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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Dayton Flyers

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Fresh off a delicious Atlantic Sun cupcake, the Tide travel to Ohio to take on a burgeoning mid-major titan

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

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

So, how’d last game go?

About as well as could be expected. The start of the Avery Johnson Era in Coleman Coliseum saw what seemed to be the hottest non-Kentucky crowd in recent memory,[1] which is particularly encouraging given the opponent was about as far as you can get from the Wildcats. As promised, the crowd was treated to an uptempo, exciting brand of basketball that, frankly, is the polar opposite of what they saw over the past six seasons, and in return they were a consistent presence throughout the Tide’s 77-64 victory.

1 | Largest crowd for a season opener since 1989! #BuckleUp

Kennesaw State showed up ready to play, but they were simply outmanned by the bigger, more talented Tide. Yonel Brown lived up to his billing as perhaps the best player in the Atlantic Sun Conference, as he played all 40 minutes on his way to 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals, and fellow guard Kendrick Ray added 17 points of his own. Forward Aubrey Williams led all players with 12 rebounds.

The Tide countered with double-digit scoring from three players, with Retin Obasohan leading the way with 18 and Shannon Hale adding 13. The big surprise was true freshman guard Dazon Ingram, who was a scorching 8/11 from the field, good for 16 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. As a team the Tide shot a solid 50.9% from the field, but lagged at the stripe and beyond the arc with 55.6% and 23.5% marks respectively.

For a more thorough recap, check out Roger’s splendid game review.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
Metric ALABAMA KENNESAW STATE
eFG% 54.4% 40.9%
TO% 16.9% 23.5%
OR% 27.0% 30.0%
FTR 47.4% 34.5%
Win Index 46 39

Not shown here is the Tide’s 72 possessions for the game, which is about 8-10 more possessions than they tended to put up a year ago. Part of that is the reduced shot clock of course,[2] but part of it is the vaunted 20 second clock the Tide practiced with in the offseason. This team will run, and I doubt you’re going to find too many Tide fans who have an issue with that on the court.

2 | Country-wide tempo’s up about 4 possessions a game, with a corresponding scoring bump.

As far as the Four Factors are concerned, Alabama eclipsed their average marks from last season’s non-conference schedule in eFG%, TO%, and FTR, while lagging a bit behind in OR% — the lattermost number was more or less one rebound the Owls grabbed that the Tide didn’t. It’s just one game, but if the Tide’s able to hang onto the ball and make a few better shots than they were a year ago, that could easily be the difference in some of those close losses from a year ago.

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide travel to the wasteland of Ohio to take on one of the hotter teams of the mid-major ranks in the Dayton Flyers. The tip-off is on Tuesday, November 17th, at the rather curious time of 12:00 PM CST / 1:00 PM EST, and will be televised on ESPN. Not sure who’s going to be watching that one live, Worldwide Leader — we aren’t quite into holiday season yet.

The Goods

Overall Quality
DAYTON ALABAMA THE EDGE
PYTH 0.7605 (55) PYTH 0.7016 (74) DAYTON
OE+ 104.1 (81) DE+ 94.9 (49) ALABAMA
DE+ 94.1 (43) OE+ 102.2 (116) DAYTON
T+ 69.5 (208) T+ 69.3 (219) PUSH
Sched. PYTH 0.1793 (250) Sched. PYTH 0.0867 (289) DAYTON

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of November 16th, 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.[3]

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.

3 | This last one's not true.

So, what do we know?

The Flyers had a similarly-moribund opening opponent in Southeast Missouri State, which sounds like a fictional institution concocted for Hollywood purposes but is, in fact, a real place that plays basketball at the Division 1 level. They dispatched them with little issue, continuing their high level of play from a year ago. As we discussed last week it’s best to take these stats with a grain of salt for the first few weeks, given their heavy dependence on last season’s results, but in this case Dayton is a pretty known quantity at this point — they play elite defense, above-average offense, and seek to slowly grind you into a fine powder.[4] As Archie Miller elected to stick around during the latest head coach shopping spree, you can expect that sort of team to show up on Tuesday.

4 | Sounds like a certain football team of which we are all intimately familiar.

They have some attrition from last year’s NCAA team, as leading scorer Jordan Sibert graduated and top forward Dyshawn Pierre is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the university pertaining to a sexual assault investigation — going out on a limb here and guessing he’s probably not playing another game in a Flyers uniform. In their stead, the scoring load was picked up by freshman forward Ryan Mikesell and sophomore guard Darrell Davis, who put up 21 and 15 respectively against Southeast Missouri State. The delightfully-named Scoochie Smith picked up right where he left off last season, leading the team in assists while providing some scoring punch from the wing.

The key for the Tide will be avoiding the Grantsketball-style offensive ineptitude that held them back for stretches against Kennesaw, which will be difficult against a very good Flyers defense. This is an opponent fully equipped to exploit those lulls in productivity, and if the Tide’s unable to keep it close this will get sobering in a hurry. Dayton’s got a lot more talent than Kennesaw does, and they are better coached as well. It’s in their house, and the magic box affords them a 71.6% win probability as a result — sounds about right to me.

THE PICK: Dayton Flyers

ROLL TIDE