Home Unfiltered Articles Players Baseball Prospectus
Basketball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Click here for Important Basketball Prospectus Premium Information!

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Preview (02/13)
Next Article >>
Who's #6 (02/13)

February 13, 2008
Conference Check
A Tribute to Absence

by John Gasaway

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

OK, one note for the die-hards who've emailed with this question. Yes, apparent ties really are sequenced according to what's way out there to the right of the decimal. So if this will help settle any bar disputes, Indiana's efficiency margin is currently 0.11143. Ohio State's is 0.11137. In other words, while the Hoosiers are getting it done with offense and the Buckeyes are emphasizing defense, the net results have been identical.

ACC: The Proven Value of Ty Lawson

Through games of February 12, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession
Opp. PPP: opponent points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP - Opp. PPP)

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM   
1.  Duke             74.6    1.17    0.97   +0.20    
2.  North Carolina   75.6    1.10    1.00   +0.10
3.  Clemson          68.7    1.10    1.02   +0.08
4.  Maryland         72.4    1.09    1.05   +0.04
5.  Georgia Tech     73.6    1.07    1.04   +0.03
6.  Virginia Tech    71.9    0.97    0.99   -0.02
7.  Wake Forest      70.5    1.03    1.06   -0.03
8.  BC               69.8    1.06    1.12   -0.06
9.  Miami            68.8    1.03    1.09   -0.06
10. Florida St.      67.7    0.97    1.05   -0.08
11. NC State         67.2    1.01    1.12   -0.11
12. Virginia         69.2    0.97    1.08   -0.11

Remember all the angst and hand-wringing over North Carolina's defense a few weeks ago? That was before Ty Lawson went down four minutes into the Florida State game on February 3. Now the object of concern should be the Tar Heel offense. Without Lawson, Carolina has eked out just 1.03 points per trip over the past four games, including last night's one-point win at Virginia. (The defense, conversely, has shown no change.) Roy Williams needs Lawson to return healthy and soon.

Big 12: Is Kansas State Really This Good?

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Kansas           70.1    1.16    0.95   +0.21
2.  Kansas St.       68.0    1.15    0.95   +0.20
3.  Texas A&M        64.0    1.05    1.00   +0.05
4.  Texas            63.8    1.10    1.05   +0.05
5.  Baylor           73.8    1.03    1.02   +0.01
6.  Missouri         71.9    1.02    1.07   -0.05
7.  Oklahoma St.     65.4    0.98    1.03   -0.05
8.  Texas Tech       69.0    0.95    1.01   -0.06
9.  Colorado         60.2    1.00    1.10   -0.10
10. Iowa St.         68.2    0.89    0.99   -0.10
11. Nebraska         66.6    0.92    1.02   -0.10
12. Oklahoma         64.1    0.99    1.09   -0.10

I've said this before but it bears repeating: Kansas State is freakishly unusual. Not only are they are atop the Big 12 in the W-L column, even the oh-so-refined stats peddled here suggest Final Four potential. Michael Beasley is a force of nature, yes, but the biggest difference between a so-so November/December and an unbelievable January/February has been the sudden onset of excellent three-point shooting. The season totals from outside the arc for the Jacob Pullen, Bill Walker, Blake Young and Clent Stewart are uniformly underwhelming: none of the above sport a 3FG percentage north of 34. Nevertheless, K-State has been the best three-point shooting team in Big 12 play. That and outstanding offensive rebounding has made Frank Martin look like a coach who should have gotten a gig sooner.

Big East: When will Louisville get the love?

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Louisville       66.7    1.07    0.89   +0.18
2.  Georgetown       62.8    1.03    0.91   +0.12
3.  Pitt             63.9    1.06    0.98   +0.08
4.  Notre Dame       73.8    1.08    1.02   +0.06
5.  Connecticut      69.1    1.08    1.03   +0.05
6.  West Virginia    62.9    1.02    0.97   +0.05
7.  Syracuse         69.4    1.02    0.99   +0.03
8.  Marquette        68.8    1.05    1.02   +0.03
9.  Cincinnati       65.9    1.00    1.01   -0.01
10. Providence       67.7    1.05    1.06   -0.01
11. Seton Hall       70.6    1.04    1.06   -0.02
12. Villanova        69.8    1.00    1.05   -0.05
13. DePaul           68.1    1.01    1.07   -0.06
14. St. John's       66.2    0.92    1.01   -0.09
15. S. Florida       63.5    0.97    1.13   -0.16
16. Rutgers          66.8    0.87    1.04   -0.17

The top-ranked team in the nation notwithstanding, it falls to every team every year to hold forth loudly on how underrated they are and to vow that they're going to prove those gol'dern polls wrong. Louisville this season may have the best such case I've ever seen. By a wide margin, they've been the best team in what may be the best conference in the nation, yet the Cardinals are actually unranked in this week's ESPN/USA Today poll. Meanwhile Georgetown's offense, a thing of beauty last year, is plunging perilously close to the Big East average. Maybe Jeff Green was more important than I thought.

Big Ten: Big Collision Tonight

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Wisconsin        60.8    1.07    0.92   +0.15
2.  Indiana          63.9    1.06    0.95   +0.11
3.  Ohio St.         63.7    1.02    0.91   +0.11
4.  Purdue           64.7    1.05    0.94   +0.11
5.  Michigan St.     64.9    1.02    0.95   +0.07
6.  Illinois         63.2    1.02    1.01   +0.01
7.  Minnesota        67.4    1.01    1.02   -0.01
8.  Iowa             60.4    0.91    0.99   -0.08
9.  Michigan         64.1    0.97    1.09   -0.12
10. Penn St.         62.7    1.00    1.12   -0.12
11. Northwestern     62.9    0.94    1.19   -0.25

Purdue won again last night, beating Michigan State 60-54 in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers are a great story. Matt Painter has brought this team along much faster than anyone thought possible. That being said, there are a couple of other good teams in the conference, and they'll be playing each other tonight, when Wisconsin visits Indiana. At this point, we've established that the Badgers don't like small quick teams, as seen in their 0-4 record against Duke, Marquette and Purdue. Fortunately for Wisconsin, however, Indiana's best player is D.J. White. He's also the best player in the Big Ten, so the Hoosiers aren't about to "go small." It should be a good game.

Pac-10: Washington State is the New Arizona

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  UCLA             64.8    1.15    0.99   +0.16
2.  Stanford         62.6    1.05    0.91   +0.14
3.  Washington St.   58.5    1.11    1.05   +0.06
4.  USC              64.9    1.03    1.01   +0.02
5.  Arizona          62.7    1.09    1.08   +0.01
6.  Oregon           64.4    1.11    1.12   -0.01
7.  Cal              67.3    1.10    1.13   -0.03
8.  Arizona St.      61.8    0.98    1.02   -0.04
9.  Washington       67.6    0.96    1.02   -0.06
10. Oregon St.       64.9    0.90    1.15   -0.25

For years, Arizona has been typecast as a high-scoring team that plays diffident defense. The accuracy of that shorthand has, of course, varied from season to season. (This year, as it happens, that description is on the money, despite the talk a while back that Kevin O'Neill was going to turn the 'Cats into the 2004 Pistons.) Funny thing is, that same description also fits Washington State like a glove this year. Yes, Washington State, those plucky fundamentally sound who-dats from the obscure hinterlands abutting Idaho are suddenly giving up points in abundance. Opponents are hitting shots from in close and, especially, outside the arc: the Cougars' 3FG defense in-conference has been easily the worst in the Pac-10.

SEC: Vanderbilt Has Ceased to be Bi-Polar

                                     Opp.
                     Pace    PPP     PPP      EM
1.  Tennessee        71.6    1.11    0.97   +0.14
2.  Mississippi St.  67.9    1.03    0.92   +0.11
3.  Arkansas         68.5    1.05    0.95   +0.10
4.  Florida          70.1    1.11    1.07   +0.04
5.  Vanderbilt       68.5    1.04    1.02   +0.02
6.  Ole Miss         70.4    1.08    1.11   -0.03
7.  Kentucky         63.6    1.02    1.05   -0.03
8.  Alabama          69.5    1.01    1.05   -0.04
9.  South Carolina   65.2    1.05    1.10   -0.05
10. Georgia          67.6    0.93    0.99   -0.06
11. Auburn           67.1    1.05    1.15   -0.10
12. LSU              66.0    0.95    1.09   -0.14

With their 41-point annihilation of Kentucky in Nashville last night, Vanderbilt went a long way toward redressing their statistical split personality. Before last night, the Commodores were far and away the strangest team in the nation on paper. It's no mistake that they're ranked number 19 in one poll and slotted at 24 in the other--it's been hard to know what to make of the Commodores. On the one hand, they're 21-4 and their RPI is 12. Twelve. An RPI so high you can spell it. On the other hand, the pitiless tempo-free X-ray shown here ranks the 'Dores as merely the fifth-best team in the SEC. What gives? Vandy's conference schedule was front-loaded to an absurd extent: Kevin Stallings' team has already played road games at Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and Ole Miss. Now the Commodores are in the midst of a four-game homestand. Watch their tempo-free numbers improve. (At least they should.)

John Gasaway is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Preview (02/13)
Next Article >>
Who's #6 (02/13)

RECENTLY AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
State of Basketball Prospectus: A Brief Anno...
Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition
Easy Bubble Solver: The Triumphant Return
Premium Article Bubbles of their Own Making: Villanova, Temp...
Tuesday Truths: Crunch Time Edition

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 13, 2008
Who's #6: Three Candidates for a Final Four
Prospectus Preview: Wednesday's Games to Wat...

MORE BY JOHN GASAWAY
2008-02-19 - Conference Check: Under the Radar
2008-02-18 - Back and Forth: The Presidential Edition
2008-02-14 - Bad Calls: The (Alleged) Recidivism of Kelvi...
2008-02-13 - Conference Check: A Tribute to Absence
2008-02-11 - Four-Point Play: UCLA, Purdue, Louisville an...
2008-01-31 - Four-Point Play: Sunflower Edition
2008-01-29 - Conference Check: The Time Has Come
More...


Basketball Prospectus Home  |  Terms of Service  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us
Copyright © 1996-2014 Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.