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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | South Florida Bulls

A Big East AAC foe stampedes into Coleman Coliseum

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

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

So, how’d last game go?


Breaking a 17 game losing streak away from Coleman Coliseum1, Alabama took down Arizona State in the consolation game of the CBE HOF Classic. Senior guard Levi Randolph poured in 28 points — including 10/10 from the stripe to remain perfect on the season — and transfer Ricky Tarrant added 21 off the bench to power the Tide to a 76-71 victory. The duo did most of their damage in the second, combining for 31 of the Tide’s 50 points in the half to battle back from a 30-27 halftime deficit. Most importantly, a certain crimson-clad prognosticator nailed this one (a close Tide victory) — the game was tied with just over a minute remaining.

For a more in-depth review of the game, check out btbama22’s fine game recap.

1 | A streak stretching back to the 2013 SEC Tournament. Yeesh.

The Goods

Overall Quality
RPI 0.7018 (4) RPI 0.5620 (94) ALABAMA
PYTH 0.7549 (61) PYTH 0.5214 (153) ALABAMA
Luck 0.058 (101) Luck 0.056 (105) PUSH

Efficiency Ratings
OE+ 105.4 (54) DE+ 98.4 (146) ALABAMA
DE+ 95.6 (89) OE+ 99.2 (169) ALABAMA
T+ 69.2 (72) T+ 66.8 (176) ALABAMA

Schedule Ratings
Sched. PYTH 0.4938 (208) Sched. PYTH 0.3434 (310) ALABAMA
Opp. OE+ 100.4 (146) Opp. OE+ 96.1 (305) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 100.7 (268) Opp. DE+ 101.7 (300) ALABAMA
NCS PYTH 0.4938 (208) NCS PYTH 0.3434 (310) ALABAMA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 30 November 2014.

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?

That South Florida is maybe a bit out of their depth in this one. The South Florida Bulls have played one of the softest schedules in all of Division 1, ranked 310th out of 351. The Tide’s schedule hasn’t been much better, ranked 208th, but the advanced metrics are considerably higher on Alabama. RPI continues to be infatuated with the Tide, pegging them as the #4 team in all the land, a full 90 spots higher than South Florida. KenPom’s PYTH rating has a bit more conservative take on the good guys, holding steady at #61 despite the ASU win. That 90 spot gap over USF is still there, however, which is an excellent indicator of how this one’s going to go.

Bama’s got a solid edge on both sides of the court, boasting significantly better offensive and defensive efficiency ratings than the Bulls. Alabama also plays at a little faster pace than their opponent, so tempo will likely be set by the men in crimson and white. Both teams have been slightly lucky this year, but not to a degree that will be significant for this one. Finally, the Bulls are coming to Tuscaloosa to play on the Tide’s home court in Coleman Coliseum, which is like pouring gasoline on the fire. Running all this through the magic box3 yields a win probability for Bama of 83.8%, which is pretty darn high.

3 | A spreadsheet with the imaginative name of "Calculator". You can’t teach that kind of creativity.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide , and I wouldn't expect it to be close.