I’m already over writing about the Billikens; there’s only so many times one can waste a Wednesday night having an existential crisis. I don’t have the energy and you don’t read any of this anyway.
With that in mind, I may try to shift the focus of the blog to general basketball questions that intrigue me. And although they won’t focus on the Billikens per se, most of these will stem from my desire to understand where the Billikens sit within the broader landscape of D1 basketball. Other than obvious wins and losses, can we explore how bad the Billikens are through deeper statistics?
First Up: Which teams are most out of place in their conference?
To answer this question, we will have to set some standards of measurements across both teams and conferences. First, let’s try to understand what the average team in each conference would look like, keeping in mind an average team in the Big 12 is going to look quite a bit different than an average team in the MEAC.
Stealing some basic principles from KenPom, we’re going to assign each team a “Game Efficiency” rating to standardize the playing field. Game Efficiency (GmEff) is calculated using Offensive Rating (pts for per 100 possessions) and Defensive Rating (pts against per 100 possessions), both staples of KenPom’s Efficiency Margin which ranks all 351 D1 teams. However, GmEff the also factors in the pace at which the team plays. It’s my opinion that for two teams that are totally equal, the upper hand should be given to the team that traditionally plays at a faster pace. The formula is simple:
((Ortg – Drtg)/100) * AvgPace = GmEff
This formula essentially gives us the point value that each team would either win(+) or lose (-) against an average D1 opponent (average GmEff = 0.00).
Averaging the teams within a conference, we get the below rankings of conferences by GmEff:
No surprise here (sorry for the plain formatting, couldn’t quite figure it out). I think most people would have the conferences ranked in a similar order. There is, however, two things that I find particularly interesting:
- The number of conferences whose “average” team has a below average GmEff rating (20 out of 32). And
- 50% of those conferences actually have above average Offensive Ratings.
Next, let’s figure out who the worst teams are and how they stack up against their conference average to determine who is crowned the Most out of Place (MooP):
|MooP Rank||Conference||Worst Team||GmEff (Team)||Difference|
|8||WAC||UT Rio Grande Valley||-11.97||8.04|
|27||BW||Cal St. Fullerton||-7.66||4.19|
|30||NEC||St. Francis NY||-11.39||3.80|
Ahhhhh, sweet sweet proof. As expected, SLU (#3) is one of the most out of place teams in basketball, having a GmEff Rating 9.96 points off from the average A10 team. In fact, they’re 4.5 points off from the second worst team in the A10 (Duquesne). A truly embarrassing discovery.
You’ll notice that the other teams that round out the top four: Boston College (#1), DePaul (#2), and Washington State (#4), aren’t exactly independently terrible. In fact, DePaul is a pretty average team, the problem is that they’re in an a conference dominated by good basketball programs and, as an effect, are very much out of place.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is also not a measure of the conference competitiveness. Just because the UNLV is closest to it’s conference average among all other does not mean that there is a normal bell curve for this data.
In case you were wondering where SLU ranks among all 351 D1 teams, this stat puts them at #302, with a 27 rank gap between the next team in a “top 8” conference (Tulane, Amer, #275).
Good grief. Go Bills.