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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Jacksonville State Gamecocks

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The Tide return home for a pair of nonconference cupcakes prior to SEC season

Michael Shroyer-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?

The Tide faced an uphill climb against one of the PAC-12’s better teams coming in to this one, and they responded by firing out of the gates to one of their more impressive halves of the season. Largely on the strength of a career night from Justin Coleman, the Tide raced to a 38-26 lead at the half which had the Birmingham crowd roaring.

Then, reality settled in, and Oregon employed some brilliant halftime adjustments to essentially backdoor the Tide to death. They had the length advantage in this contest as well, and switch up the defense to really bother the Tide on the other end of the floor. There were opportunities still, but the Tide’s shot went cold in the second frame, and as a result Oregon overcame the halftime deficit and walked out with a 72-68 victory.

For a more detailed review of the game, check out Roger_RBR’s fine game recap.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
Metric ALABAMA OREGON
eFG% 56.1% 48.3%
TO% 21.2% 13.6%
OR% 19.4% 29.4%
FTR 40.8% 34.5%
Win Index 43 43

The Win Indices show how close this game was, as one or two more made shots or a defensive stop and the Tide walk away with this one. You can see they had big edges over the Ducks in eFG% and FTR, but lost out big on the other two factors. Looking at the way this broke down it was more reminiscent of Tide victories this season, as Xavier and Dayton really depressed the Tide’s shooting numbers and forced a lot of turnovers. That didn’t happen in this game; instead, it was OR% where the Ducks managed to hold the Tide below their seasonal average. That’s beginning to look more and more like the key factor for the Tide this season.

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

Right! Next up, the Tide return to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum to take on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The game is on Tuesday, December 29th, at 7:00 PM CST / 8:00 PM EST, and will be available on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN.com.

The Goods

Overall Quality
ALABAMA JACKSONVILLE STATE THE EDGE
RPI 0.6148 (28) RPI 0.3634 (344) ALABAMA
BPI 65.5 (100) BPI 30.1 (309) ALABAMA
PYTH 0.6804 (87) PYTH 0.1786 (325) ALABAMA
Luck 0.221 (2) Luck 0.016 (153) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
ALABAMA JACKSONVILLE STATE THE EDGE
OE+ 102 (177) DE+ 109.5 (321) ALABAMA
DE+ 95.5 (37) OE+ 95.9 (297) ALABAMA
T+ 68.4 (248) T+ 67 (306) PUSH

Schedule Ratings
ALABAMA JACKSONVILLE STATE THE EDGE
Sched. PYTH 0.6512 (33) Sched. PYTH 0.3905 (313) ALABAMA
Opp. OE+ 105.7 (36) Opp. OE+ 102.2 (200) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 100.1 (54) Opp. DE+ 106.2 (345) ALABAMA
NCS PYTH 0.6512 (38) NCS PYTH 0.3905 (313) ALABAMA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of December 28th, 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?

Business as usual at the top; a close loss to the Ducks didn’t move the needle on the Tide’s overall quality ratings at all. The Luck rating is slowly trending downward; as the preseason projections steadily make their way out of the PYTH formula the more representative it will be of the Tide’s play this season. We should still see a noticeable jump upward over the next week or so when the projections are removed entirely, but for now the Tide are still hanging out in the low 80s and 90s. Their opponent, at least as far as the advanced metrics are concerned, are one of the worst teams in college basketball. Jacksonville State highest ranking in the metrics is 309th, which is not good. That’s with them slightly outperforming expectations as well, at least as far as PYTH is concerned.

It’s more of the same in the efficiency ratings, as the Tide have significant advantages on both offense and defense. The latter is still where this team excels; we saw in the first half of the Oregon game what they are capable of on that side of the ball when everything is flowing properly. That offensive rating is where the hangup remains, however, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Tide can improve in that area without Dazon Ingram as a facilitator. He and Shannon Hale were greatly missed against the Ducks, and while Hale should be back on the floor against the Gamecocks, the loss of Ingram cannot be understated at this point.

Those marvelous schedule ratings are about to take a serious hit with the last two non-conference games, they will still enter conference play with one of the country’s better non-conference schedules, which will greatly help the Tide’s case for an NCAA bid if they are in position for one at the end of the season. You’ll note the Gamecocks have played one of the country’s worst schedules, which lines up with their poor efficiency rankings. The magic box has this one at 94.6% for the Tide, and there’s no fault to be found there.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide

ROLL TIDE