Most UK fans are probably not very interested in statistics and ratings right now. Anybody with half a brain will tell you that playing just two games is not an accurate measure of a team’s overall ranking. Which is why you’ll find Kentucky at #158 and Miami (OH) at #144 in KenPom’s ratings.
But now is a good time to start understanding possession-based basketball statistics. Derived from sabermetrics — the baseball stats that drive certain columnists crazy — APBRmetrics removes the pace of a team’s play. Teams that play at a fast pace often have skewed points-scored-per-game and points-allowed-per-game; measuring points-scored-per-possession (or per-100-possessions) allows all teams to be measured equally. Per-possession statistics also allows us to evaluate players by the minutes they played (and didn’t play) on the floor, which will definitely be used when I do my “Siva vs. Wall & Bledsoe” post in a month.
TheOnlyColors.com has a fantastic “for dummies” breakdown of the major APBR (or Tempo-free) statistics. An early definer of APBR, Dr. Dean Oliver defines Four Factors, or independent team skills needed to produce wins: shooting the ball, getting offensive rebounds, not committing turnovers and making free-throws. Compiling the Four Factors allows comparisons on each NCAA team’s offensive and defensive efficiency.
(HT for most of the links above: Eamonn Brennan at Yahoo!)
These stats give Kentucky fans all sorts of power. KenPom is using it to project the strength of a team at any given game. We can use these stats to help determine how our opponents might play against us, which individual players are most dangerous, and why John Wall is the best PG in America. So if you like to nerd-fight, start reading up on yo’ stats.
By the way, I’m researching what kinds of possession-level data are not normally tracked, and whether tracking them in games would give us something interesting to evaluate. If you are interested in tracking stats during games — which UK player was defending a shot, etc. — let me know in the comments.