Monthly Archives: February 2017

Tuesday Truths: Penultimate edition

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 120 teams in the nation’s top 10 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis.

A theory of Duke

tatum2

One of the better looks Jayson Tatum and the Blue Devils got against Miami. (Lance King)

Through games of February 27, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession   Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

ACC                       W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Louisville           11-5   67.9    1.13    0.99    +0.14
2.  North Carolina       13-4   70.1    1.15    1.02    +0.13
3.  Florida State        11-5   71.8    1.13    1.03    +0.10
4.  Virginia             10-7   60.7    1.04    0.96    +0.08
5.  Duke                 10-6   68.5    1.14    1.08    +0.06
6.  Notre Dame           11-5   68.0    1.10    1.06    +0.04
7.  Miami                10-7   63.7    1.06    1.04    +0.02
8.  Wake Forest           7-9   71.9    1.12    1.11    +0.01
9.  Syracuse              9-8   66.8    1.11    1.12    -0.01
10. Virginia Tech        10-7   67.6    1.10    1.13    -0.03
11. Georgia Tech          7-9   69.1    0.95    0.99    -0.04
12. Clemson              4-12   66.8    1.07    1.15    -0.08
13. Pitt                 4-12   65.1    1.06    1.15    -0.09
14. Boston College       2-14   72.0    1.01    1.15    -0.14
15. NC State             4-13   71.2    1.02    1.18    -0.16

AVG.                            68.1    1.08
Acceleration since 2015:        7.8%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 91

For all we know Duke could yet win the 2017 national championship — way stranger things have happened — but invoking those trusty Stranger Things is surely not a good sign. Besides, everyone and I do mean (almost) everyone thought the Blue Devils would look much better by now than they do in the numbers shown above. What has happened so far? Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: Presidential edition

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 120 teams in the nation’s top 10 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis.

Josh Pastner is doing a very good Tony Bennett impersonation

Lammers

Ask Syracuse: Ben Lammers is good at what he does. (USA Today)

Through games of February 20, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession   Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

ACC                       W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Louisville           10-4   67.3    1.14    1.00    +0.14
2.  North Carolina       11-3   71.4    1.17    1.03    +0.14
3.  Florida State        10-5   72.3    1.12    1.02    +0.10
4.  Duke                 10-4   69.3    1.16    1.08    +0.08
5.  Virginia              8-7   61.0    1.04    0.98    +0.06
6.  Notre Dame           10-5   68.0    1.11    1.07    +0.04
7.  Miami                 9-6   64.1    1.07    1.05    +0.02
8.  Wake Forest           6-9   72.0    1.14    1.13    +0.01
9.  Syracuse              8-7   66.7    1.11    1.11     0.00
10. Georgia Tech          7-7   69.1    0.95    0.99    -0.04
11. Virginia Tech         7-7   68.4    1.08    1.14    -0.06
12. Clemson              4-10   67.4    1.06    1.14    -0.08
13. Pitt                 4-10   64.8    1.07    1.16    -0.09
14. Boston College       2-13   72.1    1.00    1.14    -0.14
15. NC State             3-12   71.8    1.03    1.20    -0.17

AVG.                            68.4    1.08
Acceleration since 2015:        8.2%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 81

Enough of this vaporous and imprecise “Josh Pastner has done a great job” stuff. Actually if we were judging this ACC coach of the year contest on offense alone, Pastner would stand a fair chance of coming in No. 15 in the balloting. (See numbers above.) Let us instead pay the head coach the compliment of attentive praise: Pastner, incredibly, may have the ACC’s best defense. (See numbers above.) Continue reading

Why freshmen may dominate the draft more than they did the college season

RW

Robert Williams.

The 2017 NBA draft is likely to be the league’s most freshman-dominant selection, well, ever. Since the one-and-done rule was enacted over a decade ago, the record for most freshmen taken as lottery picks is eight.

That occurred just two years ago in 2015. Sing along with me: Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow, Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, and Devin Booker.

However this freshman class we currently have before us looks like it’s going to beat that record with ease. Right now on the mock draft boards, one of the few people on earth who’s not currently a college freshman but who stands an excellent chance of being taken in the lottery is Belgium’s own Frank Ntilikina. Another potential gate-crasher here could be Cal sophomore Ivan Rabb.

Other than those guys and their ilk, however, the top of the draft may be thick with freshmen, to wit:

Markell Fultz
Lonzo Ball
Josh Jackson
Dennis Smith
Jonathan Isaac
Jayson Tatum
Malik Monk
Lauri Markkanen
De’Aaron Fox
Miles Bridges
Justin Patton
Robert Williams
T.J. Leaf

Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: “Cue the carousel” edition

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 120 teams in the nation’s top 10 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis.

North Carolina is (still!) vying to be Roy Williams’ best offensive rebounding team yet

Bradley

Could more minutes for Tony Bradley push UNC’s offensive rebounding even higher?

Through games of February 13, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession   Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

ACC                       W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Louisville            9-4   67.7    1.12    0.96    +0.16
2.  Virginia              8-4   62.0    1.09    0.97    +0.12
3.  North Carolina        9-3   72.2    1.16    1.06    +0.10
4.  Florida State         9-4   72.4    1.11    1.02    +0.09
5.  Duke                  8-4   70.4    1.14    1.06    +0.08
6.  Wake Forest           6-7   71.8    1.13    1.10    +0.03
7.  Notre Dame            8-5   67.9    1.09    1.07    +0.02
8.  Syracuse              8-6   66.5    1.13    1.12    +0.01
9.  Miami                 6-6   65.5    1.07    1.07     0.00
10. Georgia Tech          6-6   69.6    0.95    0.99    -0.04
11. Virginia Tech         6-6   69.6    1.05    1.12    -0.07
12. Clemson               3-9   67.0    1.05    1.15    -0.10
13. Boston College       2-11   71.5    1.01    1.12    -0.11
14. Pitt                  3-9   65.3    1.06    1.17    -0.11
15. NC State             3-10   72.3    1.03    1.19    -0.16

AVG.                            68.8    1.08
Acceleration since 2015:        8.9%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 70

The last time we saw North Carolina, the Tar Heels were being limited to their worst offensive rebounding game of the ACC season by Duke. Yet even with that performance added to the mix, it’s conceivable that Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley and company will still turn out to be even better at crashing the offensive glass than any of their illustrious predecessors were. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: Post-Gaga edition

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 120 teams in the nation’s top 10 conferences are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis.

You’re right to love Swanigan, and, oh, by the way, John Collins has something to say

Collins

A Biggie who blocks shots? Is that possible?

Through games of February 6, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession   Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

ACC                       W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Louisville            7-4   68.4    1.13    0.96    +0.17
2.  Virginia              8-3   61.8    1.10    0.96    +0.14
3.  North Carolina        9-2   72.7    1.16    1.04    +0.12
4.  Florida State         8-3   72.3    1.11    1.01    +0.10
5.  Duke                  6-4   71.5    1.14    1.06    +0.08
6.  Syracuse              7-4   66.2    1.14    1.12    +0.02
7.  Notre Dame            6-5   67.0    1.08    1.07    +0.01
8.  Wake Forest           5-6   71.8    1.12    1.12     0.00
9.  Miami                 5-5   65.7    1.07    1.07     0.00
10. Georgia Tech          5-6   68.7    0.96    1.02    -0.06
11. Virginia Tech         5-5   70.3    1.06    1.14    -0.08
12. Boston College        2-9   71.5    1.03    1.14    -0.11
13. Clemson               3-7   67.6    1.03    1.15    -0.12
14. NC State              3-8   72.4    1.05    1.17    -0.12
15. Pitt                  1-9   65.0    1.03    1.19    -0.16

AVG.                            68.8    1.08
Acceleration since 2015:        8.9%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 59

Wake Forest has climbed into the bubble picture and will stay there as long as the Demon Deacons hover in the area of .500 in ACC play. This projects to be a really good year to go 9-9, 8-10 or possibly even 7-11 in said league.

Continue reading

What I saw at the scoring revolution

Lauri

He makes twos, threes, and all kinds of symbolic sense. (Kelly Presnell, Arizona Daily Star)

With February now upon us, I want to update the yay-scoring hallelujah I posted at ESPN.com a few weeks back. Here are the changes we’ve seen in major-conference play since 2013, in order of magnitude…

1. Scoring’s up 12.3 percent
There are exactly eight more points scored per 40 minutes of major-conference play than there were in the 2013 season. You can now expect a team to put 73.3 points on the board. (Well, not literally. On average.)

2. Three-point attempts are up by 9.4 percent
Changes Nos. 1 and 2 are correlated. (Ahem, coaches.) Note that both major-conference play and Division I basketball as a whole are more perimeter-oriented than they’ve ever been. This statement specifically includes the 2007-08 season, back when it was widely said there were “too many threes” and the three-point line was therefore moved back a foot. Now there are more threes than there were when there were too many threes. Personally I’m fine with it. Continue reading