A couple of housekeeping notes. I forgot that I put together some notes on what various individual stats mean before the season. Here’s the link. It doesn’t cover everything, but I’ll add the rest shortly.

Hi Ken,

I love that you have added tempo-free stats for every team. Just a quick question about that. How do you calculate individual possessions used?

And as a tie-in, how do you calculate the TO Rate? I was just curious because at Big Ten Wonk, Marco Killingsworth has by far the highest TO Rate in the conference, while on your page he isn’t even the highest on IU. I assume it has something to do with the calculation of individual possessions – Wonk’s are just based on minutes played/team minutes played. Thanks a ton, keep up the good work,


Counting individual possessions used (as opposed to the number of possessions that a player is on the court) follows the same principles as counting team possessions. A player uses possessions on field goals that aren’t rebounded by the offense, turnovers, and possession-ending free throws.

It gets messy a player when we have to determine how many of his missed shots result in offensive rebounds. We also have to account for the offensive rebounds he gets on his teammates’ shots. And to top it all off, there’s an assist factor thrown in. Again, if you really want to see the gory details of the formula, read Basketball on Paper. It’s a good read even if you’re not mathematically inclined, and I recommend it especially if you’re skeptical about the value of using the stats I promote here.

Wonk uses “possessions on the floor” in the denominator; I use “possessions used” in the denominator. Advantage for me is that, while on the surface Killingsworth is a turnover machine, given he touches the ball in traffic more than any other BCS conference player, his turnover rate isn’t that bad, although still a little high. Advantage for Wonk is that he doesn’t have to slave over formulas that require 20 sets of parentheses when typing them into a spreadsheet.

Since Wonk knows IU better than Mike Davis, he simply looks at Killer’s unadjusted TORate and mentally accounts for his usage, accurately declaring he “turns the ball over from time to time”.  Wonk can make up for lack of spreadsheet time by actually watching loads of Big Ten action and reading every single piece of journalism pertaining to said conference. Now, if we could ambush Wonk and force him to give us his split-second impression of Stony Brook’s Mitchell Beauford, he might wrongly be unimpressed by his turnover rate. Could be a terrific episode of Punk’d.

Bottom line: Every stat has its limitation and Wonk understands this better than anyone. Plus, he once called me the best writer ever, or something like that. So I kind of owe him.

Before I go, Indiana is a fascinating team with respect to their scouting report. Killingsworth, while a prolific scorer, is not amazingly efficient. Partly because of a high turnover rate, and partly because of below average free throw shooting. Given the Hoosiers’ arsenal of shooters, this suggests it doesn’t pay to double down on Killingsworth a whole lot. And the gist I get from reading Wonk is that is also the consensus opinion of Big Ten coaches.

Alright, enough of the Big Ten. I usually leave that to the experts. We’ll now return to regularly scheduled programming, or lack thereof.

Line o’ the Night

                           FG    3pt  FT    Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A   O-T  A F S TO BLK Pts
Joe Crawford           33  5-10  4-6  9-11  3-9  1 2 0  0  0   23
Result: Win. Kentucky 71, Auburn 62.