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Points Per Possession — Nov. 26
November 26, 2012 - Michael Bleach
One of the efforts of this blog is to track and analyze the Tech basketball teams in way that requires more space than the newspaper itself can provide. And to make off-the-cuff jokes.
But mostly the analysis thing.
So here is the first installment of what I will try to update regularly, Tech's points per possession numbers.
Much like Bill James did to baseball, Ken Pomeroy — of kenpom.com — helped push basketball into a new era of analysis just over a decade ago. While Pomeroy covers a whole host of categories and topics, at the base of everything he does is removing tempo from basic stats. Simply stating Team A gives up 70 points per game, and Team B gives up 65 points per game, ergo Team B defends better than Team A makes no sense. If Team A averages 10 more possessions per game — they like to run — than team B, it should be quite apparent Team A ranks better defensively.
And so, while Pomeroy does all the leg work for Division I teams, tracking points per possession at his website, I will have to bust out my calculator (OK, cell phone) to ascertain just how the Tech teams perform offensively and defensively.
For a point of reference, the top 15 Division I offenses averaged over 1.15 points per possession last year while the top 15 defenses held opponents to under 0.90 PPP. I would suspect — though have no way of confirming — similar ratings represent the elite schools in Division II.
For those looking to do this at home, the formula for calculating the total number of possessions is FGA+TO+(FTAx0.45)-OR. Then just divide that number by total points.
Tech 75, Southwest Minnesota State 67 (67.8 possessions) — 1.11 O, 0.99 D.
Minnesota Duluth 70, Tech 58 (59.9 possessions) — 0.97 O, 1.17 D.
Tech 86, Bemidji State 69 (67.5 possessions) — 1.27 O, 1.02 D.
Total — 1.12 Offense, 1.05 Defense (65.0 possessions per game).
Quick analysis: That Bemidji State game really was something special. Ali Haidar scored 18 points in the first eight minutes on his way to 35 total (in 31 minutes) and that opened up threes for everyone else, with the Huskies knocking down 10-of-17 overall. Conversely, the Duluth loss exposed Luke's greatest fear. Haidar got into foul trouble, and the offense sank below average. Meanwhile the defense couldn't protect the hoop against the Bulldogs, leading to a plethora of chances from three feet away.
Tech 90, Concordia-St. Paul 80 (72.5 possessions) — 1.24 O, 1.10 D.
Minnesota Duluth 83, Tech 82 (74.6 possessions) — 1.10 O, 1.11 D.
Tech 66, No. 16 Wisconsin-Parkside 53 (66.1 possessions) — 1.00 O, 0.80 D.
Total — 1.12 Offense, 1.01 Defense (71.06 possessions per game)
Quick analysis: Tech have experienced one awesome game on offense and one on defense. It was the Sam Hoyt Oprah Show against Concordia — you get a bucket, you get a bucket, Everybody Gets a Bucket!!! — that led the offense that day, along with 18-of-20 shooting from the free throw line. Then, in a stellar victory over Parkside, the defense (at least temporarily) righted the ship with a stifling effort, holding Parkside to 33 percent shooting and 1-of-14 from three. That was much needed after consecutive poor showings protecting the hoop.
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