Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

March 5, 2009

Chat Today, PLUS: Indiana, Oregon St., Yin, Yang

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 10:43 am

Join me today for the live chat thing. Click here starting at noon Eastern to go live or do it earlier and submit your question in advance. All topics welcomed! Keep me on my toes and make up a plausible sounding coach name. (“Hey, John, where’s the love for the job Fran McFlannery’s doing at Texas-Beaumont? Will his Waves make a splash this month?”) 

And because I believe that no Unfiltered post should be limited to a shameless plug for a chat, please accept this moment of tempo-free Zen:

In researching an upcoming piece on the odd lethargy of two major-conference teams that had a lot of minutes returning from groups that went to the NCAA tournament last year, I tallied up how all 73 teams in the big six conferences have done relative to their performance last year. “Performance” here is defined as per-possession scoring margin.

The two teams that have made the biggest leaps forward year-to-year probably come as no surprise.

Craig Robinson Should Do Church Revivals 
Largest gains in efficiency margin, 2008 to 2009
Conference games only, 2009 figures through games of March 3
Efficiency margin: points per possession – Opp. PPP

                      2008     2009    Change     
1.  Oregon St.       -0.30    -0.10    +0.20  
2.  LSU              -0.06    +0.14    +0.20  
3.  Missouri         -0.06    +0.13    +0.19  
4.  Northwestern     -0.21    -0.04    +0.17  
5.  Oklahoma         -0.02    +0.13    +0.15

Keep in mind that the Beavers, in addition to being dramatically better this year, have also experienced some extremely fortuitous bounces of the ball in 2009. In short: this is as good as it can possibly get in terms of year-to-year change. Drink it in Corvallis.

At the other extreme from OSU are some teams that have seen things change dramatically in the other direction this season….

Tom Crean Probably Feels Like Going to a Church Revival 
Largest drops in efficiency margin, 2008 to 2009
Conference games only, 2009 figures through games of March 3

                      2008     2009    Change     
1.  Indiana          +0.07    -0.18    -0.25  
2.  Oregon           +0.01    -0.18    -0.19  
3.  DePaul           -0.08    -0.25    -0.17  
4.  Arkansas         +0.05    -0.11    -0.16  
5.  Georgetown       +0.12    -0.03    -0.15

And yet those Hoosiers are feisty, giving Michigan State everything the Spartans wanted Tuesday night in Bloomington before losing by five. Not bad when your team is returning just four percent of its minutes from 2008.

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Of all the minutes that the Hoosiers played in 2007-08, just four percent of that total (in the person of Kyle Taber) was still present and accounted for in 2008-09.

True story: When Ken Pomeroy and I were in the final hectic stages of putting the book together, I got an email from the publisher asking about the typo in my table for returning minutes in the Big Ten. That “4” next to Indiana couldn’t be right, could it? After all, out of 73 major-conference teams this season, 69 of them returned at least 40 percent of their minutes. What’s up with this “4”?

No, it was correct.

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