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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Georgia Bulldogs

After finishing off little brother on the road, the Tide return home to face the mercurial Bulldogs

Brett Davis-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?

Crow-eatin’ time. Last week, I officially jumped off the bandwagon in picking API to win. That obviously didn’t happen, as the Tide went into the hostile environs of Lee County and came out with a victory. After a tight first half that was most notable for a rare technical foul on Anthony Grant, the Tide slowly pulled away from API down the stretch to finish with a 79-68 victory. Levi Randolph lead the way with 19, and was joined in double figures by Retin Obasohan, Rodney Cooper, and Shannon Hale. Oh, and in case you thought there was no real retribution for this betrayal, my laptop decided to die on me Friday, which is why this article is epically late[1]. I should know better.

1 | I fixed the problem, obviously — of course, it’s now 2 PM EST as I write this.

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

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
Metric ALABAMA ALABAMA POLY
eFG% 61.8% 46.4%
TO% 24.3% 15.7%
OR% 31.0% 16.2%
FTR 41.2% 33.9%
Win Index 47 40

After three horrid shooting performances in a row, the Tide got back to early-season form in putting up a strong 61.8% mark in eFG%, their best performance since the Xavier game back at the beginning of December. That’s what shooting 59% from the field in the second half gets you, to go with a 43% mark from deep for the game. Despite the presence of Charles Barkley wannabe Cinmeon Bowers and his rebounding exploits, the Tide owned little brother on the glass, nearly doubling them up in OR%[2]. The officiating was less than stellar, but didn’t result in the lopsided FTR numbers the Tide’s dealt with over the last couple of weeks. API did take better care of the ball, but that was not enough to keep the Tide from cruising to a 47-40 edge in Win Margin.

2 | And a 40-26 edge in total rebounding.

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Coleman Coliseum. The game is on Saturday, February 21st, at 7 PM CST / 8 PM EST, and will be televised on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.com.

The Goods

Overall Quality
ALABAMA GEORGIA THE EDGE
RPI 0.5618 (68) RPI 0.5806 (40) GEORGIA
BPI 70.8 (59) BPI 77.5 (31) GEORGIA
PYTH 0.7843 (52) PYTH 0.8072 (41) GEORGIA
Luck 0.003 (177) Luck -0.012 (215) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
ALABAMA GEORGIA THE EDGE
OE+ 106.6 (75) DE+ 95.3 (54) GEORGIA
DE+ 95.3 (55) OE+ 107.9 (60) PUSH
T+ 62.8 (279) T+ 64.5 (196) GEORGIA

Schedule Ratings
ALABAMA GEORGIA THE EDGE
Sched. PYTH 0.6657 (28) Sched. PYTH 0.6864 (16) GEORGIA
Opp. OE+ 105.5 (20) Opp. OE+ 104.9 (37) ALABAMA
Opp. DE+ 99.4 (51) Opp. DE+ 98 (11) GEORGIA
NCS PYTH 0.4936 (188) NCS PYTH 0.5549 (116) GEORGIA

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 21 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?

As has been alluded to numerous times in Advanced Stats Rundowns, Georgia has been tough to pin down this season. They lost to API at home, and have now lost to South Carolina twice, but also took LSU to 2 overtimes, beat Texas A&M on the road, and handled both Florida and Ole Miss. Despite having a similar record to the Tide on the year, they are much better regarded by RPI, and their performance over the course of the year has won them the admiration of PYTH and BPI in particular[3]. And that’s with them underperforming slightly according to Luck rating.

3 | They also didn’t crap the bed against Vandy, so there’s that.

Georgia is a very balanced squad, with adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ratings within just six ranks of one another. They have a clear edge on the defensive end of the ball in this one, as one explosive half against API does not make up for a season of mediocrity on that end of the floor for the good guys. The Tide have a slight edge on the other end of the court, but not to a significant degree. The key for the Tide in every remaining game this season is finding ways to score without Ricky Tarrant, whose return looks less and less probable as the year draws to a close. These two teams play at similar paces, although Georgia has been slightly more up-tempo on the year.

Georgia’s struggles begin to make a little more sense when you look at their schedule, which has been simply hellacious. They had the distinct pleasure of being steamrolled by Gonzaga early on, the main reason their non-conference schedule strength is so far ahead of the Tide’s. They’ve played UK once already, and get them again in the final week of the regular season. Overall the Tide is not that far behind though, with the 28th-toughest schedule in the country according to PYTH ratings.

As far as this game is concerned… not sure what to think, honestly. After the Vanderbilt loss I was beginning to wonder if the Tide would win another game this season, and then they more than handled API on the road. I’m still pretty sure Grant is gone after this year, but perhaps the team is beginning to rally around him to a certain degree. This one is at Coleman, and as such the magic box has it at 62.4% for the Tide. I’m inclined to agree, and more importantly I don’t really want my computer to break again.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide

ROLL TIDE