Saturday, September 20, 2008

Big East 2007-08 -- Inside/Outside

Can the inside/outside formula be effective for identifying a team's playing style and offense? And which is more effective at expressing that style? I applied both Pomeroy's & Pelton's variations to the teams of the Big East conference...

South Florida6225170550473413.493.6933
St. John's602516254725695.971.6144
Seton Hall652520066777362.940.9099
West Virginia750021697437821.800.521010
Notre Dame662520156776870.500.151111

The formulas produce identical rankings, though the actual values vary in magnitude. Hardly surprising. The rankings look "about right" -- that is, Connecticut, a team with a reputation for inside play produces the highest "inside" value, and it clearly relies more on inside play (and does it rather better than the other "inside-oriented" Big East teams) than other Big East teams. And that consistent with most analysis of Connecticut's style of play. And Georgetown as the "most outside" team in the conference (but not too outside) also seems consistent with the consensus of Georgetown's play and style.

I was surprised less by where Villanova came in from the calculations. I believe, from tracking the Wildcat's front court players over the past 4 seasons, that the staff has made more of an effort to get the ball to players in the paint for "better" scoring opportunities. I will post the results for the seasons 2004-05 through 2007-08 shortly.

Surprise, surprise...
If pressed I would have identified Notre Dame, or possibly Seton Hall as the "next most" outside team(s) in the Big East. Neither was anywhere near Georgetown. The Fighting Irish were "nearly neutral", if one where to assume that a rating of 0.0 suggests the team favors neither inside nor outside play. That outside shooting does not predominate in the Irish attack is a tribute to the roles played by Luke Harangody and Rob Kurz. Looking at 2008-09, will Zach Hillesland and/or Ryan Ayers provide the strong inside play characterized by Kurz? As for Seton Hall, mad bombers perhaps by reputation, Jamar Nutter and Jeremy Hazell did not dominate over Harvey, Gauss, Laing and Garcia. I knew that Syracuse's outside game would take a hit when Andy Rautins tore his ACL in August of 2007, followed by Devo's injury only two weeks into the season, but the computed score provides yet more proof that the Orange offense was too one dimensional for Big East play.

Notes & Observations...
1. Kentrell Gransberry has graduated and most likely taken most of South Florida's inside game with him. The Bull's Dominique Jones, Chris Howard and Jesus Verdejo return, but they are all back court/wing players. Gus Gilchrist's waiver application may be the most significant predictor for success this coming season.
2. Cincinnati's score was more puzzling than surprising. The Bearcats had, with a contingent of John Williamson, Adam Hrycanuik, Anthony McClain and Kenny Belton, an undeniable inside presence last season. So how did they end up with a -2.8 (Pomeroy) rating? Scoring guard Deonta Vaughn, who took (according to Ken Pomeroy's Cincinnati Scouting Report) nearly 28% of the team's shots when he was on the court, had an FTARate of about 31%, suggesting he did not get to the line "enough".
3. Optimism about Louisville's prospects may be well founded. The Cardinals rated at -2.19 (Pomeroy) last season lost only inside players -- David Padgett, Telo Palacios and Derrick Caracter. With a rookie front court next season, that outside tendency may become even more pronounced this season.
4. Those who remember the influence of Troutman, Taft, Aaron Gray and Levon Kendall may believe 4.44 (Pomeroy) may understate Pittsburgh's inside game. They forget that Jaime Dixon has very deliberately brought outside shooters like Keith Benjamin, Ron Ramon and Antonio Graves into the program and gave them the opportunity to shoot the ball.

No comments: