Category Archives: tuesday truths

Four lessons from a hideous title game

UNC

After a thorough statistical review I have determined that the 2017 NCAA tournament stood out most dramatically in terms of turned ankles. Speaking in an actuarial sense, we should be turned-ankle-free now through at least the 2023 brackets. We’re due.

Other conclusions to be drawn….

Hideous title games have to happen
An unsightly mess on the biggest evening of the college basketball year is unfortunate, but it will, unavoidably, occur. The 2011 game between Connecticut and Butler was even worse than what we saw last night. And, while this definitely falls under the heading of “How did you like the play otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln?” praise, North Carolina’s full six-game title run was if nothing else the fastest-paced such campaign by far that we’ve seen since this same program cruised to a much easier title in 2009. The Tar Heels averaged 74 possessions per 40 minutes in the tournament. (Villanova last year: 64.) UNC’s tournament run was a sprint that ended with fouls and missed shots exploding in every direction. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: Final reality

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

A shot volume dynasty

bradley

UNC’s dominance on the offensive glass is made even more effective by the Tar Heels’ low turnover rate. (Jeffrey A. Camarati)

Through games of March 5, 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.  North Carolina       14-4   70.2    1.16    1.03    +0.13
2.  Louisville           12-6   67.9    1.13    1.01    +0.12
3.  Virginia             11-7   60.6    1.05    0.95    +0.10
4.  Florida State        12-6   71.1    1.12    1.03    +0.09
5.  Duke                 11-7   68.7    1.14    1.08    +0.06
6.  Notre Dame           12-6   67.9    1.10    1.05    +0.05
7.  Wake Forest           9-9   71.7    1.14    1.12    +0.02
8.  Syracuse             10-8   67.0    1.12    1.12    +0.01
9.  Miami                10-8   63.6    1.05    1.04    +0.01
10. Virginia Tech        10-8   67.7    1.10    1.14    -0.04
11. Clemson              6-12   66.8    1.09    1.14    -0.05
12. Georgia Tech         8-10   69.0    0.94    1.00    -0.06
13. Pitt                 4-14   64.7    1.02    1.14    -0.12
14. Boston College       2-16   71.6    1.00    1.15    -0.15
15. NC State             4-14   70.9    1.03    1.18    -0.15

AVG.                            68.0    1.08
Acceleration since 2015:        7.6%
KenPom rank: 2

In winning the 2017 ACC regular-season title outright, North Carolina came close but could not quite capture still another banner of sorts. This group was very nearly the best offensive rebounding team Roy Williams has ever had in Chapel Hill. Alas, the Tar Heels in 2008 rebounded 43.0 percent of their misses in ACC play, while this season Carolina posted a 42.1. Continue reading

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

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

Tuesday Truths: Halftime 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.

The conference seasons have now more or less reached their midpoints. No more “it’s early” qualifiers and disclaimers. Time for sweeping declarations made in the most emphatic and dogmatic timbres imaginable. Louisville is good! (Relatively speaking.) Carlton Bragg doesn’t matter! (So far.) The Big Ten is strange! (Possibly.)

And so forth….

The Cardinals may indeed turn out to be as good as they look here….

Mitchell

It will be bad news for the rest of the ACC if Donovan Mitchell continues to believe he’s actually Bryce Alford. (louisvillecardinal.com)

Through games of January 30, 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            6-3   68.9    1.13    0.94    +0.19
2.  North Carolina        7-2   74.5    1.14    1.01    +0.13
3.  Virginia              6-2   62.1    1.10    0.98    +0.12
4.  Duke                  5-4   72.6    1.13    1.06    +0.07
5.  Miami                 4-4   67.1    1.05    1.03    +0.02
6.  Florida State         6-3   73.8    1.05    1.03    +0.02
7.  Notre Dame            6-4   66.9    1.07    1.06    +0.01
8.  Syracuse              5-4   67.0    1.12    1.11    +0.01
9.  Wake Forest           3-6   71.7    1.11    1.13    -0.02
10. Georgia Tech          5-4   68.1    0.97    1.01    -0.04
11. Virginia Tech         5-4   71.2    1.09    1.14    -0.05
12. Clemson               2-6   66.4    1.06    1.14    -0.08
13. Boston College        2-7   71.5    1.03    1.12    -0.09
14. NC State              3-6   74.3    1.01    1.14    -0.13
15. Pitt                  1-7   66.0    0.99    1.17    -0.18

AVG.                            69.5    1.07
Acceleration since 2015:       10.0%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 49

Louisville is blowing out opponents, and moreover the Cardinals are doing so without the benefit of either Quentin Snider (injured hip) or Tony Hicks (hand). Any team that’s 0.19 points better than the ACC on every possession is, by definition, a threat to win the national title.

Right?

I’m certainly not going to sneeze at a win at home over NC State (a feat that Duke tried and rather conspicuously failed to record), but the Truth in Hoops Stat Labeling Act of 2017 does require that I at least show you all the ingredients that went into making that preposterous scoring margin…
Continue reading