’t waste eight hours a day at those two places for the rest of the week, you’re just not trying.

    As for me, this is the time of the year where the blog makes the transition from being proactive to reactive. For all you people that had better things to do over the past six months than think about hoops, here’s a recap of what I learned last summer.

    - Much like the rotation of the earth, college b-ball is slowing down.
    - The job turnover of college coaches is about the same as for Supreme Court justices - at…



    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    As some of you have discovered, a first attempt at schedules has been posted. As always, corrections are encouraged. I am going to be on vacation for the next couple of weeks, so if you don’t get a prompt response to your e-mails, that’s why.


    The new RPI and its effect on scheduling

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, October 14, 2005

    I love it when data speaks for itself. It doesn’t happen often, but I believe I’ve found one of those cases.

    When it was revealed last summer that the RPI would be altered to give an undisclosed bonus to road wins and then when the formula was announced last summer, it was hailed as a boon for teams in non-power conferences. Not only would they be rewarded with a boost in the RPI for all of the non-conference road games they have to play, but they would also reap the benefit of power conference teams that want to take advantage of the road win component of the RPI. Power conference teams would in turn schedule a few more road games because of the new formula. Life would be great.

    I recall this claim being rather common. Unfortunately, the only example I can find at the moment is from Dick…



    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, October 5, 2005

    As a stat-head, I’m not one that believes in hot streaks or clutch plays. That’s not to say that such things should be banned from the sports vernacular, just that they aren’t skills people have or can acquire. I do believe that people tend to perform better under pressure, be it in basketball or any other activity. I don’t know of a good way to support that in basketball, though. Clutch shooting can always be offset by clutch defense, so it’s not something that comes out in the stats. Free throw shooting can’t be defended, so maybe that can tell us something about how pressure affects players.

      2005 Season MOV FT% Games 33+ 66.8 171 29-32 66.4 123 25-28 66.2 158 21-24 67.7 285 17-20 69.0 454 13-16 69.4 655 9-12 69.4 859 5-8 69.4 871

    This data above shows how well Division I teams shot free throws…


    Blinded by the Points

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, September 30, 2005

    Normally, a guy that scores a lot of points can be considered a productive offensive player. Normally, but not always.

    I love Dean Oliver’s offensive rating as much as anyone, because it takes all aspects of a player’s statistical performance and states it in terms of efficiency, which we can easily relate to in terms of good and bad. If someone hands you a stats sheet, you can’t exactly compute offensive rating in your head (unless you’re Scott Flansburg). However, one can get a good idea about a scorer’s efficiency by looking at the readily available field goal percentage and the ability to get to the line. For example, compare these guys:

     PPG FG-FGA(Pct.) 3FG-FGA(Pct.) FTA-FTM(Pct.) Smith, Steven…. 20.3 206-481(.428) 34-116(.293) 142-176(.807) Fazekas, Nick…. 20.7 223-444(.502) 33-101(.327) 183-232(.789) 

    La Salle’s Steven Smith and Nevada’s Nick Fazekas are two of the leading returning scorers in the nation, and…


    A Systematic Breakdown

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, September 26, 2005

    Fans of the Big Blue must be restless. There aren’t enough good reasons to begin actively calling for Tubby Smith’s head. But there also aren’t enough signs to enthusiastically support him. Such is the state of a basketball program that has hung around the top ten for the last two years but at the same time hasn’t been a real threat to claim the national championship that its fans demand. The situation is uncomfortable enough that off-season rumors of Tubby going to Virginia, a team that finished dead last in the ACC, were widely considered credible.

    The Wildcats face an uncertain future in 2005-06. Kelenna Azubuike turned pro and found an uncertain future himself. Randolph Morris followed the Azubuike career plan, but has decided to try to return to college after going undrafted like Azubuike. Then there’s reserve forward Joe Crawford who tried to leave in the middle of last…


    Landlord’s Revenge

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Back when I was taking correspondence courses from the Skip Bayless School of Journalism, I equated Shelden Williams with Emeka Okafor. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve received more feedback about something I’ve posted here. I can see why Bayless is so successful at his racket of providing weak evidence for absurd positions.

    But I felt like I supported my absurd position well. Williams appeared to be just as effective as Okafor on both ends of the floor. Granted, Okafor ran the court better than Williams, but based on what could be measured, there wasn’t much difference between what each provided his respective team.

    Much of the criticism from the piece on Williams centered on my choice of using stats from the easier half of Duke’s season and comparing them with an enitre UConn season. Among a recent spate of quality posts, Ryan made a similar comparison based on…


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