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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

After a thorough beatdown Tuesday afternoon, the Tide head back to Coleman for a tough Sun Belt matchup

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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

So, how’d last game go?

Honestly, I can’t describe it any better than Roger did in his typically-excellent game review:

The Crimson Tide went into a hostile environment at noon on Tuesday against the Dayton Flyers, but didn't miss class as they were schooled to the tune of 80-48.

The Tide had little chance going into this one considering the rather significant difference in quality of these two programs at this point. We’ll see momentarily that the Tide were effectively blown off the court by the far superior Flyers, whose domination was so thorough and exacting that they managed to score exactly 40 points and allow exactly 24 points in each half. The Tide’s leading scorer was Riley Norris with just nine points, and the fact the Flyers were able to bottle up Retin Obasohan, Shannon Hale, and Dazon Ingram to such a degree tells you more or less what you need to know. James Madison transfer Charles Cooke led all scorers with 21, aided by 15 points from the still delightfully-named Scoochie Smith and a double-double from center Steven McElvene. This might be more of a contest in a year or two, but at this stage the Tide just doesn’t have the horses to keep up with a team like this.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
eFG% 34.2% 54.2%
TO% 28.2% 25.4%
OR% 25.0% 37.8%
FTR 15.8% 25.0%
Win Index 33 43

A 20% edge in eFG% is the key factor here. The Tide shot awfully, not even reaching 30% from the field and only draining five three-pointers on the afternoon. The Flyers had a huge edge on the boards as well, outrebounding the Tide 47-34, and that shows up pretty clearly in the OR% discrepancy. Dayton was a defensive force last season, and it’s apparent that will carry over to 2016 as well.

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide return to Coleman Coliseum to face the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The game is on Friday, November 20th at 7:00 PM CST / 8:00 PM EST, and will be televised on SEC Network+ /

The Goods

Overall Quality
PYTH 0.6508 (97) PYTH 0.6383 (104) PUSH
Luck 0.113 (40) Luck 0 (127) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
OE+ 101.7 (158) DE+ 101.3 (161) PUSH
DE+ 96.3 (51) OE+ 106.5 (67) ALABAMA
T+ 71.8 (183) T+ 74.2 (52) ALABAMA

Schedule Ratings
Sched. PYTH 0.4462 (194) Sched. PYTH 0.9209 (10) UL - LAFAYETTE
Opp. OE+ 99.9 (201) Opp. OE+ 114.9 (6) UL - LAFAYETTE
Opp. DE+ 101.8 (188) Opp. DE+ 92.8 (23) UL - LAFAYETTE
NCS PYTH 0.4462 (194) NCS PYTH 0.9209 (10) UL - LAFAYETTE

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of November 19th, 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.[1]

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.

1 | This last one's not true.

So, what do we know?

RPI ratings have started coming out, but as most teams only have two or three games under their belt, those aren’t telling you a whole lot. BPI is holding off on publishing ratings for the time being; I don’t recall when they started posting these last season but it may be closer to the start of conference play before we can discuss those.

The PYTH rating suggests this will be a tight matchup, as the Tide rank just seven spots ahead of the Ragin’ Cajuns. ULL’s Luck rating indicates they’ve played exactly to the level predicted in their two contests against Louisiana College and Miami, whereas the Tide, despite the outcome of the Dayton game, is playing well above projections. The last game has certainly tempered expectations a bit, and we’re only through two games, but if that holds it bodes well for the Tide down the road.

The stats suggest a standstill when the Tide has the ball, as Alabama’s near-average offense will find their match in the near-average defense of ULL. The Ragin’ Cajuns do not possess any bigs the size of the 6’11”, 268 lb. McElvene, but they do have a pair of 6’9” forwards in the aptly-named Shawn Long and freshman Scott Plaisance. Long led this team in scoring last year, averaging a double-double and most notably a couple of blocks per game, and is matching that production thusfar this season.

The other end of the court is where the Tide have an edge; ULL has an above-average offense at 106.5 points per 100 possessions but the Tide’s defense is still pretty good when you adjust for the opponent. Long is again the man to watch here, along with fellow seniors Devonta Walker and Kasey Shepherd; all three are averaging at least 14 points a game on the season. Guard Jay Wright is the fourth Ragin’ Cajun averaging in double figures this year.

The schedule ratings all shift in favor of ULL, but that’s kind of a meaningless distinction at this stage of the season. Miami is considered a top-25 team according to the PYTH ratings, and that game is the only meat to their schedule so far. When all this is run through the magic box it spits out a win probability of 65.7% in favor of the Tide, and that sounds just about right to me.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide