Basketball will never be baseball. Baseball can be narrowed down to a roll of the dice or a computer spitting out numbers. Basketball is too fluid and dynamic for that. But with today’s advanced stats and even the good ol’ numbers we’re used, we can learn a lot about different teams and players
We’ve seen enough basketball this season to have some decent sample sizes when looking at statistics. Let’s run through some that could prove to be very telling.
Utah (16-4 overall) is 5-4 against the RPI top 100. They are 1-3 against the RPI top 25.
You can interpret this a few different ways. The Utes have taken care of business against everyone they should beat. On the other hand, they have not fared well against the nation’s elite. Utah beat Wichita State, but that game was at home and took overtime. Every game they’ve played on the road (or a neutral floor) against a top tier team, they’ve lost. Delon Wright and company will need to raise their game to a new level to reach the Elite 8 and beyond.
Wisconsin has just 156 turnovers this season, fewest in nation. The Badgers have just 50 turnovers in 8 Big Ten games, the fewest in the conference.
It is so difficult to beat Wisconsin, simply because they care such great care of the ball. They get a shot up every single time down the floor. Think about how often you see offensive fouls, travels, and every other form of turnover in the course of a game. Against Iowa on January 20, Wisconsin did not turn the ball over. ZERO.
Virginia is first in the nation in Defensive Quotient at 18.6. Kentucky is second at 18.1. 3rd ranked Wisconsin (13.8) is as close to Virginia as they are to 15th ranked Old Dominion (9.7).
First, let me explain what Defensive Quotient is. It measures on average how many more or less points teams score against you, than they do on average. For example, that means teams score, on average, 18.6 fewer points against Virginia than they do against the rest of their schedules. That’s insane (They’ve held teams to less than 30 points THREE times this year) and Kentucky has been just as good. They are the nation’s top two teams for a reason, and that reason is defense. If and when they (hopefully, please please please) play each other in the future, it will be the most exciting 34-32 game we’ve ever seen.
The Atlanta Hawks are 29th in the NBA in Strength of Schedule with an opponents winning percentage of .482.
Huh. That’s interesting.
For reference, here are a few other SOS’s of note: Miami (6th, .509), OKC (7th, .508), Memphis (11th, .504), Cleveland (13th, .502), Chicago (16th, .497), Golden State (25th, .488), Toronto (25th, .488), Washington (Last, .480).
Michael Carter-Williams, Grant Hill, and Jason Kidd are the the only players with 5 triple-doubles in their first 108 games.
Nerlens Noel, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, and Anthony Davis are the only players since 1985 with 6 blocks and 4 steals in a game before turning 21.
Two of the Sixers most valuable assets have been knocked recently, but I don’t see how anyone could think that they won’t both turn out to be NBA starters. While they have their issues (MCW’s shooting and Nerlens entire offensive game), both are young and have shown the skills that will make them successful.
#TogetherWeBuild! Hit the music!
Anthony Davis’ current PER would be the highest single season PER ever. Period.
This stat comes from Bill Simmons on Twitter and, like him, I also had a hard time believing it at first. Davis has been a monster this year (averaging 24 pts, 11 rebs, and 3 blocks per game), but I didn’t think he had been at a record-breaking, Wilt Chamberlain level.
The scariest Brow-related stat? He turns 22 next month.
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.