Category Archives: tuesday truths

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.

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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…
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Tuesday Truths: “Statistically extreme” 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.

Duke’s season collapsed in two ways, gradually and then suddenly

Duke

We were expressly told Duke would be good this year. What happened? (Chuck Liddy, newsobserver.com)

Through games of January 23, 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        6-1   76.4    1.14    0.99    +0.15
2.  Virginia              5-2   62.0    1.10    0.99    +0.11
3.  Louisville            4-3   68.7    1.06    0.98    +0.08
4.  Florida State         6-1   74.2    1.09    1.01    +0.08
5.  Notre Dame            6-1   67.4    1.12    1.04    +0.08
6.  Duke                  3-4   73.2    1.11    1.05    +0.06
7.  Miami                 2-4   65.7    1.03    1.05    -0.02
8.  Wake Forest           3-4   72.4    1.10    1.12    -0.02
9.  Syracuse              3-4   66.2    1.10    1.13    -0.03
10. Virginia Tech         4-3   72.2    1.07    1.11    -0.04
11. Pitt                  1-5   66.3    1.04    1.13    -0.09
12. Boston College        2-5   71.6    1.01    1.11    -0.10
13. NC State              3-5   75.2    1.02    1.12    -0.10
14. Georgia Tech          3-4   67.9    0.95    1.05    -0.10
15. Clemson               1-6   67.6    1.05    1.16    -0.11

AVG.                            69.8    1.06
Acceleration since 2015:       10.4%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 39

As I watched Duke fumble away a home game and lose 84-82 to an NC State team that entered the evening 2-5 in ACC play, it occurred to me that these Blue Devils possess little or no quintessential Duke-ness. We’ve become so preoccupied with the idea of Grayson Allen as a stock Duke-villain figure that we didn’t even notice the basketball happenings. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: “Grayson-free” 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.

If Virginia’s just pretty good on defense, what does “Virginia” even mean?

london

His hot shooting has helped his team overcome its defensive shortcomings. Wait, what?

Through games of January 16, 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        5-1   76.7    1.13    0.97    +0.16
2.  Florida State         4-1   74.4    1.11    1.01    +0.10
3.  Miami                 2-2   63.9    1.06    0.96    +0.10
4.  Notre Dame            5-0   65.7    1.11    1.04    +0.07
5.  Duke                  2-3   74.2    1.13    1.06    +0.07
6.  Virginia              3-2   62.2    1.10    1.05    +0.05
7.  Louisville            3-2   68.4    1.03    0.99    +0.04
8.  Syracuse              3-3   65.9    1.13    1.11    +0.02
9.  Clemson               1-4   67.4    1.06    1.11    -0.05
10. Virginia Tech         2-3   74.4    1.07    1.13    -0.06
11. Boston College        2-3   72.5    1.02    1.09    -0.07
12. Wake Forest           1-4   71.0    1.04    1.12    -0.08
13. Pitt                  1-4   65.7    1.03    1.12    -0.09
14. Georgia Tech          3-2   70.2    0.98    1.07    -0.09
15. NC State              1-4   75.3    0.97    1.13    -0.16

AVG.                            69.9    1.06
Acceleration since 2015:        10.6%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 28

An average ACC defense will allow the opposing team to score 1.06 points per possession, and thus far on the young conference season Virginia has held opponents to 1.05. This is not what we’re used to seeing from Tony Bennett’s guys. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: “Far too early” edition

Welcome to the season’s first installment of 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.

Why Jefferson matters

jefferson

Not a happy tableau if you’re a Duke fan. (Newsobserver.com)

Through games of January 9, 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.  Duke                  2-1   75.3    1.23    1.01    +0.22
2.  North Carolina        2-1   77.5    1.07    0.90    +0.17
3.  Florida State         3-0   70.8    1.14    0.98    +0.16
4.  Notre Dame            3-0   64.9    1.13    1.07    +0.06
5.  Syracuse              2-1   65.2    1.16    1.11    +0.05
6.  Virginia              2-2   61.4    1.08    1.04    +0.04
7.  Miami                 1-1   63.5    1.07    1.05    +0.02
8.  Louisville            1-2   64.4    0.97    0.97     0.00
9.  Pitt                  1-2   62.3    1.14    1.14     0.00
10. Clemson               1-2   67.5    1.09    1.10    -0.01
11. Boston College        1-2   76.3    1.07    1.11    -0.04
12. Wake Forest           1-3   70.0    1.00    1.09    -0.09
13. Virginia Tech         1-2   77.5    1.05    1.17    -0.12
14. NC State              1-2   78.4    0.95    1.13    -0.18
15. Georgia Tech          1-2   70.7    0.86    1.12    -0.26

AVG.                            69.7    1.07
Acceleration since 2015:        10.3%
KenPom rank: 2
% of games played: 17

Duke plays at Florida State tonight, and the Blue Devils will contest the issue in Tallahassee without the two guys that I, personally, would rank 1-2 in terms of importance, even above Luke Kennard or Grayson Allen. Those absent guys are: 1) Mike Krzyzewski; and 2) Amile Jefferson. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths for an accelerated world

cal

His team is playing much faster this season, a bit like Division I since 2015.

Next week on a day that I trust requires no further specification here, Tuesday Truths will return for an eighth season.

This rite of the bleak midwinter has now appeared at three different sites and been situated amidst wildly varying levels of graphic support. Yet here it is, still standing. It is the Tubby Smith and/or Lon Kruger of college basketball features.

For 2017, Tuesday Truths will track every possession in conference play for the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, and WCC. This is more or less the top third of Division I, and the idea is to cast a net large enough to either: a) spot a nascent national champion early; or b) offer grounds for proper and informed surprise when a dark horse shocks the world come April.

College basketball is strange in leaving approximately 35 percent of a team’s schedule purely to its coach’s discretion. I certainly don’t ignore that 35 percent — I’ve written lots of words from November up to now — but I have found in addition that there’s much to be gained from looking at the 1200 or so possessions that a team records in conference play. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: Final Reality

Marshall

He looks like you look when you’re trying to look relaxed.

Events move fast this time of year. Seven days ago I was patiently building an airtight and irrefutable case for why I would not pick likely No. 8 or 9 seed Wichita State in a round of 32 game against a No. 1 seed. Now the Shockers are said to be in danger of falling out of the field entirely. It’s like I’ve been preparing to defend Aqaba, but now the invaders have come from the land instead of the sea.

The plight faced by Gregg Marshall’s team will rightly be discussed from now until Sunday. Here are three more thoughts to toss into that mix.

The mock bracket confusion triggered by Wichita State is extreme but not unprecedented
It’s true that some name-brand bracketologists have the Shockers out of the field entirely, while others have them as a No. 7 seed. That’s unusual, to say the least. Still, it turns out that past mock brackets have disagreed even more sharply on other teams. Continue reading

Tuesday Truths: Law of March Twitter edition

Zg.jpg

In? Out? Twitter will know.

Customarily when March arrives a proposal will surface to expand the NCAA tournament to include every team in Division I. I’m not opposed to the idea, I just think that in effect it’s what we already have. The blank-slate pathway to the field of 68 that’s made available to (nearly) every team is the best thing about the first half of the calendar’s best month.

Now that NJIT is safely ensconced in an auto-bid conference, the tournament-eligible population is once again synonymous with the non-banned and non-self-imposed-ban portion of D-I itself. Every eligible team in the nation save eight (sorry, Ivy — but what you have is kind of cool too) gets a court, a ball and 40 minutes in the form of a bid in their conference tournament. Win enough games and you’re dancing.

It may seem self-evident to observe that most teams don’t win their conference tournaments, but every March I’m struck by Twitter’s hard-wired zeal to proclaim that every single losing team beyond only the most obvious blue-chippers has seen their bubble burst. Losing in a conference tournament does indeed decrease your chances of getting into the field of 68, and Twitter understands this point well. Too well, in fact. Thus the Law of March Twitter:

Fandom hath no hurry like the rush to declare every conference tournament loser “out” of the NCAA tournament.

What my feed loses sight of annually, however, is that there’s a countervailing force being exerted on the losers’ behalf in the form of a fixed number of at-large berths. This ratio — 36 at-large bids versus 300-some-odd losing teams in conference tournaments — stays the same every year as one “weakest bubble ever” follows another like clockwork.

When you hear Twitter saying last rites for your team, grieve not. Rather find strength in what remains behind, namely the fact that the committee has to get to 68 somehow.

Welcome to Tuesday Truths, where I look at how well 55 mid-majors are doing against their league opponents on a per-possession basis.

Major-conference Truths are at ESPN Insider.

It’s unclear how many of the A-10’s clear top three will go dancing
Through games of February 29, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

                          W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  VCU                  13-3   70.1    1.13    0.96    +0.17
2.  Saint Joseph's       13-3   70.3    1.12    0.97    +0.15
3.  Dayton               12-4   67.7    1.06    0.94    +0.12
4.  George Washington    10-6   66.5    1.09    1.02    +0.07
5.  St. Bonaventure      12-4   68.9    1.13    1.06    +0.07
6.  Rhode Island          8-8   64.9    1.06    1.01    +0.05
7.  Davidson              9-7   70.1    1.13    1.11    +0.02
8.  Richmond              7-9   67.5    1.10    1.09    +0.01
9.  Duquesne             5-11   74.0    1.03    1.08    -0.05
10. UMass                5-11   70.8    0.98    1.07    -0.09
11. Fordham              6-10   67.0    0.99    1.08    -0.09
12. George Mason         4-12   69.4    0.99    1.10    -0.11
13. Saint Louis          5-11   70.1    0.92    1.05    -0.13
14. La Salle             3-13   65.5    0.93    1.13    -0.20

AVG.                            68.8    1.05
KenPom rank: 8
% of games played: 89

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