Friday, January 14, 2011

It’s All Downhill From Here

Just a short “Cool Factoid” kind of post…

Boston College is sitting at 3-0 in ACC play, despite playing absolutely no defense.  Given their lack of turnovers, rebounds, fouls, steals, and blocks, their team motto must be “Please refrain from rudely jostling the gentlemen in the opposing jerseys.”  Unsurprisingly, Pomeroy’s projections have them finishing at only 9-7, meaning they’re predicted to sputter to a 6-7 record from here on out.

Out of curiosity, I thought I’d look up who else is in for a rude awakening.  Let’s define that as:

  • Currently at least 2 games above .500 in conference play
  • Projected to have a losing record in conference from this point forward

Here’s the complete list, in approximately increasing order of future fan disappointment:

I feel bad for Chattanooga coach John Shulman.  His teams seem bipolar:

  • 2007: started 0-5, finished 6-7
  • 2008: started 7-0, finished 6-7
  • 2009: started 0-3, finished 11-6
  • 2010: started 3-1, finished 3-11
  • 2011: started 5-0, projected 4-9

Maybe it’s the scheduling.

Anyway, if you live near one of these colleges, brace yourself for some future “What’s wrong with X?” treatises from your local columnists.  Or find some homers you can make some profitable futures bets with.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project Defensive Score Sheet: Kansas@Iowa State

Here’s Game 2 of my stab at charting individual defensive stats.  Check Game 1 for an introduction and explanation, otherwise you’ll have no clue what the alphabet soup is trying to tell you.

Before I get to the numbers, I have to complain about the TV coverage last night.  There were multiple times where I missed a turnover or shot attempt because the producers decided to show close ups of bench players celebrating a dunk, or something along those lines.  And then the announcers failed to clue me in on what had just happened (“Great play there by Iowa State” isn’t very informative, guys).  So, my stats didn’t quite line up with the box score at the end of the game, and I lumped the ~5 plays I was missing into the “Team” lines.  Ugh.

More notes and comments are after the break, but first, the tables (click for larger view):


For Purdue’s Life After Hummel

In what to me is an awesome piece of news, I’ve been invited by Mike Miller to write a few articles for this season.  The first one went live yesterday, and takes a statistics-oriented look into the question of how Purdue has managed to play like an elite team this year without Robbie Hummel, after struggling mightily without him at the end of last year.

As a teaser, here’s one of the tables from the article, showing that E’Twaun Moore was forced to carry a ridiculous load after Hummel went down last season, and struggled to do it.  But he’s been able to dial his Shot% back down to normal-for-him this year, and has seen his offense numbers bounce most of the way back to their 2010 pre-Hummel-injury levels:


To read the rest of the piece, head over to

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project Defensive Score Sheet: Kansas@Michigan

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I just read (most of) Dean Oliver’s Basketball On Paper for the first time.  A few of the chapters focus on defense, and there’s one specifically about individual defensive stats.  Oliver laments the lack of useful defensive data, and talks about a WNBA pet project of his: Project Defensive Score Sheet.  This was (is?) an effort to keep track of individual defensive credit or blame for all of the shots and turnovers a team allows.  After reading the chapter, I rushed to the internet in hopes of finding the results of his efforts, but was disappointed to find very little information available, and very few people attempting to continue or expand on the project.  [See the end of this post for a list of what I did find.]

I thought it would be fun, and possibly illuminating, to keep track of Oliver’s individual defensive stats for some college basketball games.  In a happy little coincidence, the top defensive team in the country happens to also be my favorite team, so I decided to try to chart as many Kansas games as time and TV coverage would allow, starting with this past Sunday’s game against Michigan.

It’s amazing how different the game-watching experience was when I was forced to pay close attention to defensive players.  I would never have otherwise noticed how active – and cagey – Jordan Morgan is.  More on that later.  Anyway, at this point, I don’t have any brilliant ideas on what to do with the numbers, so I’ll simply start by posting the results of each game.

Here’s the table (click for larger view); the explanation is after the break.