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Processing the Numbers, Basketball Edition | Missouri Tigers

The Tide return to Coleman after another thumping at the hands of Kentucky

Dak Dillon-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?

Unlike the Tide’s recent non-Kentucky losses, none but the most delusional of gumps thought 'Bama had a chance in this one. Last time these two teams matched up, the Tide had spurts of strong effort broken up by long stretches of moribund play — this time, the Tide’s effort was more consistent after a rocky stretch in the first half, but ultimately just as fruitless. Retin Obasohan filled in for the injured Ricky Tarrant and provided 11 points, and he was joined in double figures by Levi Randolph and, shockingly enough, Shannon Hale. Despite these contributions, the Tide only managed 55 points in a 15 point loss on the road.

For a more in-depth, qualitative review of the game, check out btbama22's outstanding game recap.

The Four Factors

The Four Factors
Metric ALABAMA KENTUCKY
eFG% 51.4% 67.1%
TO% 24.5% 9.8%
OR% 33.3% 21.7%
FTR 67.6% 56.1%
Win Index 47 52

Much like the Florida game, the Tide split factors with their opponent, but didn’t claim either of the two biggies in eFG% and TO%. With Kentucky’s overwhelming defensive advantage it is absolutely crucial to limit their shooting as best you can, and an eFG% of 67.1% is the exact opposite of limitation. If Kentucky puts up something in the high 60s in eFG% every time out, nobody is beating them — in the SEC or otherwise.

The Tide also turned the ball over far too often against an opponent of this caliber, and once you lose both of those factors how many trips you take to the line or offensive boards you grab dwindles into irrelevance. The Win Index margin was significantly closer, as the Tide were just 5 short of the Wildcats versus 10 last time around[1] — and on the road in Lexington to boot. The fact the Tide was able to out-rebound the superior length of the Wildcats is encouraging, although Kentucky visibly let off the gas after getting up by 18, doing just enough to keep a nice buffer against the Tide and cruise to victory.

1 | That’s progress, I guess?

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

Right! Next up, the Alabama Crimson Tide return to Coleman Coliseum to face the SEC’s current cellar dweller: the Missouri Tigers. The game is on Wednesday, February 4th, at 8 PM CST / 9 PM EST, and will be televised on SEC Network and WatchESPN.com.

The Goods

Overall Quality
ALABAMA MISSOURI THE EDGE
RPI 0.5722 (62) RPI 0.5067 (162) ALABAMA
BPI 71.5 (58) BPI 52.4 (165) ALABAMA
PYTH 0.8125 (44) PYTH 0.4602 (179) ALABAMA
Luck -0.003 (193) Luck -0.019 (225) ALABAMA

Efficiency Ratings
ALABAMA MISSOURI THE EDGE
OE+ 107.5 (67) DE+ 101.1 (162) ALABAMA
DE+ 94.6 (57) OE+ 99.7 (206) ALABAMA
T+ 62.8 (291) T+ 62.6 (296) PUSH

Schedule Ratings
ALABAMA MISSOURI THE EDGE
Sched. PYTH 0.6742 (13) Sched. PYTH 0.7129 (4) MISSOURI
Opp. OE+ 105.4 (9) Opp. OE+ 105.1 (13) PUSH
Opp. DE+ 99 (40) Opp. DE+ 97.2 (5) MISSOURI
NCS PYTH 0.4953 (182) NCS PYTH 0.5907 (81) MISSOURI

(Bold) numbers indicate national ranking.

Ratings information as of 3 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?

After a hellacious stretch of games starting in mid-January[2], the Tide get some welcome relief in the form of a Missouri team that has struggled mightily this season. After a surprising OT win over LSU to open the conference slate, the Tigers have dropped their last 7 games, matching their loss total from the non-conference portion of the schedule. Alabama is ranked at least 100 spots higher than the Tigers in all three overall quality metrics, which probably tells you all you need to know about how this one is going to go.

2 | Just to review, that was UK, @Arky, API, UF, and @UK in 14 days. Thanks, SEC!

Given the vast disparity in PYTH ratings, the Tide unsurprisingly have significant edges at both ends of the court, particularly when Missouri’s below-average offense has the ball. These two teams play at about the same pace, so I don’t expect that to be much of a factor. Missouri’s played the country’s 4th-toughest schedule, including Arizona, Oklahoma, and heavily-underrated Xavier in out-of-conference play, as well as two games against Kentucky in the SEC. Alabama’s own meetings with the ‘Cats have brought their schedule to 13th in the country, up from 98th before the aforementioned tough stretch of games.

I should probably mention that Tarrant is reportedly out indefinitely with his leg injury, and if that’s the case it’s a huge loss for the Tide. He’s certainly not playing against Missouri, but ‘Bama was able to replace his offensive contributions to a certain extent against Kentucky and their country-leading defense, and that bodes well for the Tide against Missouri. As far as the that contest is concerned, the magic box has the Tide’s win expectancy at 90.4%[3] — I'd be shocked if the Tide don't roll in this one.

3 | If the Tide manage to drop this game, Coach Grant may not make it to LSU on Saturday.

THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide

ROLL TIDE