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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Vanderbilt Commodores

After barely escaping a woeful Bulldogs squad, the Tide welcome a downtrodden Vanderbilt to Coleman

Troy Taormina-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?

Grantsketball at its finest. That may be slightly unfair with Ricky Tarrant and Retin Obasohan sidelined with injuries and Rodney Cooper and Michael Kessens banged up, but frankly this game should not have been close with how bad a team Mississippi State is. The first half was, to quote Roger, “a battle of ineptitude,” with ‘Bama generating just 25 points to CLANGA’s 21 points. Mississippi State managed to grab the lead at one point in the second half, but the Tide battled back and took an eight point lead with just a minute left. The Bulldogs forced a couple of turnovers late to make things interesting, but the Tide made a few free throws down the stretch for a 55-51 victory.

For a more in-depth, qualitative review of the game, check out Roger_RBR's excellent game recap.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
eFG% 37.5% 39.1%
TO% 16.9% 23.8%
OR% 21.6% 24.2%
FTR 42.3% 50.0%
Win Index 39 39

Oddly enough, the Bulldogs grabbed three of the four factors, only ceding TO% to the Tide. The margins in each factor were rather slim though, and the end result is the two teams tied in Win Index. Out of curiosity I bumped it out to a decimal place, and CLANGA actually won 39.2 to 38.7. This tied the Tide’s previous worst effort against Kentucky the first time around. Not a great game from the good guys.

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide return to Coleman to face the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game is on Saturday, February 14th, at 7 PM CST / 8 PM EST, and will be televised on ESPNU and

The Goods

Overall Quality
RPI 0.5682 (63) RPI 0.5347 (115) ALABAMA
BPI 71.6 (57) BPI 71.9 (54) PUSH
PYTH 0.7961 (48) PYTH 0.7525 (66) ALABAMA
Luck -0.003 (192) Luck -0.146 (348) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
OE+ 107.5 (67) DE+ 99.4 (129) ALABAMA
DE+ 94.6 (56) OE+ 109.5 (43) VANDERBILT
T+ 62.8 (292) T+ 63.3 (276) PUSH

Schedule Ratings
Sched. PYTH 0.6748 (11) Sched. PYTH 0.6235 (41) ALABAMA
Opp. OE+ 105.5 (9) Opp. OE+ 102.5 (110) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 99 (40) Opp. DE+ 98.1 (18) VANDERBILT
NCS PYTH 0.496 (182) NCS PYTH 0.4382 (259) ALABAMA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 13 February 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?

KenPom is still on the Tide bandwagon — despite all the struggles they’ve held steady in the mid-40s of those rankings over the past month or so. RPI and BPI aren’t quite as kind, though both would consider the Tide tournament teams in a world with no automatic bids[1]. Vandy’s rated a bit higher in BPI, but not to any degree of significance — they’ve also severely underachieved this year according to the Luck rating.

1 | Not advocating for this by any means, just noting it.

Ironically[2], it’s the offensive side of the ball where the Tide has the edge in this one, as Vanderbilt’s defense is definitely below average for this conference. Their offense is solidly in the country’s top-50, however, and that will be the end of the court to watch in this one[3]. If the Tide defense can limit Damian Jones and Riley LaChance, Vanderbilt will have a tough time winning in Tuscaloosa.

2 | Shhhh yes it is.

3 | I mean, if you want to watch the horror on the other side, be my guest…

Alabama has played one of the country’s toughest schedules, which will hopefully resonate with the committee if the Tide put themselves in position for a tournament bid by the end of the season[4]. Vandy’s been no slouch themselves, although they’ve managed to avoid the high-powered offensive types. As far as this one is concerned, Vandy’s tough overtime loss to their in-state rivals has dropped their status a bit in the overall metrics, and the magic box now has this one at 73.1% for the Tide[5]. I’m certainly not going to argue.


5 | It was at 66.4% as noted in the most recent Advanced Stats Rundown.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide