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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | That Orange Team

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Oh, joy, it's these guys again.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

BPI and 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?

To start, kind of ugly. Both teams opened up the game with poor shooting and generally uninspired play, although the Tide managed to build a nine point lead toward the end of the half. The Aggies closed with a flurry and a controversial bucket to make it 27-24 at the half.

The second half was all Alabama, led by 12 points off the bench from sparkplug Retin Obasohan. Levi Randolph quietly scored in double figures, as did Ricky Tarrant (who led all scorers with 15) and Michael Kessens. Nothing went right for the Aggies in the half, and the crowd really got into it after a ferocious offensive rebound/putback combo by Kessens(1) and a couple of big dunks by Randolph. The Tide cruised to a 65-44 victory to open up the SEC schedule with a win.

1 | A play that inspired a "pissed off for greatness" comment in the game thread, which I felt was more than appropriate.

For a more in-depth, qualitative review of the game, check out Roger_RBR’s outstanding game recap.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
Metric ALABAMA TEXAS A&M
eFG% 50.0% 36.5%
TO% 13.8% 23.6%
OR% 28.1% 27.0%
FTR 53.2% 13.5%
Win Index 46 34

Shutout. The absence of leading scorer and rebounder Jalen Jones undoubtedly hurt A&M, who kept pace with the Tide on the boards but fell well short everywhere else. The margin in FTR is particularly stunning, as the Tide had an almost 40% edge in that factor. The 50% mark in eFG% is great for a decent opponent, and the 12 point edge in Win Index tells you all you need to know.

Wait, aren’t you supposed to be previewing something, nerd?

Right! The Alabama Crimson Tide leave the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum to face their first SEC road opponent. The game is on Saturday, January 10th, at 1 PM CST / 2 PM EST, and will be televised on the SEC Network and WatchESPN.com.

The Goods

Overall Quality
ALABAMA OPPONENT The Edge
RPI 0.5958 (37) RPI 0.5757 (61) ALABAMA
BPI 72.9 (57) BPI 69.9 (71) ALABAMA
PYTH 0.7736 (59) PYTH 0.7195 (78) ALABAMA
Luck 0.021 (137) Luck 0.072 (61) OPPONENT

Efficiency Ratings
ALABAMA OPPONENT The Edge
OE+ 104.6 (88) DE+ 98.1 (123) ALABAMA
DE+ 94 (55) OE+ 106.5 (59) ALABAMA
T+ 65.4 (195) T+ 62.4 (318) ALABAMA

Schedule Ratings
ALABAMA OPPONENT The Edge
Sched. PYTH 0.485 (216) Sched. PYTH 0.538 (132) OPPONENT
Opp. OE+ 102 (87) Opp. OE+ 101.8 (93) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 102.5 (320) Opp. DE+ 100.4 (185) OPPONENT
NCS PYTH 0.4789 (224) NCS PYTH 0.5371 (141) OPPONENT

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 9 January 2015.

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.
  • BPI: The Basketball Power Index is an opponent-adjusted statistic created by ESPN that accounts for scoring margin, pace, game location, and absence of critical players. It can be used both predictively and as a measure of a team’s strength to that point in the season.
  • 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 voodoo(2).

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?

Another win over an RPI Top-100 team boosted the Tide back up in that metric, where they are now 37th in the country. A&M was actually higher ranked in PYTH and BPI, and as a result of the victory the Tide are back in the 50s in both metrics. They’ve got a healthy edge over their opponent in all three, although the Creamsicles have been playing a bit above their heads this season and are probably a tad better than these numbers show.

The matchup to watch is when the bad guys have the ball, as the Tide’s 55th-ranked defense is just a shade ahead of the opponent’s offense. The Tide offense has slipped a bit since the early season, now lower-rated than the defense, but in this game ‘Bama will still have the edge on that side of the court. The Tide like to play at a much faster pace than their opponent, which may pay dividends on that side of the court as well.

The opponent’s had the tougher road so far, with an above-average schedule propped up by a defensive slate far tougher than the Tide’s. That NCS rating isn’t going to get much better and will be a bugaboo come tournament selection time, but the overall numbers should go way, way up once the Tide move through the conference schedule(3). The magic box has it at 58% for the bad guys due to the road locale, but I’m going with the Tide.

3 | Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, and South Carolina are all in the PYTH Top-30.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide , as is right and proper.

ROLL TIDE