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    Beyond the Box Score

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, January 30, 2007

    In the continuing effort to bring you things you don’t get anywhere else, I’d like to give you a sneak peek into what the 2008 season will bring for this site. It will be about measuring things that have never before been measured (at least publicly) in the college game.

    A scratch-the-surface example of this is plus/minus data. Just like its hockey counterpart, a player gets a point for each point his team scores while he on the court, and one taken away for each point allowed. Plus/minus has plenty of limitations, especially when it’s confined to just a single game. But ideally it helps us measure the little things that don’t show up in the traditional stats.

    Let’s take a look at a couple of intriguing games played last weekend through the plus/minus lens. First up is Baylor at Texas, an 84-79 Longhorn win.

    Texas PF PA +/-… 


    Defending defense

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 26, 2007

    I’d like to start things off by acknowledging the first and maybe only nominee for the 2007 Center for Tempo-Free Stats Luke Winn Trophy for best writing. (By naming the trophy for Mr. Winn, I can make him ineligible without any guilt.) Please welcome the Greensboro News-Record’s Jim Young to our club. Jim uses the power of tempo-free stats to illuminate the point that Duke’s defense may well be improved this season even by losing what many thought was the defensive player of the year.

    The case is pretty solid, and it’s a point that needs to be made by somebody besides me. Duke’s style may be ugly and boring this season, but it is more effective than most have been giving them credit for. And frankly, I never thought I’d be a Duke cheerleader and I’m starting to feel nauseous, so I’m going to move things along. But…


    Fun With Birthdays

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    As part of some other work I am doing, I have had to compile a birth date database. Naturally, I need to look at the extremes, out of both curiosity and entertainment. Near as I can tell, the elder statesman of college hoops is Tennesee Tech’s Francis Kabore, who checks in at 28, at least 18 months older than anybody else.

    Kabore’s age appears to be legit, but there are some others out there who seem to be fudging things. For instance, the youngest player is allegedly William Bullard from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. According to the info on the Islanders’ web site, Bullard turned 17 just a couple weeks before practice started. That’s unusual enough - except that Bullard happens to be a junior. Actually, Bullard’s name was recently removed from the Islanders’ roster. Perhaps he quit the team to focus on finishing up his degree…


    Williams Rejected

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 19, 2007

    Sean Williams is done for the season and his career at Boston College is over. He was apparently content to put in a half-season of work to make his case for NBA GM’s. BC’s loss is our gain - we now will get a better idea of what he really meant to them defensively. The rest of BC’s schedule is brutal, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the Eagles’ defensive numbers from here on out. There’s probably a bit riding on Williams’ draft stock as a result.

    Also, file this away - even with Williams there was the potential that BC would have been favored in only 4 of its last 11 conference games. That’s how brutal their schedule is. Regardless of how important he was to that team, it’s likely his effect will be overstated in the coming weeks if people don’t take into account…


    Turning Points

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 12, 2007

    Before I get into the e-mails, how about some love for the Missouri State Bears? One of the more underrated teams last season, they are at it again. I mean, Wisconsin would be the #1 team in the land right now were it not for MSU’s win over them in November. And consider the Bears’ three losses - in OT to Oklahoma State on a neutral floor, at Saint Louis on a controversial buzzer beater, and the late-game collapse at Creighton.

    Missouri State has been ripping opposing MVC defenses with regularity. Here are their points scored/possessions splits in conference games: 80/69, 74/65, 86/78, 95/71, 106/68. That last figure against Evansville was the most efficient game against a D-I foe by anyone all season. These guys are good.

    In light of my Special Report last Sunday, I thought it would be fun to predict some more “turning points” for…


    Game Plan

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 8, 2007

    [This post was scrubbed and updated on 1/22/11]

    Just like just about everything on this site, the Game Plan feature is built on the ideas of Dean Oliver. Please buy his book.

    The first part is a sortable list of the four factors for each game played so far. Remember that I have to do some estimates on team rebounds, so these numbers are close approximations (except free throw rate, which is exact) of the calculations you’d get by using the official box score where team rebounds are broken down into offensive and defensive. I’m calculating free throw rate (FTR) using FTA/FGA for both offense and defense.

    Next to each efficiency number is where that figure ranks for the opponent. For instance, if there is a 1 next to the offensive efficiency number for a particular game, that means it was the most efficient offensive game against that…


    Special Report: We Win!

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, January 7, 2007

    I should do a companion piece to last season’s post at about this time. But instead, just a couple comments sparked by the coverage of the game.

    At some point in the first half, Len Elmore referred to Greg Paulus’ freshman season as “extraordinary”. If he meant this in a bad way, I could see his point, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t. While most may not share Lenny’s glowing view of Paulus’ play last season, it does seem that just about every mainstream analyst is obsessed with the guy and seems to think he is something he really is not.

    Let’s be honest here, Duke had two of the most efficient, reliable, high-usage scorers last season. Now think about this - did those guys make Greg Paulus better, or did Paulus make them better? I think logically, we know the answer. And yet, Paulus’ stats were still


    I Am Not Your Father, Luke

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 5, 2007


    The other night I got a career high 21 minutes. I went 7-11 for 15 points, had 6 boards and not turnovers, and it was against a top 50 defense this time. I am currently the most efficient high-usage player in the country and sitting on the bench half the game. Just thought I’d let you know how things are going.

    Luke H.

    Yet another imaginary discussion with Luke. But did you know that? Our boy Harangody is the most efficient high-usage player in the country. (Actually, it’s been that way for the last four weeks.) Granted, he’s played some weak competition (ND’s defensive schedule strength is ranked 267th) and since he’s coming off the bench, he gets to face the opposing reserves a little more often than a starter would. But this Notre Dame team has a chance to do some great things this season.…