Dec 28, 2006

trippin...

Not available to post at this time.
Back next week. Sorry for the wait.

Dec 21, 2006

Pac-10 Putting Some Bigger Wins on the Board

Teams from the Pac-10 had a couple of "statement" wins last night no doubt.
Arizona kept Memphis in check at home with a balanced attack inside the arc. Memphis was in foul trouble early on, and had to rely on the double-digit scoring efforts of its bench players just to keep it close.

**Update. Pac 10 Tempo Free Stats are now up here

The Huskies made the largest noise last night, jumping out ahead of LSU early and never looking back. In what "looked" like a fast game, with Washington running and gunning all game showed up as moderate on paper at 71 possessions. This is where you have to look a little deeper at the numbers to get a better feel of the game if you hadn't watched it. Both teams were tremendous on the offensive glass, or horrendous on the defensive glass, depending on how you look at it. The Huskies pulled in 50% of their own misses while LSU gathered an almost-equally strong 39%. So, while shots were being hoisted in the 70 shot range, a high number that usually translates into a high 70 or even 80 possession game, the constant stream of offensive boards limited the amount of possessions that showed up on paper.
Spencer Hawes vs. Big Baby stats with 30 minutes of playing time for Hawes vs. 37 for Davis:







.DavisHawes
Points820
Orebs 5 4
Drebs 4 8
PPWS .66 1.28

I didn't give Kevin Durant much credit earlier in the season. Still unsure with two sub-par performances against Texas St. and LSU the last week, but last night's line helps his cause:

28 points, 4 O boards, 9 total, for 1.31 PPWS and a 16% rebounding rate on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Dec 19, 2006

Wisconsin and Georgia Have Passed Their Tests

Madtown has been waiting a few years for this from Brian Butch. Quite a line: 27 points on 11 field goal attempts, 11 boards with 4 offensive, 3 assists with zero turnovers for an incredible 1.62 PPWS, 14% offensive rebounding percentage and a goliath 37% rebounding percentage. Butch probably won't keep up numbers like this, but being able show that he is indeed capable of a game of this caliber, definitely puts some merry holiday thoughts in Badger fans' minds.
Wisconsin also scored over 1.24 points per possession in their game against Pitt while only turning it over 8 times in a 72 possession game, for a minuscule 11% turnover rate.

Not to be outdone, the "other" Big Ten title contender in Ohio St. walloped the Bearcats while holding them to 27.4% efg and only .71 points per possession, only making 19 shots on 73 attempts. Ouch. Mike Conley was the "leader" of the Buckeyes, with 7 assists, and zero turnovers. Infinite assist-to-turnover percentage, it has been done!!!

The Zags lost to a now-legitimately-tested-Georgia team despite shooting almost 70% efg. But the Bulldogs held a monster edge on the offensive glass, hauling in 44% of their misses, more than making up for the 10% difference in shooting. The Zags also turned the ball over a dreadful 27% of the time, almost double the turnovers of Georgia. It was a much faster game than both teams are accustomed to at 78 possessions, so the high percentage shooting was all the more impressive.

Some other high-profile games to wrap up the holiday season. Posts will be a little sporadic until January.

Thanks for checking

Dec 15, 2006

Tempo Free Stats Analysis....Thank you Andy Glockner

This is exactly the type of story that TFS hopes to see on a major sports news site. The Tempo-Free Metro area just picked up another 'burb.

Dec 14, 2006

The Teacher Wants Improvement

On to the ever-more important defensive analysis of the biggest gainers on the defensive end thus far....


Oklahoma (5-3) - Their current adjusted .78 points per possession defensively is 2nd best in the nation and .18 better than last year. They are limiting opponents to 40.2% from inside the arc, and also are only allowing 25% of opponents misses to be rebounded by themselves. Taylor Griffin is leading the pack while he himself is grabbing 25% of opponents misses while he's on the floor. What's hindering this stellar defense (that limited Memphis to barely a point a possession in their loss) from posting a better record is a turnover-prone offense that's giving away almost a quarter of their possessions.

Butler (10-1) - The Dawgs don't post stellar numbers in any category but currently stand at allowing under .84 PPP, almost .17 better than last year. A big key has been improving their 2 pt defense, reducing that number from an almost-worst 52% last year to a more respectable 45%. Opponents are shooting a below average 27.7%, but as Pomeroy stated, that number usually normalizes more often than 2 pt shooting, because of the nature of the shot.

Michigan St. (9-2) - The Spartans stand at .805 PP, over .156 better than last year's good but not great defense. Their inside-the-arc defense is superb, allowing 38.5% shooting on 2's and only giving up 25% of opponents' missed shots to rebounds. As a comparison, they were giving up 47.2% shooting on 2 pointers. Like last year, they don't force turnovers, only 20% this year currently, but Drew Naymick is leading the defensive effort while blocking 10.5% of opponents' shots while he's in the game.

Missouri (9-1) - Shaving .145 points off their opponents' scoring rate to .859 ppp has been attributed to a tremendous turnover-forcing defense. They are currently getting 28.7% of their opponents' possessions to end in a turnover, while grabbing a steal on 16% of every possession. Last year they were only getting 21% turnover rate and half as many steals. JuCo transfer Stefhon Hannah has been a gem defensively, as he's second in the nation in total steals (40) and 4th in the nation tempo-free style, as he's ending almost 7% of all opponents' possessions by way of steals.

Oregon (8-0) - One of the big surprises of this team is their vastly improved defense (.839 ppp, for a .119 improvement), an element lacking the past couple of seasons. Previously mentioned in the referenced Pomeroy ESPN article, the Ducks have also been fortunate with opponents' lack of 3pt shooting prowess, at only 26.2% vs 35.6% last year. That number should creep closer to last year's number over time, but what I feel is a good mark for improvement is their increased tenacity in forcing turnovers. They're currently 5th best in the nation, forcing almost a 3rd of all possessions to end in a turnover, compared to 20% last year. The question mark obviously is the higher than average 48.7% shooting they're giving up on 2 pointers. Early games against USC and UCLA will answer some questions.

Gonzaga (9-2) - .111 ppp improvement over last year thus far, to a 43rd best .900 from a defense that ranked 178th last year. They're only giving up 43.7% (vs. 48% last year) shooting on 2 pointers however, a la the Spartans, they don't force opponents' turnovers (only 18.2% this year). They limit opponents' second chances by giving up a respectable 26.6% offensive rebounding rate compared to 31.2% last year. The schedule no less has been extremely brutal up to this point, and thus their numbers appear as if they can only improve. Good signs for March...

Other teams to watch for:

Georgia (too early to tell)
Miss. St.
Purdue
Virginia Tech
Tennesse
Indiana
Central Florida
USC
Evansville

Dec 13, 2006

Putting Last Year in the Trunk

Taking a look at some early season teams who have made significant improvements to their overall offensive efficiency.
Granted, the games have been against non-conference opponents and we are comparing year-to-date numbers to end-of-last year numbers, but still, improvements this large (over a .1 point per possession increase, or on average almost 7 points a game at an average tempo) merits some press:

Air Force (10-1)- The team that has already garnered plenty of press here and around the nation, was already efficient last year (1.12 points per possession), however they currently run at a tops-in-the-nation 1.29 PPP while shooting 63.5 eFG % and 43.6% from three. Dan Nwaelele leads the way with 77.7% shooting but all five guys with over 60% of the minutes are shooting over 55% eFG.
Their 16.9% turnover percentage is sublime and they've improved this much while only allowing .02 PPP more on defense from last year.

Purdue (8-1) - Two words on the improvement. Carl Landry. His return this season has helped them add .11 points a possession as he has been involved in over 31% of all possessions, is shooting 68.6% from 2, and is grabbing 13.4% of available offensive boards while he's on the court. Purdue's offensive efficiency has improved from 99.3 to 110.3 while getting some good early season wins against an unbeaten Missouri team, Virginia and a better-than-their-record shows Oklahoma team. Granted the Big Ten season will invariably bring that efficiency down, but it's a good sign to know that Carl Landry has helped their offense click this year.
Their D is also limiting their opponents to an even better .136 points less per possession than last year, but we'll save that for later.

Washington St. (9-1)- Tony Bennett has conjured up some magic out in Pullman, WA thanks to a team that protects the ball infinitely better than last year's team while improving their points per possession by over .105 to 1.05 currently. They're turning it over 18.3% this year compared to over 22% last year, with Derrick Low being the key for the team; dropping his rate from a ghastly 27.1% to a guard-position-exquisite 10.2%!! Combine their offensive turnover improvement to their defensive turnover improvement (3.9% more forced) and that's around a 5 point swing in their favor on average. They've also improved greatly from three-land, shooting 42.1% currently compared to 33.2% last year. With quality wins over Gonzaga and UAB, the Cougs are in good hands. Their last test before the Pac-10 will be against San Diego St on December 21st.


Defense will be dabbled in tomorrow.


Other teams of note:

Winthrop
Georgia
Xavier
Western Kentucky
Maryland
Arizona

Dec 12, 2006

Basketball??? This is Pony Racing!!!

A game I was going to post about but forgot, I'll elaborate on today:

Virginia Military Institute currently ranks 1st in possessions per game at a blood pressure jolting 93.2 pos/game. On Saturday, they went up against a Mercer team that also likes to run, at a more realistic 72.6 pos/game. Both teams averaged under a point a possession, but plugging in the numbers, the score predicted was totaling over 180. Sadly, Vegas did not post any lines as I would have loved to see what they would have listed it at. Final score: Mercer 105 VMI 103. Taking us back to the Loyola days.
Some stats from the game to digest:
1. VMI took 94 shots!! Sinking only 34 total, while putting up over 51% to the three and shooting 25% from 3. In most NCAA games, the two teams involved take just over 100 shots combined.
2. Mercer turned the ball over 30 times. Now here's where Tempo Free Stats is key. 30 times is an astronomical amount, no doubt, but in a game this fast (106 possessions!!!!), that's still a bad but not incongruously bad 28% turnover percentage. 30 times in a 70 possession game would definitely be horrendous.
3. On the other side, VMI only turned it over 12 times, for an 11% turnover percentage. Brilliant!! Poor shooting obviously killed them and helped Mercer overcome that large turnover margin.
4. And Mercer had all 5 starters in double digits thanks to 61% shooting between them.

Sadly, only 2,200 people were in attendance to watch the slugfest.

Additional scrumptious note on VMI's prestissimo pace: the next fasted team in the land is averaging 81 possessions a game, 12 less than the Keydets.

Dec 11, 2006

Reshuffling the Deck...

A & M - Defense wasn't as sharp as "expected", as UCLA lofted up 55.9% eFG shooting and as expected, didn't force a large amount of turnovers, with only 18% TO% on 12 turnovers in a 66 possession game.

Wichita St. - Wyoming
Was right along with what I was expecting, with the Shockers getting a solid road victory and easily covering the over at a score of 83-69. They forced 22 turnovers in a game played faster than both teams were used to, at a moderately fast 76 possessions.
The Shockers now hold some impressive victories early on in the season to give them a solid base for a tourney resume.

Butler - Indy St.
Well, that over was covered with no problem, but Butler was on the short end of the score for the first time this year, 72-64. They gave up 1.13 ppp, after averaging .79 this season. Indiana St. shot 55.4% eFG and 43.8% from three, while only turning the ball over 8 times in a 63 possession game. The interesting thing with Butler, is that they are obviously a three-point shooting team, yet they haven't shot that well at all from beyond the arc (32% overall while hoisting an 11th most 47.1% of their shots from three).
This game exposed that weakness as they only shot 28.6% while taking over 52% of their shots from three!!
A troll is afoot!

Washington
Got the type of opponent that everyone wanted them to finally face, and wow, is Gonzaga good. Washington's D was suspect, and it showed as they gave up over 1.23 points per possession and only forcing 8 measly turnovers in a fast 78 possession game. Raivio led the team with 25 points, but it was Bouldin that was efficiently effective posting 1.62 points per weighted shot on 9 of 12 shooting overall with 2 freethrows.


SDSU and Kentucky to follow along with bonus Dairy state coverage and more

Dec 9, 2006

Vegas by the Numbers

quick post before the rest of the games get started for the weekend...

Some lines that jump out today:

Butler -9 at Indiana St. O/U stands at 116, and with Butler running at 1.18 ppp, and Indy St. defending at .96, this expected 63 possession game should finish around 120-124. Butler has less of a reason to slow it down below their common pace, as Indy St. is only around 1.02 ppp.
We'll call it, Butler 66, Indiana St. 54

Wichita St. -7 at Wyoming. O/U stands at 135. The shockers are rolling in at 1.12 ppp while Wyoming is simply not limiting it's opponents, with an awful 1.11 ppp given up. The shockers may be able to open up the pace a little more than their current 65 as their offense should over-power anything that the Cowboys try to throw at them.
Let's put it on the over around 147 points, Shockers 80 Cowyboys 67

Or I could just be completely wrong

No other over/unders really jump out, however the Gonzaga-Washington game is at 166 currently. Yikes. They should get close, but will probably fall short, around 155-158, with the Huskies at least working within the 7 points that they're currently getting.

Enjoy the weekend....

Dec 8, 2006

Is it Blue or Red?

Back to 10th grade chemistry this weekend.
A slurry of solid basketball action going on this weekend. Some true litmus test games for a few teams, or simply a continuation of a tough early schedule for others.
Without much of an intro, here's a brief look at some interesting matchups:

Litmus Test Teams:

Texas A & M - A match-up of two high quality defensi with above-average offenses. A & M limits it's opponents to a measly 36.9% eFG while forcing a turnover on over 27% of possessions while UCLA stands at 46.6% and 27.5% respectively.
Both hold their opponents to under .9 points a possession.
While A & M really has only faced one tough test in LSU, hence some slightly inflated numbers, they still held the Tigers to barely a point per possession. UCLA isn't terrible efficient on offense (110) for a number 1 team, but if A & M can put a firm hold on the Bruins scoring quad of Collison, Afflalo, Shipp and Mbah a Moute, it should give us a better picture at how good this D really is.

Washington - Only test so far has been a home win against Northern Iowa in which they didn't shoot all that well (46.4% efg) and turned the ball over 17 times in a slower, more Northern Iowa-style pace of 70 possessions. Otherwise, the schedule has been a smorgasboard of easy treats all while staying home in Seattle. Leaving home to visit what should be a rabid bunch of fans against a team that is playing some sound, balanced basketball in Gonzaga will give us a clean look at the Huskies. While it won't be a defensive battle, I'll be interested to see if Washington can get it's offense running more efficiently as it's barely hanging around 1 point scored per possession while giving up .94 on the defensive end.

San Diego St - A surprising loss to Western Michigan leaves us scratching our heads over this early season gem from the MWC. However, the main cause of the loss (almost a third of their possessions ended in a turnover) isn't as strange as they've only managed to stay at the middle of the pack in that department (22.7%). Overall, their defense over the season hasn't been superb, at 1.01 PPP, and they haven't rebounded defensively all that well (giving up 31.1% of opponent's misses). With Arizona clicking in all areas of offensive production (1.25 ppp, 57% eFG, 18% TO rate), SDSU is going to have to play far above it's current level to hold off the Wildcats at home. A better performance, win or lose should help us see whether they have potential to compete for an at-large bid.


Continuation of Tough Early Schedule Teams:

Gonzaga - As previously mentioned, the 'Zags keep the resume-building pre-conference internship rolling along with their annual match-up against the school on the "wrong" side of the Cascades. Should be a great match up of Heytvelt and Raivio vs. Appleby and Hawes with Pondexter putting on a show of his own

Kentucky - With games against UCLA, Memphis and UNC, it's no wonder that the 'Cats have 3 losses against them this early in the year. Next up is what should be a tough match-up for their offense. Indiana brings in a defense averaging only .83 ppp against it while holding shooters to 42.7% eFG, led by DJ White who is blocking 9.4% of opponent's shots while he's on the floor. Randolph Morris was a beast against Hansbrough in the UNC game, it will be intriguingly interesting to see how Morris will be able to match up against White and the much smaller Hoosiers.


More analysis later today.....

Dec 7, 2006

Quick note

This site, obviously was quickly put up, just to get some thoughts, info, ramblings up on the web by the start of the season. With a little more time, the plan is to re-design the look and feel....wait, plan??? There's no plan with this. But, I at least hope to put more effort into trimmings and side dishes of the site.
In due time, when in Rome....

True test..

Something has to give in the 'Bama - Notre Dame matchup tonight. As previously stated, the Tide have been fortunate to come up against poor shooting to offset a marginal offense. The Irish are hitting buckets around the 58 eFG% mark, so where the expected 68 to 70 possession game ends up, should be a good watermark for 'Bama's "D". If the Irish can give Rob Kurz more shots (only shooting 18.9% of theirs), he should produce more points as he's hitting 71% eFG.
Over/under stands at 140, which could go either way. 70-64 is to be expected, in ND's favor. Calling the under.

Dec 6, 2006

Brief Sabbatical

A mixture of post-turkey depression order and other such distractions prevented daily postings.
Onward and upward.....


Current state of MCB:
Some brilliant games, quite a few surprise upsets, pre-season favorites starting out slowly, early season sleepers sprinting out of the gate, etc, etc, etc. In other words, your basic November, just with different actors in the play (welcome MVC!).
Congrats to the ACC for keeping all 12 teams ranked above 100 in offensive efficiency.
SEC is close behind with only 2 out of the top 100. Florida, has played well even with two losses, ranking 2nd offensively and 4th defensively (126.3 and 79.1!).
On that note, and of equal importance, to back up the early season praise , the Pac10, against common stereotype, has 8 teams ranked above 100 in defensive efficiency, with the biggest surprise of all being annually defensive deficient Oregon Ducks, ranked 6th at 80.3.

Teams that are probably better than given credit:
Nevada - Fazekas possibly best all-around player
Air Force - shooting the lights out, playing solid D, all while controlling the pace
Oklahoma - pay no attention to that home loss tonight, running clean enough to rebound
Notre Dame - Maryland was no joke, efficient on both ends

Not quite as clean than credit given:
Alabama - opponents are shooting poorly (38%) to help, but no forcing of TO's (only 16%) and not playing even good offense (ranked 84th) against sub-par early schedule
Duke - Maybe not great credit given anyway, but able to survive so far with poor offense, but stiffling defense aided by an extremely slow pace of 65 possessions per game. Turnovers are killing the offense led by Paulus, who stands at turning the ball over a blood-curdling 43% of his possessions.
Syracuse - two recent losses were justified as they've been running at 108 offense efficiency and 91 defense, nothing to put a gold star on. One bright note is that they stand at 2nd in block percentage, with Darryl Watkins leading the charge with an impressive 17.4% of oppenents shots blocked while he is on the floor.

From here, I'll start keeping up with daily snippets from various games.


Random stat of eye-opening potential:

Congrats to Demar Dotson of Southern Miss who has hauled in a mind-boggling 29% of potential offensive rebounds. If an opponent's shot clangs off the iron, almost a third of the time, the ball is landing in Dotson's hands. By comparison, the other top players are hovering around 19%. Hands like tractor-beams!!!!!