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    When Exhibit A sucks

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    If you’ve perused your favorite MSM college basketball site, you’ve surely seen this story. It basically summarizes a paper by a couple of professors who determined that officials call fewer fouls on the home team, fewer fouls on the trailing team, and fewer fouls on the team that has more fouls at any particular moment. I found this passage in the AP story odd, though:

    The professors studied 365 college games during the 2004-05 season and found that refs had a terrific knack for keeping the foul count even, regardless of which team was more aggressive.

    Exhibit A: The 2005 Final Four meeting between Illinois and Louisville. The Illini, known for being more aggressive defensively, got whistled for the first seven fouls. By the end of the game, the foul count was Louisville 13, Illinois 12. The Illini won 72-57.

    Really? That’s your Exhibit A? I’m…


    That dying 3-point shot

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 23, 2009

    Perhaps the most interesting statistical trend over the early weeks of this season is the number of 3-point attempts being jacked up. Here’s how 3-point attempt percentage has progressed over the past three seasons.

    2008  34.4
    2009  33.1
    2010  32.4

    Obviously the dip last season was due to the movement of the 3-point line back a foot. I’m not sure how to explain what’s going on this season. My recollection from last year is that 3-point attempts didn’t change much during the season, so it seems likely that this will be the first season since the introduction of the 3-pointer that we’ll see a decrease in attempts without a change in the location of the line. And that certainly goes against what I would have predicted.


    Interesting Reads

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, November 20, 2009

    The whole Belichick thing got me to reading football analysis this week. It also got me wondering, what do people do when everyone around the water cooler is taking the side of Wilbon in these situations?  My MO is to politely excuse myself from the conversation and then come home at night and blog about it. Kind of passive-aggressive, yes, but is there really any other way?

    Anyway, in the process I came across some interesting reads from Brian Burke at on two of my favorite topics, home court advantage and luck. As you may know, I tend to be of the opinion that there isn’t much difference between the home court advantage at Cameron Indoor and the Fleisher Center. This piece has a unique (and unorthodox) slant on that issue.

    And there’s an interesting series of posts on how…


    Excerpts from the 1953 Official NCAA Basketball Guide

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 16, 2009

    A while back I picked up a copy of the 1953 Official NCAA Basketball Guide. Within the 269 pages of the Guide, there is almost everything one could want to try to reconstruct the state of the game back then, including previews of the upcoming season, standings for the previous season, and a rule book.

    And the game was quite a bit different than the one we know today. Periodically, I’ll share pages from it. To start things off, let’s look at page 1, the “National Preview-Review”, penned by future HOF’er Jim Enright. This is not the most exciting part of the book, but it will give you an idea of the style of writing 57 years ago. Perhaps in 50 years, we’ll look at Simmons’ writing in the way we look at Enright’s now. (Although, I like the idea of calling a team’s leading scorer “Mr. Points”.)



    Alabama is going to win it all

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Or at least they have a very good chance. That’s all I can conclude from the odds put on them to go all the way. Witness: Up until a couple days ago, Bodog had the Tide at 20-1, with only 11 teams having better odds. They since dropped them to 40-1, but there are only 20 teams better than that. BetUS currently has them at 15-1, where only eight teams are better. In what may be the most ridiculous proposition ever offered on a college hoops team, Bama is a cool 5-to-1 to make the NCAA title game at BetUS.

    This pattern is repeated at other semi-reputable and semi-legal on-line establishments such as the World Sports Exchange, VIP, and All this for a team that didn’t receive a…


    The Book

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 9, 2009

    It’s possible there will be semi-regular posting here at some point, but not just yet. In the meantime, please purchase a copy of College Basketball Prospectus 2009-10: Major-Conference Preview (with some non major-conference content). It’s remarkably cheap, yet just as informative as last season. Throw some money our way so it can happen again next year. John has a more convincing sales pitch here.


    Wesley Johnson took 39% of his team’s shots

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    In some future time, that will be the headline from a game like Syracuse’s exhibition loss to Le Moyne on Tuesday. The actual outcome of the contest, while surprising, isn’t terribly significant. Michigan State memorably lost to Grand Valley State in an exhibition two years ago and ended up as a five-seed. Heck, last season Utah lost to Southwest Baptist in a game that counted and also was given a five-seed come March. There’s not much to be learned from early November games against D-II competition.

    But it’s worth noting that Johnson’s performance, or more specifically his role in the Orange’s offense, was in every sense of the word, huge. That 39 percent figure doesn’t include four turnovers and seven free throws also credited to him. It’s still early to draw conclusions from this, but it’s conceivable that this season’s…