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A Look Inside The KenPom.com Numbers Thus Far

January 23, 2010
So I was looking at the numbers over at KenPom.com today…the site’s a tremendous resource for evaluating teams. Here’s a look at some of State’s “vitals,” by section, and what I think they tell us about the team so far (as of Thursday, State was #61 out of 347 Division 1 teams in the Pomeroy Ratings):

Scouting Report
Stats include games through Thursday, January 21 against D-I teams only

Category Offense Defense D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency: 111.5 [42] 95.8 [96] 100.2
Adj. Tempo: 67.0 [227] 68.2


While I’m sure the tempo number isn’t where Sidney would like it, the offensive efficiency number is pretty strong at well over 1.1 points per possession. A 42nd rating puts State in the 12th percentile…not too shabby.

Somewhat surprising is the strength of the defensive rating…or maybe not, if you were one of the ones who bought in early to the idea that better team chemistry would lead to increased effort and therefore improved defensive efficiency; it sure seems to be bearing out that way.

Four Factors
Effective FG%: 52.0 [61] 45.1 [50] 48.7
Turnover %: 19.6 [105] 19.5 [234] 20.8
Off. Reb. %: 33.3 [164] 34.4 [230] 33.0
FTA/FGA: 38.4 [143] 32.0 [75] 37.4

Some more good news in the Four Factors front, defensively. That 45.1 eFG% is pretty stout, meaning the Pack is getting hands in the faces of folks underneath and on the perimeter. Where State’s defense sags is in forcing turnovers and in keeping teams off the offensive glass. Opponents are getting up shots on 4 out of every 5 possessions, often getting multiple looks each trip down. If the Pack can turn teams over more and get stronger on the defensive boards while maintaining that sFG%, they could become one of the best defensive teams in the country overnight.

On another positive note, State’s turnover % on offense has gotten much better than from a year ago. They’ve improved 129 spots and 1.9% over the final numbers last season–certainly nothing to sneeze at. I think that shows, again, that this team is benefiting from improved chemistry and coaching targeted at shoring up the deficiencies of last year’s team.

Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 35.8 [107] 31.0 [60] 34.1
2P%: 51.2 [61] 44.6 [68] 47.6
FT%: 68.1 [181] 66.6 [90] 68.5
Block%: 10.0 [216] 12.2 [53] 9.2
Steal%: 11.5 [292] 9.6 [182] 9.9

I think the two numbers of note here are the Block % and Steal % numbers on offense (the left column). Struggling here confirms what I find myself screaming at the TV often: Be stronger with the basketball. This team struggles protecting the ball and finishing strong at the rim. The perfect example was the end of the Clemson game when, after rallying from 21 down, State had a chance to go ahead on what could’ve been either a dunk or an “and-1” from Richard Howell had he gone up with authority. But by going up soft, it gave Jerai Grant the opportunity to make a game-saving block in the closing seconds.

Style Components
3PA/FGA: 31.8 [185] 27.2 [34] 32.5
A/FGM: 59.5 [57] 47.2 [37] 53.5

I like three of the four numbers here. State’s nearly dead-even in the rankings in three-point shooting attempt percentage, meaning they aren’t relying too heavily on either perimeter shooting nor interior offense for their points, meaning they can score in multiple ways when the situation calls for it.

The assist rankings are strong. The Pack is passing the ball around and limiting teams from doing the same.

The low percentage of threes taken by opponents could be viewed two ways, but it’s more likely the negative way is closer to reality: either State is preventing teams from taking threes (eh…) or they’re giving up looks underneath (more likely). It seems like teams are able to get past State’s perimeter defenders rather easily, leading to attempts close to the basket. To State’s credit, however, they’re defending this interior shots well as shown by the aforementioned eFG% numbers.

Personnel
Bench Minutes: 33.5% [140] 31.9%
Experience: 1.38 yrs [274] 1.70
Effective Height: +2.6 [31] 0.0
Average Height: 78.0″ [24] 76.5″

A couple of interesting numbers here. One, while State has some elder players on its roster (Smith, Horner, Degand), its Experience rating of 1.38 years means that a good chunk of the production is coming from its younger players. While not a young team on paper, this squad IS relying on its underclassmen more heavily than one might think.

Also, State’s Effective Height is one of the best in the country. Meaning, State plays like a taller team than it is. It’s a tough concept to explain in a sentence, but Ken explains the concept here. It’s interesting to note that the bulk of State’s Effective Height rating is coming from the Small Forward position, where Scott Wood has made a tremendous impact.

I hope I haven’t bored you to death with this post, but its purpose was to dig a bit deeper into the numbers to see the overall health of this team beyond simple box score totals. KenPom.com is a great resource you should check out frequently.

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