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    The untrained eye: Saint Mary’s vs. BYU

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Saint Mary’s beat BYU 80-66 in a 71-possession game Saturday night. I was there. This is what I saw.

    Randy Bennett’s track record on defending the three-point line is incredible.

    For eight consecutive seasons, Saint Mary’s has finished in the top ten in three-point attempt defense. They’re on their way to a ninth consecutive season. I’m not sure why this stat doesn’t get more run, but the ratio of three-point percentage defense references to three-point attempt defense references is approximately 950:1 in the media, yet they’re equally important.

    Sure, opponents convert threes at a decent rate against the Gaels (35.6% this season), but since they’re not taking that many three-pointers, it isn’t a big issue. Not that anybody is going to overcome a 23-point second-half deficit to Saint Mary’s anyway, but SMC’s ability to prevent three-point attempts…


    Ken’s Rules Corner

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 27, 2012


    I was at the UNLV-UNM game [Saturday] and saw something I’ve never seen before.  A UNLV big man takes an elbow to the face on defense which results in a flagrant 1 foul.  He has to be removed from the game.  UNLV puts in guard Kendall Wallace who hits both the free throws and then is immediately subbed out for a big man.

    This occurred with about 17 minutes left in the 2nd half.  Statistically the ESPN Box gives Wallace one minute played, however the UNLV box gives him 0.  For reference, when a player has less time that a full minute the UNLV box normally lists their minutes as 0+.  Even the UNLV play-by-play doesn’t list Wallace’s entrance or exit from the game.


    This was actually the second consecutive game where I’d seen someone come off the bench…


    How much is air worth?

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Wyoming hosts San Diego State tonight (if the Aztecs make it to Laramie) and it got me to wondering about the importance of altitude. The Aztecs won at New Mexico last week, and while observers were impressed with the win in the Lobos’ building, nobody really mentioned that they had to overcome the thin air of Albuquerque (elevation 5300 feet) as well. There are a few studies out there that have looked at the difference in a high-elevation team’s winning percentage between home and road games. For some reason, I’d rather know how many points altitude is worth.

    Wyoming has played San Diego State home and away every season since 2000. In 12 games in Wyoming, the average margin as been +1.0 for Wyoming while the games at San Diego have produced an average…


    The untrained eye: New Mexico vs. UNLV

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, January 22, 2012

    UNLV beat New Mexico 80-63 in a 64-possession game Saturday night. I was there. This is what I saw.

    Mike Moser is great offensive rebounder considering his shot selection.

    I don’t think there’s a useful position descriptor for UNLV’s Mike Moser. Whatever you want to call him, he was a busy man on Saturday night, taking 16 shots, grabbing 13 boards and recording two blocks. It’s not Moser’s activity that makes him unique, though. It’s that his shot selection skews towards the perimeter, yet he’s a major factor on the offensive glass. This is best explained in graph form.

    What you see here is the distribution of D-I players that have played at least 40% of their team’s minutes this season, according to their OR% and 3PA%. Two players have separated themselves from the cloud, er, crowd. Moser and Belmont’s Brandon Baker. Even though Baker takes a…


    The 2012 kPOY watch list

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 20, 2012

    It’s time to release the first leaderboard of the nation’s premier statistical individual award. For those new to these parts, the Player of the Year is based solely on statistical data. It’s safe to say that “player of the year” means different things to different people. But I’ve tried to define in the way it’s assumed to be defined for other more famous awards (Wooden, Naismith, etc.).

    I hope we can agree that “player of the year” is not exactly “the best player in the country”. If you put Thomas Robinson on Houston Baptist, he’d be the same player but would have no shot at winning any player of the year awards. So much like other POY awards, the kPOY combines personal achievement and team strength. “Player of the year” for these purposes is essentially “the player that means the most to a very good team”. (If it…


    The six-game tournament?

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, January 19, 2012

    The Ivy League likes to fancy its regular season as the “14-game tournament” because it doesn’t have an actual tournament and thus its 14-game regular season determines the conference champion. Technically, though, this is a misnomer. The Ivy League regular season is comprised of 56 games. The West Coast Conference has a tournament, but I’ve been wondering if you could call the regular season a six-game tournament in Ivy terms.

    The WCC is composed of nine teams, but it spits in the face of the normal distribution by having three teams - Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga, and BYU, which I’ll call the Top 3 - that are much stronger than the other six, a.k.a. The Bottom 6.  Thus far the Top 3 have gone 13-0 against the Bottom 6. There are three games tonight and the Top 3 are heavy favorites in each. But…


    Play-by-Play Theater: consecutive field goals

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Welcome back to Play-by-Play Theater, the semi-regular feature where we mine play-by-play data from the past 2+ seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in college hoops. Last week, we beat consecutive fouls to death. Today’s topic was suggested by a reader. Read on…

    Mr. Pomeroy,

    The host of a local sports call-in show used an example from the Kentucky-Tennessee women’s game last night to exemplify why he “hated” women’s basketball.  At one point in the game, these two top-10 teams combined to miss 26 consecutive shots.  He proclaimed that would never happen in a men’s game with two top-10 teams.  I agree on the surface, but am curious what the data say.  Something similar to the foul analysis you did on the previous play-by-play theater may be interesting.

    Louisville, KY (UK Wildcats fan)

    Kentucky has some weird laws, but my favorite one is that if…


    Best players by state

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 16, 2012

    After anointing Luke Martinez the best D-I player from North Dakota a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to figure out who had geographical bragging rights in each state and Canadian province on the continent. The table below summarizes that research. I’ve taken the kPOY formula out of the garage for the first time this season and used it to determine “best” in these cases. (We’ll get to the issue of revealing the first kPOY top ten list later in the week.)

    In case the trivia of the best player in each state doesn’t excite you, I’ve added more trivia. The number of players from each state that have registered at least 10% of his team’s minutes is listed along with how that translates to a per-capita (one million capitas, technically) figure. The list is sorted in decreasing…


    A tribute to Quincy Roberts

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 13, 2012

    The player of the year race is not about which player is most valuable to his team. At least, not exactly. The evaluation includes a subjective component related to the quality of the player’s team. That’s why Grambling’s Quincy Roberts has no shot at getting any fame from his performance this season. I’ll try to do my small part to change that in the next few paragraphs, because there’s a strong case that there’s no player in the nation more valuable to his team.

    First the backstory: Roberts was recruited to St. John’s by then-head coach Norm Roberts (no relation) and spent his freshman season (way back in 2009) being the sixth man on a team that limped into the CBI with a 16-17 record. Roberts’ stats screamed out transfer – the 6-5 wing posted an offensive rating of just 85 while using a mere 18% of the Red Storm’s…


    A note on recent site updates

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, January 12, 2012

    There have been some features added to the site over the past 2-3 weeks and I haven’t gone out of my way to publicize them. I think most subscribers have discovered them, but for those that haven’t, I’m providing a description of the improvements here.

    InstaGamePrep – Now you can click on upcoming prediction on a team’s schedule (or the game time on future FanMatch pages) and you’ll get a page with the vital stats for each team. This will allow you to more easily identify unique matchups in any game. Surprised that Northwestern went almost 25 minutes before getting its first offensive rebound against Michigan last night? Well you shouldn’t have. And while you could have determined that from clicking on each team’s page, now you can see the data side-by-side. Use it before the game, or use it at a commercial break to get up to…


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