Monday, November 18, 2013

Ray Floriani's Introduction To Tempo-Free Stats

Allison Skrec directed a very efficient Manhattan offense in the win over Fairleigh Dickinson. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

For the first time in our site's four-plus-year history, we are thrilled to finally make our entry into the world of tempo-free statistics. With the help of our own college basketball "Renaissance Man" and resident staff photographer Ray Floriani, who is; among many things, much more averse with advanced stats than we are, we are proud to bring you this primer into the tempo-free universe, focusing on the Manhattan/Fairleigh Dickinson women's game on November 10th, and continuing on throughout the season:


Looking at tempo free analytics, we are starting easy with points per possession. Points per possession is a better indicator of a team's offense and defense. For example, Team A, giving up 70 points per game, may be a better defensive group than team B allowing 55. How? The first team may play at a faster pace with 75 possessions per contest. The team allowing 55 may be utilizing a deliberate 50 possession pace. Team A's points per possession would be .94, while team B would be checking in at 1.10.


Let us look at the numbers from the Manhattan-FDU women's game last Sunday. Manhattan emerged victorious 73-63. The Lady Jaspers' numbers were as follows:

FGA - 56
FTA - 22
Offensive rebounds - 13
Turnovers - 14

Calculating possessions we have 56 + (22 * .475) - 13 + 14

Why multiplying free throws by .475? Free throws do not all come in two-shot fouls. There are 'and one' shots after a made basket, or just one on a missed one and one. To compensate, the multIplier was devised by Dean Oliver, the author of "Basketball On Paper." It is right over 95% of the time.
With that in mind, we have Manhattan at 68 possessions. To find offensive efficiency, simply divide points by possessions. In Manhattan's case, that gives us 1.08 points per possession. To arrive at a more 'workable' number, you multiply points per possession by 100. That gives us, or Manhattan in this case, an offensive efficiency of 108.


The FDU numbers were:

FGA- 60
FTA- 31
Offensive rebounds- 24
Turnovers - 17

Those numbers gave us 68 possessions as well. The points per possession for FDU computed to .93, for an offensive efficiency of 93

What are good efficiency numbers? Keeping teams under 100 is a goal. Conversely, hitting 100 or higher is something you want your offense to achieve. Preferably, it is better to look at efficiency margin, that is, offense minus defensive efficiency. Obviously, you want a figure to be in positive numbers on the EM (efficiency margin) scale. Last season, the Marist women were undefeated in MAAC play. To little surprise, their EM was an astounding +30 (101 offensive efficiency - 71 defensive efficiency). On the other hand, Niagara, a 9-9 conference team, checked in at -2 EM (81 offense - 83 defense).

Next time out, we will be looking at the Four Factors, which give a deeper insight on a team's overall strengths and/or weaknesses.

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