by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Ohio University opened its season last night by hosting San Francisco, becoming the last team to play a real game. Ohio usually is one of the last teams to tip-off their season. This is because they are on a wacky quarter system where exams fall on the week before Thanksgiving. For you youngsters out there, when you choose a college, consider Ohio U. You get a six-week winter break! There's no classes from before Thanksgiving until after New Year's. Though you end up paying for it in the summer. But this has to be a nice thing for the basketball team. While everyone else is worried about finals in December, the Bobcats play nine games before they have to go to class.
Now back to your regularly schedule onslaught of stats...
Oklahoma State knocked off Sam Houston State last night to run it's record to 3-0. The Cowboys are defending…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 29, 2004
There are a couple of questions I have after the long weekend.
Question #1) When did Arizona morph into Temple?
I was expecting the Arizona/Wake Forest game to be played in the 90s, but instead it was an ugly 63-60 win for the Deacs. Arizona has proven that they are a lot more responsible on the defensive end this year. Once they figure out how Ivan Radenovic can contribute on offense, I think you can make the Cats the favorite to win the Pac-10 despite what appears to be a continuation of lackluster play from last season. The thing is, this team is showing a totally different personality. Whether it's for the better remains to be seen, but I think Arizona fans should be heartened that this is not the same team, even though it hasn't resulted in improvement so far. These guys showed they could score last season and…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 24, 2004
I'm not going to do a real post today. After Thanksgiving break, I will take my little free throw project in a different direction and show exactly how success or failure in all sorts of other statistical categories produces winning or losing basketball. There's bound to be a few mildly interesting nuggets in there. If not, I'll just bombard you with numbers as always. So I'll see you back here on Monday. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday.
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, November 23, 2004
So as a follow up to my unsubstantiated claim last Friday that a team's volume of free throw attempts is more important than their free throw percentage, I decided to run some tests on last season's data. I took the top 30 and bottom 30 teams in various categories and computed their total winning percentage. In this very un-scientific method, the greater the difference between the winning percentage of the good teams and bad teams, the more important the statistic is.
So here's what I found:
Top 30 Win% Bottom 30 Win% FT% .615 .408 (Difference = .207) FTA/FGA .552 .355 (Difference = .197) opponents' FTA/FGA .622 .382 (Difference = .240) FTA/FGA difference .638 .356 (Difference = .272)
FT% = Free Throw Percentage (FTM/FTA)
FTA/FGA = this is basically the ability of a team to get to the line. You could use total free throws, or free throws…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 22, 2004
For those who got tired of hearing about how good the ACC was last season, early indications are that you'll get more of the same this year. With Virginia's 78-60 rout of Arizona on Sunday, you had a team that isn't expected to finish in the top five of the ACC beat a team that a few predicted to be one of the five best in the nation.
The big performance came from the Cavaliers' freshman point guard Sean Singletary (15 pts, 8 assists, 6 steals), who's making an early case that he's a significant upgrade at the position from the Todd Billet/TJ Bannister combo of last season. But the big story was how badly Arizona failed at scoring points.
Arguably the nation's best offensive unit last season, the Wildcats were held to their lowest single game total since December 2001, and have been held to less than 40% shooting…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, November 19, 2004
NC State, who led the nation in free throw shooting at around 80% last season, has started out this year 20 for 34 (59%) from the line in two games. If State kept up this pace they would be vying for national basement honors by March. But even if that did happen, it shouldn't be much of a story since free throw percentage is not all that important to winning. Yes, that's correct. In the short term, fans get bent out of shape over a poor free throw shooting performance by its team. But the consistent long-term success of a team is more dependent on how many times you get to the line.
Most teams average around a point per possession, and shoot at least 60% from the line. So in the long run, any trips to the line for two will be more productive than running the regular…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Because my readership currently is at the same levels as last February and March, I feel compelled to post more often, and not just wait until something interesting pops into my head. I'm going to remove some of the filtering that occurs between my head and cyberspace. Since people are taking the time to stop here on a regular basis, I should post more than the usual once or twice a week. Warning: This will often result in some stupid things in this spot, but I will really try to refrain from the cliches.
There's a lot of stuff that floats around in my head, and some of it even relates to college hoops. But most of it turns out to be unworthy of posting. And I'm not going to simply recap the big game. I'd like to keep things here unique. For instance, there was the time I thought…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 15, 2004
Wake Forest got out of the gates about as well as they could have, beating an experienced George Washington team soundly tonight, 97-76. More importantly, two lingering questions - defense and Danelius - recieved strong responses.
Wake's defense was solid: GW committed 25 turnovers, shot 40% from the field, and was held to less than a point per possession, a level regularly breached against the Deacons last season. Vytas Danelius proved he can still convert from inside the arc, making six shots on seven attempts. His only downfall was hoisting four three-point attempts.
It's only one game, but it's a more meaningful season-opener than any other elite team will play this week.
Last year the ranks of Division 1 decreased by one when Morris Brown lost its accreditation. But this season, D1 continues it regularly expanding ways with four new teams: Northern Colorado, Utah Valley State, Cal Davis, and Longwood. All of these programs have huge challenges ahead of them, because while those teams will be playing D1 schedules, none of them are eligible to play in the postseason by NCAA rule, until they achieve full D1 status.
The move up doesn't have to be a bad experience. Birmingham Southern won 20 games in its first season of full D1 membership last year. But by NCAA rule, they were not eligible for the Big South's automatic bid, and of course were passed over for an at-large bid.
Longwood's second-year head coach Mike Gillian was kind enough to answer some of the questions I had on their move up to the top level…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, November 12, 2004
When I looked at the stats of Princeton and Air Force last season, I got the impression that Tigers coach John Thompson III was playing Princeton-lite ball. Air Force played at a pace about 5-10% slower than the Tigers, and relied on the 3 pointer more. This resulted in a few games with freakishly low offensive rebounding numbers for the Falcons.
It's more fair to say that new Princeton coach Joe Scott employed "Extreme-Princeton-Ball" at Air Force- seen on the Game Show Network nightly, by the way, with that guy who should have won ESPN's Dream Job. EPB was in effect against Bucknell last night, with the Tigers getting only one offensive rebound for the game. On a useless statistical note, that may hold up as the lowest total for any team in any game all season. Last season, only once did a team fail to grab any offensive…