Category Archives: College Basketball

Pitino Not on The “Hot Seat”; Gophers 2016-17 Outlook

Pitino Not On The “Hot Seat”; Gophers 2016-17 Outlook

Many preseason “coaches on the hot seat” articles list Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and state that a poor season on the court would spell trouble for Pitino. We believe the only way Pitino would be on the hot seat is if there are continued off the court issues for the program’s student-athletes. There are a few reasons why we don’t see Pitino being on the hot seat absent off the court issues. Those reasons are listed below.

Large Buyout

Late last summer, Minnesota entered into an amendment with Pitino which effectively caused his buyout to skyrocket should he be fired without cause. If Minnesota were to terminate Pitino’s employment next March, the buyout would still be nearly $6 million.

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Four Factors Differentials in 2015-16; Marquette in 2016-17

Four Factors Differentials in 2015-16; Marquette in 2016-17

This article serves two purposes: (1) it’s a reminder of what matters the most – effective field goal percentage; and, (2) it offers commentary on ways Marquette might improve compared to last season.

Let’s take a somewhat different-than-normal look at what matters to a team’s success.  Below you’ll find a graph for each of the four factors that illustrate, by team, the differential in each of the factors vs. their overall KenPom team ranking (adjusted efficiency margin) for the 2015-16 season.

Free Throw Rate
Below shows each team’s free throw rate (“FTR”) differential (offensive FTR minus defensive FTR) on the y-axis and their KenPom ranking on the x-axis. You’ll see Marquette indicated by a red diamond (a 12.5 FTR differential and a 97 team ranking).
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Marquette’s Schedule Improved in 2016-17

Marquette’s Schedule Improved in 2016-17

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Based on our current projections of the 2016-17 win-loss records (excluding games vs. Marquette) of Marquette’s opponents, we estimate a .0189 improvement in the RPI OWP component (50% of the RPI calculation) as compared to 2015-16.

A year ago, MU played 11 games against teams with sub-.300 winning percentages (on an OWP calculation basis). Those games were: St. John’s (x3), DePaul (x2), Chicago State, Grambling State, San Jose State, Maine, Stetson, and Presbyterian. Chicago State and Grambling State were especially bad at 1-27 and 4-23, respectively.

Had the Warriors’ OWP component been .0189 better a year ago, their Selection Sunday RPI ranking would jumped from #110 to #86. To further illustrate the magnitude, last year’s #50 RPI team on Selection Sunday would have jumped to #27 with an additional .0189.

It’s possible that in 2016-17, MU will play ZERO games against sub-.300 winning percentage teams (Western Carolina at .310 is the lowest projection we have).

While a team like St. Francis (PA) has a preseason KenPom rank of #326, the reality is they’re still projected to go 8-10 in their conference and we project them to finish 10-18 (,357) for MU’s OWP purposes.

Ultimately, Marquette needs to win a lot of games in order for the improved schedule to matter. But, without a doubt, they’re in a much better position than they were a year ago from an RPI-potential perspective.

@LateNightHoops
@JBBauer612

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Projecting NBPA Top 100 Camp Performance to College

Projecting NBPA Top 100 Camp Performance to College

We believe the best scouting is done with a thoughtful mixture of in-person viewings and statistical analysis.

Our proprietary statistical analysis continues to evolve, but over the years our testing has proven it to be of great value with regard to projecting future performance of prep players.

However, analysis of the numbers is complementary to live viewing. Ideally, we would see players multiple times in various settings (spring/summer travel, high school, camps, international competition, etc.).

Undoubtedly, when we are able to view players and perform rigorous statistical analysis, we are able to project at a high level.

The NBPA Top 100 Camp is a bit unique for a few reasons, including a usage and offensive efficiency mix that tends to be noticeably strong for the older kids.

There are many metrics of interest, but for today we are sharing a simple look at certain high-performing kids at the 2014 camp and how they did in their first year of college.

There were eight players (seven 2015’s and one 2016) who (a) played at least 30% of their team’s available minutes, (b) posted an ORtg of 105.0% or better, and (c) had a usage of at least 24.0%.

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Hindsight review: 2014-15 Minnesota Predictions

Hindsight review: 2014-15 Minnesota  Predictions
We had nailed Minnesota’s Big Ten finish for the first few years we made predictions, but failed this past season. They underachieved. We’ll have more prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, but the reality is the defense failed. From a turnover and steal perspective, Minnesota was elite. However, we knew that wouldn’t be enough and it wasn’t even close. The opportunity for young kids to make their mark has never been greater for this program – and there are many new faces. 2015-16, if nothing else, will be entertaining.

Bold: Our preseason comments 


The Gophers have a veteran core. Their offensive efficiency can be similar to last year and their defense can improve substantially, but they’ve got a ways to go to compete for a Big Ten title.

Minnesota’s kenpom adjusted offensive efficiency was ranked #43 in 2014-15, which was similar to the previous year’s ranking of #40.

However, the Gophers saw their adjusted defensive efficiency ranking fall from 82 to 106. We talked about it before, during and after the season: Stealing was not the answer. Indeed, Minnesota’s steal rate of 13.6% and defensive turnover % of 24.7% were both elite and far above the previous year (11.5% and 18.7%, respectively), but their defense had bad issues that offset the good.

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Ask LNH: Doesn’t kenpom treat all games equally?

Ask LNH: Doesn’t kenpom treat all games equally?

This question came in response to our article regarding Wisconsin’s adjusted offensive efficiency. The Badgers now have a positive points-per-100 possessions adjustment of 7.0, or 5.8%, given to their actual per game average offensive efficiency. Both of these adjustments are larger than those given to any other team in the nation.

The answer to the question is “no.” When thinking about kenpom’s ranking system, always keep in mind that it’s a predictive system. Giving more weigh to recent games when predicting the immediate future doesn’t seem odd at all.

Let’s do some quick math to see if treating the Kentucky equally to all others would cause a different answer. Coming into the Final Four, Wisconsin’s AdjOE was 127.5. They had played 38 games. 127.5 * 38 = 4,845. After the Kentucky game, Wisconsin’s AdjOE is 128.5. An AdjOE of 128.5 * 39 games = 5,011.5.

If all games were treated equally, you’d expect Wisconsin’s AdjOE against Kentucky to be 166.5 (5,011.5 – 4,845). The Badgers scored 123.3 pp100p on a neutral court against Kentucky and their 86.5 AdjDE.

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Fact Check: CBS Claims Badgers Scoring 1.28 PPP

Fact Check: CBS Claims Badgers Scoring 1.28 PPP

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The growing usage of KenPom.com by fans and media can be a great thing. However, quite often the commentary from folks regarding KenPom’s predictive system is flawed and illogical.

Just another example is Matt Norlander of CBSsports.com, who this week wrote, “The Badgers have an offensive rating of 127.5, meaning they are dousing foes at a blazing rate. UW’s scoring nearly 128 points per 100 possessions. Unheard of at the college level… hat UW is flirting with 1.3 PPP on a per-game basis is flatly freaky.”

The truth is that Wisconsin’s offense isn’t producing anywhere near 1.3 points per possession.  Let’s take a further look…

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Additional Insight on Tom Crean and His Contract With Indiana

Additional Insight on Tom Crean and His Contract With Indiana

It reminded me a lot of the political theater I used to be part of

— Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass on announcing Crean’s extension to a packed Assembly Hall

The media is again struggling to get the specifics of the buyout provisions correct, so we’ll step in. In this article we’ll also discuss a few other angles of interest related to this topic.

What is the amount of Tom Crean’s buyout?

His buyout depends on the timing of termination. If he were to be terminated at the end of this month (March 2015), the buyout would be a minimum of $11.1MM and could be as high as $12.0MM.

From now through June 30, 2015, the buyout is the lesser of $12MM and the remaining “outside, marketing and promotion income” payable under his contract. $11.1MM represents the buyout total if there have been no annual merit increases. However, such merit increases are allowable under the employment agreement and just a 5% increase would push the buyout figure as of the end of this month to $11.6M.

On July 1 of this year the buyout drops to $7.5MM.

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