So, how’d last game go?
I WAS WRONG!1
UCLA, despite the blowout loss to Kentucky, had played a good deal better than the Tide so far this season. I figured they had the juice to come in to Coleman and take Alabama down, and I was a little off the mark on that. The Bruins came out flat as a pancake, which unfortunately synched up with a torrid start by Ricky Tarrant. The Tide led 20-5 at one point, and went into halftime with a 29-17 lead. Tarrant outscored the Bruins all by himself, tallying 18 points at the break. UCLA was significantly more competitive in the second half, closing the gap to within one point on a couple of occasions. Some clutch free-throw shooting by Levi Randolph down the stretch kept the game just out of reach, and the Tide claimed a hard-fought, confidence-building 56-50 victory.
1 | I usually hate being wrong — but in this case, I was ok with it.
For a more in-depth, qualitative review of the game, check out Roger_RBR’s outstanding game recap.
The Four Factors
|The Four Factors|
Despite having the inside size advantage on some of their recent opponents, the Tide have established a trend of being consistently beaten on the offensive glass. The margin was pretty tight this time around, with only 2% separating the two teams. The Tide claimed the other three factors however, and while the shooting percentages were woeful, the Tide took care of the ball and got to the line at significantly better rates than the Bruins. The end result was a four point margin in Win Index and a Tide victory.
Wait, aren’t you supposed to be previewing something, nerd?
Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide play the final game of their out-of-conference schedule against the North Florida Ospreys at Coleman Coliseum. The game is on Friday, January 2nd at 6:00 PM CST / 7:00 PM EST, and will be televised on SEC Network Plus. The feed is definitely available on WatchESPN.com; it may also be available on one of the SEC Network Alternate channels from your television provider.
|ALABAMA||NORTH FLORIDA||The Edge|
|RPI||0.6 (35)||RPI||0.5144 (146)||ALABAMA|
|BPI||71.6 (69)||BPI||54.9 (162)||ALABAMA|
|PYTH||0.7314 (72)||PYTH||0.497 (162)||ALABAMA|
|Luck||0.035 (124)||Luck||-0.033 (254)||ALABAMA|
|ALABAMA||NORTH FLORIDA||The Edge|
|OE+||103.5 (98)||DE+||103.4 (249)||ALABAMA|
|DE+||94.9 (67)||OE+||103.3 (100)||ALABAMA|
|T+||66 (177)||T+||69.7 (35)||NORTH FLORIDA|
|ALABAMA||NORTH FLORIDA||The Edge|
|Sched. PYTH||0.5257 (153)||Sched. PYTH||0.5975 (62)||NORTH FLORIDA|
|Opp. OE+||102.8 (34)||Opp. OE+||100.4 (168)||ALABAMA|
|Opp. DE+||101.9 (305)||Opp. DE+||97 (27)||NORTH FLORIDA|
|NCS PYTH||0.5257 (157)||NCS PYTH||0.5975 (68)||NORTH FLORIDA|
(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.
Ratings information as of 31 December 2014.
- 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
excoriationdiscussion 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!
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?
The Tide are still hanging tough in the RPI Top-40, although the needle didn’t move a whole lot for beating a lightly-regarded UCLA team. BPI and PYTH are right in line with each other regarding Alabama, with only 3 ranks separating the two, but again not much movement from over the weekend. Their opponent is middle of the pack in all three ratings, giving ‘Bama the considerable edge in overall quality. The Ospreys have actually underperformed expectations by quite a bit as well, which doesn’t help matters for them.
The Tide maintain top-100 marks in both adjusted offensive and adjusted defensive efficiencies, which is a solid place to be heading into conference play. This team has a long way to go before a possible tournament berth, and have yet to play a complete game against a solid opponent, but there have been some very encouraging results at times this year. North Florida’s offense is pretty decent and may challenge the Tide, but I’d be very surprised if they are able to keep pace with Alabama in the scoring department with such a terrible defense. The Ospreys do play at a much faster pace than the Tide, but that’s been the case for a couple of games now and I haven’t noticed it affecting ‘Bama’s play much.
North Florida’s played a tough schedule, the 62nd-hardest in the country according to KenPom. The reason for that is a hellacious defensive slate, which also explains their offensive efficiency score. The Tide’s played the better offensive slate by a considerable margin. The magic box says the Tide have an 83.4% winning percentage in this one, and I see no reason to quarrel with it this time around.
THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide , easily.