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    This year’s question to the committee

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 31, 2011

    Last season, if you’ll recall, I asked a question regarding the tournament selection process:

    Let’s say you were given the following task: From a list of 320 college basketball teams, pick the 34 best. Not the most deserving, not the most difficult to play against, not the ones with the best athletes or the cutest stories. You had to pick the best teams. How would you do it? Would you use the RPI?

    It was sort of rhetorical question, except that most people responded, “I would use the RPI”. So that didn’t go so well.

    This year, I have a new question, or maybe it’s more of a thought exercise. Do committee members really need to watch games? More specifically, should they make an effort to attend games in person? (I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’m going to answer my own question this time.)

    I’ve been…


    The kPOY: A familiar face

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Jared Sullinger takes back first place after a week in which his team made a case as the best in the nation while he poured in 27 and 16 at Illinois. Sullinger didn’t post huge numbers in last night’s rout of Purdue (which isn’t considered in the standings below), going for 17 and 7 in 27 minutes, but the magnitude of the win means that he is establishing himself as the best player on the best team in the land. That’s going to be a tough combination to beat in the kPOY, although Jimmer Fredette will get a chance to respond tonight against San Diego State.

    (Standings through Sunday’s games.)

    1. Jared Sullinger, Ohio St. (Rating of .511, Last week: 4th)
    2. Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young (.503, LW: 1st)
    3. Terrence Jones, Kentucky (.498, LW: 3rd)
    4. Kemba Walker, Connecticut (.494, LW: 7th)
    5. Jon Leuer,…


    The good and the winless

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 24, 2011

    A few conference games have been played and the elusive dream of going unbeaten in conference play has ended for most. By my count there are 23 teams undefeated in conference (although this includes Princeton and Penn who have not yet played a conference game). Last season, only Butler could achieve this task. With Belmont’s win at East Tennessee State yesterday, we have our first team that has cracked the 50% mark to accomplish it. Here are the ten most likely teams to do it.

    Belmont 53.9% Oakland 32.5% Utah St. 28.5% St. Mary's 24.0% Bucknell 18.7% C. Carolina 16.7% Texas 11.9% BYU 8.6% Tx Southern 8.5% Duquesne 6.8% Ohio St. 5.8% 

    There are 22 teams still winless in conference play. This is a feat that only Fordham achieved in 2010. Centenary is the only odds-on favorite and they’re banking on a home date with Western Illinois in late…


    Let’s not do this again

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 21, 2011

    Within approximately 24 hours both The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy and CBS’s Seth Davis expressed a similar sentiment via twitter to oddly identical questions.

    @mikevukkdka What is biggest thing that will keep Pitt from the Final 4?”—Can they generate scoring chances to beat elite D, shot clock?
    - @tsnmike

    Not scoring enough, fast enough RT @jshepler66: What one thing could derail Pitt from making the Final Four?
    - @SethDavisHoops

    Ladies and gentlemen, I worry about us as a hoops-watching nation. Last season, we blew off the #1 rated offense in the country for four reasons that I can think of, presented in order of importance.

    1) Team had a history of recent tournament disappointments
    2) Team lacked player coveted by NBA scouts
    3) Team didn’t shoot well (By the end of the season, team ranked 136th in the country in the dreaded…


    The kPOY: The most exciting race ever

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    The kPOY continues to gain traction in the nation’s basketball psyche, as evidenced by a link on Wikipedia to an entry yet to be created. Now, I just need a real trophy. (Maybe a pizza trophy?)

    In other news, we have a new leader. However, since the race from first through fifth is so tight, we’re likely to have a new leader a few more times.

    (Standings through Sunday’s games.)

    1. Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young (Rating of .499, Last week: 6th) Fredette only had one game last week, but it was memorable, as he scored 47 in a rout of Utah. Fredette took about 42% of his team’s shots when he was on the floor in that contest, and his usage rate stands at 11th in the country through Sunday’s action. There will be chatter about his defense, but I think most coaches are going to hide their…


    The kPOY: a quickie

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    I’ve been working on another project this week. So I present these without comment. More chit-chat next week!

    (Standings through Sunday’s games.)

    1. Jared Sullinger, Ohio St. (Rating of .503, last week: 1st)
    2. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue (.499, LW: 4th)
    3. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin (.491, LW: 5th)
    4. Nolan Smith, Duke (.486, LW: 7th)
    5. Terrence Jones, Kentucky (.473, LW: 2nd)
    6. Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young (.470, LW: 6th)
    7. E’Twaun Moore, Purdue (.469, LW: 3rd)
    8. Kemba Walker, Connecticut (.450, LW: 8th)
    9. Derrick Williams, Arizona (.425, LW: 9th)
    10. Jordan Hamilton, Texas (.415, LW: 10th)


    A treatise on plus/minus

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 10, 2011

    As people who have followed my twitter feed have figured out, I’m more than a little uncomfortable with the use of plus/minus data in college basketball analysis.

    I once produced something called an HD Box score which contained +/- data. It was a thrill to make the breakthrough to compute such data because after all, plus-minus captures everything. All of those hustle plays that lead to points are rewarded. The guy who’s able to force his man into repeatedly missing shots gets rewarded for this defense. It’s perfect. And I basically said some dumb things along those lines back then.

    Only, my experience since then has led me to believe that it’s far from perfect. This well-intentioned analysis (which is accompanied with plenty of caution) indicates that Kyrie Irving was a huge drain on Duke at the beginning of the season. Would you go to Coach K…


    The kPOY: Up for grabs?

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Let’s own up to it - this year’s player of the year race is still open to be claimed and to me, that feels somewhat unusual for January. Most of the players in the chase for the inaugural kPOY had rather sluggish efforts coming out of the holiday break. This opened the door for something like E’Twaun Moore’s 31-point effort against Northwestern, which vaulted him from obscurity to a legitimate kPOY candidate. However, based on what we saw against Iowa last night, I’d still be shocked if Jared Sullinger doesn’t stay at the top of the list from here on out.

    (Standings through Sunday’s games.)

    1. Jared Sullinger, Ohio St. (Rating of .496, Last week: 1st) Before posting 24 and 12 against the Hawkeyes, it was over two weeks since Sullinger scored 20. Though Melsahn Basabe and Jarryd Cole caused him a few problems, Sullinger’s numbers, big or not-as-big, typically…


    Pre-conference preview blowout: part 2

    (Ed. note: simulations run for the Pre-Conference Preview Blowout do not include Monday’s action. Nor does any of the text.)

    This is part 2 of the Pre-Conference Preview Blowout, where I preview conference races by simulating them 10,000 times using my ratings. In this edition we find that Duquesne is sneaky good and you should pay attention to them. I’ll check back on this as the season winds down to see where I screwed up.

    16. MEAC

    Hampton 6015 Morgan St. 2811 Delaware St. 781 Coppin St. 155 Bethune Cookman 126 North Carolina A&T 95 South Carolina St. 13 Howard 2 Norfolk St. 4 

    There’s a new sheriff in the MEAC and its name is Hampton. Or at least it could be if this analysis is worth anything.

    15. A-10

    Temple 5495 Richmond 2714 Duquesne 1102 Xavier 403 Rhode Island 114 Massachusetts 80 Dayton 76 St. Louis… 


    Pre-conference preview blowout: part 1

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 3, 2011

    As each conference gets started with games by Saturday, it’s a good time to look at who is likely to win each of the 32 D-I leagues. I’ve run the season 10,000 times using the current ratings and then recorded how many times each team finished at the top of its conference. If teams shared the top spot, I gave them the appropriate fraction for that trial. (Because of these fractions and the rounding I do at the end, totals for each conference may not add up to exactly 10,000. Also, some teams can be listed as having zero titles because they were involved in a single multi-team tie for the top spot.)

    The count listed for the favorite is going to be somewhat inflated since it assumes that the team’s current rating will remain constant for the remainder of the season. But everyone’s level of play is going to…