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Archive for the 'NCAA' Category

CBB Layups: Optimal Fouling Strategy in NCAA Basketball

23rd November 2010

This layup comes courtesy of Josh Levin and the live edition of the Hang Up & Listen Podcast...

While he was at MIT in 2005, Dr. Walter Sun (who -- random fact -- did his undergrad at my alma mater) published a paper about optimal fouling strategy in college basketball. He found that intentionally fouling the opponent's worst foul shooter for the 7th, 8th, and 9th fouls of a half (when the other team is in the 1-and-1 bonus) could increase your PPG margin by as much as 2 points. And this isn't just when fouling in desperation situations, either; the paper calls for you to intentionally hack the worst FT shooter no matter when you get to six fouls.

Although, as Josh points out, Dr. Sun wasn't the first person to think of this strategy. In the early 1980s, NC State coach Jim Valvano also used the intentional foul to his advantage. In fact, the NCAA instituted the 2-shot rule specifically because Jimmy V. was essentially using Dr. Sun's strategy on every foul he could (since there wasn't a double bonus in those days).

Posted in Layups, NCAA, Statgeekery | Comments Off

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (The Top Ten)

19th November 2010

See also: #11-15, #16-20, #21-25, #26-31

With the 2010-11 season warming up, let's finish up our ranking of the 31 best NCAA teams from 1980-2010:

10. Louisville Cardinals (+14.76 SRS)

Record: 709-329 (.683)
Prominent Coaches: Denny Crum, Rick Pitino
Best NCAA Finish: Won NCAA Championship (1980, 1986)

Louisville has somewhat quietly amassed a dominant resume over the past 3 decades. With 2 national titles and 4 Final Fours, the Cardinals were probably the best program of the 1980s, while their "down" years of the 1990s consisted of 8 NCAA berths & 208 wins. And in the 2000s, Rick Pitino took them to a Final Four in 2005, seamlessly transitioning from the Crum era with 220 victories of his own. Pick any year since 1980, and chances are The Ville was one of the better college basketball teams in the country.

9. Syracuse Orange (+15.41 SRS)

Record: 755-279 (.730)
Prominent Coaches: Jim Boeheim
Best NCAA Finish: Won NCAA Championship (2003)

Under Jim Boeheim, the Orangemen won more games than all but four schools since 1980. He took a solid program and turned it into a perennial contender, produced a number of NBA prospects, won 14 Big East regular-season or tournament titles, and finally filled the gap in his resume when Carmelo Anthony carried 'Cuse to their elusive NCAA crown in 2003. Simply put, no Big East team has been better over the past 30 years.

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Posted in Analysis, History, NCAA, SRS | 9 Comments »

Daily Updates on SR’s College Basketball Site

17th November 2010

Starting today, SR's college basketball site will be updated on a daily basis with 2010-11 statistics and results. Player game logs and splits are not ready yet, but they should be up by December 1 at the latest. Keep in mind that there are almost 350 Division I schools, so early on there may be a few hiccups. Please help us out by letting us know if anything looks amiss, either by posting a comment on the CBB blog or by filling out the CBB feedback form.

Posted in Announcements, NCAA | Comments Off

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part IV)

8th November 2010

See also: #16-20, #21-25, #26-31

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball at Sports-Reference, S-R's new College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

With the 2010-11 NCAA basketball season technically commencing this week, let's return to these rankings...

15. Connecticut Huskies (+14.16 SRS)

Record: 682-312 (.686)
Prominent Coaches: Jim Calhoun
Best NCAA Finish: Won NCAA Championship (1999, 2004)

Two national titles in the last 12 years makes up for a mediocre first half of the 1980s under Dom Perno, as the leadership of Calhoun has transformed Storrs into an unlikely national hoops hotbed. And to think that it all started with Scott Burrell & Tate George...

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Posted in History, NCAA, Statgeekery | Comments Off

CBB Layups: The 50 Best Dunks in NCAA History

9th September 2010

Via Yahoo's The Dagger college hoops blog, here's a countdown from YouTubers Mixst311 and Dawg5, featuring the 50 sickest slams in NCAA basketball history:

Send it in, Jerome!!!

(A Special Hat Tip goes to my buddy Brent for the link.)

Posted in Layups, NCAA, No Math Required, YouTube Finds | 4 Comments »

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part III)

26th August 2010

See also: #21-25, #26-31

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball at Sports-Reference, S-R's new College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

20. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+12.87 SRS)

Record: 586-365 (.616)
Prominent Coaches: Carl Tacy, Dave Odom, Skip Prosser
Best NCAA Finish: Lost Regional Final (1984, 1996)

Perhaps better known for what their alums do after leaving the program (Billy Packer, Muggsy Bogues, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, etc.), Wake nonetheless has maintained a near-perennial NCAA Tournament presence (and a frequent top-4 ACC team) over the past 3+ decades. Carl Tacy's teams were very good (AP top-20 three times) in the first half of the eighties, and following a short, mediocre stint under Bob Staak from 86-89, Dave Odom took the reins and oversaw one of the most successful periods in school history (including the recruitment of the greatest Deacon of all, Tim Duncan). Under Odom, WF had 7 consecutive NCAA berths, but the last in that run was the most disappointing -- after climbing as high as #2 in the AP poll, Wake was unceremoniously bounced by Stanford in the 2nd round, ending Duncan's collegiate career. After Odom left for South Carolina in 2001, the late Skip Prosser continued a winning tradition with 4 straight Tourney appearances and the development of Paul, before tragically passing away in 2007. Today, the Deacs hope to rebound from Dino Gaudio's up-and-down tenure with the hiring of Jeff Bzdelik in 2010.

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Posted in Analysis, History, NCAA, SRS | 9 Comments »

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part II)

5th August 2010

See also: Part I

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball at Sports-Reference, S-R's new College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

25. Ohio State Buckeyes (+12.29 SRS)

Record: 522-337
Prominent Coaches: Eldon Miller, Jim O'Brien, Thad Matta
Best NCAA Finish: Lost National Final (2007)

Columbus, OH will always be a football town first and foremost, but the Bucks' basketball team has also been deceptively competitive over the past 31 years. Under Eldon Miller & future Maryland coach Gary Williams in the 1980s, Ohio St. was frequently among the top 30 teams in the country, though they could never quite recapture the form of their 1980 team (Herb Williams, Kelvin Ransey, & Clark Kellogg led OSU to the Regional Semis & the 4th-best SRS in the country). That changed during the early years of Randy Ayers' tenure, when they went 53-10 in '91 + '92 en route to 2 Big Ten crowns and a Final Four near-miss in 1992. But after 1992 UPI POY Jim Jackson left school, OSU slipped badly, bottoming out at 6-22 in 1995. Ayers was then replaced by Jim O'Brien, who resuscitated the program and took them to a Final Four in just his 2nd year at the helm. From '99-02, O'Brien's Buckeyes had their most successful 4-year run since the early 1960s, although revelations about recruiting misdeeds cost him his job and forced the Buckeyes to vacate more than 3 years worth of results. Luckily, though, former Xavier coach Thad Matta was hired to pick up the pieces and he has simply led OSU to the best 6-year run in their history, solidifying their place on this list with 4 NCAA berths in the last 5 years (including a Championship Game appearance in '07).

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Posted in Analysis, History, NCAA, SRS | 12 Comments »

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part I)

3rd August 2010

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball at Sports-Reference, S-R's new College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

With the addition of 2010 stats to the site about a month ago, CBB at SR now has game-by-game results for each of the past 31 seasons (1980-2010). This means that we can calculate our signature team power-ranking statistic -- the Simple Rating System (SRS) -- for every team in that span, estimating a team's "true" strength by adjusting point differential for strength of schedule. Armed with those ratings, I went back and found the average SRS for each program over the past 31 seasons; this post is the first in a ranking of the top 31 programs by that average. The only rule for qualification: teams who didn't play all 31 seasons in D-IA were not eligible (sorry, Miami, Missouri St., & Tulane). Other than that, it's all about having the highest average SRS since 1980. To the rankings...

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Posted in Analysis, History, NCAA, SRS | 8 Comments »

YouTube Finds: Bill Walton vs. Memphis State, 1973 NCAA Championship Game

2nd August 2010

Before Bill Walton was leading the Blazers to a championship, bringing a spark off the bench for the Celtics, and saying hilariously weird things on television, he was one of the best players in college basketball history, helping UCLA survive the loss of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar without missing a beat. And Big Red was perhaps at his very finest in the 1973 National Championship Game against Larry Kenon and Memphis State, pouring in 44 points (on 21-22 shooting) and grabbing 13 boards en route to the Bruins' 87-66 victory. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, here's Walton's performance, what some consider to be the best ever by a college player:

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, NCAA, YouTube Finds | 10 Comments »

What’s The Matter With Kansas?

11th June 2010

In the midst of the current conference expansion insanity, we have a school that's soon to not be aligned with any major conference. They are the 3rd-winningest program in their sport's history. They've won 5 National Championships. Their first coach was the inventor of the sport itself.

So why doesn't anyone want Kansas?

Yeah, yeah, I know, football is king. Football makes the most money, has the most support, and consequently dictates every decision made by the major conferences. But how insane is it that Kansas, arguably the most storied program in college basketball history, will be left out in the cold while Nebraska, an irrelevant basketball school for its entire history and barely an above-average football one over the past decade, gets to decide the fate of an entire conference? How does that make any sense?

Over at ESPN, Eamonn Brennan tackled the issue of Kansas' inexplicable irrelevance in the conference shuffle:

"The Pac-10 doesn't want Kansas. The Big Ten doesn't seem wholly interested. The Jayhawks are, for the moment, on the outside of conference expansion looking in. Which says a lot more about conference expansion than it does the Kansas Jayhawks.

What it says is that college basketball doesn't at all factor into what conference expansion will produce."

What if the tables were turned? What if, say, Michigan was without an affiliation? Would other major conferences possibly be interested in adding them to their ranks?

Of course they would -- they'd kill for Michigan. Because Michigan is the football equivalent of Kansas basketball. Another KU analogue, Notre Dame, has been fending off would-be conference suitors (in football, at least) for decades. That's the reality of being a college football powerhouse. But when an elite basketball program becomes available, the only question is, "How's their football team?"

Like Brennan wrote, basketball fans may understand this summer's conference free-for-all on an intellectual level, but that doesn't make it any easier to stomach when one of the prestige programs in the entire country, the place where Dr. James Naismith himself coached, finds itself on the outside looking in while historically lame basketball programs like Colorado and Nebraska dictate its future.

Posted in NCAA, No Math Required, Rants & Ramblings | 6 Comments »