Subscribe!
CourtIntelligence powered by kenpom.com

Most recent entries

  • Offense vs. Defense: Assist rate
  • Offense vs. Defense: Three-point attempts
  • Offense vs. Defense: Rebounding
  • Offense vs. Defense: 3-point percentage
  • Offense vs. Defense: average possession length
  • Is free throw defense real?
  • Offense vs. Defense: free throw percentage
  • Offense vs. Defense: the eternal struggle
  • Your 2015 kPOY: Frank Kaminsky
  • The NRG effect
  • The good stuff


    At other venues...
  • ESPN.com ($)
  • Deadspin
  • Slate

  • Strategy
  • Whether to foul up 3 late
  • The value of 2-for-1’s
  • Whether to foul when tied (1, 2, 3)
  • Who's the best in-game coach?

  • Philosophy
  • All points are not created equal
  • Brady Heslip’s non-slump
  • The magic of negative motivation
  • A treatise on plus-minus
  • The preseason AP poll is great
  • The lack of information in close-game performance
  • Why I don’t believe in clutchness*

  • Fun stuff
  • The missing 1-point games
  • Which two teams last lost longest ago?
  • How many first-round picks will Kentucky have?
  • Prepare for the Kobe invasion
  • Predicting John Henson's free throw percentage
  • Can Derrick Williams set the three-point accuracy record?
  • Play-by-play Theater: earliest disqualification
  • Monthly Archives

  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • July 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • July 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006
  • June 2006
  • May 2006
  • April 2006
  • March 2006
  • February 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005
  • December 2004
  • November 2004
  • October 2004
  • September 2004
  • August 2004
  • July 2004
  • June 2004
  • May 2004
  • April 2004
  • March 2004
  • February 2004
  • January 2004
  • December 2003
  • November 2003

  • RSS feed

    Offense vs. Defense: Assist rate

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, August 25, 2015


    This is part 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. A description of the methodology is here.

    We always hear about how it’s desirable for the offense to share the ball. Although there are coaches like Andy Kennedy that can consistently put an effective offense on the floor that frequently scores off the dribble, assist rate is positively correlated with offensive efficiency. But while assist offense gets all of the attention, assist defense is real, too. And if you want a good defense, it helps to make the opponent score off the dribble.

    Obviously, there are limits to this concept. You don’t need to worship at the altar of analytics to understand that if you give up straight line drives to the rim, your defense is going to suck. Even if those drives to the rim are on some sort of curved path, your defense is still going to suck. And if you’re forcing opponents to take long catch-and-shoot 2’s, your defense is going to succeed. But I’m speaking in generalities here, and I have graphs of data from the past 14 seasons of college hoops to prove that assistin’ is generally good for the offense and bad for the defense.

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: Three-point attempts

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, August 13, 2015


    This is part 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. A description of the methodology is here.

    Today’s stat is three-point attempts, but it really could be “shot distribution”. As a team’s three-point attempt is also its non-two-point attempt. The offense checks it at 71% for control of its shot attempts. Yes, the defense has more control over the number of 3’s taken than the number that go in, but the difference is closer than I was expecting.

    But it definitely makes sense that the offense is in majority control, especially when you consider things on a player level. No team was going to make Jahlil Okafor take three-point shots and you weren’t going to make Naz Long stop taking 3’s. In the long run, you can move the needle on a team level with some persistence. A tight zone will make SMU shoot more 3’s, but no defense exists that can turn a Larry Brown team into a Joe Scott team.

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: Rebounding

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, August 5, 2015


    This is part 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. A description of the methodology is here.

    Rebounding is next in the pecking order of offensive control, checking in at an average of 73% over the past ten seasons. It is not surprising that rebounding outcomes are influenced mostly by the offense, given that strategic choices in this area are largely made by the shooting team. Whether to crash the glass or retreat in an effort to prevent opposing transition defines a team’s ceiling in terms of offensive rebounding.

    For the ninth consecutive season, the national offensive rebounding rate dropped from the previous season. Just 31.1% of available rebounds were grabbed by the offense last season, down from 34.0% in 2006. It figures that the offense has been largely behind the offensive rebound becoming more rare.

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: 3-point percentage

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, July 27, 2015


    This is part 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. A description of the methodology is here.

    Three-point percentage is next on the pecking order of offensive control, checking in at an average of 83% over the past ten seasons. There’s been enough chit-chat around here about long-range shooting (to wit) to understand that the offense has majority control over the chances of a three-point attempt being successful. And while three-point defense exists on some level, it’s difficult to distinguish how much is sneaky close-out ability and how much is opposing offenses choosing to take low-percentage 3’s over low-percentage 2’s.

    But given that defenses have more influence on opposing two-point percentage, one can imagine that there’s at least a component here that involves offenses electing to take more 3’s in an environment where getting easy 2’s is not possible. Against a good two-point defense, invariably shots will be challenged.

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: average possession length

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, July 20, 2015


    This is part 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. A description of the methodology is here.

    A common crutch for analyzing a college basketball game is to propose that the team that controls the pace will gain an advantage. It’s one of those things that sounds intelligent so it will never go away, but the analysis here shows that generally speaking, the offense has significant control of its own possession length. When forecasting a team’s possession length in a game, the modeling efforts described here reveal that the offense is responsible for 86% of the variance in the prediction. (Some of the plots in this post also give one the impression than offense is driving the pace bus.)

    This is a general statement that should be reexamined on a team-by-team basis. For one counter-example, West Virginia had the shortest defensive possessions in the land by a wide margin last season. The Mountaineers’ press forced a bunch of turnovers, committed fouls more frequently than any other team, and gave up fast break points at an alarming rate. Their style was perfect for encouraging quick defensive possessions and even though their offense was slower than average, their overall tempo was ranked in the top 40.

    Read more...

    Is free throw defense real?

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, July 14, 2015


    In the last installment of Offense vs. Defense, we saw that offense controls the variance in predictions of free throw percentage. But the defense still had a two-percent influence on the predictions. It’s possible this could be explained away by random error. After all, if the offense truly controls 100% of free throw percentage, any errors in the method would work in the defensive direction. In other words, the method couldn’t possibly tell you that the offense has greater than 100% control over free throw percentage.

    But it appears a modicum of free throw defense may exist on the team level. While the model does a nice job quantifying results in a way that can be used to compare various stats, it’s a bit abstract. We should be able to look at the raw data and see some effects of whether offense or defense is in more control of a stat.

    For example, one can compare what happens when the best free throw offenses face the best free throw defenses and compare that to what happens when the best free throw offenses face the worst free throw defenses. Here’s what the data looks like for each of the past ten seasons:

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: free throw percentage

    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.

    Read more...

    Offense vs. Defense: the eternal struggle

    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.

    Read more...

    Your 2015 kPOY: Frank Kaminsky

    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.)

    Read more...

    The NRG effect

    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.

    Read more...

    Page 1 of 92 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›