Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Evaluating Men's Basketball

I will be able to attend my first basketball game of the year tonight, taking in the BC-Penn State game at Conte.  The ACC-Big 10 Challenge always brings a lot of excitement to the two conferences, although it's probably safe to say that the ACC won't need to depend on a BC win this year.  Penn State will represent a difficult challenge for the Baby Eagles, and with another loss likely coming tonight, I think we've reached the point where looking simply at wins and losses will not be helpful in evaluating progress.  With that in mind, I've come up with a tentative way to track the progress of the Baby Eagles over the course of the year.



I am going to begin applying a two-tiered progress-tracking system to the men's basketball team.  The first tier will be more simplistic, tracking the progress of the BC basketball team in a single game relative to its performance over the previous games of the season. After the Penn State game, I will compare the stats in the game to the average on the season, which is:

Offense:

Points: 58.5
Field Goal Percentage: .375
3-Point Percentage: .311
Free Throw Percentage: .662
Total Rebounds: 31.5
Assists to Turnover Ratio: .596

Defense:
Points Against: 71.8
Opponent Field Goal Percentage: .463
Opponent 3-Point Percentage: .333
Opponent Total Rebounds: 38.3
Opponent Assists to Turnover Ratio: 1.2

Obviously the downfall of comparing a single game performance to the rest of the season is that the method does not index properly for the strength of the opponent (Penn State is a more difficult team than Holy Cross).  Accordingly, I will also compare the Eagle's statistics to other teams that their opponent has played to get a feel for how the Eagles do relative to other teams who played the same opponent. Obviously, this second way to track progress will take a few games to develop, as we won't just be interested in how well the Baby Eagles do relative to their opponent's past opponents.  We'll also be looking for trends in these figures, and hopefully we'll find that the team does progressively better in these areas over the course of the season.

Offenses Playing Penn State:

Points: 62.7
Field Goal Percentage: .404
3-Point Percentage: .381
Total Rebounds: 34.0
Assists to Turnover Ratio: .8

Defense's Playing Penn State:
Points Against: 62.6
Opponent Field Goal Percentage: .375
Opponent 3-Point Percentage: .326
Opponent Total Rebounds: 36.7
Opponent Assists to Turnover Ratio: .9

Sometime tomorrow I will use these baselines to track how BC does tonight.  To make this easier for everyone, I will put the positive ones in green and the negative ones in red.

Again, this isn't meant to be a fail-safe method, and clearly some of these stats are more important than others, but at the same time I think this is better than just looking blindly at a "W" or an "L" and listening to a BC recap which basically says that the guys put forth a good effort.  If anyone can think of stats I missed, feel free to let me know via e-mail or in the comments section.

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