Ohio University opened its season last night by hosting San Francisco, becoming the last team to play a real game. Ohio usually is one of the last teams to tip-off their season. This is because they are on a wacky quarter system where exams fall on the week before Thanksgiving. For you youngsters out there, when you choose a college, consider Ohio U. You get a six-week winter break! There’s no classes from before Thanksgiving until after New Year’s. Though you end up paying for it in the summer. But this has to be a nice thing for the basketball team. While everyone else is worried about finals in December, the Bobcats play nine games before they have to go to class.

Now back to your regularly schedule onslaught of stats…

Oklahoma State knocked off Sam Houston State last night to run it’s record to 3-0. The Cowboys are defending their national shooting percentage title. Sure, there won’t be any banner hanging in Gallagher-Iba to honor this feat, but it was the key reason for their success in 2004. It was also the reason for success or failure for many other teams.

Of all the shooting stats I could make up, this category distinguished the quality of teams the most last season…

FG% Difference
Top 30 teams= cumulative .766 winning percentage
Bottom 30 teams = .222 (difference between top 30 and bottom 30 = .544)

We are getting dangerously close to just calculating point differential here, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this matters a lot to winning. But it was kind of unexpected that this would win out over effective FG% difference, where succesful three pointers get 50% more credit than succesful two pointers.

Effective FG% Difference
Top 30 = .764 Bottom 30 = .228 (difference = .536)

When FG% is broken down into its offensive and defensive components, it turns out offensive FG% is slightly more meaningful.

Offensive FG%
Top 30 = .729 Bottom 30 = .266 (difference = .463)

Defensive FG%
Top 30 = .696 Bottom 30 = .330 (difference = .366)

Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. Unless someone is a big shot blocker, nobody gets recruited for their defense. Most coaches, whether they want to admit it or not, value offense more. And these numbers, if you buy them, show that they are justified in those thoughts.