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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Arizona State Sun Devils

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Next up: Arizona State.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

RPI information courtesy of ESPN.com.
All other statistics are courtesy of KenPom.com, Ken Pomeroy’s outstanding basketball analytics site.

So, how’d last game go?

Pretty much nailed the prediction, although that unfortunately means the Tide didn’t win. After jumping out to an early six point lead, the Cyclones knotted it back up about 10 minutes into the game and lead for the next 20, at one point pushing the margin to 13 toward the end of the first half. The Tide came out on fire in the second, retaking the lead 4.5 minutes in behind 12 points from Rodney Cooper1. This lead was lost and regained over the next 5 minutes, at which point Iowa State pulled out ahead and never looked back on the way to a 84-74 victory. Probably a much better showing than most were anticipating from the Tide, as they had a real chance to steal this one from a very strong Cyclones squad.

1 | Who had a great night overall — 27 points on 59% shooting from the field and 50% from deep.

The other half of the CBE HOF Classic saw Maryland tip Arizona State 78-73, making the Sun Devils the Tide’s opponent for Tuesday night. Let’s see how everything stacks up:

The Goods

Overall Quality
ALABAMA ARIZONA STATE The Edge
RPI 0.6834 (26) RPI 0.5166 (151) ALABAMA
PYTH 0.7546 (60) PYTH 0.7324 (67) ALABAMA
Luck 0.014 (145) Luck -0.08 (282) ALABAMA
Spread -3 Spread +3 ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
ALABAMA ARIZONA STATE The Edge
OE+ 104.3 (55) DE+ 93.8 (54) PUSH
DE+ 94.6 (74) OE+ 102.4 (84) ALABAMA
T+ 69 (98) T+ 64.8 (293) ALABAMA

Schedule Ratings
ALABAMA ARIZONA STATE The Edge
Sched. PYTH 0.4782 (205) Sched. PYTH 0.2740 (307) ALABAMA
Opp. OE+ 99.7 (147) Opp. OE+ 94.5 (302) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 100.4 (238) Opp. DE+ 102.8 (306) ALABAMA
NCS PYTH 0.4782 (205) NCS PYTH 0.2740 (307) ALABAMA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 25 November 14.

Wondering what all these terms are?

  • RPI: The Ratings Percentage Index, a measure of team strength based on winning percentage, the winning percentage of a team’s opponents, and the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents. For a more detailed excoriation discussion of RPI, check out this section of the PTN Basketball Primer.
  • PYTH: The Pythagorean Rating, a measure of a team’s expected winning percentage against an average D-I team, which is based on the concept of Pythagorean Expectation. For a more detailed discussion of PYTH ratings, check out this section of the PTN Basketball Primer.
  • Luck: A measure of how a team’s actual performance has outstripped that of its expected performance based on PYTH rating.
  • OE+: Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, a measure of a team’s offensive performance on a possession-by-possession basis, adjusted to provide the expected performance against an average D-I team. Expressed in points scored per 100 possessions.
  • DE+: Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, a measure of a team’s defensive performance on a possession-by-possession basis, adjusted to provide the expected performance against an average D-I team. Expressed in points allowed per 100 possessions.
  • T+: Adjusted Tempo, a measure of a team’s expected pace against a team that wants to play at an average D-I pace. Expressed as possessions per game.
  • Sched. PYTH: The Schedule PYTH Rating, a PYTH rating based on the adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies of a team’s opponents, used as a strength-of-schedule rating.
  • NCS PYTH: The Non-Conference Schedule PYTH Rating, simply the schedule PYTH calculated for non-conference opponents only.
  • Opp. OE+: Opponents’ Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, the average adjusted offensive efficiency of a team’s opponents.
  • Opp. DE+: Opponents’ Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, the average adjusted defensive efficiency of a team’s opponents

Wondering what all of this means? Check out the PTN Basketball primer!

The Disclaimer

For the first several weeks of the season, these metrics are based partially on preseason projection factors, namely recent program performance, the effects of roster attrition, the impact of Top 100 recruits, and sweet, sweet voodoo2.

As the season progresses, data from games played will be factored in, with a progressively lighter emphasis on the preseason ratings. Starting around the middle of January (usually the start of conference play), preseason ratings will be removed and the metrics will be based purely on this season’s games.

2 | This last one's not true.

So, what do we know?

Hey, this looks like one of the football charts!

In all seriousness, the numbers would seem to indicate the Tide match up pretty well with the Sun Devils. It’s early in the season, but Arizona State hasn’t played anyone of consequence, and that’s after the Maryland game was factored in — they’ve played one of the worst schedules in the country so far. In terms of how they like to play, they appear to be a grind-it-out defensive outfit, sporting the #54 team in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, while playing at one of the country’s slowest paces at 293rd in adjusted tempo. They’ve also slightly underperformed against expectation this season, as evidenced by the negative luck rating.

Speaking of which, the Tide’s rather lofty rating in the same came plummeting back toward the mean after the Iowa State game, which makes sense. I’d expect that rating to be pretty volatile from game-to-game. RPI is still in love with Alabama, but the PYTH rating remains a much more reasonable view of this team at this stage of the game. When the Tide has the ball appears to be strength-on-strength with the Sun Devil defense, so the key for this one will be how the Tide defense handles Arizona State on their end of the floor.

I’d expect this one to be pretty close based on the PYTH ratings, which give the Tide a 53% chance of winning. I think I’m going to gump out and agree.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide, but look for it to go down to the wire.

ROLL TIDE