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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Arkansas Razorbacks

The Tide hit the road again to take on explosive Arkansas

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

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

So, how’d last game go?

Badly. The Tide were overmatched from the opening tip, with Kentucky’s superior length[1] completely neutering the Alabama offensive attack. Numerous possessions saw Levi Randolph or Ricky Tarrant chuck it around the perimeter, pound the ball for 20 or 30 seconds, and finally settle for a contested three-pointer that often didn’t fall. On the other end, the Tide had no answer for Kentucky’s platoon system, giving up at least 8 points to five different Wildcats. The Tide made some exciting defensive plays that got the crowd back into it once or twice, but they just could not keep pace. Randolph managed to get 13 points and Rodney Cooper added 10, but it wasn’t enough in a 70-48 drubbing.

1 | Six guys over 6’9", with long arms to boot. The Tide looked like a JV team by comparison.

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

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
eFG% 50.0% 58.7%
TO% 27.3% 18.9%
OR% 29.6% 45.8%
FTR 15.6% 39.1%
Win Index 39 49

Not much to say there. The Tide managed an average performance shooting the ball and hitting the offensive glass, but posted their lowest FTR of the season and the highest TO%, and that’s not something you can do against a team like Kentucky. FTR has been the Tide’s bread and butter, but they were afforded just 7 attempts from the charity stripe in this game. The end result was the Tide’s lowest Win Index of the season.

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide head to the darkest depths of the South[2] to face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. The game is on Thursday, January 22nd, at 6 PM CST / 7 PM EST, and will be televised on ESPN2 and

2 | I’ve spent some time in Arkansas. Whole Hog and fried pie yes, everything else no.

The Goods

Overall Quality
RPI 0.6065 (33) RPI 0.5847 (52) ARKANSAS
BPI 78.1 (32) BPI 72.3 (61) ARKANSAS
PYTH 0.8293 (41) PYTH 0.8216 (45) PUSH
Luck -0.004 (194) Luck 0.028 (126) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
OE+ 115 (12) DE+ 93.2 (45) ARKANSAS
DE+ 100.2 (155) OE+ 106.5 (74) ALABAMA
T+ 70.7 (14) T+ 64 (255) ARKANSAS

Schedule Ratings
Sched. PYTH 0.5398 (123) Sched. PYTH 0.6 (61) ALABAMA
Opp. OE+ 102.6 (84) Opp. OE+ 103.7 (32) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 101.2 (186) Opp. DE+ 100.1 (114) ALABAMA
NCS PYTH 0.442 (260) NCS PYTH 0.4857 (207) ALABAMA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 21 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!

So, what do we know?

I should mention here a facet of the process I developed for Advanced Stats Rundown is that I have the home team located on the left column in the chart — before, Alabama was there regardless of where the game was being played. From now on, they’ll be on the right hand side (like today) if it’s a road game and vice versa.

The overall metrics didn’t change much for ‘Bama after Kentucky — there’s no real shame in losing to the #1 team in the country, certainly not when you’re unranked. Unfortunately the next hit is coming in the form of the Razorbacks, who are rated significantly better than the Tide in both RPI and BPI, but hold the slimmest of margins in PYTH rating.

Arkansas is a run-and-gun sort of team, playing at the country’s 14th-quickest tempo and sporting the #12 offense according to adjusted efficiency rating. The reason for that slim PYTH margin is their defense, which is rather average at 155th overall. Alabama has the edge on that side of the court, but I expect they will struggle trying to stop Bobby Portis and the Razorbacks.

One fun part about playing Kentucky[3] is it drives your schedule ratings up, as the Tide closes in on a top-50 mark in schedule PYTH. A big reason for that jump is in opponent’s adjusted defensive efficiencies, as the Wildcats’ top mark now has the Tide’s defensive slate as well above average. Alabama’s played a much tougher schedule than Arkansas however you slice it.

3 | Maybe the only fun part about playing Kentucky.

Unfortunately, this one will be in Fayetteville, where Arkansas is 11-1 on the year. Just like the Tide, their first home loss came on Saturday against Ole Miss[4]. That tight margin in PYTH has this as a toss-up on a neutral court, but the home court adjustment brings the win probability to 67.1% for the Razorbacks. I feel like the Tide are going to bounce back and put up more of a South Carolina kind of effort, but that still shakes out for the bad guys.

4 | A 14 point loss in which they gave up 96. Ouch.

THE PICK: Arkansas Razorbacks