The shots didn't fall...

Coaches probably say that too often after a loss, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. I downloaded the box scores of every NCAAT game this season. The winners in the games averaged 36% from the arc to 29% for the losers. On deuces the winners averaged 52% to 46% for the losers. Okay, Captain Obvious, the winners made more baskets. That’s a tautology.

However, when I look at the season stats for the winners, they averaged 36.8% from the arc to 36.4% to the losers. In other words, it wasn’t the case of obviously better shooting, more efficient teams advancing. They were identical on average. In fact, the correlation between what teams shot from the arc in the tournament and how they shot on the season was only 0.2, indicating that they are almost unrelated.

Maybe the difference was in defense. The winners simply defend the arc better, giving them an advantage. However, winners and losers both averaged surrendering 34% from the arc on the season. Moreover, the correlation between the defensive 3FG% that teams surrendered in the tourney to their D3FG% on the season was literally 0.00 to two decimal places. Defending the arc well on the season had no relationship whatsoever to how well the arc was defended in the tournament on average.

The story is the same for deuces. Furthermore, there is no big spread in how well the winners and losers rebounded, performed at the line, or handled the ball in the tourney. Differences in assists can be explained by shots falling or not falling. Differences in FTs (plus a little less than 3 for winners) are probably due to intentional fouling at the end of the games. There was a 1% difference in OReb% between winners and losers. Really, making shots swamped everything else.

I don’t see a lot of evidence of brilliant X’s and O’s deciding the majority of games. It appears that many teams really did shoot the ball about as well or better than they normally do, whereas others were cold.

One more indicator that there are lots of good, some very good, and no great teams this year.

My guess is that the degree of parity in the top 40 means that the difference between a couple of players having peak performances and a couple having subpar performances is larger than the average margin between teams.

What one can’t measure statistically is coaching & motivation which are prime factors in any team based athletic endeavor.

I suppose it’s possible that all the coaches that held teams under 30% from the arc in the tourney after surrendering 34% over three months of games became a lot smarter and better motivators in the four days before the tourney, but that doesn’t seem like the most plausible explanation to me.

Good post! We lost the rebound battle in our last game. I would be courious to see the ratio of games won in the tourney to who won the rebound count. Noland and Mike never believed that they had to win rebounding. What would the ratio be?

Rebounding numbers by themselves don’t tell the whole story. If one team shoots in thirties and one in forties, one shooting forties gets more rebounds. Sometimes you get multiple offensive rebounds on a single possession that can distort the numbers. Also, if you don’t score off the offensive rebound, it doesn’t mean anything. For example Kentucky outrebounded Arkansas by 17 at BWA. Part of that number was 18-11 advantage on the offensive boards. But both Kentucky and Arkansas scored the same number of points off the offensive rebounds,

The best stat that you can get from the boxscore to measure rebounding is to estimate the percentage of their own misses that a team rebounded - the offensive rebounding percentage. Almost every team in the NCAA rebounds well over 50% of their opponent’s misses. The losers have generally shot much lower FG percentages than the winners. Hence, even winners that are poor rebounding teams may have more total rebounds than their opponents simply because their opponent missed a lot more shots.

As I stated in the OP, winners on average only rebounded 1% more of their own misses than the losers, which is negligible. When looking at individual games, the winners had the higher offensive rebounding percentage in half the games, which means the opposite was true in the other half. Hence, who won the rebounding battle is not predictive at all of who won the games. It’s a coin flip. In fact, in only 55% of games was the winner positive in extra possessions (team ORebs + opp TOs - opp ORebs - team TOs), whereas in 72% of the games the winner had the higher trey percentage. However, trey defense on the season was not predictive of trey defense in the tournament.

Michigan State-Syracuse game is a good example of how rebounding numbers can mislead you into guessing who won the game.

MSU outrebounded Syracuse 51-30, but Cuse won the game.

MSU had 29 OR and 22 DR. Cuse had 7 OR and 23 DR.
MSU missed 49 shots. That means MSU rebounded 60% of its misses. Amazing.

I have not been able to locate a box score that shows second chance points. MSU’s conversion rate must have been astonishingly low.

Losers always cherry pick stats. Winners just win

85% of the winners had a higher EFg%.
72% had the higher trey percentage
72% had the higher deuce percentage.
63% fouled less
61% had the higher assist rate.
61% had the higher percentage of assisted FGs
61% had the higher FTA rate
57% had the higher FT rate
57% had the higher block rate
53% had the higher steal rate.
53% had the higher rebounding percentage
51% won the TO battle.
43% had the higher ratio of treys attempts to FGAs

Suck on those cherries.

Everybody notices the rebounding when we lose. They don’t notice that we lost it in 14 of our 23 wins.

And we have lost games where we won the rebounding stat. Our loss to Missouri in regular season finale is an example.

But people will bring it up because it feeds the tired narrative of “not blocking out”.

Yes. Feeds the “no fundamentals” narrative that brought us the Stan Heath and John Pelphrey eras. Those Heath teams were some screen-setting, rebounding, fundamentally sound, historically bad teams.

You know what else is are fundamentals? Taking care of the basketball, taking away the basketball and having a good Assist to Turnover ratio.

We excel in those areas but the Year 7/I can’t stand this undisciplined, fundamentals-lacking, wish we had basketball players and not just run/jump athletes and their dog whistles don’t mention those fundamentals.

They only want to mention the ones that feed their constant whining.

And it continues…

UK is #2 in the nation in D3FG%. KSU is #209 in 3FG%. KSU’s most reliable arc shooter hardly played due to a foot injury. Their bigs played limited minutes due to foul trouble. KSU shot 41% from the arc in a 3-point win against UK. Sneed, a 32% arc shooter on the season, goes 5 of 8 against UK. KSU made 9 treys against UK but 1 against UMBC (#171 in D3FG% in their piddly conference). There’s really no explaining that with either talent or coaching.

What’s interesting is that winners aren’t making a lot more treys. The number of 3FGs by winners and losers differs by only 1. The bigger spread in makes is on deuces by 2.5 2FGs. Making a high percentage of threes extends the defense. Winners are actually shooting less treys as a percentage of FGAs as driving lanes open. The opposite occurs for the teams shooting low percentages. Basketball is now an outside-in game, which would jibe with wildly varying results. I also believe that less pressure/more pressure on the lower/higher seed is playing into the shooting results.

You just proved my point

You didn’t have a point. All you had was a tired cliche that made no attempt to refute anything in this thread. Congrats.

There’s nothing in your deluge of statistics to refute. My best guess is you’re trying to make excuses why the Hogs were so woefully unprepared to play the last 2 games. If you wanna know what well coached teams look like watch the West Virginia Nova game. Both teams press & run like Nolan’s best teams & play defense like Sutton’s best teams. Enjoy!

What Arkansas can do with kids like Brunson and Carter. I am envious.

You may have missed Anderson’s Missouri teams. He was national coach of the year. You must have also missed two Arkansas-UNC games in two previous NCAA tournaments. They were talked about as two of the best played games.

BTW, I did not see the game but read reports of Villanova raining wide open threes on West Virginia. If Mike Anderson was coaching that WV team today, I wonder what you will be saying

Actually I was listening to some of the talking heads on TV comment that you could just look at the three point stats and tell who won the games. So, I decided to test it. Lo and Behold, the best predictors of who won games were the straight FG percentages and assists. However, you can’t have an assist without a shot falling. On the other hand, you can’t win without making a shot. That doesn’t prove a lot. It’s just selection bias.

Is it really random teams getting hot? If it isn’t , we shouldn’t see mediocre shooting teams on the season putting up big percentages on teams that force low FG percentages and efficient teams should be putting up high percentages on teams that surrender high percentages. The main point is that it turned out that I can’t find a higher correlation than 0.2 between offensive and defensive 2FG% and 3FG% in the games as compared to season results of teams. If you plot, say, season 3FG% versus what a team shot in an NCAAT game, all you see is a scatter plot of random points with nary a trend. It’s the same for defense and deuces. And the data hasn’t changed with the new games from the Sweet Sixteen added. That’s 60 games of data.

Explain that with coaching being the primary determinant in who is winning these games. Why did Bruce Weber hide his powerful perimeter offense all season? So he could spring it on Calipari after UMBC clears UVA out of his way? If it’s all about some deterministic result of coaches putting players in a situation and getting a predefined result, where are all the power conference champions? Those were the coaches that most consistently put their players in a winning position since January.

BTW when Anderson had more than 15 hours to prepare his team for UT, they won.