by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, July 6, 2015
This is the second of a series of posts examining whether offense or defense has more control of various aspects of a typical college basketball game. The introduction is here.
What predicts a basketball statistic the best: offensive data or defensive data? If we wanted to predict a team’s free throw percentage in the next game, we could use some combination of that team’s season-long free throw percentage and the opponent’s free throw percentage allowed.
You could use other things, too, of course. Adjusting the inputs for the quality of competition would figure to improve the prediction. For free throw percentage that doesn’t make any sense, but it might be useful for other statistics where there is true interaction between the offense and defense. However, in this work I am only using the raw season-long stats for the statistic in question.
What follows is an explanation of methodology that I used to determine which unit has more control over the rate of various basketball statistics. This can be rather tedious, so if you prefer, skip ahead a few paragraphs. Or do what I often do and read this piece in reverse-paragraph order until you lose interest.
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, June 29, 2015
Last season, Kentucky’s opponents made a mere 27 percent of their three-point attempts, the lowest figure in the country. It’s probably not a coincidence that the longest team in college basketball history also had the country’s best defensive 3P% figure since VCU’s 26.9 percent in 2008. So is there such a thing as three-point defense?
Most questions like this don’t have a one-word answer, or at least the one-word answer isn’t very enlightening. The simple response is that yes, defenses have control over opponents’ three-point percentage. But they also have control over how many of their opponents’ shots get blocked and their opponents’ free throw percentage. It’s the degree of control that we’re interested in.
With that in mind, it’s worthwhile to attempt to quantify the amount of control that the defense has over not just three-point percentage, but all box score stats. The results can help us understand the game a lot better. For instance, armed with this information we can infer what actually qualifies as good basketball.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, April 9, 2015
Congratulations to the winner of the 2015 kenpom.com player of the year award, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky ran away with the title, establishing a lead in mid-November and maintaining it through the end of the season. Frank was the go-to guy on a Wisconsin offense that led the country in raw points scored per possession while playing the fourth toughest collection of defenses in the land. The Badgers’ adjusted offensive efficiency of 127.9 led the nation by 4.7 points, the largest difference between first and second place recorded since 2002.
Kaminsky finished with an offensive rating of 126.2 while using 28.1 percent of Wisconsin’s possessions while he was on the floor. His offensive rating was a whopping seven points better than any other college player that used at least 28 percent of his team’s possessions. He made 58 percent of his two-point shots and 42 percent of his three-point attempts, making him the best perimeter shooter among seven-footers that took at least seven three-point attempts. (Frank took 101.)
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, March 27, 2015
[Note: This post has been updated with the games from a 2002 regular-season triple-header played at Reliant Stadium where teams shot reasonably well. Thanks to @botskey for the tip. NRG still seems hostile to shooters, but per David Worlock’s information, I’m still open to the possibility of randomness.]
[Update 2: The 2002 games apparently had a more cozy configuration and may not be relevant to the shooting woes in more recent games.]
After Friday’s action, there have been 15 college basketball games played in NRG neé Reliant Stadium since it opened in 2002. In those games, the 30 participating teams have made 178 of their 553 3-point attempts for a success rate of 32.2 percent. This could be the result of cataclysmic randomness, but if a team shot 32.2 percent over 30 games, you’d be pretty convinced they weren’t a very good shooting team. A team shooting like that this season would rank 260th in Division-I, and this includes six games using the shorter 3-point line.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, March 26, 2015
In responding to a request from the New York Times’ Marc Tracy, I determined how each team fared in jump balls this season. Kentucky is the best, which is detailed in Marc’s article, but you might be curious where other teams stand. That data is provided below.
Keep in mind I did this by looking at which team had the first possession of the game or any overtime periods. Given the state of play-by-play, and the possibility that technical free throws precede the jump ball, the numbers may be slightly off in some cases.
by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, March 22, 2015
Here’s the log5 for the sweet sixteen using ratings as of Monday morning…
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, March 17, 2015
And if the betting markets for the first night of the NIT are any indication, scoring will go up by about 7%. Here’s a comparison of my predicted total score, which doesn’t account for the 30-second shot clock and larger restricted area being used, and those provided at Pinnacle for the seven NIT games tonight.
by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, March 15, 2015
Below is the outcome of applying the log5 equation to my ratings. All values represent the percent chance of a team advancing to a particular round based on this humble model. No injuries or personnel issues are taken into account and the current rating is considered to be the true reflection of each team’s strength. Each region is presented individually followed by the entire field. Let me know if you see any errors.
With conference tournament season wrapping up today, let’s look back at the five least-likely events over the past two weeks. This is based on the log5 analyses produced for each tournament so I’m not looking at any in-game scenarios. (So you won’t see Albany, whose championship game comeback overcame a 3.4% chance of winning.)
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, March 13, 2015
During championship week, there’s lots of sympathy going around to teams that win their regular-season crown but fail to win the conference’s automatic bid. Some sympathy is deserved, but most of these teams are the big dog in their conference in terms of resources and tradition. Murray State and Iona will be back next season as their respective conference’s favorite and they’ll be in the mix to win the automatic bid. Sure, it sucks that this year’s seniors won’t be a part of that, but the fan base and the coaches will live to fight another day in the very near future.